Suffocation + Belphegor – Europe Under Black Death Metal Fire @ Camden Underworld, London

Spread the metal:

15th April 2019
Review by Ryan Whitwell
Photos by Jo Blackened
Altercarnated Photography

It was an early start for this Monday night gig as five black metal bands from five different countries descended upon Camden’s Underworld. The “Europe Under Black Death Metal Fire” tour was already in full swing with the London date being in amongst the extensive run of dates. Suffocation would headline, with Belphegor, God Dethroned, Nordjevel and DarkRise making up the rest of tonight’s bands.

DarkRise kicked things off tonight and it was about 6.30pm when they walked out on stage, so the crowd was a bit sparse at first.

Fortunately, the numbers grew quickly as the band played their set.

The growing crowd settled into things and the more the room filled it seemed the performance got much better, culminating in a pretty brutal number that drew a big influx of people to the front of the Underworld.

DarkRise have just released their new album, Circles of Failure, and the set featured a few numbers from that. One thing I like about DarkRise is they have some elements of experimentation in there, lifting them out of the generic death metal box and giving a bit more for fans of the genre to appreciate.

They’re a great live act, really good tones and musicianship that sounded great tonight at The Underworld. A great start to what would be a full on night of brutality.

Norwegian band Nordjevel were next up, offering a lot of blood and whole lot of necro!

The crowd was pretty much packed out by now, just before Nordjevel began I heard a person behind me use the words “necro as fuck”, which after seeing the set I assume they were referring to Nordjevel.

There were a fair few theatrics on stage with the huge black metal outfits, complete with giant spikes, certainly enhanced the stage presence of lead singer, Doedsadmiral.

His performance vocally was great, and some non-vocal aspects were also interesting as he took swigs of “blood” from a chalice on stage and pouring some over his head, driving home the full-on black metal attitude of the band with blood rituals.

They have recently released their new album, “Necrogenesis”, which seemed to make up most of the set. No bad thing, as reviews are very positive for the album.

Massive beats from drummer, Dominator, blasting throughout the set. He has been a part of the band since last year, but I have it on good authority that he is one of the best drummers in black metal at the moment, and I could hear why people would say that!

The set as a whole had a strong intensity broken up by the occasional recorded instrumental sections. A great example for the black aspect of the “Black Death Metal Fire”.

Nordjevel Setlist:

Sunset Glow
Idea of Oneness
Amen Whores

Dutch blackened death band, God Dethroned, have a bit more groove to their sound, which I really enjoyed.

No props or face paint for these guys, just some really great sounds.

There were some nuances in the basslines from Jeroen Pomper that I really liked, making it easy to really get into it right off the bat with “Serpent King” from 1999’s “Bloody Blasphemy”.

I had forgotten just how long God Dethroned have been around, the first album being released in 1992.

The set featured numbers from the last 20 years of the band, which was cool as a few of the numbers I didn’t recognise so now I’m inspired to dig into the back catalogue and fill in some gaps.

The set as a whole was more my vibe, especially after the intensity and bleakness of the previous acts.

The last number, Nihilism (from The Lair of the White Worm), got some crowd chanting going too, so I guess I wasn’t the only one who was enjoying this set!

God Dethroned Setlist:

Serpent King
Villa Vampiria
No Man’s Land
White Army
Poison Fog

Belphegor would play next and the people around me were really keen to see these guys. I, not having seen them before, wasn’t sure what to expect, but the huge stage decorations that were brought out was a bit surprising considering the relatively low ceiling height above the Underworld’s stage.

Seven-foot-tall stands adorned with goat skulls and other bones were placed either side of where vocalist/guitarist Helmuth would soon stand.
They played in nearly near darkness with plenty of smoke too, just to make the photography a bit more difficult!

All the props and smokes aren’t what attracts me to a band, it’s all about the atmosphere the music creates and the massive response from the crowd for every number really made the live experience for me.

A couple of pits soon started behind me and there were plenty of fists raised which seemed to amp up the band on stage and the whole performance was awesome. A powerful set filled with a non-stop onslaught of black metal.

Helmuth was great to watch, leaning out to the crowd, crouching down low and getting up close with the front row. At one point he took a girl’s phone from her as she tried to film him, which I thought was pretty funny. It certainly enhanced the idea that this band probably don’t give a fuck about yours or anyone else’s feelings.

Due to the props and smoke, I couldn’t see much of Eugene “Ravager” Ryabchenko on drums, or Serpenth on bass over the other side of the goat skulls, but their impact was felt. Some crushing high tempo blasts in numbers like “The Devil’s Son” got the crowd’s pulses going as the middle of the room became a lot more active.

I’m a sucker for some fiddly and technical guitar solos, so I was in the right place for this set as I was in real danger of being smacked by Molokh Arzberger’s guitar at times when he leaned out.

His guitar wasn’t the only threat as a few wayward elbows become present from the increasingly amped crowd. This was not a band I wanted to stay back for, even if I was beginning to feel pretty tired after the constant barrage of brutality the night had offered so far.

Although I did step to the side a bit to make way for a fan who clearly deserved to be in my spot as she was a far bigger fan than I. She did repay me with one of the picks she caught from Molokh (which I thought was a surprisingly heavy gauge at 2mm), which was a pretty cool thing to do, although a glass of tap water would have been just as well received after all that!

Belphegor Setlist:

Sanctus Diaboli Confidimus
Totenkult – EO Deterioration
The Devil’s Son
Swinefever – RO Pigs
BG – Hell’s Ambassador
Conjuring the Dead / Pactum
Stigma Diabolicum
Virtus Asinaria
Lucifer Incestus
Gasmark Terror

Headlining a tour as big as this, with four other great international black and death metal bands, is quite a big deal. Fortunately, Suffocation are a great example of the genre and proved that once again tonight.

It was a while since I last saw these guys, just over a year ago supporting Venom Inc, but tonight seemed to be a bit more aggressive.

I think the venue itself helped with that as The Underworld has recently had some renovation work done, which included new PA and lighting. There’s also no buffer between stage and crowd like there was when I saw them at the O2 Islington, allowing the band to get up close and personal with fans which just riled the front up even more.

They got a few big hitters in early in the set, which got the crowd nice and active early on. It didn’t take long for the room to really get moving, gradually encroaching on a large portion of the room which the band responded to.

The set was a heavy one, all killer with a good mix of older numbers and new. Opening with Thrones of Blood, the intention was clear, especially when Ricky Myers’ vocals came in after that ear crushing opening blast with things really kicking off when the big rhythm change comes in, which was a good choice for an opener!

With Frank Mullen retiring, Terrance Hobbs was the only original member on stage tonight. The band have been around since the late 1980’s so some changes are expected and there was a lot of love from the fans when Terrance first stepped out, and a lot more when he got the chance to blast some hard and fast phrases teaming up with Charlie Errigo which encouraged plenty of horns and fists being thrown up down the front.

The band went way back into the catalogue, as far as “Effigy of the Forgotten” from the 1991 debut album of the same name.

I love hearing the differences and similarities between those very early songs and newer numbers like “Clarity Through Deprivation” from 2017’s “…Of The Dark Light”. It demonstrates just how far the band have come over the years, how their sound has evolved but ultimately stuck with that brutality from the start.

By the end, I was surprised at how much energy the crowd had.

I was shattered after 5 heavy hitting purveyors of death and black metal but the pit, and a few crowd surfers, still kept going right to the death with “Infecting the Crypts”, which thankfully has a slightly steadier intro before that final pit could lose it with some furious rhythms from Eric Morotti on drums and Derek Boyer on bass.

And after all that metal, I was done in! Long day trying to stay awake in the office the next day after all that, but so worth it!

Suffocation Setlist:

Thrones of Blood
Jesus Wept
Funeral Inception
Cataclysmic Purification
Clarity Through Deprivation
Effigy of the Forgotten
Pierced from Within
Return to the Abyss
Liege of Inveracity
Infecting the Crypts

Suffocation (USA)

Belphegor (AUT)

God Dethroned (HOL)

Nordjevel (NOR)

DarkRise (CH)

Full photos sets: