Skeletal Remains + Blasphemer + Zealot Cult
@ The Black Heart
11th August 2019
The first band to shock the London crowd were a four-piece death metal group Zealot Cult hailing from Ireland – there were only a handful of people during their set though, I wish there were more people who could have experienced what was about to unfold; for the first few songs, a basic sound was produced from the speakers which did not blend well with the epic guitar solos demonstrated and the haunting vocals by Jay Quigely, but that changed two songs later. They expressed a very similar style to Morbid Angel and Obituary matched with very unique and original vocal styles. The blastbeats were ground-shaking and can easily be placed in a similar style to Sadistic Intent and early Sepultura, taking the crowd along with its heaviness, which was superbly performed by Declan Malone.
Surprisingly there was a satisfied yet very average style reaction from the crowd as there was very little movement. Halfway into their set, the crowd reaction got better and people started to move closer to the stage as they wanted to experience more demolition – more heads were banging. Each track produced a splendid solo with no disappointment or technical issues, and cheering got louder at the end of each track.
A personal favourite moment of the set was when their song ‘Blades of Jihad’ which portrayed possible the most intense blastbeats ever seen live. The set was later concluded with ‘Chainsaw Ritual’, spreading the deep and dark atmospheric of old-school death metal throughout the venue. A band definitely worth investing your support into.
Next to play for the London crowd was English four-piece death metal band Blasphemer, formed in 1990, who started off with an almost thrash-like sound. This band includes ex-drummer of My Dying Bride and Bal-Sagoth, Dan Mullins – the crowd was more interactive and the venue was partly full, with a small pit of around four people. There could have been room for improvement with the microphone as the vocals were overtaken by the sound of riffs. The stage was filled with great presence from Dale Brown and constant headbanging followed by mini stage-diving sessions and dancing from the crowd. The atmosphere was more lively, however there was lots of rooms for improvement regarding amplification of vocals.
Although great stage presence was demonstrated, the sound quality produced appeared very soulless and there was hardly any engagement felt in terms of sound quality. The performance did feature some great solos with dedicated facial expression but with nothing else to add to it and interest dropped low instantly. On record, the band are exceptional and they hold admirable guitar skills – however their set was nothing extraordinary.
The London night of the European Torture Tour was finally concluded by the ever-rising Skeletal Remains hailing from California and an honourable force within the modern death metal scene; the venue was invaded by the pit as Chris Monroy’s Asphyx-style vocals echoed throughout the Black Heart and speakers were being knocked over, and let’s not forget the exceptional drumming produced by Edward Andrade. Things started to get more memorable watching the crowd growl along to every track, screaming in Spanish and observing conversations being exchanged between the band and the fans.
Skeletal Remains have been on a well-deserved road to prominence, inspired by plenty of old-school references from the likes of Pestilence and Death with an original edge to blend a new sound. They wasted no time providing the crowd with compelling tunes and displaying their assets as noteworthy musicians. The atmosphere was alive, energetic and filled with intensity as this style of music is finally being revived in modern times. The flair of Edward Andrade and Andrius Marquez were not only circling blastbeats and ceaseless atrocity, crushing alongside death metal’s influences; their performance accommodated more variety, which provided full, substantial groove.
The band’s cadence constructed a gratifying aura – Skeletal Remains shined. Chris Monroy’s vocal tone earnestly paralleled that of Martin van Drunen with a special texture. Edward Andrade’s presentation with the drum kit captured everyone from imposing riffs to ardent blast-beats compelling the energy of tonight’s show. Continue investing your support in this ever-rising band.