Ninkharsag + Devastator + Ereskigal @ The Black Heart

Spread the metal:

Ninkharsag + Devastator + Ereskigal

@ The Black Heart, London

4th March 2022

Review by Demitri Levantis

Photos by Jo Blackened
Altercarnated Photography

It was an onslaught of black metal brilliance in the Black Heart in Camden Town tonight, with the Liverpool outfit Ninkharsag headlining the London venue alongside other homegrown talents.

Once I got inside, I knew I was in for a good time as the whole place was heaving, an excellent thing to see in a metal venue on a Friday night and before long it was time for the opening act, Ereskigal; a London based group fronted by experienced musician Azott (Dev Gohil), whose mix of vicious, angry and technically performed black metal exploded well into the crowd.

Even before they were on stage the crowd was heaving for Ereskigal, and despite me being somewhere near the centre back I could still see the boys delivering their deep and gut-wrenching display of black metal inspired by the Norwegian classics.

Screams and unclean wails accompanied by jagged, vicious guitars made up the majority of Ereskigal’s sound along with the machine-gun blast beats from veteran drummer Matt Holmes (Hecate Enthroned, Sidious).

The crowd were already in a frenzy with people throwing themselves off each other as each song ploughed from the stage into the revellers and while I was being jostled around in my part of the crowd, I could feel Ereskigal had the power to keep the whole venue in their grasp which is an excellent feat as well being able to fill the whole place with being the first band on.

Azott’s shrieks along with the buzzsaw guitars from his masked guitar and bassist got a good number of the crowd headbanging in time to the songs.

Ereskigal performed their recent EP “End” in its entirety, dousing the ever-moving crowd in blackened nihilism crafted with precision musicianship that showcased just how talented a bunch these four men were.

Overall, this was 30 minutes of sickening audible torture mastered by a group of musicians from London and further afield. Ereskigal blasted their raw and bitter form of British black metal onto the crowd making everyone feel pumped and angry ready for the night ahead.

Setlist: Sojourn/Ascent/Reflections/End I/End II/End III

 

There was a generous turnout of people now packing out the Black Heart for this sold-out show, as the bar downstairs was packed out too as we waited for the next band to set up.

Up next were the men from Derbyshire; Devastator clad in blood-soaked military-style uniforms that made them look like some freshly mutilated victims of war.

Warfare and mindless violence are certainly what these blokes had in mind once they tore into their blackened thrash metal sound that would have pleased anyone into old-school Kreator or recent bands like Toxic Holocaust.

Even though Ereskigal had got the crowd moving, Devastator managed to set off a series of mosh pits that had many revellers close to the stage thrown around, myself included. It wasn’t all violent and serious in the pits as there were some funny moments of a guy trying to stage dive and some blokes going arm in arm like some drunken dance routine.

On stage, vocalist Thomas Collings was retching guttural cries about mindless bloody violence with bits of sick humour thrown in, followed by tunes of warfare and suffering which explained his condemnation of the recent actions in Eastern Europe between songs.

Guitar player Richard Bateman also fought on through the set having lost his guitar strap very early on but was able to balance it on an adjacent amp for the rest of the set; something that meant these guys wouldn’t give up easily.

Devastator were more of a galloping band than Ereskigal with their punkish drumming and shreds, which made the crowd move more and more as they dived into audible hell and back again with each song, and by the time the final tune “Overkill” began to play everyone was going nuts.

They were a strong second act tonight that made the night enter a new level of gore and horrific wonderment.

Setlist: Worship the Goat/Merciless Onslaught/Send them to Hell/Death Slut/Spiritual Warfare/Blasphemer (Sodom cover)/Howling Night/Baptised in Blasphemy/Hall Death/Overkill (Reprisal)

There was to be another band playing before the headliners tonight;  Verdelet but they had had to pull out of the gig which was disappointing, but I hope they get back on the road soon.

Ninkharsag, who had draped the backdrop of the stage with the artwork of their latest album “The Dread March of Solemn Gods,” were now ready to roll, smashing another barrage of UKBM from the Liverpool area into the Black Heart.

As mentioned earlier, the sound system was excellent for all the bands this night and the headline act was no exception. Ninkharsag stood firmly and angrily on the stage with an aura that said they meant business.

Business involving some deep and nasty sounding tunes dealing with themes of the ancient world and the forgotten, esoteric practices that inspired the band. Ninkharsag was playing a frightfully brutal ode to the occult which the crowd were complimenting well.

As these guys from Liverpool jumped from tune to tune, playing their latest album in its entirety, the crowd were surging in a way similar to the pits seen for Devastator.

Their abilities to play some extremely fast and impressive tremolo picking on the guitars blended well with the cymbals and bass drum like fresh blood gushing from a wound, and the crowd loved every second from the word go.

Ninkharsag’s themes and delivery were similar to that of Ereskigal in how they didn’t move around the stage nor communicate with the crowd much but they were there to do a job, and it was performed with all the might needed.

The support for their sound festered like a decaying corpse from the crowd as Ninkharsag finished their set and left everyone feeling as happy as any decent gig can make you.

Setlist: Night Wrath/The Dread March Of Solemn Gods/Under The Dead Of Night/Lunar Hex: The Art Of Mighty/Lycanthropy/The Necromanteion/Discipline Through Black Sorcery/The Tower Of Perpetual Twilight/Spectres Of The Ancient World/Strigoi Diabolicum/The Lord of Death and Midnight/The Essential Salts of Human Dust/Pastoralis Praeeminentiae/Tartarus Unbound

In all it was a brutal night full of the best black metal available on UK shores at present, occultism, gore and warfare festering like a diseased pile of corpses in a mass grave.

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