Hypocrisy + Septicflesh + The Agonist + Horizon Ignited
@ Islington Assembly Hall, London
5th October 2022
Review & Photography by Graham Hilling
As the last days of Summer come to a close and the Autumn chills really begin to take hold, what better time to catch some melodic death metal! The Worship European Tour 2022 rolls into London town, showcasing a truly international lineup, with Horizon Ignited from Finland, The Agonist from Canada, Septicflesh from Greece and Hypocrisy from Sweden. It promises to be quite special!
First up are Horizon Ignited, playing to a half full hall because of the very early doors this evening (and starting even before the advertised door time!). This hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm however.
These guys sound a little like Soilwork in places and do a fine job of warming the crowd up. The songs, while not oozing originality, sound great live with some pretty slick riffs and some nice melodic runs over the rhythm guitar lines. Indeed, this actually characterises the sound quite well.
There are clean and growled vocals from Okko Solanterä and many times throughout the set it looks like his head may just explode with the amount of effort he’s putting into the show! Standout track is “Leviathan” from the debut album “After the Storm” which drips heaviness and manages to balance the melodic elements too.
Another cracker is “Eventide of Abysmal Grief” from the current LP “Towards the Dying Lands” which showcases the clean vocals nicely.
It is quite a long set from an opening band and by the time that Horizon Ignited leave the stage the crowd has filled out a little and they’ve no doubt made a few new friends.
Next up are The Agonist from Canada. As expected, the level of intensity rises, with some impressive musicianship on display from the get go.
“Blood as My Guide” from the 2019 album “Orphans” not only emphasises the quality of musicianship but also the vocal range of Vicky Psarakis. “Orphans” from the same album follows in the same vein, with some cracking riffs which take the music into quite unique territory at times and a great chant along chorus “I have always lived in this castle….”, although I find the switches from clean to growled vocals to be a little jarring.
For me the clean vocal parts work better, in this song at least, but that’s just my opinion!
“Resurrection” from the current album “Days Before the World Wept” slows things down, once again showcasing the vocal versatility to the max.
The title track from that album is the closing track this evening and while I cannot pinpoint it, I have the sense that The Agonist didn’t really make it into top gear tonight.
Maybe it is the songs that are not quite as accessible as the other bands tonight, certainly there is nothing to find fault with in the performance. Just a feeling.
The Agonist setlist:
- Blood as My Guide
- Days Before the World Wept
Next up are Septicflesh, my favourite band on the bill really and I’m looking forward to a show of epic proportions! This is a band that has matured from standard death metal to something that almost transcends the genre.
They are still might heavy but the melodic lines of the latest material make the songs much more accessible. That aside, the bludgeoning riffs and slower pace emphasizes the undeniable heaviness of this band!
Opener “Portrait of a Headless Man” from the 2017 album “Codex Omega” pulls no punches and the crowd laps it up, it sounds especially impressive with the playback adding orchestral elements and choirs. “Neuromancer” is a work of epic proportions and is close to the perfect melodic death metal song in my opinion with twists and turns throughout the song! It is perfectly executed tonight.
Spiros Antoniou asks the crowd at regular intervals “Do you have energy my friends?” The crowd responds with pits a plenty. The sound in the venue is also great tonight with all elements of the sound clear, no muddiness to be heard! “Martyr” is another song that just drips class. Super heavy but accessible too.
“A Desert Throne” sees more choir and orchestral playback to fill out the sound and it all fits together seamlessly. The way Septicflesh songs are written does set them apart from the standard Gothenburg type sound, they sound almost Egyptian in nature (or what I hear in my head when thinking of Egypt and Egyptology!). Certainly Septicflesh have a unique sound and the orchestrations take the music to a new level.
“Communion” takes us way back to 2008 and increases the tempo somewhat. The crowd loves it and there are mosh pits aplenty. “Anubis” emphasises the Egyptian nature of some of the songs and sees Spiros conducting the crowd like some maniac puppeteer! Once again the crowd respond “….Anubis!”
Septicflesh finish with “Dark Art” bringing us almost back to the current time. A fantastic set of songs spanning the mid period days alongside the latest material which shows the band in their best light and why they continue to be one of the most original heavy bands on the scene at the moment. Also a ferocious live performance where they haven’t put a foot wrong – top marks.
- Portrait of a Headless Man
- Pyramid God
- The Vampire from Nazareth
- A Desert Throne
- Dark Art
Closing the proceedings this evening are Hypocrisy. Starting at a furious pace with “Worship” makes it quite clear that they are not here to mess around this evening.
Sounding tight and well rehearsed along with good sound in the venue allows the music to really make an impact. I have to be honest, I’m not massively keen on the screamed vocals of Peter Tägtgren, although tonight they seem completely appropriate.
“Eraser” from the 2004 album “The Arrival” slows things down and allows us to take a breather. It also highlights the impressive musicinship (which has been a theme throughout this evening to be honest). The guitar lines here really do lift the song up.
“Chemical Whore” brings us back to the present time, a cracking track that has the lot, heavy, melody & lyrics with some meaning (questioning the role of the big pharma and the use of underhand tactics to seel their drugs). The crowd laps it up and sings along.
“Until the End” takes us back in time, and “Don’t Judge Me” picks up the pace again with layers of blast beat and a brutal delivery.
“End of Disclosure” slows things down a little and allows a brief breathing space! “Children of the Gray” brings us back to the present and is a proper head nodder of a track and the crowd happily oblige.
“Warpath” gives Henrik Axelsson on the drums the chance to flex himself properly with some absolutely earth shattering drumming and the set finishes with “The Final Chapter” from the 1997 album of the same title.
I left at this point in order to catch trains, which was a mistake considering there was a substantial encore to be had, 4 crackers from the 90’s. This takes the set to an impressive 17 songs and sees Hypicrisy playing for about an hour and half! And barely a moment to pause during a set where the band were squeaky tight and didn’t put a foot wrong.
So, another cracking gig, sadly not as well attended as I would have expected but enough punters to make for a good atmosphere and lots of energy for the bands to feed off. And feed they did!
- Fire in the Sky
- Mind Corruption
- Inferior Devoties
- Chemical Whore
- Until the End
- Don’t Judge Me
- End of Disclosure
- Weed Out the Weak
- Children of the Gray
- The Final Chapter
- Fractured Millennium
- Impotent God
- Adjusting the Sun
- Roswell 47