@ The Underworld, Camden
1st July 2019
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photos & Videos by Jo Blackened
The bright summer sun might have been blazing down over London this evening (1st July) but the darkest parts of all life were at play in Camden as The Underworld played host to another good night of black metal with many theatrical twists thrown in.
Dutch group Carach Angren – famous for their live shows depicting the horror stories about which they sing – were on tour across Europe, accompanied by some of the finest black and death metal groups to bolster the weird and wonderful of their raison d’etre.
First up on the bill were three men all the way from Missouri, USA: Nevalra, having just released their debut album ‘Conjure the Storm’, they arrived corpse-painted and met by an eager crowd who almost swelled up half of the venue.
What a show this was – right from the first note we had blast beats both ferocious and melodic coming from drummer Zach Lindsey and vocalist Scott Eames tore into the crowd like a dark knight wielding his guitar like a black blade.
Angry, raspy and shrieked tales of horror, occultism and general treachery reigned down in a way only blackened American death metal can conjure. I for one felt this performance showed these boys had potential and I was certainly ready to give their debut album a go after watching their set.
Although it seemed the crowd weren’t as enthusiastic about the show as Nevalra were, it didn’t dampen their spirits and the guys left the crowd and I ready for the next blackened onslaught. A nice, tight opening act.
Next up was some more black metal from the Americas: Thy Antichrist, originally from Colombia but now based in Texas.
These guys, dressed like a collective of black monks ready to summon demons and dark forces to rain cruelty and malice upon the land, were more than ready to give London the blackened hammering it needed.
Vocalist Antichrist 666 (Andres Vargas) had the much larger crowd in the palm of his hand as he screamed, wailed and roared about the stage as if he were possessed by the most powerful demons of another world. He had all the charisma and haunting stage presence expected of a front man in a satanic band.
The rest of Thy Antichrist accompanied him with percussion like cannon fire and lightning fast riffs that went straight for the jugular like a shuriken thrown by a ninja.
Thy Antichrist was waging an audible war on London as the intensified crowd hurled well-earnt cheers and applause as they fought tooth and nail to their final track.
Impressed was an understatement with this band, I must say.
It wasn’t just black metal on offer this night, for up next we had a slight alteration to the theme of the bill, with some melodic death metal all the way from noble Finland.
Wolfheart, a band who have made a name for themselves over the last few years making songs about winter and wolves and ancient military engagements, arrived to show just what the melodic death scene had on offer today.
Enjoyable would seem fit to describe these guys, though at times I had to agree with my friends who felt this band were ‘out of place’ in this sort of show.
The songs were enticing and a little hypnotic, but given the powerful onslaught of the previous band, it felt like an unusual change in direction. Wolfheart seemed a little too melodic for this sort of show, but that’s not to say they put on a bad performance.
Tight and bold is how I’d describe these Finns, who knew what they were doing, and I could see how they’d earnt their place on this tour by giving us some lively and soothing death metal only Scandinavia can offer. A fun gig indeed.
Finally, it was time for the moment we’d all been waiting for. The Underworld was now packed to the brim with people from both the black metal and gothic scenes, eager to witness a night of blackened metallic cabaret, all the way from the Netherlands.
Carach Angren – where do I begin with these guys? From the moment that first riffs blew from the amps, we knew this was going to be a journey into the dark side of the weird and wonderful.
It was more than appropriate to describe frontman Seregor as a travelling showman, as his stage presence and charisma captured the eyes and inhibitions of the crowd as he moved with evil grace around the stage whilst shrieking and ranting tales of horror and terror.
I would liken his appearance a lot to the late Crow actor, Brandon Lee, for there was a dark element to Seregor by how he kept people staring in awe as tune after tune raged into the audience like a hail of machine gun fire.
At times, Carach Angren seemed to move from black metal to the world of performance art, particularly when a blood-spurting mannequin was decapitated by Seregor and blood spurted over the charismatic vocalist like a scene from a 90s vampire film.
Keyboardist Ardek delivered concertos that made me think of empty halls and vast castles on Carpathian mountains – this was the sort of symphonic black metal that had all the right visual, audible and literal elements of the gothic to please anyone who has spent their lives finding beauty in the dark or unconventional.
Overall, I was very saddened when Carach Angren had to say goodbye, but this was more than just a good night out in the city. Carach Angren can only go on to great and better things like bigger shows at bigger venues complete with even greater theatrics to tell their musical ghost stories.
*Please note, these photos/videos were not taken professionally.
More videos at: www.youtube.com/user/Altercarnated
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