Having caught the excellent Seventh Void on their first trip over to the UK it would have been rude not to have also gone and given A Pale Horse Named Death a watch too. The bands are linked by the common denominator that was Type O Negative, both groups having had members in the now tragically deceased Brooklyn heavyweights. They are sorely missed but these other projects at least help keep their memory live on, even if it is on a slightly different tangent. Seventh Void were also bloody marvellous so we and no doubt the 120 or so people who bought advanced tickets for this show, had high expectations for it too.
First up though were a bit of an unknown quantity (apart from a quick listen session to their songs online prior to the show). Blood Runs Deep are a Swiss band, and have but one self released album behind them, 2009’s ‘These Thoughts About Suicide,’ which is a kind of wrist slitting title and a half. They state their music is rather ‘slow and depressing’ but opening number ‘Lost Myself Again’ chugged in with gusto. The bass was nice and thick and some meaty riffs rumbled out the speakers. Vocalist Stefan Vida has a distinctive voice which is really gravelly. It sounds a bit like his vocal chords are being slowly dragged down sandpaper and I guess it might not be to all tastes but worked just fine for me. There is a feeling of doom amidst this with some slow lumbering parts surging forth amidst a clash of cymbals and guttural growls. Songs such as the albums title track meandered along capturing us in their autumnal glow and dragging us down into their depths. A touch of sludge was injected into proceedings and the music immersed as it touched upon both metal and rock spectrums, getting appreciation from the crowd who seemed to be moving ever closer towards the front. A flowing guitar solo flamboyantly wafted off the stage and everyone was by now nodding along to the music.
‘Jealousy’ was a bit of a ballad but sung with vocals loud and pumped to the max. It was by now evident that unheard of or not, this band were the perfect choice of support. A splash of Sabbath was cheekily inserted into things before last number ‘Suicide Is Life’ neatly put the nail in the coffin with some neat Katatonia-esque guitar weaves about it.
The venue had been filling up steadily but thankfully was far from rammed to the rafters giving the audience plenty of room to breath. I still think A Pale Horse Named Death is a bit on the dismal side of things and Cecil would be a much more suitable name for the poor old nag but I guess it would have made for a daft band name. A nice sleaze laden guitar sound went down like a slug of whisky as the good ole boys opened things with ‘To Die In Your Arms’ and spread misery around the assembled throng. We felt like we had been pitched up in the last bar saloon in an arid desert but I resisted crying into my drink. The urban sprawl of NYC was also very much behind the sound here and the rock side of things with pure grunge laden vocals shone through in numbers like ‘When Crows Descend Upon You.’
The band seem confident and well rehearsed, very much in the stride of things. Of course normal guitarist Bobby Hambel was off on Biohazard duties but replacement Eddie Heedles was doing a fine job. Songs are tinged with a misery that has had the group compared to the likes of Alice In Chains and ‘Heroin Train’ is a standout and sure fire rock classic in the making. Prior to it rattling down the tracks, singer Sal Abruscato injects (no pun intended) a wry sense of humour into the set with the announcement “If I had a big enough penis I’d fuck you all.” He was also vocal about the misery of his divorce and if it was not for songs about strange chicks and drugs we could have found ourselves in Country And Western territory, thankfully nobody was willing to bust into any line dancing moves. ‘Pill Head’ was anther cautionary abuse tale and the rousing chorus worked like a dose of uppers. There was a scary amount of Type O nuances from the instrumentation which at times burst through, an unmistakable slide guitar riff for instance dropping us straight into things. There were also psyche interludes, a flash of The Beatles at their trippiest and as I went towards the gents I noted that plenty of people were singing along to the words.
Packing as much as they could into the set we got pretty much the whole of debut album ‘And Hell Will Follow Me’ and stomped along happily throughout to numbers like ‘Serial Killer’ and ‘Die Alone,’ something we will all be doing eventually. But there was no miserable thoughts in this deathly ode, the band had served everything up in a joyful and jubilant fashion and not even the cold grim streets of central London and the tube bound misery of a journey home could wreck our spirits. Cecil had triumphed!