TGOOWhat twatwaffle was it that said the bands were starting an hour and a half before they did on the event page? Hmmm well it is a free gig for all so it just meant having a few brews to bide the time. Slightly drunker it was time the punters in the unsurprisingly by now busy pub venue to catch their first band of 2013. Well what can I say apart from if you were outside and not rushing in you could well have missed this as timing the Oblivionized set it came in at a full 14  minutes. Seemingly this trio are quite a different band now from the one that released their Abhorrent Evolution EP a couple of years back, not that I would have recognised any numbers off that or any numbers at all in fact. What we got was dreadlocked singer Zac pacing the stage and the front of the floor squawking his head off. They call it avant-grind and there was a lot of grinding and crust ridden power violence about things here. It surged off the stage and to the back of the venue where I was picking up a pint. The expression on the old chap regulars face propping up the bar said it all, “wtf, how quickly can I drink up and get ta fook out of here,” or something to that effect. Back at the front the band had enticed some hardy souls closer to the stage announcing that they had two songs left! I had to try and take notes and pictures and not spill beer which was not easy. They had no bassist but the guitarist certainly put on a shredding display making up for this to some extent and the slam dunk aggression was bolstered by a bit of a technical flourish at times. Then it was pretty much over. Thanks come again and all that. Well brief it may have been but what I heard and saw I doubt will be forgotten in a hurry.

Dutch band Terzij De Horde were completely unknown to me but with just a self-released EP and split on Badger Records to their name that’s hardly surprising. There was an immediate upping of quality from the last act and instantly we were aware that this was going to have a lot more substance about it. First impressions were a sludgy morass of sound with a vocalist sporting an Ulver shirt bellowing mightily. The band thrust themselves into a tumultuous frenzy that beat a path from muscular post black hardcore histrionics to doom laden sluggishness. If I had a beard I would have stroked it but instead found it easier to be moved by the shuddering sonic frequencies which coursed through this adrenaline fuelled set. The sound was pretty much full on with everything turned up to the max and it suited the heavyset stance of the players. It was solid as far as the crowd were concerned and there was little space to move now. The style of coruscating walls of sound and the way it was wrung out reminded a bit of everything from Altars Of Plagues to the obvious Neurosis and Cult Of Luna and it hit like an incredibly well aimed brick. The drumming was particularly momentous and guitars and bass ploughed away relentlessly. Focus was often drawn to singer Joost’s vocals which barked incessantly giving little chance of escape. ‘A Chosen Hollow’ started with a doom laden intro courtesy of a bleak lone guitar chord, after a humungous yell it piled into a driving tour de force as everything honed in furiously in a bruising welter of destruction. Interspersing these attacking moments with bleak plateaus of moody slowed down atmospheric parts the song flirted between styles lulling you into the gentle parts and then ripping your throat out when least expected.

Slightly shell shocked after this it was a case of wondering if anyone was going to be capable of following the Dutch band but of course The Great Old Ones were more than ready for the challenge. It should be mentioned that the group had a big tour booked with Make A Change … Kill Yourself but it all fell through due to “obscure” and shitty reasons that you can read about on the bands Facebook page. Still the French group refused to bow out and managed to save a few gigs including coming over to England to play three shows, this being the first. I would have said their album the excellent Al Azif released last year on Ladlo Productions was a bit on the obscure side but talking to people tonight, many knew it and there was a real buzz about the show. The band trooped on all in black with striking blue spotlights to illuminate the stage. We knew that we were pretty likely to get the whole of the album played here and settled down to embrace the Lovecraftian madness about to unfold. Ear splitting sonics summoned the opening of the chasm and we were off, the portal was open.

The sound was full bodied and mighty in fact it was better than other more professional paying venues tonight. Two vocalists were split at either end of the stage and there were no less than three guitars and a bass packing one hell of a powerful punch. It was pretty damn jaw dropping as the occasional Godfleshian sounding swagger blew in powering away and the magnificence of the album tracks sounded even better live than they do playing the disc. The waves of ‘Jonas’ was one part that stood out, the calm before the storm. The slow chugging start was moody and broody and the doom laden approach drew us in before the craggy barnacle clad vocals rose from the deep to consume all. There was a real watery feel behind all this, I guess that was what the blue lighting was all about too and this track very much had us all at sea as the ebb of the music caresses at one moment then angrily hurls us against the rocks the next. This audience of supplicants could well have been disciples of Dagon.  Sounds of dripping water were too much for the bands backdrop which collapsed, you could close your eyes here and imagine it was all going to pour through the walls and flood the venue, not that this would have stopped the band playing on. The melodies oozed and we absorbed them with sponge like hunger. Everything was now shimmering like the sun setting over a glistening mass of ocean, you could almost smell the seaweed. The Great Old Ones had however perhaps appeased things with this offering as for once as the show finished it was not even chucking it down outside. A brilliant show and let’s hope they come back so we can worship again.  Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

Review and photos © Pete Woods