If you were not in the know and got a certain case of deja-vu over the first couple of bands it is not surprising as both Ereb Altor and Isole share several members. Isole were the first of the brawny bearded outfits to take to the stage representing the more doomy side of things. A good austere intro tape heralded the Swedes arrival and their gargantuan doom clad riffing tumbled forth out the speakers with thundering drums and rumbling bass being thick in the mix. With the front three members of the band all vocalising there was a very multi-dimensional harmonic feel to it with everything from angry distempered parts to croons backing the tumultuous instrumentation. Even the clean parts of the songs had enough force to have those of us in the vicinity of the speakers trembling and the more galloping parts got necks snapping along to the charge. The cold blue and red stage lights suited giving it a frosty demeanour and songs like ‘The Lake’ from latest album ‘Born From Shadows’ seemed to go down well. The clean croons and leaden groove easily reaching the bar at the back of the venue as we besieged the staff there who seemed as sluggish as the music. There was some nice posturing from the players on stage as the monolithic numbers continued, I think they possibly only played 4 or 5 in their allotted time but then again the flow of things had kept us somewhat entranced.
I quite enjoyed ‘Gastrike’ the latest album from Ereb Altor and was looking forward to seeing them. Yes they do worship their gods without apology but they do it well and as someone said if you like the idea of Bathory doing doom you are going to be in Valhalla to this. From the off they were stirring and evocative putting the cleave in things like an axe in a block of wood that is near impossible to pull out. By Honour indeed, this was Viking through and through, craggy and etched in heroic bravado and coated with a massive covering of glacial ice. Again there was no shortage of vocalising and when these shone through on a slower number it still had the strength to move mountains. As for the faster parts they were met by a sea of pumping fists. New numbers such as ‘The Mistress Of Wisdom’ had the band wanting some head banging and they got plenty of it as with the thick bass heavy delivery it was hard to resist. They gave the audience a full and epic battle including a cover of ‘Twilight Of The Gods’ for good measure. I can see this lot going down a storm at a festival and hope our swords will clash again!
So it was the very first time in the UK for Italian depressives Forgotten Tomb so kudos to the promoters Funeral For Mankind for getting them over here. It was an event many of us had waited for and coming as it did not come that long after the release of ‘And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil’ the title track of which the band started off with, it was perfect timing. Herr Evil and his un-merry men set about things in a fierce and powerful way more akin to a shotgun blast to the head than a slow overdose of pills. The dreadlocked singer at least was not hiding behind a beard but was not taking his cap off. The pit quickly got fired up and there was a charged atmosphere as people let off team. Slower parts of the songs were the respite here thankfully and opening cut of Springtime Depression ‘Todestreib’ was left to cast its funereal pall over us. Of course slow parts were only momentary as drummer Asher quickly battered away and jagged riffs cut to the bone.
Horns were held aloft between songs and it was obvious that many appreciated an old song but new ones like the black rot n rolling morass that is ‘Deprived’ were hot on its heels. The stomp of the song really got feet moving and heads banging and with space down the front limited I found myself at the side pretty much watching the band from behind, which made it all a bit different. I am sure I heard the words “suicide is not a problem” were shouted out as the crypt like tomb crawl of ‘Daylight Obsession’ again took us back into times when the band were more blackened than they may be now. They packed quite a lot into the time they had; songs from this lot are long and unwind in their own time. The older stuff is perhaps for listening to alone rather than with others for full effect so it was quite good that this was only 150 capacity intimate show. With numbers from ‘Songs To Leave’ like Steal My Grave’ playing and twisting away and the night drawing to a close it was time to do just that. All in all three good bands on a rare outing and if you were not there you missed out.
Review and photos © Pete Woods