Sonne-Adam-Grave-Miasma4A nice underground bill tonight with the headliners coming all the way from Israel for the promoters first international show and three British bands adding some good support.

First up were Decrepid who were in full swing when I got into the venue. I had seen them before and instantly remembered them on sight and sound. The latter was meaty and bass heavy and thundered through the venue with a head kicking drum sound. Finesse aside the tumult was backed nicely by the vocals which were bellowed out along with some higher pitched yelps giving a bit of a crusty grind vibe to the music. However whereas most bands would go for two vocalists delivering such versatility singer Cris did a good job here on his own. There were not that many watching at this early stage but those who did were quick to get in the swing of things and the set was nice and punishing and delivered with plenty of force about it.

It has been a while since I last saw Craven Idol who were living up to their name by placing two bloody virgin Mary’s by the drum kit as some sort of mascot perhaps? They flailed into things with a sound that was gnarly blackened alcoholic thrashing with nice razor sharp riffing on opening number ‘Craven Atonment.’ It came out in a furious, ugly, brutal and uncouth fashion with singer Vrath barking at the watchers who were beginning to flesh out. Nobody was quite ready to move yet to the seething stew of shredding guitar and morbid sounding bass lines but the primitive deathly worship was going down well. Feedback and reverb spilled out between songs and whether the band played anything new since last 2010 release Ethereal Altars is unknown the way announcements spewed out the speakers. The third number did slow to a dreadful doomy chugging pace before slewing into a mid-paced lollop and the band seemed tighter than last time I saw them but still with a very necessary chaotic edge and reeking in filth with it. Apparently a debut album will appear on Dark Descent at some time this year.

It was good to see the venue was now quite busy as black and death metal scum had obviously now crawled out of their caves and just as well as Grave Miasma don’t play that often and when they do it is certainly worth bearing witness to. Incense headily billowed off the stage and the performance took on air of ritual a word far too many use but one that seemed apt here. The hollow sounding vocal delivery and the hefty bestial surging charge of the instrumentation was a Neanderthal lesson in primitive violence and it sounded utterly demonic with it. It was a charge that got the audience into its blood lust from the start and it had spilled through the venue by the time ‘Ovation To A Thousand Lost Reveries’ was battered out from amidst a spreading sea of dry ice. This was absolutely feral and uncompromising full of stygian black unrelenting fury. The band had a nice long set to spread their music and songs like ‘Gnosis Of The Summon’ to infect us with their contagion and it had a huge stifling atmosphere about it that showed just why the bands performances are revered and well worth checking out if you get the chance.

Onto the headliners and I was looking forward to catching Sonne Adam again having been really impressed seeing the support Grave and Vile back at the tail end of last year. I had to admit the more occult and blasphemous setting created by the supports seemed wholly more suitable for them than that show. The quartet were not keeping us hanging around and it has to be said that the gig was run like clockwork so well done to the promoters here. The stage seemed stripped of everything unnecessary, there was no banner or anything just four black clad band members set to let the music doing the talking. Talk it did with a bowing, reverential, doom laden mass grasping us in a slow atmospheric crush. Vocalist Davidov was lost in hair but his craggy voice came through perfectly. Dreadlocked bassist Matan on stage right was caught grinning a few times obviously very pleased to be playing to a more than appreciative crowd over here. Fluttering guitar sound added to the doomy  pace of the songs and coursed through us and I was struck by the way the music had the sound of rough seasoned bark, weathered and almost prehistoric, stubborn in its refusal to let the elements grind it down. Songs were on the whole slow and felt like they had been around for aeons.

‘Take Me Back To Where I Belong’ was a stand-out moment and at least a number I recognised from a refresher play of excellent album ‘Transformation’ prior to the gig. Both guitar and lyrics may well be reminiscent of early Morbid angel but are dished up so perfectly and with such slow oozing gravitas I cannot imagine anyone complaining. The slothful pace of the songs combined with a few drinks made the walk back from the bar towards the front like wading through treacle. As the set continued I was struck by the long pronounced guttural vocals and at times almost militant drumming that almost sounded like it was coaxing some old and ancient divinity to rise from the depths. The cavernous echoing sound suited the music perfectly. There was nothing in the way of banter from the stage here at all the band simply played from one song to the next and when they suddenly downed tools and abruptly finished it came as a bit of a surprise but one that seemed completely final and we were well aware that an encore was not going to be likely or necessary tonight.

(Review and Photos © Pete Woods)