Hooded MenaceThe skies biblically open just before Uncoffined start up a night of ritual death and funeral rites in style getting everyone outside scuttling into the venue to get immediately flattened by their chunky cavernous sound. Drummer and vocalist Kat Shevil pounds and screams away hidden behind the kit whilst the rest of the members brood out a sluggish display of crawling death and cataclysmic doom. It’s heavy as hell and loud as it stalks relentlessly with a turgid all-consuming eviscerating force. Not quite as crust-laden and rabid as band members other project Winds Of Genocide but still as equally formidable it impresses those of us gathered in for the early doors permeating the venue with a feeling of wretched gloom. Guitars meander and vocals bark and bite offering no escape as a leaden groove billows into a Cathedral laden stomp getting us moving about to it and head banging away. There’s some classic sounding Sabbathian riffs at one point but Ozzy never sounded this rawkus and the instrumental, vocal contrast is pretty damn extreme keeping us on our toes and the weighty sermon proves a heavyset start to proceedings.

Decrepid look like they mean war with bullet belts draped around the drum kit, this London mob are no strangers to the local gig circuit but I have never witnessed them on a stage this big and with such a hefty sound which does definitely make a difference. Nothing slow about this as they drive into ‘Goats Blood’ and it’s a full on bludgeoning assault and battery has a very solid backbone about it. The band sound and look in their element with singer Cris stalking the stage and looking down upon us with hunger in his eyes as he hits us up with beefy, bellicose vocals and occasionally throws in higher grind styled squawks. The band shred away and when they do slow down it still hits like a sledgehammer round the chops. Everything about this is nice and old school although slightly mired by new fangled technology due to annoying people intent not to actually watch a band with their own eyes but film the set with mobile phones (sigh). Look out for crap footage on the net if you wish but the rest of us were entertained by the bludgeoning force of songs like ‘Devoted To Death’ as the venue started to get busier.

They may have played a few times recently but there is no way I am close to being bored with The Wounded Kings yet, for a start they have transformed themselves somewhat of late with the return of past singer George Birch replacing Sharie Nayland putting quite a different slant on things in the process. They also have a particularly good recent album in the form of Consolamentum and again it is good to see them on a much bigger stage than the likes of The Black Heart with more room to groove and move around on. However perhaps they don’t favour such space as they have pushed the drum kit towards the front and are playing quite up close and personal engaging with the audience here. Big riffs take us into the land of doom dementia in style and they quickly fill the room with a warm fuzzy vibe which we coast along on surfing on the riffs and being carried off on the crest of the harmonious vocals. Drumming is particularly impressive, it may be slow but it’s mighty with huge clashing cymbals crunching away. A guitar solo bites in hard as I am standing right by the player and the speaker as it unfurls and then the full weight of everything drops in, the effect of which is flattening. The band are bathed in cold blue light and spread out on stage in a widescreen panorama and the long songs such as Gnosis sound fantastic and with the visual accompaniment really attack the senses. Vocally at times I am reminded of Beastmilk and indeed the Babylon Whores, clean croons really do hit the mark here and the set is long and captivating, delivering psychedelic nods and big stellar jams, pretty much everything we could have hoped for.

It’s always nice to have a completely unknown visiting band and for me tonight this was Resurgency from Athens in Greece. A quick look shows that we did cover their last album 2012 Hellthrasher release ‘False Enlightenment’ and  it’s ‘Ending The Beginning’ from this that they blaze into bathed in a sea of angry red light making it seem all the more dangerous. At first they struck as a bit reminiscent of Morbid Angel in the riff department and the drummer attacks his kit like he could well be steaming away for any number of polish bands. They quickly bring things up to a boiling point and I also found myself getting well and truly into the vocals which I seem to have described as being ‘full of urggghhh’ which I think is a pretty good description. They stomp around with an impressive layered sound and throw out short sharp and shocking displays of old school death like ‘Black Holes Of The Antiverse’ which are really thick, the kick drum going right through the ribs and the massive strumming attack pretty much unrelenting. ‘Hideous Premonition’ has a slow start creeping up on us then flailing riffs are opened up and wallop chaos descends.  Maybe on disc this would have had a bit of difficulty standing out as what Resurgency do is far from unique but in these circumstances they really were a full on bombardment that was impossible not to like. Audience wise nobody seemed willing to commit to causing carnage quite yet as the band took a left hand path and summoned up some evident SweDeath vibes and beyond. In fact as they continued it really was a box ticking exercise with everything from Deicide to Cannibal Corpse being noted with songs such as ‘Craniums Of Slain Disciples’ doing just what they suggest.

A goat skull candle display is put up on the stage but strangely there are no thick plumes of dry ice and incense to greet Dragged Into Sunlight tonight. We have been witness to this elusive anti-social force before and know partly what to expect; a band hidden from sight playing with their backs to us and unleashing a hellish extreme and mangled sound which is every bit as misanthropic as their stance dictates. Now it is getting crammed down the front which is a relief as it shows not everyone did the obvious thing and rushed to Wembley to see Motorhead churn out the same old songs for the zillionth time. Its dark to the point of pitch black which explains why the dry ice is not necessary, a throbbing sound comes out the speakers encroaching upon us and almost burning into white noise. There’s a deluge of fuzzy guitar sound and already tense nerves are shattered  by trembling riffs wrought out in a deathly barrage sounding like they have been flung out the very gates of hell. It’s fast, abrasive and completely scathing, almost too much to take in which is no doubt what is intended. This is ugly music for ugly people and as guitars literally shred it feels like it is doing its best to disfigure us all the more. Moving around is not easy as the darkness makes it feel as though you are going to trip over, it’s quite a clever and disorientating trick and one that’s perhaps if I am not reading too much into it done on purpose just to make the overall impact that bit more intense. It’s a case of tripping the dark fantastic, stumbling to riffs and falling over to the feedback, thankfully the light from the bar calls like as a beacon and it’s one not to be ignored. Whilst there I ponder, just how good are DIS when you just focus on the music, just an uncouth noise or an unconventional tour de force? Maybe they are something really kind of average getting mystique and reputation for going beyond the convention live and doing something a bit different? Like a special effects film without anything in way of plot but just clever tricks or maybe an unruly Dogma? The jury is out and the mood is lightened momentarily by a song with looser guitars and more of a melody to it before drums literally trip over themselves, caustic roars build up and everything sounds like a glorious uncoordinated miasma of obtuse sound. They certainly leave their mark!

This was my first time to witness to the horrible Hooded Menace’s from Finland having missed their Live Evil show on these shores in 2010. It seems like expectations are high and now there is a nice healthy contingent both close to the front and spread around to catch the band. As they open up their gates the sound can only be described as thick as the coating of crusty sick left on the floor after a night of all out debauchery. Someone else described it with a very pained expression that it was so low and deep it was close to making him soil his pants. Perfect then in my books, we like our Finns to be filthy and that is exactly what opening track ‘Fulfil The Curse’ was proving to be. The band looked the part, naturally hooded and suitably menacing V shaped axes and shades nonchalantly worn and posed about with. Growler Markkus seems particularly formidable at the front looking like he wanted to wrap his arms and lungs around something and crush it. His gurgling vocals really are craggy, the bass is loud and we are pretty much being shook to the core here, well aware that in the morning will be deafness. The blue lighting and sound combined made me feel as though I had been transported to subterranean depths, deep beneath the ocean. ‘Never Cross The Dead’ takes off in a rancid and bile spewing tumult, the word that best sums up the feel here is ‘morbid’ the riffs and pace have the crowd pumped up and the long oozing songs has everyone banging away and fist pumping the air.

The band seem to be playing album title tracks and ‘Effigies Of Evil’ has a definite Entombed like crunch to it and some good galloping bravado as it surges away. There’s a thick and vicious feel about it and some more than meaty chops. Preposterously titled The ‘Love Song of Gotho, Hunchback of the Morgue’ rings all the right bells (sorry) and proves that the band have a sense of humour as well. Looking around I am amused to see that one person is asleep and propping their head up on a shelf, as I was having a good time I decided against kicking their legs away but how at such a shattering volume did they manage it? Again we got another long set with plenty of substance to it building up to a suitable encore and finale of ‘Crumbling Insanity.’ Hooded Menace were certainly as enjoyable as staying in with a few dead friends and watching films by Fulci or De Ossorio and a damn sight louder too. Another great line up and all round excellent show courtesy of Old Empire a promoter definitely pulling out all the stops and spoiling London rotten at the moment!


(Review and photos © Pete Woods)