Another gig we were lucky to get due to bands having transport and accommodation costs pulled from under their feet following the collapse of Temples Festival in Bristol. Other shows had been booked around it and some bands were determined to make it over and cover them, so full marks to Degial and Vorum for persevering. Luckily by the time that first group Ataud hit the stage The Unicorn was suitably rammed and so it should have been considering the calibre of the groups and the fact that as ever it was free entry here. I quickly realised I had witnessed this trio’s brand of ‘Satanic South American metal’ before when they supported Pentagram Chile a couple of years back. Since then the London based band have released an album Apostasía Absoluta and were quick to mercilessly batter tracks out from it. With hair twirling they scythe away, cymbals clashing and coarse growls filling the room. It was the sound of a band revelling in the glory of life being snuffed out and there’s a primitive bloodlust behind the choppy barbaric tumult. Tracks like ‘Sombra Occulta’ plough away but hit an underlying groove which gets heads banging away both on and off the stage and the band have a nice solid and thick set with which to impress us.
The Åland Islands off Finland sounds like the sort of place that would make a great and brutal setting for a Scandinavian crime drama. It’s also home to Vorum and we expected something just as bloody from them. Smeared in black boot polish style war paint there is no pissing about as they take the stage and unleash the first deadly assault. It’s full on but precise and chaotic in equal measures. Drums hammer, guitar throws out technical and cataclysmic shreds and the vocals are rabid. Last EP Current Mouth had really hit the spot last year and things seemed even more deadly as translated on the stage up close and personal. They too seem to love hellishly clattering the cymbal which rings deafeningly in the ear as the velocity reaches breakneck speeds. The underlying guitar work is absolutely spot on and flails away illustrating just how co-ordinated this lot are and how deadly and tight the musicianship is. They moodily stand still between tracks rearing up and unleashing the next slab of extremity, the atmosphere is palpable before a song slithers and broods into life, uncoiling and then venomously exploding. Everything builds to a near sonic miasma and the set was fiery and incendiary and was going to be very tough to follow.
Swedeathsters Degial troop on and off the stage to sound-check and it has to be said they brought a certain stench along with them. They might have some affiliations with Watain and could certainly have done with something in the way of grooming products or at least some incense on stage. They also have Jonatan Johansson who so impressively roared and played bass in Vorum stepping to the side and just forging out the bottom end for them as H Death takes over the throat shredding side of things. I’d had a chance to blast out 1st album ‘Death’s Striking Wings’ prior to the show and knew what to expect and again there is nothing in the way of intro as they bash, clash and brutalise from the off. Sound is suitably chaotic, guitar coats the mix thickly and convoluted riffs mess with heads as vocals snap and snarl. Looking unhinged to match the ferocity, the band have a real eccentricity about them and even throw in a grating bass solo before peeling away, tearing off and pretty much nailing everything to the wall in a bloody mess. Add the occasional death belch to the mix and naturally everyone was lapping it all up. Giddy motions were rife as everything lurches and flails away and again the precision and technicality shone through as they threw up a slewed musical paralytic stew of riffs. With all three bands having delivered a crusty stench fuelled smog of volatile deathly blackness in all its foul colours it was a case of job well and truly done.
(Review / Photos Pete Woods)