We want our dive back! Well not really but it’s odd getting used to The Underworld since it’s had its spruce up. New stage, lighting, PA, floor, toilets and everything smells lemon fresh; well some of the punters don’t but the zesty fumes help mask that. On to the bands and first up are recent Cacophonous signees The Infernal Sea airing tracks mainly taken from last album ‘The Great Mortality.’ A couple of the band members don their trademark plague masks although vocalist Dean doesn’t, allowing him to bellow all the more freely. As they launch thunderously into ‘Way Of The Wolf’ a bunch of mini patchkin moshers get down to it stage left and enthusiastically start throwing each other around. The feral creatures of the night both on and off the stage seem to be making the most of it and the thick green lighting bathes everyone in its glare making it all the more atmospheric. There a fair bit of shouting out about Satan as they play Tannis Root a song originally released on a limited 7” with Old Corpse Road. Despite its rarity the crowd participation does not seem muted in the slightest as the vocalist rasps in an evil fashion. ‘Plague Herald is a particularly stand out number with its real rancid and rotten slower groove and it exuded a foul stench normally unable to be prevented by anything citrusy. Speeding up ‘Angels Of Satan’ gallops forth by comparison and thrashes away. Naturally with a title like that it throws horned clichés aplenty but what you going to do except headbang? Proving a popular opening act plenty were singing the band’s praises after.
We were threatened with an appearance by Captain Hexagon and the Sexuals playing Roxy Music covers and things could have been even odder as rap and dubstep straight out of Laaandaan Town came over the PA. Luckily it was just cheeky scamps Voices playing with our heads before launching into their urban nightmare soundscapes. Blisteringly tight and utterly ferocious they had us straight in their grip and took things to another level. This was both extreme and hypnotic and the audience seemed caught like rabbits in headlights mesmerised by the display on stage rather than going for it in the pit. Songs like ‘The Actress’ surged forth in an unrelenting fashion, faces on stage contorted as David Gray hammers out the very backbone on the kit behind. The clean vocals are spot on during the set soaring off and harmoniously hitting the roof, the growls are the entirely opposite and snarl to deadly effect. ‘Megan’ proves a difficult and perplexing lady as her song moves into proggy flurries as the band play around with her in an experimental fashion. The House Of Black Lights scares as ever and is a place haunted with violent spectres. The band get a good time and somewhere during it my head kind of exploded and melted down. Just what you need from a performance like this!
If ever a band can raise intensity levels though it’s Anaal Nathrakh and it’s good to note that Mick Kenney is over with them and the band are at full force. Slightly odd timing these shows considering they have a new album ‘The Whole Of The Law’ due to drop at the end of October but that just allows them to play the classics on the whole tonight rather than throw loads of tracks we are yet to hear at us. Gaining a hero’s welcome as they tread the boards things are quick to explode as they brood into ‘Acheronta Movebimus’ and the imposing figure of Dave Hunt looms over us as they fully ‘Unleash’ their full armoury. Carnage ensues down the front and as the long imposing intro broods into a pulverising melee no flesh is spared. Those that are able bodied are made aware they are welcome to get on stage as long as they are not going to hang around and dive off straight away; there’s no let-up of people prepared to do so from beginning to end of the set tonight either. To say that this is a total assault of the senses would not be an understatement in the slightest. The snarling fury and utter devastation of songs like ‘Forging Towards The Sunset’ obliterate everything in their path and the vitriolic clean vocal parts are glorious. No doubt everyone has their favourite songs and for me ‘In The Constellation Of The Black Widow’ catches in her web and ensnares, luckily allowing an escape as it spits out fiery licks like venom.
Dave attempts to give a political speech prior to ‘The Joystream’ but it’s slightly scuppered by a hapless punter face-planting on the stage at his feet. ‘Do you mind I’m talking,’ he states without a pause. I’m sure what he said was more than worthy but kind of lost in this amusing moment. The song is not though and grabbing a beer there is no escape from the vocal parts which are coming over in full fury; no doubt something else enhanced by the venue upgrade. That’ll put a stop to those who only come to shows to hang out at the bar! We are able to witness one of the new songs ‘Depravity favours The Bold’ and it’s a total riot of a number, as fast as anything we have witnessed from the band before. It sounds massive live the symphonic elements coming as a slight surprise and does too listening to it now on the official YouTube channel. Check it yourself and prepare to have the flesh peeled off your face. Full marks go out to anyone in the audience who survived the full set down the front, with the likes of ‘The Lucifer Effect’ and the inevitable boot stamp of ‘Do Not Speak’ nobody came out without its indelible print and it was almost a relief to limp out having survived the performance. One of those forthcoming songs is apparently unsubtly called “We Will Fucking Kill You,” well Anaal Nathrakh have done that several times over and tonight was no exception, so bring it on.