Another cluttered night on the London gig scene with both Wardruna and Alcest in town as well, nothing wafty about this show though, a solid line up of deathly metal. Unfortunately it’s no case of supporting the supports at first with only a handful of people through the doors as openers Morbid Evils take the stage. Their name might suggest a humorous approach but these Finns including vocalist Keijo from Rotten Sound are anything but. Songs are not fast and short like his day job either but long and lumbering slabs of sludge laden distemper. Vocals are craggy and seasoned like weathered bark and there’s power and groove behind the doomy instrumental tumult. With plenty of brooding ballast behind the bruising backbone those inside are shaken around by the rough and ready ugliness and sound is suitably flattening. Luckily people arrive and curiously move toward the front and are caught in the grip of the music which could be described as harrowing and unpleasant but just in the way we like it. The last number picks things up a little pace wise and jangles and lurches away, it’s noted that guitarist Jan also plays live with Xysma and there’s a bit of their strangeness along with a Plotkin OLD etched furrow about this one. The band certainly left their mark on those that caught them.
As too did Portland Relapse beasts Lord Dying another 1st encounter for me. Lining up on stage with big beards and bugger grips you kind of knew this was gonna be heavy before a note is struck. Meaty beaty, big and bouncy their sound is instantly phat and has a bit of a NOLA sounding swampiness about it and on the first number some bass lines that remind old Type O Negative. There’s no shortage of galloping fury and fiery venom about things either and this gets plenty of cheering between songs from the audience. I have to wonder if they are fans of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series as they announce ‘The Clearing At The End Of The Path’ from latest album ‘Poisoned Chalice’ and chug away and forcefully bellow out the vocals. The drummer may well be consigned to the smaller kit on the stage but he was certainly smashing away at it as the rest of the band furrow away hell for leather. It would appear my ears were not deceiving me and they really did play a number called “Suckling at the Teat of a She-Beast” which has to get song title of the night. Musically it keeps things up at a giddy velocity although after it ‘A Wound Outside Of Time’ slows things down and crushes at a different pace. I reckon they won some new fans tonight and watching them was a lot better than standing outside swigging whiskey from a bottle, waiting for the main bands and wondering why security won’t let you in!
You can tell the mark of quality by a band’s shirts and Voivod come up trumps sporting ones by GBH, Conflict, The Cardiacs and flying the flag for Canada, Steve Hill. I guess this is looked upon as a co-headlining tour and yes in my opinion too Voivod should have been last up but at least got a nice amount of time to play. That they did in style battering in with ‘Killing Technology’ and making it quite clear that those of us looking for a trip back in time were not going to be left feeling disappointed. Not only do they nail the old school, complex, thrashing sci-fi madness perfectly they look like they are having great fun too. Touring never seems to be a chore for these seasoned road hogs and they always seem to be in their element. It’s all smiles from Snake and Chewy stage left and centre whilst Away thuds away at the back and Rocky vacuums up with churning blower bass sound to my right. We get into our Tribal Convictions’ with plenty of people roaring along to the immortal line ‘Who’s The God’ and its full on and intense down the front; obviously people had been saving themselves up for this. Of course it can’t all be about the past and the band have a fairly recent EP out there picking out the slightly dour sounding ‘Fall’ to give us breathing space and recent rager lead track ‘Post Society’ to show they still have the licks and adrenaline about them. The latter seems to have energy flying right off the stage infecting the pit to boiling point. Playing an absolute belter from beginning to end and culminating with the anthemic self-titled ‘Voivod’ the band absolutely stormed it leaving us hungering for a new album; let’s hope it’s not too long in the making.
Well we absolutely have to refer to the band as Entombed A.D. now and there’s no getting away from that fact with the other bunch finally back in action. For me it has always been about Petrov’s lot though and his vocal contributions and whether you consider the old songs they play as ahem covers or not is a moot point. There’s plenty of them to get stuck into tonight with a smattering of new ones too. Like Voivod they are playing a distinctly old-school set which whips the audience straight up to dive and punch each other silly during. The band line up the stage, with hair twirling and making it near impossible to get a full face shot in (camera wise of course) but it takes a bit of getting used to sound wise. Songs such as ‘Stranger Aeons’ are difficult to fully get to grips with at first. Maybe it is due to the fact that them HM2 effects are cranked up a bit too much for comfort and the fact the band are absolutely battering the hell out of everything at once. It definitely gives everything a real gnarly, crusty and dense coating though. Still there’s no shortage of head-banging action both on and off stage, Petrov bellows away and the bottom end is lethal. Newer numbers like ‘Dead Dawn’ sit comfortably among classics such as ‘Out Of Hand’ and we are definitely getting the best of both worlds here with plenty of favourites aired. Samples from Thou Shalt Not Kill Except and naturally that shiver inducing tribute to Phantasm keep the horror film fans among us more than happy (especially as I had spent the last 5 nights watching all five Phantasm films in a row). The only real problem is that everything comes so thick and fast it seems like it’s over in the flash of an eye.
Luckily we are of course getting an encore and its one they pull the stops out with delivering some favourites from different eras such as the pounding rotting groove of ‘Chief Rebel Angel,’ Rocky Erickson cover ‘Night Of The Vampire’ and a storming ‘I For An I.’ My final scrawl simply states ‘fuck they battered it out the ballpark’ and I doubt anyone is going to disagree with that. Top night all round.