There’s lots of black clad figures stomping around Camden, some sporting corpse-paint and frightening the tourists and foreign students. All are congregating for a show of legendary proportions and it’s not Enuff Z’Nuff round the corner at the Underworld. First it’s a case of the support bands over in the Ballroom and many were not even sure who were playing and even fewer actually knew who Inconcessus Lux Lucis were. Luckily our paths had crossed in the past when this Manchester based act’s 2014 EP Crux Lupus Corona had arrived for coverage and gone down pretty well proving their brand of ‘Saturnian Black Magic’ was far from formulaic. Fleshed out to a trio for live duties their sound is dense and hefty, full of bruising ballast and with a large amount of technicality beneath its layers, struggling to get out. Luckily knobs were obviously twiddled and clarity began to form in the mix and musically things wandered and drifted going off on ever strange tangents. One second I am thinking that’s it’s packing a Motörhead laden punch and the next the unravelling guitars adding textures of Australian oddballs Stargazer with an underlying Bathory swagger. No doubt on 1st encounter it was a bit tricky to take in but the audience quickly seemed to be warming to things and banging heads along to the barking gruff vocals and thrash-laden licks. Lighting is a case of all shadow and fog tonight and it’s difficult to make anything out properly but band members appear to be sporting The Devil’s Blood itself and yes at times they too are reminiscent along with the metallic zeal and lolloping groovy plunder of the likes of Destroyer 666 and Bolzer. The intricacies of the convoluted guitar riffing and somewhat baffling nature of it all really hit the spot and with some over the top theatrical vocals that brought to mind Root I totally lost myself in the complexities of it all and reckon there will be plenty of people in search of information and their songs after this show.

Another band whose rise we have witnessed since first encountering their misanthropic Hatred For Mankind is Dragged Into Sunlight. The mysterious players behind them have had an air of mystique about them that certainly spills over into their anti-social, backs to the audience stage show. Since I last saw them their candelabra seems to have immeasurably grown and once they start playing I realise that pretty much everything else has done too. The incense is thicker, the noise is louder and the intensity is about as through the roof as it could possibly get. We are buried deep and taken into hell with songs that are generally borne to life by a snatched sound-bite from a ghostly serial killers mouth and thrown into heaving, quaking sonic juggernauts of bruising sound. Songs are not without extremely doom laden parts and they sprawl out. Vocals are what can only be described as exceptionally hostile, at their most virulent the singer suddenly turns around, faces the crowd for a split second and hollers at them before having spat his vitriol turns back again and does best to ignore us all. The best description I could scrawl down is that this really does sound like The Devil’s Music tonight and with the band playing for a full 50 minutes there is little escape from it. The barrages of sound spread through every corner of the venue and has at times a near industrial velocity, the drumming is particularly immense and sludge laden parts as thick as tar. This proved a perfect support choice and DIS put on as far as I am concerned a harrowing and downright scary performance.

So it’s time to revisit 1994 and one of the best, if not the best black metal albums ever spawned Mayhem’s seminal De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. The venue is pretty much rammed and full of those of us on a nostalgia trip, some who were not even born when the album came out and the normal splattering of people who thought they should come along from their gentrified enclaves as they read about it in certain glossy magazines. Obviously we are all aware of the songs that are going to be played and although the cast list is a little different through the ravages of time we know things are in very capable hands. This was a show we didn’t know we were even going to get as with the collapse of Temples Festival the band played it in the much smaller Firkin in Bristol. Luckily they saw the ancient wisdom in touring it and by now, the amount of practice they have had we were expecting them to be completely seasoned with their approach. Stalking on in cloaks, light is again at a minimal and the ghastly figures spread and loom through plumes of dry ice. There is an instant aura of the malign and malevolent as the Funeral Fog spreads and contagion sets in. Trying to get even a look at the faces of the figures is near impossible even up close but Attila Csihar’s visage looks particularly rancid like the effects from an 80’s Italian zombie flick although to me they presented the figures of some grim acolytes from an end of the world opus like The Omega Man.

The songs ooze, churn and vomit out, guitar and bass thick and clagging, Hellhammer is in a caged throne type set up and powers away with the backbone and the vocals are ceremonially and foully dispatched. Necrobutcher dispenses of his hood for a while and looks out at the sea of faces in front of him and the atmosphere is tense and palpably grim. There is a brief pause as the record is flipped over (metaphorically) and I really found Life Eternal to be a particularly ghastly highlight, vocally sending dread right down the spine. By now I am backing off as candles are lit on an altar and the band crowd around it like some foul graveyard fiends; now I am in Tombs Of The Blind Dead territory in my imagination. The ghoulish sermons continue and the album does seem stretched from its original 46 minute running time but then again perhaps we have been buried by time and dust. Like death itself the end is sadly inevitable and comes too quickly. The band have stuck to things and this is it, no encore, no extra crowd pleasing songs, the coffin lid is slammed back shut. What else can be said, you were either there or not but if you are considering seeing the band at another date on the tour my advice is that you most definitely should. It might be a last chance and this will be a performance lingering in my head like rotting flesh for some time to come.

(Pete Woods)