The Boston Arms Music Room in London’s Tufnell Park plays host to a solid mix of bands tonight. Headliners Blood Red Throne are joined by some truly heavy colleagues all set to blast the senses and get energy levels cranked up.  A mix of thrash and death metal is on the cards so expectations are high for a real metal feast.

A small but enthusiastic gathering greets opening act, Anoxide. Sounding very much like Unfathomable Ruination, theirs in a highly technical set overlaid with deeply growled vocals. Michael Heraghty’s drumming is machine-like and there a time changes galore as clinical guitar work from Callum Heraghty and Alex Houlder set a challenging pace. Norway’s Sublime Eyes really push up the energy levels from the outset. This is a far thrashier affair led by vocalist Arvid Tjelta who is clearly enjoying himself. There’s plenty of groove and elements of Pantera in the punishing riffs and it’s not long before we see some action generating down front.  With most songs coming from 2015’s “Sermons & Blindfolds” they set a breakneck pace. The anthemic “Shellshocked” gets plenty of reaction from the audience and this is a job well done.

England’s Wretched Soul are up next bringing their own unique sound. A heady mixture of death, thrash and classic heavy metal structures provides a potent attack. New album “The Ghost Road” has received rave reviews and the new songs sound brilliant live. Chris Simmons’ displays a variety of vocal styles and moves from sinister screams to soaring clean with ease. Flecked with NWOBHM intricacies and beefy guitar from Steve Clifford, this is a band that really deserves a wider audience.  Years of gigging and work with Chris Tsangarides in the studio have shaped them into a very tight, focussed unit and one well worth checking out.

Tonight’s headliners Blood Red Throne are here to make sure you feel every drum beat firmly in your chest. Seasoned, taut and with a whole lot of old school groove, this is a masterclass in Norwegian death metal. This is simply the kind of set that you never want to end. With vocalist Yngve “Bolt” Christiansen orchestrating proceedings, there’s moments of Dimebag worship amongst a torrent of brutal riffs. Only years of hard graft and experience can create this kind of power and despite a number of line-up changes in their career, this is a band that continues to sound fresh and relevant.

The beauty of a gig like this is the mix of bands on display. Each with their own brand of heavy, this was a night where they complimented and fed off one another perfectly. Suitably sweaty and beer soaked, there’s many a look of satisfaction to be seen around the room and I stumble out into the night with that gratifying, fuzzy post-gig feeling happy in the knowledge that this was a special night.

(Johnny Zed review and photo)