It’s day three of the week to end all weeks, and this time it’s German blackened sludge duo MANTAR’s turn to contribute to the mass of gigs that London currently finds itself inundated with. Despite Big Business and Whores playing at the Underworld just a few feet away, The Black Heart still gets suitably sweaty under the influence of one of rowdiest midweek crowds the venue has ever seen.
Brighton three piece, Solleme, warm things up with a fast, nasty and abrasive performance, that overlays bleak atmosphere on top of unmistakable punk influences. This up and coming band carry an air of confidence that’s palpable in their performance, injecting a burst of energy into a stuffy and lifeless room.
Crusty death metallers, Deathrite, are up next. The Dresden quartet waste no time in getting straight down to business with ferocious riffs and d-beats aplenty that makes for a potent and powerful spectacle to witness. There’s an undeniable Swedeath inspiration behind the growls of vocalist, Tony, which makes Deathrite all the more dynamic and a thoroughly enjoyable watch.
MANTAR’s infectious energy is apparent as soon as they take the stage, with vocalist/guitarist Hanno immediately bounding around the amps and contorting himself into unfathomable positions while playing. It’s not long before the audience descends into sweaty chaos, with moshpits, stage dives and crowdsurfing all a part of the antics. The sound for the first half of the show is way off – not any fault of the band, more down to the sound person not having Hanno’s guitar at the right level and the mic not loud enough, meaning songs such as ‘Praise the Plague’ sound quiet and distorted. These kinks are soon ironed out and the likes of ‘Era Borealis’ and ‘Pest Crusade’ sound every bit as manic and violent as they are supposed to. “I know Big Business and Whores are playing too, so I’d like to thank you all for choosing underground!” This statement of appreciation from Hanno spurs the crowd on further and anyone in doubt over the mortality of “the scene” need only to poke their head into the Black Heart this evening to know that it’s very much alive and stronger than ever.
Reviewed by Angela Davey