Us Brits, we just love to talk about the weather and in the past week there’s been no end of doing just that, bit of snow and chaos ensues. It was a valid though as far as this show had been concerned as the touring bands had promptly broken down on route to the Netherlands Deathfest and it seemed like them getting here was going to be a right ordeal. Somehow they did and we slunk in from the cold and bitter rain that was turning any remaining snow to slush for a night’s blasphemous entertainment. First up are UK based act Absinthropy from Leamington Spa. They, as all the supporting bands were new to me but I had given a listen to latest album Vigilante’s Doctrine prior to the show and had really liked what I heard. Fleshed out to 4 from a recording act of 2 the drums immediately pile off through the venue and a barraging force reveals itself. Vocals hit hard and are suitably feral with some huge hollering barks rising above and beyond the tearing music. It’s not all about speed and violence here these Absinthe bearers slow things down with acoustic atmosphere sparkling as they break up the ferocity. Although the venue is taking a while to warm up, those here seem appreciative and some bang heads at the front. Those forceful vocals really give the band a bit of a unique disposition and although there are moments that are reminiscent of certain Cascadian acts this lot certainly have their own personality. The good thing about them was that no two songs sounded the same and this is definitely a band I will be keeping an ear on in the future.

It’s Canadian attack 1 now with trio Auroch bringing a completely different tempo to proceedings. With members having done time in Mitochondrion and Archspire it was no surprise when sound went from an intro of chanting monks into abrasive and technical shred mode. The band got bodies down the front and twirling heads as they chopped and churned and upped the brutality levels tenfold. There’s no safe space here as feedback virulently fills in the bits between tracks and there is no chance of escaping it. If you fancied being bludgeoned this lot certainly hit the spot although they were not particularly to my tastes being a bit on the workmanlike side. I could certainly appreciate the skills on display from the volatile strafing of the drums to the technicality of the guitar work and even the barked out reverb ridden song announcements, even if they were unintelligible and impossible to decipher. All this bordered on a particular well respected brand of Canadian bestiality (one involving absolutely no animals) and it certainly seemed to work people up. I’m not sold on a slower number that they played, it just didn’t really work for me and the repetitive riff of new song ‘Say Nothing’ seemed if anything a bit arty to me. Still it was precise and interesting before they clubbed us round the head and attacked in brutal mode.  Auroch had a lot to take in on first exposure but are definitely worth a further look as far as I’m concerned.

In case you too were wondering a Degringolade is a A rapid decline or deterioration; a tumble.. There’s plenty of tumbling as far as the music is concerned for Canadian attack part 2 courtesy of  Rites Of Thy Degringolade. With good stage illumination making the players stand out in crisp blue light they took off in a pretty explosive death, thrashing style with powerful drumming and whiplashing intensity. Once I started getting acclimatised I found this quite masterful and melodically accessible. There’s 2 of the group vocalising here keeping it interesting and further down the line all of the band get involved. There’s nothing in the way of cookie cutting vocals though and everything is quite clean in that respect. Again I may not have previously heard the band but it seems like many have at the audience reacted making it clear they had a bit of a following here. Heads are banged and fists thrust in the air at the front. The drummer seems to enjoy announcing the songs with a gravid force, some are short and fiery, others more fleshed out with long lurching grooves about them. One, ‘26 Triumphant Years’ strikes as particularly trollish and really hit the mark. ‘The Universe In 3 Parts’ was another number that particularly impressed. It seemed to me that those 3 parts could well have been Creation, Progression and Destruction and it was definitely on the cosmic side.

It’s a very rare if not 1st ever UK outing for Profanatica, nobody seems able to remember if they have washed up on these shores before. Of course as USBM originators along with the likes of Demoncy and Judas Iscariot they have a revered history behind them and who can forget their early era when they were known for letting everything hang out in promo shots. Thankfully tonight they are dressed for the occasion with cloaks and heavy eye make up and are led by founding member Paul Ledney looking very much like a wizard as he gurgles away and hits the drum kit. Joining him are Alex Cox known for making a similar unholy racket with The Royal Arch Blaspheme and another unnamed player and as they kick into things they musically veer between sounding just like they have crawled out a grave and hammer smashing cavemen. Songs like ‘Unto Us He Is Born’ has the bass sounding fully loaded and spring like as it makes a punky cleaving noise and the music comes across as suitably nasty and claustrophobic. By now the audience is suitably lubricated and react, falling about to the brackish clamour the tracks from debut album ‘Profanatitas de Domonatia’ causing suitable carnage.

It sounds tight not that the trio have to do much other than blast, rasp and hit things very hard. Despite the near panic inducing velocity of the band on album there is a hellish looser limbering vibe about them as they stalk and slash their way through things with hardly pause for breath. Occasionally the speed decreases and songs brood into doom like ghastliness, filthy and contagious in its repetitive beat and fervour, there’s little to do except ride the storm and worship. There is certainly a message behind it all as the vocalist spews out the words “spit on his face from Jerusalem” prior to ‘Fuck The Messiah,’ but even though nobody here has to get up early for church the next morning the show seems over almost before it got truly going and watches are looked upon to see that the band have played a scant 40 minutes or so and are not coming back for an encore. Was one needed? Probably not to be fair, certainly not for the bloke who was throwing up outside on the venue wall as we left. I guess that says it all, they came they slew and we vomited. Job done

(Words and photos Pete Woods)