Always a pleasure to have Christian Death in town and fair play to the cult American act they always seem to manage to stop off in London for a visit. Things had not started well for them though and one thing a hard working band should not have to contend with is an airline losing their equipment. Unfortunately this is a tale that we hear all the time and meant the first couple of UK dates were scuppered. Luckily determination paid off and things were eventually sorted so the tour could go on.

First up tonight though are London based act The Creeping Terrors fronted by Italian singer Consuelo de La Muerte. A new band to me but certainly not for long as they create a great first impression romping through a ten track set in half an hour. It seems they have gone through various line ups since they started out as Dementia 13 and tonight they are playing as a trio. The guitars on opener ‘Intercourse’ have an Anarcho punk flair to them and a jaggedness that reminds of The Subhumans to my ears and with the combination of vocals I am quickly taken back in time to the 80’s and bands such as Rubella Ballet and Hagar The Womb. The Satanic feminist stance and horror enthused songs of the front-woman along with their bouncy tenacity gives up plenty to enjoy both musically and with the great new lighting set up at the venue visually too. A gothic edge creeps in after a couple of numbers and it is obvious this is a good fit line-up wise as this band could satisfy goths, punks and varied mutant freaks of which there is a smattering on the ground following early doors. Skeletal Family now spring to mind and the punky yells from the singer and twisty turning fretwork gel together perfectly. At full force they chug away like a freight train pursued by rabid bats. There’s plenty of intricacy and hooks and the fact they are using a drum machine doesn’t dampen the performance. Penultimate song ‘Tengo Un Pasajero’ seems faintly familiar (was it a cover of the Spanish band Parálisis Permanente?) and has a neat tribal thwack about it. For the finale ‘Evil Witch Bitch’ the vocalist does as suggested and playfully gets off the stage up close to audience members and rolls about on the floor like a possessed banshee. Well that’s one way to finish a show and make sure it’s not forgotten. Well worth seeing, the band are back at the venue on the 29th Nov supporting Nosferatu.

Different moods, motions and continents even next as Darkcell have undertaken a 21 hour flight all the way from Australia to join us. They are immediately on blistering form rocking out in an aggressive metallic head-banging frenzy. There’s a good thudding backbone and plenty of groove although I am slightly bemused as the drapes don’t really match the curtains and the corpse paint doesn’t really go with the music. It’s evident that songs like ‘The Great Big Nothing’ despite their cyber edge have more of a modern American metal edge to them than anything else. I don’t want to be rude and refer to them as mallcore but you could easily see Darkcell going down well with the big hitters at huge US festivals and they certainly have the energy to match and get people bouncing about. Add a touch of sleaze, throwing of horns and songs that are all very much ‘wam bam thank you mam’ and their brand of groovecore reminded a bit of bands such as The Murderdolls. Unfortunately there’s not enough here to “make some fucking noise” like they deserved but they do stir up a bit of a party mode and everyone here seems to be enjoying. As the set progressed we got some very shouty near disco electro metal in one song and another that was a bit of a mash up of Slipknot and White Zombie. Although not entirely my thing by last number ‘Preacher’ they had definitely left their mark and if they can get on the right tours I can certainly see Darkcell going far.

It’s time for Christian Death. Garlands of flowers are wrapped around the microphone stands, apart from that the stage is sparse but for the players. Maitri is to our left and living up to the ‘Behind The Veil’ tour title looking like an alien beekeeper naturally in black and not white. Valor takes up our stage right and drummer Mike 26 at the back. There is also a keyboard player tucked away but it’s only after a few songs that I even notice her almost hiding. Thick Sabbathian grooves enforced by Maitri’s massive bass ring out instantly recognisable. The gods of deathrock are paying homage to the gods of doom as they limber up and the now fuller venue has a feeling of palpable expectation. We all no doubt have our favourite album and mine is quickly given to song as the harmonious ‘Golden Age’ from ‘The Scriptures’ is unveiled, mystic, pagan and lovingly left to caress, Maitri’s vocals really hitting the spot. We really are looking at the past as the instrumentation solidifies over ‘Catastrophe Ballet’ classic ‘The Drowning.’ We sink and sway as Valor takes over vocally and we settle in wondering if it is going to all be an old school set. Attention is given to the drummer twirling his sticks and forming a cross with them before flinging to the audience. Having lodged myself on front of stage I nabbed one and it’s already taken a bit of a beating a couple of numbers in.

Last album ‘The Root Of All Evilution’ seems like it came out ages ago and indeed it has been a good few years. By now songs such as ‘We Have Become’ sound like old friends and we welcome them with open arms. ‘Forgiven’ for which the band have just done a new video for is sultry spellbinding and downright witchy as Maitri’s lilting vocal croons have us swaying along, firmly caught in its intoxicating grasp. It seems like vocally her and Valor have divided the set between them and this adds real variation to what has been chosen here. This section is firmly about the more recent stuff but we suddenly get a chance to rock well and truly out to the jagged grooves of ‘Metamorphosis Of Narcissus’ from ‘American Inquisition’, the chorus, well we love it more than ourselves. At one point the band are joined on stage by a guest, one of the many who have passed through the line-up over the years and let’s face it they probably have someone in every port they visit. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch their name but was it Kato? Extra oomph was definitely added. There are Tears from Ashes and something new for the masses. Like a ship in the night though memories of brand new material are fleeting in the later parts of the show. Managing to grab a photo of the set list from Maitri after the event I am left with a couple of unidentifiable titles such as ‘Black Moon’ but apart from that will have to wait patiently with everyone else to hear again. The dreaded Underworld club curfew approaches rapidly and we had just got over an hour of the band when they surprised by belting out a feral ‘Incendiary Lover’ at conclusion. The second they finish Valor is off the stage, no rock star ego here, he is off behind the merch stand to meet, great and chat the fat with anyone who wants to say hello. I was surprised a little at no ‘Heresy’ or ‘Church Of No Return’ but as Maitri told me sometimes it is time to move on. Fair play and everything we got tonight was more than welcome. Can’t wait for a new album….

Review and photos Pete Woods