The Rebellion had a few of us puzzled tonight, the doors were advertised as 18.00, and to their credit, the doors did open amidst the blazing July sun, however, Facebook, and confirmations from inside the venue, did advise that the first band weren’t set to take to the stage until 19.30. Why doors were so early, or the bands started so long after this, was a mystery to me and many others that were left with nothing else to do but visit the bar, browse the merch stands and reminisce of gigs gone by, and those still on the horizon.

By the time the bells tolled and Nevalra strode onto the stage, the crowd had swelled to a modest size and produced a healthy cheer for Scott Eames and the American black metal horde. Eames was the only one adorned in corpse paint but this he had done with precision and artistic flare. The band launched into their set, and at times the vocals and drums could seem a little over bearing and overpowering to the guitar sounds, and this was a shame as the guitars were proven to be technical in their arrangement and brutal in their power. This was the first time Nevalra had graced our shoreline and the set tonight was made up of tracks exclusively from the forthcoming ‘Conjure The Storm’ record. A nice and accomplished start to the evening from these Americans, and definitely one to remember for the future.

Thy Antichrist brought the theatrics to the party next, all in corpse paint (although Vargas, aka Antichrist 666, generated the need for a special mention as his body art must have took most of the afternoon to adorn with the intricacy and detail exhibited) and accompanied by a goats head impaled on a pole, along with rags and cloths utilised as satanic battle wear. The bass and drums were pummelling from the offset and the guitars were of breakneck speed and intricacy. Vargas stalked the stage, creating a presence worthy of praise from the original antichrist himself, and the black metal paraded was raw, malevolent and hateful. The vocals were spat out with venom and spitefulness and the whole set was over far too prematurely. These black metal stalwarts definitely need to visit us again, and certainly visit us without any delay.

Wolfheart provided a change in direction with their stripped back brand of melodic death metal from the barren wastelands of Finland. The set was brutal and pummelling from the off, and the vocals were melodic and guttural to accompany the battering the rest of the band were generating. Mid set we learnt that the drums were being battered by a stand in for the regular drummer, and the whole set only took a couple of days to master, which was no mean feat in anyone’s book. The band had no gimmicks with them tonight, not even a backdrop, just the band bathed in mono colours which evolved from one shade of pastel to another throughout the set. The band definitely showed their prowess and experience tonight and delivered a crushing set. Some may have found their stamp on the death metal genre a little monotonous towards the end of the set, this may be in part due to the fact that they have eluded to include any of their more ambitious and lengthy tracks due to the restrictive set time they have been given tonight. We possibly need a full on headliner set to truly appreciate the grandeur and complexity of the bands make up and DNA.

The crowd had morphed into a healthy size, and then as the lights went down and Carach Angren strode through the crowd in order to reach the stage itself, there was no denying who the gathering were there to see tonight. The band were decorated with corpse paint in various guises, and they wasted no time before launching into the set with energy and passion alike.  Carach Angren appeared a little constricted on the Rebellions  modest stage, although this didn’t stop the energy and commitment shown by ‘Droomers’ He was akin to a leaping gazelle and his vocals were accomplished and powerful, preaching each word with desire and hunger. The rest of the ensemble were tight, each seeming to feed off the others riff or beat. The stage was decorated with a mannequin, which was exposed mid set, just in time for ‘Blood Queen’, with all manner of graffiti and purposeful lines placed with precision. Droomers then welcomed up a member of the audience to be his ‘Blood Queen’ in which there were several willing volunteers. The whole process and theatre became a little cringe worthy and uncomfortable and it wasn’t too soon before the band launched back into the set with a powerful rendition of ‘Blood Queen’ itself.

As the set progressed I found the theatrics becoming all too overwhelming and Droomers seemed to be prioritising his stage demeanour and characteristics over his vocal talent and duties. He was bolstered throughout by his cohorts, and their talents helped to bring the technicality and brutality to the evening. The bass lines were crunching and constant, showing a degree of clinical excellence alongside the marauding and rioting chords. The keys were delicate and precision personified, all being delivered by the maniacal corpse painted ‘Ardek’ with ‘Namtar’ destroying the kit and putting in a full shift without respite, to create the pulsating backbone to the horror theatrical exhibition.

Towards the end of the set, the crowd had visibly thinned and, bar a few enthusiastic teenagers proudly wearing Carach Angren shirts constantly head banging with delight, the rest of the crowd looked a little jaded and bored. I’m not sure is this was due to the support bands efforts taking their toll on everyone, or if the headliners were an added extra to the draw of the support bands, whatever it was, it seemed to make for an anti-climax to the evening, well except for the minority maybe

Review and Photos Phil Pountney