The madness never stops. England seems to have never had it quite so good with shows at the moment. Leeds looks like the place to really be at the weekend with Ritual Fest happening but there’s stacks of bands in London too. Tufnell Park has an invasion of the crusty black masses with All Pigs Must Die playing a sold out show at the Boston Arms downstairs and this on in the main room at The Dome.

First up as audience members seep through the doors are local act De Profundis. No strangers to these parts a thick clamour and deep bass tones rumble through the venue as they come on to an intriguing intro that sounds like some brass laden James Bond theme. I swear the sound of horns cut into their music at first but my ears are just playing up. The sound is weighty and thick and the kick drum goes right through the ribcage. Vocalist Craig gives out his mighty roars and guitars flamboyantly spiral up and flail up towards the heavens. This is ‘All Consuming’ by name as well as nature and sprawls out complete with a smoky pipe and slippers mellow jazz groove among the furrowing deathly bombast. The band have been recording material for their upcoming fifth album and we are rewarded with a new track ‘An Orgy Of Grotesqueness.’ We are told although it is from the sessions it is not going to be on the final album which strikes as odd as it sounds pretty damn good on first impression. There’s a galloping bravado about it and compared to a lot of the band’s material it seems pretty straightforward and uncomplicated, which works well as it’s not one to leave us feeling bamboozled. They finish with ‘Illumination’ from last album ‘Kingdom Of The Blind’ rather than their tried and tested cover of ‘Crystal Mountain’ another wise move as it kept us on our toes and came as an unexpected surprise rather than a formulaic move. The rousing finale complete with some guitar licks that would have made Gary Moore proud finish off a solid set.

Travelling slightly further afield, Mancunian clads Winterfylleth almost didn’t make their show with their batmobile breaking down and completely dying in the grim surroundings of Newport Pagnell Services. Not to be outdone or indeed stuck there they appropriated a cab as the show must go on and made it in time to play to the now much busier venue. From the subtle folk intro they romped off into ‘Whisper Of The Elements’ with swarthy brutality and a mighty powerful and windswept sound in the mix. Naturally the audience were in the mood to lap things up and responded accordingly down the front whilst those of us on the sidelines lost ourselves in the intricacies of the underlying melodies whilst trying to stand on feet and not be swept off them by the tumult. Perhaps the frustration of the journey had done something to the band leaving them battered but not unbowed and in perfect mood to unleash “proud spirits” upon us. There is some respite from the virulent, layered heaving as harmonic, clean vocals sublimely soar from the front to the back of the venue. Most recent addition to the band Dan Capp seems to have slotted in perfectly by now and songs both old and new are celebrated, ‘The Ghost Of Heritage’ being a particular high-point. It weighs in heavily, Chris Naughton’s vocals rearing up and the bouncy, jaunty melody completely infects. They even get a small but briefly violent pit. Finishing off with ‘Mam Tor’ at least they got a long set making the journey all the more worthwhile for them and us and the final furrow and chants left us with a feel of victory well and truly in the air.

No strangers to our shores Taake only last visited with their brand of Norse Svart Metal in December last year when they played a memorable show with Shining at The Underworld. Tonight they have a bigger stage and venue and although not full to capacity there are plenty here who like me are never going to miss a show by Hoest and his merry men when they swing into town. Wrapped around two familiar themes from the sick celluloid world of German death-trip director Jorg Buttgereit we get just over an hour’s worth of music that is equally grim, vicious but incredibly well coordinated. The band featuring members of Helheim, Aeternus, Gaahl’s Weird and a host of others are incredibly seasoned and sweaty road dogs now, having seemed to be on tour constantly of late. From the starting blast and rasps of short, sharp shocker ‘Tykjes Fele’ they are vile, violent and suitably abrasive. Frontman Hoest stalks and glares about him and the audience go nuts, draped in a flag and looking malevolent he is the centre of attention as the rest of the band dig in and savagely batter and scythe away. The cold frosty guitar lines of ‘Nattestid 1’ clamour away and the sound is spot on. Full of mesmerising intricacy and abrupt vocal death grunts from both the vocalist and the audience, this and material from Doedskvad is rousing and brutal in equal measures. Any previous tiredness is completely swept away and there is nothing more invigorating than watching a performance like this by a band who are without doubt at the very top of their game. We bounce around to the trollish grooves and feral rasps completely transfixed by everything going down on the stage.

Mad though it all is it’s also all well restrained, no sideshow cabaret or mischief from the band and singer, it’s all about playing. Hoest is one of the best showmen out there and his roars, bellows and grunts drive things ever forward, the pace pretty much warping to a blur. Probably a favourite if forced to choose is Nordbundet and the song gets heads banging as the groove laden melody hits and gets the audience even more riled up. The band seem soaked in mainly a cold blue light throughout, would have liked some more in the way of blood red to go with things but that’s just a very minor quibble from an absolutely faultless performance. The show flew by in a bit of a battering haze of blasts and booze, drinking was more than necessary to cope with the craziness of it all. At the end though we are awarded with that burst of banjo on Myr and all that’s left to do is stagger out, shaking the hand of the more than affable frontman and trying to keep it together to get over Tufnell Parks complex road system without being ploughed down by a bus! I guess it would have been a fitting way to go out on a particularly memorable night.

(Review and Photos Pete Woods)