Review & Pictures: Sinmara
After the rather delectable last albums from both PRIMORDIAL (Where Greater Men Have Fallen) and WINTERFYLLETH (The Divination of Antiquity), both bands graced a pretty crammed Islington Academy on this cold February day.
It being a Saturday helped that already a lot of people had turned up to the rather early start of 5.30, for the first band on stage: Irish MALTHUSIAN. Although having had released only one demo in 2013, MMXIII, the band have gathered quite a good live reputation – and they certainly didn’t disappoint. A wall of sound of black/death metal that blastened the audience with full force. They instantly made for a sinister atmosphere, with a moshpit opening up quite fast. Technically superb, they definitely convinced.
Next up were PORTRAIT from Sweden – a stark contrast to the previous band, they play more traditional heavy metal with a strong satanic influence. There were studded belts and studded wristbands galore, and they tried their best. This was their last gig of a tour, and singer Per Lengstedt struggled with his voice throughout the gig. He still managed a decent vocal performance, but you could tell the whole band was rather tired. They tried their best, but ultimately this night they lacked charisma.
WINTERFYLLETH play London a lot, yet they still manage to draw a good audience – their songs are just simply made to be played live, with fists pumping into the air, singing along to hymns like Defending The Realm – each of their albums have a few crowd pleasers, and so a short set like this one is full of them. They might not be the most charismatic band live (there’s the occasional fist pump, but generally there’s not much movement on stage.) On the upside, you get to see some great drumming. They also introduced a new guitarist, filling in for Mark Wood, who left the band not long ago. As usual the crowd lapped every song up, and WINTERFYLLETH are perfectly suited to support a mighty band like PRIMORDIAL.
PRIMORDIAL, ah, oh yes. I’ve seen them many times, and they just get better and better – of course, they will never top the atmosphere and performance of the Sommersonnnwend Festival in Austria in June 2013, which I was lucky enough to witness. All eyes are on Alan Avrill, one hell of a performer – he manages to send shivers down people’s spines, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few wet eyes by the end of the evening. Playing all their epic songs from across their large backcatalogue, especially Coffin Ships, Bloodied Yet Unbowed, Babels Tower, Where Greater Men Have Fallen – well, actually every song they played kicked ass.
They play their songs with such a conviction and fierceness, there’s nothing left behind – it’s highly emotional music.
Setlist: Dark Horse on the Wind, Where Greater Men Have Fallen, Gods to the Godless, Babel’s Tower, No Grave Deep Enough, Autumn’s Blaze, Ghosts of the Charnel House, As Rome Burns, The Alchemist’s Head, Bloodied Yet Unbowed, The Coffin Ships, Wield Lightning to Split the Sun, Empire Falls