Black Heart, London, UK, 7.3.2015
I’ve been looking forward to this gig ever since it was announced last autumn – ACHERONTAS being one of my favourite bands, as not only is their music absolutely outstanding, also their lyrical content, artwork and live performances are one of a kind. Everything is detailed and well thought out, yet still leaving the listener developing their own thoughts about the forces and energies, should they be inclined to do so.
The evening started off with UK based TOWERS OF FLESH, offering a manic Blackened Death Metal set – having seen them before I knew what to expect. Frontman Jack Welch gives his all with crazed eyes, bloodied skalp and plenty of occult gestures and references. They have improved quite a bit since I saw them last at the Unicorn, with a very tight performance from all musicians. Impressive.
TOWERS OF FLESH:
Next up a band I only heard good things about, but haven’t really had a chance to check them out beforehand: MORD’A’STIGMATA from Poland. It was their first gig in the UK, and quite a few people came to see them at the Black Heart last night. The stage lights were minimal (hence only one picture from me, since I did not want to use the flash).
Bleak, frenzied, intense and dark post-black metal/avantgarde black metal with a hint of Altar of Plagues and Blut Aus Nord – I was particularly mesmerized by the drumming, one of the best performances I’ve seen in a while. Drummer DQ made himself a focal point by flinging his arms around in a frenzy, whilst pounding the toms as if there is no tomorrow. There wasn’t much movement from the other band members, which was just as well – when the set was over, it left the audience in silence for a moment before the applause started. A band that has filled the live-void left by Altar Of Plagues’ demise.
CREST OF DARKNESS from Norway were the next to enter the stage – again, I’ve never heard of them before, so I was curious as to what they would sound like. Well…. let’s just say, I left after one song. Rather outdated stage outfit by the singer (black shiny cape and PVC trousers anyone?), guitarist and keyboard player both hooded and with black scarves hiding their features and music that was maybe modern 10 years ago. Didn’t fit into the bill at all, unfortunately. They had a few fans though (I’d imagine the same ones that like Carach Angren and Cradle of Filth….) Each to their own, it’s not my taste at all.
This was the fourth time I’ve seen ACHERONTAS, although only ever at festivals – very much looked forward to catching them doing a headline gig. Unfortunately everything was running late, and they did not start until after 22.15 – which meant I was going to miss the end in order to catch the last tube home.
Their live performances – or rituals, as they call it (and yes, since this started to become a rather popular term for those jumping on the occult BM bandwagon, in their instance it really IS a ritual). The energy starts to flow as soon as they enter the stage with the intro to their new album, Ma-Ion – (album review here: http://destructive-music.com/2015/02/15/acherontas-ma-ion-formulas-of-reptilian-unification/). Starting off with the title track of the new album, then going into Amen-Ti (Lamp Ov The Desert), they played a small selection of songs throughout their career, as well as the STUTTHOF song Wampyric Metamorphosis (the band that preceeded ACHERONTAS). A rather intense live-experience.
The music is an eclectic mix of heady ambient, fast paced second wave black metal and influences from various cultures around the globe, all brought with a brooding and mesmerizing intensity. Backed by solid musicianship and tight, precise timing, on a small stage that made watching it from the front row just a pure joy.
–TOWERS OF FLESH–
–CREST OF DARKNESS (NOR)