Gig Review: Cult Of Fire, Saturnalia Temple, Skan, Shrines @ Boston Music Room, London, UK, 12 September 2015


 Review by Sinmara

This gig promised to be something quite special – SKAN from Texas, SHRINES from the UK, SATURNALIA TEMPLE from Sweden and CULT OF FIRE from the Czech Republic – an illustrious concoction of black/death/doom. They definitely did not disappoint (well, mostly).

The Boston Music Room was a good choice for this gig, not too big, not too small, and quite full towards the end without being crammed. The sound overall was not as good as it usually is at the Boston Music Room, especially Skan had a slightly tinny sound. I moved around in the venue during the bands and the sound didn’t improve much, only towards the end when Cult Of Fire played.



I’ve never heard of SKAN before, but was quite impressed by their heady mix of black/death with a bit of 70ies influences thrown in to make matters more organic and earthy. The drumming was quite excellent, and singer/guitarist J Merino’s aggressiveness suited the more medium paced parts very well. They were joined by Ron van Herpen of The Devils Blood on the guitar and Rob Zim on the bass for this gig. Shame about the slightly tinny sound and that they were put on first – they deserved more audience.




Ok, so I’ve been warned before they played that they may not really be my thing, and unfortunately this was correct. The music wasn’t that bad, it were the clean vocals that put me off – SHRINES did put in a good effort, and they were well received by the audience. Sporting members of Voices and Obscene Entity, their music is a progressive death/black inspired mix. They did not quite fit into the bill, unfortunately.


Eagerly awaited by quite a few, SATURNALIA TEMPLE did not disappoint – their stoner/doom is especially live a trance inducing performance, with a lot of repetitive riffs that lure you in and leave your head spinning. They do deserve a headline spot because their music is more suited to finish a gig off and would leave you going home with a nice dozy and mesmerized feeling. As it were, many people were just looking forward to CULT OF FIRE, and after a while SATURNALIA TEMPLE started to drag a bit. 

_DSC3020   _DSC3124

It took ages until CULT OF FIRE finally appeared – the stage setup was long ready, all candles lit, the altars arranged, the incense wafting through the whole club, the audience started to get impatient – and then they finally started. 

Having seen them four times before, they managed to upstage themselves every time. The first time they were wearing – admittedly funny – tall cones, nowadays (presumably because it’s a bit tricky to get the cones into air luggage…) they are opting for the full on cloaked and hooded dwarf look. Under normal circumstances all the incense, altars with chalices, pictures of Kali and snake ornaments would be total overkill, however they are backed up by superb music and stage presence. Going through the best songs of their albums – मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान and Triumvirat, they have proven once again that they are one of the best current black metal bands. Their Eastern influenced black metal (similar to Acherontas) is so well crafted that it just doesn’t get boring.

I had to flee the front rows because it got a bit too rowdy for my camera (which was just as well because the chalices caught fire at some stage). They played WAY too short, and I would have preferred them to play a good long set, however there was a curfew to adhere.