Chthonic & Evile @ The Underworld, London

18th March 2011,
Review by Fox James
Photos by Jo Blackened – Altercarnated Photography
“Due to a rather belligerent child-minder I managed to miss the opening thrash metal band ‘Shrapnel’, however the crowd buzz was apparent and the atmosphere was eager and excitable so they can only have been a successful opening.

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Word in the pit was that ‘Shrapnel’ did a mighty good job of warming up the fans and I’m a bit miffed I missed them”

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Evile

I arrived just as the lads struck the first chord, in what turned out to be a very tight and technically excellent set, muscling my way to the balcony area (not a chance would I risk the pit after being kicked in the face at V Fest last year) and within seconds the room erupted like a load of Churchill dogs in cars, travelling at 90 miles an hour over a rocky mountain path. They didn’t stop either, other than to create pit after pit with stage divers making the most of the lads decency to move aside to allow them to risk hitting that central pole over and over again. How no-one broke their neck is anyone’s guess. But there will be some mighty trophy bruises tomorrow.
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The four Huddersfield Eviler’s are the all equally enigmatic Ol, Matt, Ben, and newest member Joel, who stepped up the plate following the tragic loss of Mike Alexander (1977-2009). The band has not long finished a highly acclaimed 5 month, 130 date US tour, taking just 6 days off throughout and in 2010, were crowned at the Golden Gods Awards by Metal Hammer with the “Metal as Fuck” award. When you watch them live, it’s easy to see why.

Back to this evening, the blistering shredding continued for the full hour with tracks from both albums, Enter the Grave & Infected Nations, “Bathed in Blood” and “We who are about to Die” caused mayhem, whipping the eager crowd into a frenzy with horns being thrown, chants of Evile! Evile! Evile! and windmills galore from both the stage and crowd (creating a pleasant cooling breeze I might add, the temperature in that room was tropical thanks to the mass moshing). Ol was his usual comedic self, Matt appeared to be having great sex with his guitar throughout the entire set and it seems Joel had even been given an extra dose of his usual happy pills. The clear thing here was that Evile were seriously enjoying themselves, and so were the rest of us.

It all seemed to end far too soon for both myself and the fans (that looked like they would happily eBay their own mother for just one more track). Although I did hear one rather enthusiastic lad shout out “Play something fast!” Dude.. I think Evile only know two speeds, “fast”, and “fucking hell my fingers melted”.

The boys showcased a new track that has yet to be named, as Ol & Matt disagree on it, although Westboro Baptist Church was Ols title of choice, referring in semi jest to the ‘churches’ planned protest against satanic worship at the funeral of legendary, non satan worshipping Ronnie James Dio. Unusually, Matt actually sang this one rather than his trademark growl style vox, and if this is a hint at the quality of the new album (The boys head to Russ Russells studio to begin recording the very day after they play Hammerfest), then we do indeed have another corker to look forward to from this disgustingly addictive thrash band. They are forging their own unique sound, hard to do these days, although take on hints of Metallica. HMV suggests buying Megadeth, Rammstein and Devil Driver as perfect partners.
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Although I loved seeing them on the main stage at Bloodstock, where they deserve to be, (far higher up the bill please Mr & Mrs festival organisers, I thank you) they are truly at their best when they stand together as a threesome which is when absolute electricity and passion for their ear bleeding art becomes a force to be reckoned with.

These guys are natural born performers, they keep a crowd begging for more and they play as if their life (and yours) depends on it. What more could you ask for.

Evile have confirmed so far for 2011 to play Hammerfest, Barroselas, Download Festival, Metalcamp and High Voltage. ….Miss them at your peril.

The future is bright; The future is Evile!

Chthonic
I have never seen Cthronic play before, so I specifically avoided looking up anything on Youtube for hints so I could then be totally open to what I saw and heard.

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ChThonic, pronounced “Thonic”, are a 5 piece black metal band from Taiwan, with black and white face paint a la Kiss. Their career spans 5 studio album and ironically the word Chthonic is a Greek word that refers to the Earth and the Underworld.

Upon hitting the stage, there is no doubt they are performers, they launched into the first track and the remainder, with vigour, and the frontman Freddy relishes his character and gives it his all. But, after Evile played, a lot of fans saw fit to leave and the room remained only half full which really detracted from the atmosphere. There were some die hard ChThonic fans in the audience, most of which stood directly in front of the highly polished bass player, Doris, drooling and reaching out like zombies.

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I have never heard a man that was able to hit almost a falsetto with a tenor growl, but I was most amused when it appeared he was playing a long toilet brush with a coat hanger. Apparently this is actually a hena, (or Erhu) which is a traditionally known as a Chinese 2 stringed fiddle. The set didn’t really have any notable moments, it was more like a frontman reaching out to an audience and a female bass player getting dribbled at. If you like black metal, you might have enjoyed it, but if the crowd did indeed like black metal, they didn’t really show it that much and I’m not sure many felt the need to sing along. It just felt like there was a special ingredient missing.

In comparison, to loud applause, Ol from Evile joined the stage for one track, and the energy of the crowd visibly increased, and the moshing began again.

The set ended a substantial 8 minutes early, there was no encore to make up for the lost time as the set was plagued with sound and microphone problems on the main vox and Doris’s voice could barely be heard.

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Doris was the only member to return to the stage after lights up, happily posing with the 5 or 6 remaining fans that hung around at the stage obviously desperate for a photo .

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Technically, they shredded well, the bass was faultless, the drummer knows his shit and the vocalist was like a demonic Freddy Mercury playing The Crow. I felt like I should have been buzzing and excited, but I realised I was still thinking about the Evile set. Maybe ChThonic were just too avante garde for my taste, or maybe I am a heathen. I do love black metal (in fact, a lot of genres of metal to be fair), but whether it was the poor sound they had to suffer, or the tracks themselves, I left somewhat disappointed.

Maybe if I see them again it will grow on me…

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