Wolf with Primitai + The Heretic Order @ Camden Underworld
8th February 2015
Review By Chris Brown
Photography by Jo Blackened
With Valentines Day looming on the horizon, Camden Underworld was tonight home to one of this nation’s great loves – some good old fashioned heavy metal.
First up to the plate this evening stood the self styled ‘Evil rock and roll’ band, The Heretic Order (3/5) .
Draped in illuminated skull candles and other assorted poundland hallowe’en finery, the stage was set and among the conclave emerged former Breed 77 members – Danny Felice, aka Lord Ragner Wagner on guitar, and bassist Stuart Cavilla – now going by the name Rotted Skull. If you imagine a kind of lovechild born from a love of classic 80’s heavy metal and 70’s Hammer Horror movies, you’ll be somewhere close to the money.
A first assumption of what we have here is a kind of satire of satanism proves to be spot on, but it’s one that incorporates theatrics with a powerful combination of searing riffs and shadowy yet uplifting chorus sections to produce a fun ride that felt good to be a part of. The crowd was a little thin on the ground as the night kicked off, so there was little in the way of appreciation but that didn’t get in the way of the confidence and precision that they put in their performance.
While the more hardcore fans were bedding in at the front as the set began, it became easy to see that this was quickly turning into a head-turning performance from Primitai (3/5) who opened with ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’ from their 2013 release ‘Rise Again’. More from the back began to head down, filling the place to about a third capacity (it was a cold Sunday night…).
No shoulders on stage looked more capable than vocalist Guy Miller who, on the night, was a force of unnatural proportions. His vocal range is one that is rarely pulled off so spectacularly live and, never missing the chance to join in with guitar solos or rally the crowd, the physicality of his performance was mesmerising. To imagine he would have been as happy at the front by the stage as performing on it would not be a stretch, if only for others to feed from his infectious intensity.
The presence of co-lead guitarists Srdjan Bilic and Sergio Pedro Girón was perhaps more understated but they had their expensive hardware on show tonight and their playing ability was definitely able to shine through as well. There were fantastic moments scattered across the set, with more solos that shred up and down the bottom string than you can shake a Steve Vai signature Ibanez at. A particular highlight was Bilic’s extended solo during ‘Degeneration’, which saw Miller elevate him above his fellow guitarists to provide a Kodak moment that was quite an impressive stunt for a cramped environment.
The set was heavy at times but it was the melody driven sections that were more satisfying to hear, although they did little to dispel my assumption that they were the kind of band to use words like ‘Hell’ to get the hardliners on board without the need for the unholy pretense of the night’s previous offering.
Having made quite a name for themselves now, Primitai seem like a band that can easily withstand the mantle of vanguards of British heavy metal. While in some aspects, they might be a little light in originality, they make up for it with heaviness everywhere else, so they deserve to continue to do so.
Fortune Favours the Brave
The Line of Fire
Rockin’ in Hell
Scream When You See Us
When a band has risen from unashamedly humble beginnings to the level of having their own branded absinthe (66.6%) and hot sauce ‘magically brewed to make grown men cry’, its not surprising to find metal bottled in its purist essence.
This was the final night of the tour to promote ‘Devil Seed’ – the 7th studio album for Wolf (4.5/5) who’s career now spans 20 years and with only four tracks from the record tonight, the many fans who appeared from the rafters were treated to a decent retrospective.
This was the point of the night where the mood shifted for most from passive appreciation and sparked into life. Wolf responded in kind with a muted professionalism at the core but a love for playing good music at the heart. The smile never left the face of bassist Anders Modd for the whole set and both he and guitarist Simon Johansson were posing for photos mid-song for each camera held up, and it didn’t detract from the performance in the slightest. They did well to hide experience with a youthful energy that was really pleasing to see.
The whole feel of the set had a real bounce to it and these super-Swedes brought some icy melodies to stir the blood. There’s a lot to be said for good music that’s played well and it felt almost implicit to raise a glass to them on occasion. For many who were in the thick of it, this resulted in more beer being spilled than swallowed but in a small venue like this, this was an honest and loyal appreciation for a band that killed it on the night.
For a group that wear their influences on their sleeve so readily (Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Judas Priest), this hasn’t diminished their own identity in the slightest. This is waving the flag for all those who cry out for genuine hard hitting, ball-busting heavy metal, and few who left the place that night weren’t howling for more of the Wolf. Having now been announced for the mainstage at Bloodstock 2015, you would be wise to see for yourself.
Overture in C Shark
I Will Kill Again
Full Moon Possession
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