9 May 2015
Review by Demitri Levantis
The city of London is a great place for metal. And since last year, the all new Incineration Festival has added to the city’s reputation as the place to go if you want the best in all major metal genres.
Since its humble beginnings at the Garage in Islington last year, the festival expanded to three major metal venues in Camden: The Underworld, Electric Ballroom and The Black Heart. There certainly was something for everyone and from the exploits I made that day I’d say the fest is here to stay.
It all began with Premature Birth at the Underworld who put on a stellar performance, even though the venue had asked them not to use their signature incense. The group blazed through tracks from their recent EP ‘A Ceremony of Power’ and set everyone there up for the day.
Then things really got down to business as I ventured over to the Electric Ballroom to see Aura Noir.
Although I’m not very familiar with the Norwegian outfit, I certainly felt they had a good sense of humour. Their sound combined bog standard black metal with early thrash, which pleased me as an old school fan, and the members talking to the audience told me they were having a really good time.
Aura Noir’s set included plenty of early tracks chronicling the band’s 22 year history. But what told me that this was one hard working band was how their vocalist/guitarist Aggressor was able to play and sing so viciously whilst sitting down. Being able to continue his career without the use of his feet told me this was one strong musician, therefore on strong band able to deliver the most evil of music regardless of any obstacles thrown at them. Quite empowering.
This was the first time I’d seen a band play at the Ballroom, and I must say it is an excellent venue for the stage was close enough to the audience and sound projection was good enough to give you that festival feeling.
Keep of Kalessin and Tribulation also stood out as very enjoyable acts who kept the Ballroom alive and kicking for the rest of the day, but I then ventured over to the Black Heart to see the ever lovable Verdelet – whose anguish ridden tunes have kept me loyal to the British Black Metal scene for many years now.
I’d seen Verdelet at the Black Heart before and they have always been tight as hell with the vocals, drums and buzzsaw style strings – but this had to be the lowest performance I’d seen of them. But that wasn’t their fault, the sound engineers could have made a difference by turning the vocals up a notch. Vocalist, Morior was certainly doing his best as always, but this was another classic example of a band being let down by the engineers controlling the venue. This was the middle of the afternoon, not 11 o’clock at night when the music has to be turned down. Once again the guys behind the scenes prove to be the bane of a good band’s life.
But good work Verdelet, I could see you guys were doing your best and the sound was still crisp and angry as you meant it to be. Albeit a tad low in volume.
Finally, the day was rounded off with my first experience of the Melodic Death Metal forefathers Unleashed, who frankly stole the show. Being angry and upbeat with enough references to Lord of the Rings and Viking mythology to keep any kid into Game of Thrones and The Vikings entertained for many an hour the Gothenburg outfit did not cease to amaze.
Incineration has been nicely welded into the framework of the London Metal Circuit. I do look forward to next year with an even more impressive line up and better sound quality in every venue.