Ulcerate & Bell Witch @ Nambucca, London

8th October 2015
Review by Demitri Levantis


Kicking off their UK tour, sponsored by Zero Tolerance magazine, New Zealand technical death metal outfit Ulcerate reigned all their terror upon the city of London accompanied by US funeral doom ghouls: Bell Witch.

This was the most atmospheric and gloomy concert I had attended in my time reviewing gigs, so I was looking forward to a whole new type of experience – something different to the usual Black, Death and Power Metal I’ve scribbled about already.

After interviewing both bands, the gig took off with support act Ageless Oblivion first on the bill. I can say the Hampshire based Death Metal outfit had presence and had fashioned their own sound, very similar to Ulcerate, but maybe it was because of them being the first band they didn’t get as much credit as deserved.

Because of their being only a small crowd at the time, the band just got on stage and did their job, sometimes not even stopping to interact with the audience during songs, so a group who really just wanted to get things over and done with. Ageless Oblivion have got down their sound and know what they like to play, but I didn’t pick up anything amazing about their performance to be frank. This is a group who I still think need to concentrate on their technicalities and find interesting things to blast about. Their themes are of war, but I’d like it if they sang about war topics that not many other death bands have done so far. [2/5]

Following that, the only metal band I know of whom you could argue are literally a ‘drum and bass’ band, took to the stage. Bell Witch are that band I’ve found to be someone you can always go to when you want to chill out with all the right distortion and down tuning and rolling thunder style drums which only Funeral Doom can offer.

Having released their second album, Four Phantoms earlier this year, Bell Witch took us on a long and spine tingling journey into the abyss of their sounds, with plenty of impressive bass techniques from Dylan Desmond and excellent vocals and drum fills from Jesse Shreibman. This is a band who have plenty of excellent chemistry as a duo.

Everything synced up perfectly and delivered the same slow but heart warming doom as on CD. My only criticism about it was the sound guy could have upped the overall bass and treble a little because there were a few moments when it sounded like feedback and not funeral doom. But above all this is a band who have gone from strength to strength so a little sound error did not dampen Bell Witch’s spirits. Excellent performance. [4.5/5]

And finally, the New Zealand technical metallers took to the stage to give us the most atmospheric and soothing performance I’ve seen delivered by a death metal group. If I were to describe Ulcerate to anyone who hasn’t heard them, it’s technical death metal played at a slow tempo with a droning atmosphere similar to classic doom metal groups.

This performance felt drawn out at a good length, showcasing the many talents this trio has been performing for the last thirteen years. I felt the songs melded together well and by then a strong crowd had gathered to show their appreciation for such an interesting group. Ulcerate sound great slow and fast so the changes of tempo and timing worked perfectly for this sort of night. [4/5]

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with this band and the whole evening in general. Seeing a Funeral Doom band and a Technical Death Metal group on the same bill is something I’ve never done before so I’m very pleased to have had this introductory experience. Good luck with the rest of the tour to both bands.