26th May 2017
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photography by Pete Woods
Every genre has its old school sound and a fair share of bands who want to keep the basics alive and well in order for a genre to survive.
One such band, who endured many years of people laughing at them for not being as serious as their Norwegian counterparts, is Swedish group Nifelheim – who kept the Speed/Thrash origins of Black Metal in their output over their 26 year history. And that sound is still as bleak and heartwarming for any lover of evil music, as was exhibited on Friday 26 May at The Underworld, Camden Town’s premier alterative music venue.
Beginning the evening was some homegrown black metal talent: Funeral Throne, having been on the road now for 12 years.
Unfortunately, due to some complications at the door and some very loutish behaviour from some attendants who spoilt it for the rest of us, I was only able to catch the last half of the band’s performance.
But from what I could see, Funeral Throne had that atmospheric grind that only Black Metal can deliver and the crowd were strong and enthusiastic, cheering heavily as the group went from song to song, showing the world they meant business.
I am sorry I missed most of your set Funeral Throne, if you’re reading this, but from what I could gather, you didn’t disappoint. My ears and nerves felt nicely baptised by your audible fire, ready and burning for a night of old school delight ahead.
Coming next on the list was another band from the quaint city of London: Craven Idol.
This is another band I’ve heard a lot about in all my time in the metal scene, mostly because I’ve met several band members, but haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them perform.
At first the band took a fairly regular black metal sound to the stage, progressing through a few fairly good tracks, but on the latter half, they really upped the strength and made the night a little more violent.
There wasn’t any melody in this band’s output and I’d liken their sound to being quite Blackened Thrash Metal, so a good mix of influences there.
Whether it was slow tempo or something fast, Craven Idol had a very memorable show.
Now it was time for the band we’d all come to see.
A group of men I would describe as being the distant Swedish cousins of Venom – the band credited with inventing BM – arrived clad in spiked leather and outlandish garments that were all the rave back in the late 80s.
It seems the band had let time stand still for them. For Nifelheim it was still 1990, their date of origin in terms of image, and somewhat in terms of sound.
Imagine if Slayer, in the days of Reign in Blood had had a love child with a band like Celtic Frost and that bastard child had been left in Sweden accidentally following an incident on an imaginary European tour – well that’s Nifelheim for you.
Keeping it as real and strong as possible, the men came across as having both a fun time and a wicked sense of humour, delivering blistering old school numbers about the occult and Satan’s many exploits in terrorising the living.
A good old blasphemous band starting some good old blasphemous rumours, rumours set to some fine simple chords that wouldn’t have looked out of the way on an early Motorhead release.
I was very delighted with Nifelheim. It felt as if I were enjoying an evening of memorable 80’s B-Movies in a proverbial cinema packed out with the likes of King Diamond or Glenn Danzig.
Fun and games all round – one delectably satanic night.
Infernal Flame of Destruction
Hell’s Vast Plains
Storm of the Reaper
The Final Slaugther
Storm of Satan’s Fire
The Bestial Avenger