Saille @ The Black Heart, London

Eradication Festival & Booking Agency Presents:
Saille + Stahlsarg + Shadowflag + Crimson Throne

@ The Black Heart, Camden, London
16th December 2017
Review by Jarod Lawley
Photos/Videos by Jo Blackened

Saille are one of the most renowned bands of the Belgian metal underground, so when Eradication Booking Agency announced they would be bringing the band over to the Black Heart just before Christmas, it was bound to be a hit.

Still promoting their March 2017 album ‘Gnosis’, this was their only UK show of the year- although many in the audience would be familiar with the band thanks to performances at Incineration and Bloodstock festivals in the past.

Opening tonight was Crimson Throne; a homegrown band who are fairly new but have been touring around the metal clubs and pubs of the UK intensively this year. By the time they took to the stage there were around 30 people gathered to watch. Their sound is strongly atmospheric, but live they have little care for visuals or performance.

In fact, half the members faced away from the audience, and there was zero interaction with the crowd. Personally, this isn’t something I like to see but their music explained this style of performance. In fact, their thick and stormy blast of black metal went down great- a perfect introduction to the night.

Shadowflag are a poetic and artistic band from Cheltenham, so this gig was a fairly local one for them, but they had a more unfortunate evening.

Commiserations to them. Their drum machine simply failed- repeatedly.

The four-piece black metallers plus laptop took to the stage and seemed eager to get playing, but every time they would get 30 seconds into a song the drumming coming from the computer would simply stop.

It was obviously frustrating for the band, who I think handled it well, but after ten minutes or so of continued technical difficulties, their performance was aborted. Next time, guys.

A big step up in professionalism came next in the form of Stahlsarg.

Their live performances are always top notch and I’m surprised they aren’t headlining venues of this size by now.

The crowd was pretty large at this point for the Suffolk crew as it would be for the headliners, and tracks from their new album ‘Mechanisms of Misanthropy’ and their debut ‘Comrades in Death’ were received with a lot of rowdy headbanging and a couple of small pits.

The Black Heart is such a tiny venue that the whole room was filled up from the smoke machine as they played.

Their shows are always intense and this was no exception, with guitarist and founder Kreig looking as sinister as ever as he delivered chilling riffs and even more gruesome corpse paint. This band puts everything into their live performances and tonight they were great as ever as.

My only regret is that this band doesn’t play in London more often!

With everything running on time, headliners Saille took to the stage at half nine for an hour-long performance.

Having seen them rule much bigger stages before, I was disappointed at the band’s lack of energy tonight, although to the ears they sounded professional and flawless. You cannot deny their musicianship.

However, I would have liked to have seen a more intense performance from all their members, who all seemed a little too much in their comfort zone. On the other hand, the stage at this venue is so small that it does give even the most excitable of bands little room for manoeuvre.

Furthermore, the crowd had quietened down by this point, perhaps still a little blown away by Stahlsarg’s war machine. The band, especially bassist  Kristof Van Iseghem, seemed frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm from the crowd, but towards the end, things gained more energy and their performance went down well with everyone- even those not too familiar with the band’s previous material.

Their sound is so precise live that you don’t need to know the songs before and this is one of those bands that you can enjoy massively live without having ever heard of them. They ran quickly through their set, blasting off tracks from their album as well as previous efforts ‘Ritu’ and ‘Eldritch’.

Overall it was a good performance from the headliners, and the opening acts provided a great selection of British talent. I always think it’s good to see local support acts and this booking agency always pulls that off. Go and check out all these bands, including Saille’s new album ‘Gnosis’, you won’t be disappointed!

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