6 April 2018
Review by Demitri Levantis
When you think of old school Death Metal, what are the first few bands that spring to mind? For most you’d have Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide and Obituary come first. This is understandable as they are the bands who made that lasting impact on the world of metal to give Death Metal its legitimacy.
But among that first wave of American Death Metal acts was another, one who stuck to their guns over their 30 year reign of terror and still to this day haven’t waivered in their strength and old school legitimacy, and that is Immolation. Who showed the city of London they haven’t faultered in recent years when they played the Dome in Tufnell Park a few weeks back.
First up on the bill were a European group who’ve been on the road for over a decade playing a blackened style of Death Metal.
Stortregn – a Swedish term for downpour – all the way from Geneva took to the stage to open the night with a raging maelstrom of good extreme metal.
And what a downpour it was – for Stortregn conjured a whole storm of metal and might that rained down as a ferocious onslaught of audible thunder and lightning. The guitars shredded well, tearing a new set of holes and lesions in the ever growing crowd, who felt as hyped as I did as the songs tore on and on making us more and more enticed and ready for what was to come.
And Stortregn did not faulter. Switzerland is famous for its militaries and steadfast warriors, and here were another band of audible warriors who fought dangerously with their songs and musicianship and came home nothing short of victorious. Excellent job, lads.
- Enlighten Salvation
- Acosmic Ascendant
- Neverending Singularity
- Through the Dark Gate
- Epitaph – An Evocation of Light
Next up it was the turn of an international group. A band comprised of French and Austrian musicians who came to play what I can definitely call Brutal Death Metal.
Monuments of Misanthropy: aptly named for they gave a vicious blend of misanthropic and nihilistic monstrosity that did restore some of my faith in Brutal Death Metal. In recent years I’ve come to distance myself from said scene because of the boring saturation of Slam – but now I felt there were bands still alive who echoed the divine putridity of Desecration and their ilk.
I was heavily reminded of the Welsh forefathers and of modern acts like Benediction and Cattle Decapitation. This was a band with much political and social awareness put into expression in the most brutal of fashion. I’d heard along the grapevine they were vegans like CD and Carcass so if that is the case, it’s good to know the old school politics and idealism of Death Metal’s origins are still alive and kicking in the minds of many a good musician.
Monuments of Misanthropy stormed the stage with their hefty brutalism and left us screaming for more. And we were not disappointed by the next act, that’s for sure.
Full of Hell: a band from the States whom I’d liken a lot to the modern day Grindcore gods: Nails – mostly because they put out a split with Nails in 2016, and this was a group who didn’t shy away from the most extreme types of Death Metal.
This group stood out from the others because of their experimenting. Full of Hell mix old school Grindcore with elements of Noise Rock or electronica, and it was fascinating watching vocalist Dylan Walker at work on his synth machine, adding a raw edge to the music.
This took me back to many nights I’ve spent in DIY spaces around the country listening to many a surreal experimental electronic act, so to see some guys add this to the most in-your-face sort of metal really wowed me and the crowd at several moments.
My only criticism is that Full of Hell suffered a tad from the “stop-and-start” cliché of many Grind bands. The songs are so minute they end immediately and the audience take a moment to realise it’s time to applaud. But that didn’t dampen any spirits and Full of Hell explored more than just Grindcore with this performance. DIY indeed.
Now it was time for the act we’d all been waiting for.
Formed in Yonkers, New York at the very end of the 80s, Immolation have spent the last 30 years playing a very angry and outspoken repertoire of Death Metal that ranges from topics concerning religion, atheism and general cynicism and anger towards society and its social problems.
This is a fine mix of the old school, as it symbolises that Death Metal grew out of the Punk-infused concern for the underdog that gave us Thrash Metal and Grindcore. So this evening at the Dome was a fine celebration of the old school.
And many fans will say about lots of bands that too many years on the road can take their toll on a band’s performance and longevity.
Immolation proved all that wrong.
On stage they came: veteran frontman and bassist Ross Dolan greeted the crowd who’d now swelled to fill the whole room, before leaping into the first angry tune that made a rush of happiness swell in me and make my back hairs stand on end.
The rawness of the downtuned guitars rang out to tell me the old ways have not been forgotten. That for those of us who have distanced themselves from Death Metal in the past, there is still hope in many places. We just had to find the right bands.
And I could think of this band being nothing different to all the magnificent Old School groups I’ve seen in the past like Morbid Angel or what is left of Death and Cannibal Corpse.
Even though it was only Ross Dolan and guitar player Robert Vigna who have remained in the band all the way, this lineup had it in them to pack the full audible punch that had one damn good mosh pit alive from the word go.
As well as that, people were screaming along to all the well known Immolation tunes that have blasted from thousands of DM fans’ speakers over the last three decades.
We all came to love this group for all their hard work and perseverance and this show definitely told us they were here to stay. Please come back and play London soon Immolation, it was one very good night to remember.