Date: 16th April 2018
Review & Photography by Thomas James Henry Saunders
The night is set tonight for an onslaught of atmospheric black metal, with co-headliners Primordial & Moonsorrow being in great apprehension tonight. A warm evening leads up to The Islington Assembly Rooms which rather impressively serves as tonight’s venue. As we pass the merchandise stands and head into the main room, the bars are already pouring out pints as fans head straight for the barrier.
Starting things off tonight are German black metal band Der Weg Einer Freiheit as they hurl themselves into opening track “Einkehr” with it’s menacing, fast-paced tones. They make a great first impression to the many that have already wandered up toward the stage.
Furthermore, a good few of the audience have seemingly come here tonight for this powerful opening act themselves. Their sound is a blend of a raw form of black metal, together with a more modern, atmospheric tonality, rich with almost playful chords and technical sections make this band really stand out tonight.
Frontman & guitarist Nikita Kamprad warms near instantly to the crowd, thanking them for coming out, and then calls out “this is the biggest venue we’ve been able to play at so far, here in London” whilst posturing about the stage. Their sound is both haunting yet enjoyable in that way black metal often is when seen live.
The crowd tonight certainly get dug in, tot he performance, showing enthusiasm and for those seeing Der Weg Einer Freiheit for the first time, great interest. As their last track “Aufbruch” comes to a close they beam with a confidence of an enjoyable performance. Their reception has been a powerful one, setting the scene perfectly for the evening.
Der Weg Einer Freiheit setlist;
2. Skepsis, Part I
After a short break, the crowd has rather impressively grown for co-headliners Moonsorrow. Before they emerge through the thick fog, an eerie audio track of a Finnish man shouting rings out across the stage, setting rather an eerie time for their set.
They are eagerly welcomed to the stage through a great mass roar from the baying crowd and dive into opening track “Pimeä” in fantastic form. Lead guitarist Mitja Harvilahti is a hyperactive ball of lightning tonight, Leaping about the stage, jumping between poses and headbanging in full fury.
The first three tracks are impeccably played with no more than a single word spoken out toward the crowd, instead of allowing the sheer power of their music to soothe & invigorate the crowd in equal measure. As the audience themselves are totally enthralled from the beginning, with the first five or so rows being all of flung hair and the pumping of fists whilst singing along to Ville Sorvali powerful vocals.
When the band do eventually break the silence, enthusiasm for live shows and their charisma come shining through, with Ville Sorvali joking “are you all ready for some fucking relaxation” which the crowd laugh, cheer & boo all together as a response like some twisted pantomime. Before going into the epic proportions of “Mimisbrunn”.
As Ville Sorvali announces the last track he jokes “we only have one more song but don’t worry, it’s still fifteen minutes long like all the others” before charging into the harmonious, estranged chords of final track Kuolleiden Maa which play out through a musically intoxicated audience.
For many these were the headliners they came to see tonight, and these Finns certainly lived up to that hype of tonight.
2. Ruttolehto incl. Päivättömän päivän kansa
3. Suden Tunti
6. Kuolleiden Maa
With this being the first full album tour for this year’s Exile Amongst The Ruins, the tightly gathered crowd tonight are eager to revel in Primordial‘s impressive new material. Coming on to opening track “Nail Their Tongues”, primordial rush onto the stage to a great roar of applause from the crowd who surge forward as frontman AA Nemtheanga (Alan Averill) calls out across the stage. Averill himself Is a mesmerising sight, donning rugged corpse-paint and dishevelled robes.
His uniquely mournful, sorrow filled vocals are powerful throughout the set, none more so, to my opinion than during “Exile Amongst the Ruins”. As stage presence & theatricality go, AA Nemtheanga is a true natural to this art, capturing the audience as one, kneeling before them upon a small podium and staring out as if into an abyss.
Guitarists Ciarán MacUilliam & Michael O’Floinn do great, practised & confident work tonight, working through Primordials extensive material to great effect to the adoring audience, tracks like “The Coffin Ships” & “No Grave Deep Enough” is a powerful addition to the nights set.
AA Nemtheanga slowly warms to the crowd, and by the end is joking about his age and that his first appearance in London as a musician was in 1994 which he exclaims “I’m sure many of you weren’t born yet back then”, although there is a touch of melancholy to this statement. Before rolling out the final track of tonight, AA Nemtheanga thanks the audience en-masse for their continued support, calling out “We thank you London for the last 25 years” to which the crowd raise their first and roar back in adoration.
Last track, “Empire Falls” has the whole crowd raise their fists, chanting and clapping as the song thunders into action. For this track the band pull together in fantastic fashion, even inciting a moshpit to form for the songs 8-minute execution. And the crowd chant the chorus back at AA Nemtheanga.
Their final applause is long and indeed heartfelt. All three bands tonight have shown themselves as hugely engaging live performances and Primordial especially, have proven that they still have plenty of fire left within them.
1. Nail Their Tongues
2. Gods to the Godless
3. Exile Amongst the Ruins
4. No Grave Deep Enough
5. To Hell or the Hangman
6. As Rome Burns
7. Stolen Years
9. Where Lie the Gods
10.Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed
11.The Coffin Ships