Date: 7 May 2018
Review by Demitri Levantis & Thomas Saunders
Photography by Thomas Saunders
Death Metal is probably metal’s most extreme and advanced sub genre. All over the world you have bands taking the extremes to the extreme, with faster tempos, complicated time signatures and fusions of other music you wouldn’t have given a second thought to in the near past.
But every now and again, it’s good to be reminded of the old school: the place where such a genre came from. And to this this day we have bands still playing the sound that started it all, even if they weren’t there when it all began nearly 30 years ago.
And such a celebration came to London one Monday night at the Boston Music Rooms in Tufnell Park. It was a fine hot evening but that didn’t prevent this critic from being late to the gig due to travel disruptions. So without further ado, I handed my duties over to my photographer: Thomas Saunders to tell us just how well opening act Taphos boded:
[TS] Taphos, over from Copenhagen start out in brutal fashion, with their straight deathened approach with the occasional wry lick thrown in to denote their thrash heritage.
The sound is harsh and brutal with vocalist barking away strumming away on his bass, adding a real heavy, low tone to the overall sound. They sound a little superceded in a certain sense, doing little to ignite any crowd engagement or any real connection. However musically they are suitably brutal, bringing the sound on in full force.
The occasional solo they do, played out by the lead guitarist ‘M’; embark on have the quality of echoed wails through the cacophony of their onslaught. Their pacing is strong here, with some thashy melodies playing about in the background behind the wall of noise they present.
They do well as an opening act, loosing the crowds necks and setting the tempo for tonight to great effect.
[DL] So there we had our first fine dose of old school Scandinavian DM. Carrying plenty of Thrash to please the kids who want to move from one good genre to another.
Now it was time for things to get a little darker, for second act: Degial from Uppsala arrived on stage to tell us how Sweden hasn’t lost its roots as the European homeland of this genre.
I’d seen this band supporting fellow Swedes: Watain here in January, so I was happy to see some leather battle armour clad minstrels who looked like they’d just stepped out of a sepulchre blast plenty of riffs that chilled me to the bone.
I was right up front and could feel the tantric stage presence oozing from vocalist/guitarist Hampus Eriksson as he screamed and growled through ode after ode to the wonders and mysteries of death, the afterlife, occultism and necrophile themes in general.
It didn’t feel as if the music was too complex and definitely had something of a DIY feel about it that made me think I could mimic this band’s tunes if I set up such a band so I praise them for giving inspiration to plenty of kids.
Overall, this was a bombardment of agonisingly good metal fired forthright from some of Sweden’s finest audio troopers when blood drunk.
A damn good show all round making me want to visit Sweden more than ever.
So we’d had Denmark, Sweden and now the turn of the nation famed for being the homeland of another extreme (and in my opinion the extreme) genre of metal: Norway.
Aura Noir, the evening’s headliners took to the stage. Having been on the road for 25 years and having witnessed the rise and rise of Black Metal in their homeland and Death Metal across the border, they are some of the bards who have taken the sole origins of such genres and kept them close to their hearts.
Listening to them on CD would make any casual listener think this was Motorhead or Venom but with louder riffs, so it was good to hear plenty of Speed Metal blasting through Aura Noir’s growls on all things blasphemous and evil.
This was a band whom I could never associate with any kind of satanic order or organisation actively against religion or politics, so it was nice to see such a band who expressed blind chaos into the metal canon to rile up plenty of angry young folk and get them active in making this amazing music.
I was particularly impressed to see bassist/vocalist Agressor standing without much use of his support chair, so his leg injury had not slowed him down in bringing the audible onslaught. He and guitarist Blasphemer hammered the metaphorical nails deep into the audiences coffin to bring metallic ferocity upon the city.Drummer Apollyon also offered excellent vocals as well as lightening fast D-Beat inspired drum beats that reminded me of my days in the Punk and Thrash scenes.
Overall, this was a step back in time and celebration of the times and places that sewed the seeds of this amazing metal genre. London is a hive of all types of Metal and having these guys here to visit will definitely keep the old school tunes alive and kicking in times when it feels like the progressive or the technical has taken over a great genre.
Thank you Aura Noir, you guys must come again soon.