Extreme metal is graced with a rich tapestry of bands that push metal to its extremes and London often is graced with lineups featuring some of the best bands within metal’s underground. With NARGAROTH, ABSU and HATE bringing their sonic sounds of destruction to the UK’s capital, those in attendance were surely in for a evening packed with musical ferocity.
Due to this reviewer’s unfamiliarity navigating the London Underground and therefore missing the opening support, Polish blackened death metallers HATE were the first band to kick off the proceedings and the band brought a musical force that was mightily impressive. With a decent amount of time on stage, HATE brought a devastatingly heavy sound in the live environment with copious deliveries of double bass blasts from Pavulon which kept the intensity at an all time high whilst ATF Sinner‘s guttural vocal lines rode well above the enormous wall of sound. With the set sprinkled with new material from the band’s latest record, Tremendum, and reinforced with firm choices from the band’s lengthy back catalogue like Erebos and Alchemy Ov Blood for example, HATE did a solid job of bringing a menacing sound in the live environment.
Hailing from Texas, blackened thrash outfit ABSU have enjoyed a lengthy career within the world of extreme metal and their performance in support to NARGAROTH showcased a band which was firing on all cylinders. The speed of the band’s blend of extreme metal was absolutely relentless here; with slick thrashing riffs packed to the brim with intensity whilst founding member Proscriptor McGovern work behind the drums was incredibly impressive. Serving as lead vocalist alongside ensuring the rhythm is kept at an all time is no easy feat but McGovern excelled in delivering visceral vocal snarls consistently throughout ABSU‘s performance. Things stepped up a gear when McGovern switched his focus to acting as the band’s frontman as a session drummer filled in, and here ABSU really brought it all as the band’s finale was utterly breathtaking. With a setlist jam-packed with fan favourites across the band’s lengthy career, there was little to fault ABSU here, as the American outfit gave a performance that was as gripping as it was utterly enjoyable to witness.
As far as NARGAROTH go, the German outfit certainly tick all the boxes of what makes for a solid band within the realm of black metal. With the band fusing a sound that purely represents the style and approach of the second wave of the genre, it made for a solid foundation for the band’s approach to the live environment. Consistently throughout their set, NARGAROTH delivered a performance of intense black metal which showcased a band that has refined their formula throughout their established career. Copious amounts of blast beats were expertly dispatched that resembled an artillery barrage and the venomous dual guitar riffing kept the pace moving at a frantic rate whilst the mastermind himself, René ‘Ash’ Wagner, did a formidable job of delivering the signature rasping vocals and oozed confidence as he held the audience in the palm of his hand.
Despite NARGAROTH not pushing the boundaries of the genre and finishing their performance rather abruptly without an encore, what was on display here was a band that resembled a well-oiled machine within black metal and their performance reflected just that. The setlist showcased a range of material across the band’s career, with established tracks like Black Metal ist Krieg and Possessed By Black Fucking Metal going down a treat, NARGAROTH rarely skipped a beat and delivered a concise and solid set; one which demonstrated a band that are firmly established within not only black metal, but within extreme metal itself.