Review by Paul Castles Photos by Rich Thompson
While there were a handful of tickets still available on the door there was still an impressive turnout of the faithful at the Queens Hall ready to acclaim three formidable acts at the Nuneaton venue.
Each brought something different to the table and were duly well received by the crowd on a night when metal and all it represents was the winner. There must have been a few punters nursing a few aches and pains, if not actual broken bones though, the morning after.
The pit for openers Aborted was totally vicious and anyone brave or foolhardy enough to step into the maelstrom was fortunate not to collect at least a few blows for their troubles.
The Belgians have been a commanding and respected presence in death metal circles (best make that circle pits) for approaching two decades. The one staple in their line-up during this time is the shaven-headed singer Sven de Caluwé.
You just knew things were going to get feisty when he threateningly urged the baying mob to take a few steps forwards before Aborted had so much as played a single note. Enough accepted the invitation to do so and complete mayhem ensued as Aborted dived straight into some material from the Goremageddon album.
Coughing up songs old and new, the one consistent was the sheer ferocity of their music while the breakdowns carried the weight of a North Sea oil rig resulting in heads banging and fists pumping in appreciation.
There was a distinct shift in mood when Septicflesh appeared. Rather than threaten to rip your face off like Aborted, the Greeks’ singer Spiros was full of bon ami, frequently peppering songs with ‘are you with me my friends?’ although this did tend to grate when heard for the 25th time of the evening.
Musically, Septicflesh aren’t quite as full of bile as their name suggests, with an atmospheric symphonic element and preferring to seek their lyrical inspiration from mythology and ancient history rather than gut splattering gore flicks.
Infused with some gothic elements, Septicflesh frequently change tempo and direction mid-song. Sometimes it works such as on the pummelling ‘Prometheus‘ but on a few occasions it can leave you feeling like you’re driving the wrong way down a one-way street.
The stage received the addition of a few platforms before headliners’ Kataklsym climbed on board.
Beginning with the first track from new album Of Ghosts and Gods, ‘Breaching the Asylum’, the Canadian crushers immediately swung into their familiar forceful metal anthems.
Of Ghosts and Gods is the Quebec quartet’s 12th full length release and after just three songs they turned the hands of the clock a decade or so and the Serenity in Fire album and the classic ‘As I Slither’.
Kataklysm have really added some polish to their act and overall stage performance and thesedays are not a million miles behind the likes of more mainstream headliners such as Lamb of God.
The riffs are certainly heavy and dynamic enough but the melodies give it real verve with guitarist JF Dagenais’ and bass player Stephane Barbe hopping on and off their platforms during the early part of the set.
This has been an expansive tour with these three acts, Katakylsm frontman Mariuzo Iacono declaring this as show number 45 with two to go! No doubt some of the venues have offered a bit more stage space than the Queens Hall and so midway through their set Mariuzo simply picked up his platform and passed it backstage to free up a little more floorspace.
The refreshing thing about tonight’s show was that all three acts brought something different to the table and on each occasion you could have quite happily digested a second helping.
- Breaching the Asylum
- If I Was God… I’d Burn It All
- As I Slither
- The Black Sheep
- Manipulator of Souls
- At the Edge of the World
- Thy Serpents Tongue
- Push the Venom
- The Ambassador of Pain
- Where the Enemy Sleeps…
- Soul Destroyer
- The Chains of Power
- Open Scars
- In Shadows & Dust
- Crippled & Broken
- Iron Will