Smaller venues are a vital (but often overlooked) cog in the live music machine, especially when they give supports slots to local bands. Tonight, Milton Keynes’ very own Abraxian kick off an evening of the blackest in black metal and in earth-shaking style. Mixing blackened sounds with atmospheric sludge and doom metal makes for a pretty intense listening experience and they sound as heavy as such an amalgamation suggests. Performing tracks from their MMXXI demo (and then some) they’re a four-piece who draw a large crowd and I don’t think it’ll be long until they start creeping up the bill.
Formed in 2016 Crimson Throne have been busy bees and have unleashed at least one release every year of their existence so it goes without saying that they have an impressive discography to draw from. Bathed in demonic red light Crimson Throne waste little time on between song banter or any such nonsense preferring to deliver a succession of tracks that go straight for the solar plexus. With a twin guitar attack, a pounding rhythm section and vocals seeming spewed from the very lungs of hell I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from this quartet very, very soon.
An unholy trio who make an unholy racket that sounds much bigger than their constituent parts are Manchester’s Burial. Locking in tightly they threaten to shake the venue to its very core and when they play ‘Into Unlight’ (from 2013’s Beneath The Light) things get really interesting. Tonight’s set is largely culled from 2020’s excellent Satanic Upheaval album with ‘Encircled By Wolves’, ‘Cursed By The Light’ and ‘Hellish Reaping Screams’ all demanding the crowd’s full attention. If there was ever a prize for best song title, then I’m sure ‘Nun Fucking Black Metal’ would win. It’s a nifty set closer too and ensures Burial won’t be forgotton in a hurry.
A haunting intro tape creates a suitably spooky atmosphere and ramps up the tension to almost unbearable levels before the spell is abruptly broken and The Infernal Sea appear amidst flaring plumes of smoke. Surrounded by green light and hidden behind plague masks the band make for an arresting sight and if that wasn’t enough to overload your senses then opening track ‘Agents Of Satan’ would. Like a thunderbolt splitting a crystalline Nordic sky ‘Agents Of Satan’ is a frostbitten slab of black metal that nips at your skin and cuts to the bone. The Infernal Sea are a band who understand the importance of visuals and in a scene that often values a parred back aesthetic they’re a breath of fresh (or should that be foul?) air. Of course, that’d mean nothing if they didn’t have the songs to back them up and ‘Lord Abhorrent’, ‘Negotium Crucis’ and ‘Befallen Order’ follow like an evil trinity.
So much smoke do The Infernal Sea unleash that during (rather aptly) ‘Purification By Fire’ they set off the venues smoke alarms which calls an abrupt halt to proceedings and makes for an anxious 10 minutes as the venues staff get the situation under control. However, once the smoke clears the band are back on stage and barely miss a beat as they launch into ‘Entombed In Darkness’. Born from the wide-open expanse of East Anglia The Infernal Sea have a sound that’s equally sweeping and like the wind roaring across the fens they offer little in the way of redemption and by the time we reach closer ‘Black Witchery’ there’s not a soul present untouched by The Infernal Sea’s raw power.
The Infernal Sea Set List:
- Agents Of Satan
- Lord Abhorrent
- Negotium Crucis
- Befallen Order
- Den sorte død/Way Of The Wolf
- Purification By Fire [aborted]
- Entombed In Darkness
- Into The Unknown
- Rex Mundi
- Black Witchery