Review by Paul Castles Photos by Rich Thompson
Scruffy Murphy’s in Birmingham was the chosen venue for the third and final date of the ‘Existence is Futile’ tour featuring Daemona, Sathamel and local favourites Trivax. Each of the three shows (the first two being Leeds and Manchester) were kicked off by a local act and at Scruffys that came in the shape of Edenfall.
The openers were cut from a different cloth than the other three acts, both literally as well as figuratively. The Gloucestershire goths recently supported Mortiis on their UK tour and have been making a name for themselves among the candelabra and chains brigade. Singer Clare wore a multi-layered lace dress straight from the wardrobe of Miss Haversham and Edenfall did their best to transform Scruffys into a small gothic chamber with their deep moody symphonies.
Daemona were back in Brum a year or so on from their impressive support slot to Brazilian thrashers Nervosa at the Asylum. With recently released single ‘The Demon Inside’ under their leathers (reviewed here) the Suffolk quartet were once again in combative mood creating a blackened tornado of death metal at the epicentre of which prowled demonstrative diva, Nina. Or to give her her full stage name Nina ‘The Cuntess Pain’ which goes some way to capturing the hostility and at times outright hatred that manifests itself under the Daemona banner.
At times Nina sounded as though her early morning bowl of shreddies had been replaced by small deposits surreptitiously lifted from the surface of a long since defunct Yorkshire coal mine. Perhaps they have with Nina recently moving to the White Rose county.
With raging satanic anthems such as ‘The Devil Inside’ and ‘Your Mind is the Devil’ you half expected the cloven-hoofed fire breather to put in a brief appearance himself. It’s fair to say though that when it comes to creating an evil wall of noise Daemona are more than capable of managing things on their own.
Next crew up came at you from a slightly different perspective but one no less venomous or committed than Daemona. Sathamel were daubed in black streaky gunk suggesting they’d arrived at Scruffys straight from some kind of wooded sacrificial ceremony – or they’d clocked off late at ATS Euromaster after a full on shift of fitting new tyres.
But while the Behemoth style look helped darken the mood, of more substance were their cleverly crafted compositions that had depth and dynamism that hooked you like a fisherman’s prize catch. Scruffys never lacks in atmosphere but with the stage at floor level, sight-lines can occasionally become blurred if the biggest fella in the room plants himself right in front of you. Fortunately Sathamel singer Kruk avoided this scenario by spending the set howling at the crowd from on top of an upturned amp, looking down on the faithful in every sense.
Although it may be an oxymoron to suggest it, the UK black metal corpsepaint circuit looks positively beaming at present, and Sathamel’s seat at the top table looks secured.
The final night of ‘Existence is Futile’ was also a hometown show of sorts for Trivax, fronted by Iranian born Shayan. The Trivax singer headed to Birmingham after leaving his homeland a few years ago where not entirely surprisingly his black metal aspirations didn’t exactly meet with universal approval.
Since then Trivax, a project of blackened misery originally conceived in Iran, have set about living up to Shayan’s high expectations. Opening up at Scruffys with ‘Hysteria Mania’ it quickly became apparent that Shayan isn’t merely shooting at daisies with this aural assault weapon. The soundscapes were punishing but colossal in their range, recent single ‘Death to the Empire of the World’ among the pick.
Although Trivax have a strong collection of songs waiting to be unveiled on their forthcoming debut album, they celebrated the last night of the tour by paying homage to one of their own inspirations, Watain, with a one-off compelling cover of ‘Waters of Ain’. A fitting way to close the tour and a great night which showcased some of the UK’s finest purveyors of extreme metal.