As the slow decent into arctic oblivion comes to an end, glorious sunshine spills over a bemused Islington who inhabitants are seemingly perplexed at the sudden appearance of the giant, yellow orb. In contrast, death metal patrons head to the cramped and stuffy surroundings of the Islington Academy for an evening of gloriously indecipherable grunting and frantic guitar bashing.
San Francisco-based political death-metallers Fallujah kick off the evening with a ferociously charged performance that takes the gathering crowd by surprise. Despite earning themselves a formidable reputation across the pond, this is Fallujah’s first UK outing. And they waste no time in pummeling the salivating crowd into submission. With material ranging from their debut album, The Harvest Wombs and their up-coming EP Nomadic, Fallujah are a force to be reckoned with, and ones to watch.
Next up are Colorado-thrashed Havok who, judging by the sudden swell of the crowd, are the act most of the crowd are here to see. Their energetic classic thrash, infused with a death metal kick in the proverbials, goes down an absolute storm. David Sanchez’s charismatic persona is infections, stirring up the first circle pits of the evening and clutching the crowd firmly in the palm of his hands.
With songs like ‘Genital Arousal Disorder’, it’s difficult not to love grindcore stalwarts Cephalic Carnage. Penile-related subject matter aside, the Carnage are a unique bunch, both live and on record. Their tongue-in-cheek humor and barbarous, distorted clout all adds up to the performance of the evening. Cephalic Carnage don’t take themselves seriously, and clearly relish whipping the crowd into a frenzy of beer, sweat and limbs. This is exactly what grindcore should be.
After the disappointing release Pinnacle of Bedlam, New York mob Suffocation have a lot to prove tonight. This isn’t helped by the absence of regular vocal-chord shredder Frank Mullen, who pulled out of the UK tour due to ‘personal commitments’. Stepping into his shoes is Dying Fetus vocalist John Gallagher who, despite owning an impressive pair of lungs, lacks the infectious persona that ensured Mullen owned the stage. The resulting performance feels somewhat bland, even though musically the band are on top form.
Fallujah, Havok, Cephalic Carnage & Suffocation
London, Islington Academy
May 13, 2013
Photos: Ryan Dalton Rodrigues