FESTIVAL REVIEW: Damnation Festival 2019: Live at Leeds University

When Axl Rose waxed romantically about cold November rain in back in 1992, he clearly wasn’t singing about Leeds on a Saturday morning. A cold, depressing day darkened by oppressive black clouds showering their misery relentlessly from above, there is nothing romantic about Leeds city centre. However, above the sound of rain pelting against umbrella canopies, and cars splashing through ankle-high lakes of dirty water, there is hope. Somewhere out there is Damnation Festival. Continue reading

Abhorrent Decimation Reveal All About The Pardoner

 

In the last few years, amongst a Death Metal scene that is rich and thriving under the surface of wider attention, no band has made a wider impact and begun to hit greater heights than London’s own Abhorrent Decimation; especially in such a short lifespan thus far. Continue reading

Thurisaz – The Infernal Sea – Edenfall – Scryre: Retro Bar, Manchester (UK)

Thurisaz

Opening up proceedings were newcomers Scryre. Playing only their fifth ever gig, there was an element of hesitancy in their stage movements and crowd interactions which can only have been further hindered by the tiny stage, however this was overshadowed by an impressively tight and confident musical performance.

Scryre (6)

Scryre – Retro Bar, Manchester, 2015. Photo Credit: Rich Price

The drums in particular were a percussive powerhouse and worked very well with the solid bass work. This, combined with some very nice riffs and spirited and typically shrill Black Metal vocals, helped create an enthusiastic atmosphere in the venue. There was some nice variation in their sound which kept the crowd going throughout a set that built up to one hell of a finish.

From their belting set two things are clear: Firstly, with more gigs under the belts these are definitely going to be a band to watch out for; secondly that the next band have a tough act to follow.

Edenfall (9)

Edenfall – Retro Bar, Manchester 2015. Photo Credit: Rich Price

Edenfall have a serious demeanour and a soft vocal style. They bring a nice low end, and deliver their gothic doom at a good pace, with their music possessing an ethereal yet ephemeral quality. Nice bass underpins the songs, soaring vocals interspersed with low guttural vocals give a real depth to the set. The overall feeling is the constant build up to of one hell of a storm.

They can certainly build a song nicely indeed, but with each one they create momentum only to tear it down again. Soaring vocals, elements of the majestic and magical about them, yet at the same time seem to lack the confidence to fulfil their obvious potential.

Edenfall (6)

Edenfall. Photo Credit: Rich Price

Building to a fast and heavy finish they do deliver a strong set, the build ups are nice and they pack some decent low end doom chug. Ultimately, though, it was missing something. Whether this was down to a lack of confidence and crowd interactions; or simply technical issues – on a few occasions they seemed to go out of sync with backing tracks – is unclear, but it did seem to stop them fulfilling the promise they show on record.

The Infernal Sea (21)

The Infernal Sea, Photo Credit: Rich Price

Capitalising fully on the build up from Edenfall, The Infernal Sea took to the stage doused in dark and doom green light and delivered the promised storm. Clad in plague masks, and filling the room with guttural gurgling vocals, simple but abrasive guitars, buzzsaw rattling bass and blasting beats, it was obvious that if anything they had an overabundance of stage presence. This was a great set, and a very confident performance. Fast and tight, even the slower elements were atmospheric and well done.

The Infernal Sea possess a thunderous sound that reverberated around the tiny club. Their new album, The Great Mortality (Cacophonous) is due early in 2016 and they showcased some tracks from it, which showed enormous promise, especially in the bass work – real low end rattling groove – which was potent and relentless in execution.

The Infernal Sea (7)

The Infernal Sea, by Rich Price

Towards the end, they seemed in some danger of seeming a bit samey. As if intended all along they then proceeded to pull out some thrash riffs, and disappeared behind a John Carpenter like wall of dry ice, though from a visual perspective a change of lighting wouldn’t go amiss, especially with the tumultuous sound. Savage and haunting this was a storm to be proud of, and the huge applause at the end suggests this view was widely shared as The Infernal Sea delivered the best performance of the night.

Thurisaz (8)

Thurisaz – Retro Bar, Manchester 2015. Photo Credit: Rich Price

Thurisaz were, initially, very atmospheric, measured and more meticulous than their main support and it felt like the calm after the storm.  They soon picked up the pace, though, and built up into a solid, strong, and powerful performance. Strong choruses, good harmonies, and old school metal solos were delivered, but the headliners were playing to a notably dwindling crowd.

When they blast, they showcase a decent, full sound, taking their time with a confident performance and Thurisaz are musically very tight, displaying some masterful elements to their songs, mixing up  with old school rock references, and definite hints of Iron Maiden in the mix. While bringing the thunder, a lack of stage activity is a big drawback, though their hard metal was delivered with an air of craftsmen.

 

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY RICH PRICE