Obituary / M-Pire of Evil / Dust Bolt

Electric Ballroom, London on Sun 1st Feb 2015

A cold Sunday night in London greets Floridian death metal stalwarts Obituary on the final date of their European sojourn. Originally scheduled in the cosy Underworld, unsurprisingly this concert is upgraded to the Electric Ballroom.

Youthful Teutonic thrashers Dust Bolt have the duty of impressing the beer-guzzling death metal crowd tonight. Despite their homeland being particularly renowned for its '80s thrash metal, this support adopts a modern thrash sound with guitar leads tilting towards the melodic and clean. Formed in 2003 and with two full-length releases to their name, the band has managed to stand out from among the plethora of modern thrash collectives with both of their albums on Napalm Records. An assortment of tempos are rifled through, vocals embody brash barks and guitar riffs have a technical tinge to them that arm the four-piece with more substance than the typical party thrash affair. Their exuberance of stage is something that has vanished with plenty of older bands and maintains the audience's attention throughout. Cooking up songs such as 'Soul Erazor', 'Awake the Riot and 'Agent Thrash', Dust Bolt's reappearance back in the capital is a welcomed one that has certainly added a new crop of admirers to their fanbase.

Next up is home-grown thrash metal act M-Pire of Evil withMantas and Demolition Man, former members of Venom. Those familiar with M-Pire of Evil's live shows know to expect Venom anthems to appear heavily on the setlist and the likes of 'Die Hard', 'Black Metal' and 'Welcome to Hell' go down most forcibly with the crowd as the tides of mosh pits are testament to. However, given that the audience is composed of death metal denizens, perhaps the lack of familiarity and visible reservation among sizeable chunks of the punters suggest they are not Venom fans. M-Pire of Evil's own material is very comparable to Venom's most recent full-length ventures with a dark atmosphere in their guitar riffs and an overall clean sound, compared to other thrash acts, that simultaneously encourage frenzied headbanging. Songs like 'Hell to the Holy', 'Parasite' and 'Black Legions' are thrashing tracks that translate formidably in the live environment and get the juices flowing before the headliners usurp the stage.

With emptyspace on the floor of the Electric Ballroom scarce, Tampa death metallers Obituary launch their well-practiced attack with the short but sharp'Centuries of Lies' from new album 'Inked in Blood'. Bristling with dirty riffs, muscular rhythms and John Tardy's inimitable vocal snarls, the Americans take off with a clamorous start, complete with mosh pits erupting on the first note. Despite having clocked up over a quarter of a century of existence, this extreme metal troupe employs a youthful stage presence with plenty of movement and headbanging, brimming with sincere enthusiasm.

The lion's share of the setlist is assembled from old school death metal favourite 'Slowly We Rot' and 2014's 'Inked in Blood', Obituary's first album in five years. New songs 'Violence', 'Visions in My Head' and 'Violence' illustrate Obituary's loyalty to their trademark sound, still teeming with late '80s death metal purulence attached to the paralysing tempos of doom metal with Tardy's agonising yelps (possibly the most recognisable death metal vocalists). Naturally, the primogenial songs provoke the strongest reactions from the fans with 'Intoxicated' featuring its fairly varied guitar work from Trevor Peres and Kenny Andrews, the slightly dizzying 'Til Death' with its dose of Celtic Frost influence and the thrashy 'Bloodsoaked'. Surprisingly, sophomore album 'Cause of Death' is only represented with 'Infected' while 'The End Complete' sees 'Back to One', 'Dead Silence' and 'I'm in Pain' culled from it tonight. Kudos to Obituary for varying their setlists and dropping some of their beloved tracks in favour of others though.

With 'Dead Silence' seeing Obituary leave the stage in an abundance of cheers from the crowd, it is clear that the night has not concluded yet. Sure enough, the encore begins with a drum solo from Donald Tardy before it breaks into a one-two punch of new material 'Back on Top' and 'Inked in Blood'. 'I'm in Pain' shows its face before Obituary blast out their most popular song - it is of course the skull-stomping 'Slowly We Rot', still performed with such bombast. This is the perfect way to round off the weekend and Obituary should feel proud that they have once again decimated London.

article by: Elena Francis

published: 04/02/2015 13:21


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