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Ancient Ascendant are a breath of fresh air in the UK death metal underground, equipping bulging death metal with a progressive metal edge. The guitar sound was tremendously thick and despite the introduction of progressive elements to their music, there is no melody but a thick groove in the riffing. Although this is an interesting take on intricate death metal, the atonal music is quite a narrow type of metal in terms of experimentation. Many of the songs follow the same paths and offer nothing their other songs do not have. Nonetheless, some members of the audience vicariously enjoy it so Ancient Ascendant's solid ideas struck the right chords with some present.
Saturday 21st November 2009
Camden Underworld in London, UK
Divine Chaos have been breaking themselves clear among the UK underground scene, culminating with further exposure at Bloodstock this summer. Their fusion of melodic death/thrash metal is not particularly interesting but the stage presence of the band from Slough is infectious and helps in winning over the approval of the small audience. Melodic leads are paired against roughened metal to create a good, harmonic balance of opposing forces. Divine Chaos come across as less amateur as those from a similar background, both in the live environment and in terms of musicianship. Practice makes perfect and it would not be surprising for this lot to eventually release a solid full-length in the future.
Reviews by Elena Francis
Somewhat more advanced in experience in the metal scene is Sweden’s Skyfire who replaced Traces – the original band on this bill. It seems unusual that they are supporting Fleshgod Apocalypse given the fact that they have four albums against Fleshgod Apocalypse’s debut released this year. There were certainly more Skyfire t-shirts adorning members of the audience than Fleshgod. Anyhow, the Swedes opened with the title track from their new album ‘Esoteric’ to a flurry of cheers and appreciation. Quite strikingly, the keyboards are taped and this seems like a curious idea as opposed to having an actual keyboard player in the live line-up because the instrument is so prominent on their CDs. Live, the keyboard disappears into the background. Nonetheless, an unfettering performance is delivered as the band, with great relish, launch themselves into songs from the new release and a couple from ‘Spectral’ exclusively. They come across as lively and enthusiastic in ensuring that the audience have a great time while they are on stage. It feels like the band are taking a risk in choosing ‘Under a Pitch Black Sky’ to close the set, being a new number the audience are less familiar with but the performance of searing melodic death/extreme power metal punctuates the evening with some very much welcomed variety.
It seems shameful that Fleshgod Apocalypse take the stage to a less-than-half-full Underworld. The gig has been vastly under-attended throughout the night, in spite of good promotion and the concert falling on a Saturday. Sophisticated structured death metal is the order of the night as the Italian quartet pounds the venue with intense and calculated brutality. Most of the songs from their debut ‘Oracles’ are performed; ‘In Honour of Reason’, Sophist Demise’ and ‘Infecting the White Throne’ are all played blisteringly well and go down strongly with the audience. Vocal duties are divided among all three of the standing members, meaning a formidable amount of vocal variation. There are substantial measures of technicality adorned by Behemoth-style relentless riffing. Of course these attributes of the music contrast harshly to the beautiful and virtuosic classical sections the band breaks up its album with (obviously, these are taped live). Closing the set is the sublime ‘Requiem in SI Minore’ which the crowd gobbles up and then promptly beg for more but that is the end for Fleshgod Apocalypse. But those desperate for more can wait for next year when the sophisticated Italians return to UK shores again with Suffocation. Good stuff.