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Friday 20th September 2013
Islington Academy in London, UK
Reviews & Photography by Nicholas Dishington
The third night of Black Dahlia and co’s tour makes its appearance at the O2 Academy Islington, a rather curious venue set in a shopping centre… but once you’re inside the memories of H&M and French Connection quickly fade. It’s not long before we’re treated to our first band and for the many who are turning up fashionably late, they’re missing a treat. To put it simply, Revocation are Metal with a genuine Rock n Roll attitude. The four Yank lads play flawlessly and are clearly enjoying themselves in the process. Tracks like 'Invidious', whilst remaining very heavy, have such a bouncy rhythm that judging from the crowd (and myself) it's impossible to keep your head still. Vocalist David Davidson's mid-set request for a circle pit unfortunately falls a little flat due to a lack of willing participants although the ones who are in make up for it in effort. A couple of songs later and set closer 'No Funeral' perfectly encompasses the mood of tonight’s show so far, completely fun and devestatingly in-your-face. In fact, without provocation this time a much more successful circle pit breaks out. I’d say the mood was warming up nicely, mission accomplished!
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Soundchecks, the necessary evil of gigs during which you must sit through random riffs and a lot of piercing drum hits so that the proceeding brutality will sound exactly right. While this check is extremely long (and carry Aborted well over their allotted start time), at least vocalist Sven "Svencho" de Caluwé's screams of "PISS, COMIN' OUTTA MY ASS!" provide a little entertainment. This doesn’t end there and, after much back-and-forth between them and the sound guy, they're left one guitarist down for an unexplained reason. You'd expect suddenly missing one member would cramp the performance of such an intense group but, in reality, as they open with 'Meticulous Invagination', the sound remains no less full. As the show progresses through similarly charmingly named tracks such as 'Coronary Reconstruction' and 'Fecal Forgery', you'd be quick to forget the missing member. The bounciness of Revocation's riffs are blown away by the Belgian (now) four-piece as Aborted bring a more traditional Death Metal sound to the evening. Vocalist “Svencho” looms over the audience in a truly intimidating way but, typically far from being scared, the gig-goers that are present love it. One fan attempts to crowd surf but, with still such a sporadic punter coverage, it results in his friends simply just chucking him over the barrier. 'The Origin of Disease' ramps up the fury another notch, special note going to some especially intense drumming from Ken Bedene, besides the fact he appears to be wearing a Spice Girls t-shirt (I could be incredibly wrong there - in my defence, if I'm not correct, it's pretty dark back there). Towards the end of the set the academy is starting to fill nicely to witness Aborted's explosive finisher, 'The Saw & The Carnage Done', a blistering track from their 2003 effort, 'Goremageddon'. It's been an exhausting performance and not in a bad way; no less fun for the missing guitarist but I’m left wondering how this could've possibly been made more intense if he'd been involved.
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The Black Dahlia Murder at Islington Academy, London, UK, 20th September 2013
Photograph copyright © 2013 Nicholas Dishington - www.metal-discovery.com
Aside from running late, the evening has been solid so far and I'd be surprised if it'd take The Black Dahlia Murder to ruin that. The venue has become packed to the brim during the interval due to many late arrivals, so much so it’s difficult to move. Without any pretence, they take to the stage and break (well, shatter) the ice with 'In Hell is Where She Waits for Me', full of vigor and musically tight - this frenetic start sets a standard for the rest of the set. It doesn't take long before realising the sound is pretty muddy, unfortunately leaving very little distinction in the songs - the band’s performance however is another level. 'Every Rope Has a Noose', 'Unhallowed' and 'Moonlight Equilibrium', among others, pass by in a flurry of furious, hyperactive energy. This energy is reflected ten-fold by the crowd who clearly don't give a crap about the sound and are intent on having a good time. One thing that surprises me is the lack of light-heartedness from the band. I know Death Metal isn't known for its humorous japes but I’ve heard The Black Dahlia Murder have something of a reputation for being one of the more fun bands in the scene. That said, with the previously mentioned limited time it's understandable they'd need to storm through the set to cover everything. Vocalist Trevor Strnad does orchestrate the crowd at various points as if he's conducting a symphony but that's about as far as the weirdness goes. In many ways, personally, it’s preferable as, throughout the set, you’re dominated by the chaotic nature of the music rather than any silliness. With tracks later on such as ‘Into the Everblack’ and the savage ‘Deathmask Divine’, the focus is directly on making as much noise as possible. Finale ‘Map of Scars’ leaves a mighty mark on the evening with its triumphant instrumental passage at the very end being both stomping and epic.
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