PREVIEW: Blackwood Gathering 2015

Taking place in the rugged wilderness of Cumbria, The Blackwood Gathering offers a unique chance to witness some of the best Black Metal around both domestically and internationally. Situated in the Fell Foot Wood and nestled away in the picturesque English Lake District, Blackwood overlooks a vast Lake Windermere with an outdoor performance area. The rituals take place on the 2nd and 3rd of October and we cannot wait. Below are some of the bands we urge you to check out if you are making the trip up to the old north.

The Blackwood Gathering is shaping up to be a real treat this year and one of the bands we are looking forward to the most is Woddrea Mylenstede on the Friday night. Hailing from Yorkshire, this little gem of UK Black Metal are well worth checking out, and as part of George Proctor’s (White Medal) Legion Blotan label you can already imagine the type of music on display here. Raw yet melodic with a punky edge to the riffing, creating that dirty, cold sound that just reeks of the North of England. For Friday night’s headliner we look North again as much like their Jacobite ancestors SAOR march South from the misty highlands, (well, Glasgow) but this time they will conquer! Bringing an arsenal of Gaelic, folk-inspired Black Metal and coming off the back of two fantastic records, SAOR have some solid material. Laced with heaps of atmosphere and folk influences to make your Celtic blood stir with pride, they bring an oftentimes beautiful yet sombre Black Metal styling reminiscent of bands like Yggdrasil and definitely some of the best Folk Black from this isle. "Saor Alba!"

Next up, Mountains Crave bring their sweeping atmospheric Black Metal to the gathering on Saturday. Hailing from Leeds and coming off the back of last year’s self-titled EP, Mountains Crave will take to the stage with some exceptional material behind them. With a sound somewhere between Winterfylleth and Agalloch and with some very deep and well thought out song writing, expect some majestic and beautiful Black Metal - extremely fitting for the gathering’s woodland surroundings. Also worth a special mention are Stonebearer, who will be providing the interludes between bands across the two days in the form of acoustic renditions of Moonsorrow songs! Personally I have always been a big fan of the Finnish Pagan Metallers so to hear acoustic versions of Moonsorrows material will be a real treat, not only that but what a fantastic idea from the organisers. It will really add to the atmosphere and setting of what's shaping up to be a fantastic two days of music.

Saturday brings us London’s own Lychgate who are quickly becoming a force in the European Black Metal scene, following the release of their second opus An Antidote for the Glass Pill. Lynchgate are heading off on a tour around mainland Europe shortly with American occultists Nightbringer, but before those festivities they’ll be gracing the Fell Foot Wood with their weird and organ driven brand of the blackest arts. Masterminded by Greg Chandler of Esoteric fame and T. J. F. Vallely of Macabre Omen (Who produced one of this year’s finest moments in Gods of war – at war), Lychgate’s sound is one of many layers and uses the organ as a focal point of the sound as opposed to an accompaniment, which should be a real treat to see if they can pull off their complex and haunting sound in such an intimate setting. Not a band to be missed, particularly for those who like their Black Metal more technical.

Saturday’s Headliner is a real gift, with self-professed ‘audial vessel of delirious madness’ the mighty Urfaust finally return after five long years to bring their Intoxication ritual to the clochards of the British Isles. With the band choosing their live dates selectively, it’s truly a treat to have them play the UK in general, never mind in such an intimate and perfect setting for them to perform their ritual. For those unfamiliar with Urfaust’s unusual styling, their sound is not too easy to describe. The two man outfit produce a grim, melancholic, fuzzy mid-to-low-tempo buzz with some of the most deranged vocals around, bordering on manic rambling looseness. Being Black Metal’s ritual drinkers their Intoxication rites are best experienced through an intoxicated lens, which I am sure those in attendance will surely oblige. Urfaust are not to be missed, as they are quite simply one of the best bands in the underground and due to their cult status have surely brought in attendees from all over country so make sure you are properly lubricated and ready to be whipped into a trance by Urfaust’s Lo-Fi Black Magick Praise Intoxication & Hail Possession!

We’ll be arriving at The Gathering on Friday afternoon for a weekend of Black Metal and Northern ale. Or is that the other way around? Lookout for the cult symbol and for our cameras, and come and say hi!



Artist - Jesters of Destiny
Title - The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown
Label - Ektro

Thirty years after Jesters of Destiny arrived, dropped Fun at the Funeral and disappeared back into the night, they’re finally back with a second full length release courtesy of Ektro Records, and whilst it could never live up to first album, the eccentricity of the band shines through once more and it’s a crazy ride from start to finish. Pick it up on April 4th!



Artist - Hammerfest IX
Date - 23rd- 26th March
Venue - Pwllheli, Wales  

One of our main highlights of the year, this month we’re off to Wales for Hammerfest, HRH’s Heavy Metal flagship. With the return of two Power Metal titans alongside a host of others, this year looks to be one of their best ever. We’ll be covering the whole festival and conducting interviews as well so lookout for the cameras!