REVIEW: Ascension, Bölzer, Destroyer 666, Vassafor & Dysangelium @ The Dome, Tufnell Park, London 22/02/15


“It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”

Venturing from the countryside to London in search of Sin & Dread and finding it is certainly no problem with the now constantly great bookings by London’s Isengard promotions and tonight was no exception with a splattering of Western European and Southern Hemisphere Black Metal on display.

Dysangelium were up first displaying all the traits that a band describing themselves as Orthodox Black Metal are expected to have: Concealed Identities, Incense & Animal Bones. Drawing from the bands two demos and new album Thánatos Áskesis which was released by Germany’s World Terror committee, Dysangelium delivered a brief but exciting brand of rather polished Black Metal. Despite early sound problems the band soldiered on with vocalist Sektarist 0 putting in a deadly vocal performance much to the approval of the gathered throng of London’s most prompt Black Metallers (with Doors being 16:30).

Next up was Vassafor who weren’t a band admittedly I was that familiar with before attending, knowing only that they were from New Zealand. Blurring the lines between Black and Death Metal they were certainly well placed on the bill, displaying the virtues of both genres though a mix of riff heavy and often time doomy metal which was received warmly by the fans in attendance and left me wanting more considering the relatively short set lengths the two opening bands had, but this was understandable on a bill of five bands with three headline calibre acts. Deströyer 666 are usually the best band on the bill, not to mention the headlining act, but to have them sandwiched in the middle of this touring line up was a real treat. Failing to disappoint as always, they opened the evenings proceedings with a new song before leaping straight into ‘A Breed Apart’ and not missing a beat with their individual brand of Black Thrash, although unfortunately frontman KK Warslut was having numerous issues with his guitar that halted momentum (a recurring theme on the night). The band drew from their long standing career in the set, particularly 2003’s Terror Abraxas EP and dedicated ‘Trailed by Fire’ to fallen The Devil’s Blood mastermind Selim Lemouchi before ending the night on a high with a vicious cover of Slayer’s ‘Black Magic’.


After a short turn around and a quick catch up with some acquaintances the smell of incense once again filled the hall as Germany’s most mysterious and acclaimed Black Metal horde Ascension took to the stage with a unique stage set . Comprising of standalone flags, candles and Incense, the musicians faces were blacked save a triangular symbol on their foreheads, which is an interesting take on the now almost standard underground Black Metal look of black hangman’s hoods over leather jackets. Touring off the back of their new release The Dead of the World, the band showcased numerous tracks from this release alongside the more established material from the stellar debut Consolamentum which were all the better for the fine sound the band managed to achieve with each cutting guitar riff suffocating you with the intense and cultic atmosphere that seeps from their every pore. Leaving the stage in complete darkness, the band exited after what felt too soon following a rather static performance featuring the frontman’s weird, white, hippie get up and weak vocal performance as the only negative. As a sidenote I also have a slight suspicion that the bass player is Vanja Šlajh of Triptykon fame...

With the tour being a co-headline jaunt the pleasure was down to Bölzer to close the evening and they duly obliged, treating the masses to a crushing display of raw and savage Death Metal. Having wanted to see the band live for a long time and managing to miss them on every occasion, I was overwhelmed at just how much noise this two man outfit were making. Constantly beating you over the head with infectious riffing and primal drumming, witnessing this all come from a 10 string guitar and a drummer is quite a site. Despite their short career and amidst accusations of overhype & overexposure Bölzer are assuredly the real deal and worthy of the worship bestowed upon them both on record and in the live arena.


Unfortunately the night’s sound gremlins reared their ugly head again and brought an abrupt end to the bands performance. Despite this though the musicianship on display and the ability to portray the technicality and savagery they achieve on record is second to none. Witnessing a band who will be celebrated for years to come was a pleasure and I’d implore anyone who gets the chance to see these two perform to grasp it with both hands. Special thanks to Speers Propaganda for the photos, our photographer has an irrational fear of the south and so sadly couldn’t make it.


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BY DREW McKEOWN
Twitter: @drewemk
Instagram: @drewemk

ALBUM OF THE MONTH-MAR '17

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!



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GIG OF THE MONTH - MAR '17

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!