Thursday, 5 April 2012

Obscura with support at the Camden Underworld

It's been a while coming but I've finally broken my gigging duck in 2012. And a great way to break it at that with a night of pure technical death metal insanity. When I first heard about this 4 band bill I thought damn I will be there like a shot and the ticket price was a bargain as well, at £10 for 4 bands. In the end a decent midweek crowd of roughly 300 or so turned out to witness these tech death magicians go through their paces.

First up were instrumental combo Exivious from Holland. These guys are as smooth as silk with their fluid, easy on the ear technical music. They do work up the odd head of steam but their brand of tech is quite relaxed in the main and allows the music plenty of room to breathe. The fretless bass playing was pretty nice to hear. The sound mix was pretty cool for Exivious. I enjoyed their set but it was obvious that most people were here for the other three acts in the main. A good start anyway for Cynic-lite tech fans.

Gorod got ready and goddamn they started like a freight train with vicious whirling drum and guitar riffs with fat grooves galore. The bass player was a mental nutcase pulling faces like a loon as he played and slapped his bass strings like rubber bands twanging away. The front man is a short haired dude who looks a bit metalcorish but he pulls some mean faces and is quite fun to look at as he gees up the moshers etc. The guitarists are just fucking unreal with snappy, heavy as hell tight grooving. Gorod were fucking immense and I paid them the honour of buying their new CD from the merch stall. Oh yeah and the sound for Gorod was absolutely intense as hell and wrecked my ears good and proper. A monstrous machine of a band.

Next up were uber complex Swedish tech death masters Spawn of Possession. These guys are a little bit more laid back than Gorod were in their on stage demeanour. Their sound was a touch worse than Gorod's and it was quite hard to make it out the bewildering complexity at times as things blurred into a complete note overload. Definitely the most complex band of the night and it was hard to make out the differences between the songs. How in God's name do they remember to play these songs though?? It's a miracle! They were tight as hell but their set wasn't as enjoyable and mental as Gorod's cause the Frenchies were absolutely fucking insane to be honest. Spawn were a tight and lean tech death killing machine but it was not quite their night for me. Lash by Lash from Noctambulant was easily the best and most memorable song.

At this stage we saw that whilst Obscura were getting ready, they were having trouble with one of the guitarist's amps and it had blown and as it turns out a second one had bust too! Finally I was thinking fuck they are going to play with only one guitarist as Christian's guitar didn't work but they somehow managed to find an amp from the Gorod guitarist and finally got that one working. Half an hour later than planned they finally took to the stage, but better late than never I say as they didn't waste a single note. The sound was a sharp as a cutthroat blade as the singer apologised for the delay and they sped through a totally blistering set of manic tech death. The drummer was totally on top of his game with clinical savage blasts but it's the guitarists who shone the most. These guys are just something else to watch. A blur of hair, fingers and wizard level guitar riffs jackhammering away in tight unison. An absolutely awesome sight from my viewpoint. You have to marvel at the skill level of musicians like these although the song writing is not always memorable, they still leave you in awe at their marvellous musicianship.

Obscura went down a storm like Gorod previously and got some pretty hefty pits going. Finally they left the stage at 11.20 or so but the chants for "One More Song!" went up soon and the smiling Germans came back and said their thank yous and the singer said well I'm not gonna introduce this song as you all know it anyway and the epic opening riff from Flesh and the Power it Holds resounded, crisp and clear, over the PA and the youngsters at the from went apeshit and I had a big shit eating grin on my face. I had made my way a little way back and I could hear the spirit of Chuck bounding through the song and their version was awe inspiring and spine-tingling if not even a little emotional. The moshing during the fast sections got pretty intense and the kids enjoyed the hell out of themselves and were bellowing the lyrics to this Chucky masterpiece. Just goes to show how much people loved Chuck's music and how much they still miss him. As the song ended the band got huge cheers and thank yous as the crowd dispersed having witnessed a great night of blistering technical death metal and I dread to think how many riffs were played last night!

Here are the photos.



Spawn of Possession:


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