The Unicorn was a more than appropriate setting for an Isengard Promotions event that brought together the bands Voices, De Profundis, Aeternum and Virophage. This acts share a dark aesthetic in terms of sound, visuals and general presentation, but their individual particularities were what made the experience truly interesting.
Sadly, I wasn't able to get there to see Virophage, a black/dark Metal unit that is able to deliver lots of atmosphere and a mystic quality without losing the mean spirited and hateful aggression of the genre. They are obviously aiming for a sound that pays homage to the originators and pioneers of this style while taking things a bit further in order to present the true spirit of this music to a new generation. Even if I would love to see this effect in a live situation the tracks that they have online are hypnotic enough. Pay them a visit at http://www.facebook.com/virophage/
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I got to The Unicorn right on time to see Aeternum, a band that attacked our ears with a set of violent blackened death Metal, a label used before by the influential Swedish band Dissection, which is an obvious influence to these guys.
The Gibson Flying V and general looks of the guitar player reminded me of the looks early Dissection's Jon Nödtveidt right away, along with the sense of melody and a spirit that is evident in their approach and song titles. However, some of that Dissection finesse is bypassed since Aeternum is choosing a rawer path more in line with the old school black Metal sound.
This rawness is accentuated in their live performance by their organic looseness and the fact that there is only one guitar onstage. It seems like the band is looking for a second guitar player, which in my opinion would do more justice to some of the arrangements and general melodic power of their songs. The use of stage blood and makeup doesn't enhance the performance, but it reaffirms the violent statements of their music. Check them out at http://www.facebook.com/aeternumuk/.
De Profundis was next, and in all honesty they were a true highlight. I had the chance to spin their latest record 'The Emptiness Within' a couple of times during the last few weeks and I was happy to see that the elements of their music that hit me as more creative and engaging translated very well on stage. The live experience of the band members was evident from the moment they started playing and you could tell the chemistry between the musicians and their tightness are qualities refined in both the rehearsal room and the stage.
De Profundis label themselves as 'progressive death Metal' and while this could be accurate, it falls short in describing their music in a proper way. The guitar work was polished and technical, with both guitarists doing lead, rhythm and 'clean' duties, while sharing the intricate aspects of the compositions with the drums and the bass guitar (played here by session bassist Steve Woodcock who was filling in for this particular date).
No instrument is taking the spotlight here and at the end all the elements are thrown together in order to serve the song. Progressive-inclined musicians tend to create pieces that can be strained and explore technical challenges in a mechanical way more related to the sense of discipline of sports, but De Profundis approach their songs with a vision that lets them incorporate those technicalities without losing the fundamental sense of humanity and passion that should always be present in music.
The incorporation of syncopated rhythm patterns and soundscapes (thanks to the warm clean guitar tone) is done in a natural way, especially for the more straight forward death Metal moments. Thanks to this De Profundis can get away with jazzy breaks that take you to another place without sounding forced (The last section of the song 'Release' is impressive, even dabbling into Latin Jazz!!). Check the band's music at http://www.deprofundistheband.com/.
Voices area relatively new band, featuring members of Akercocke(David Gray, Sam Loynes and Peter Benjamin) and presenting a concept that could be considered an extension of their previous band. The first few numbers suffered a little bit while the sound gradually improved, but the audience was eager to see them and got into what the band was playing pretty quickly.
Voices present themselves under the label 'Aggressive Black Metal Erection', but they go way beyond that description, with songs that use the rawness of primitive black metal and its repetitive patterns to create anatmospheric trance-like effect which had the audience immersed and captured by the performance. The mixture of grim screams and clean vocals created a contrast, but both styles were delivered with depth and emotion.
felt that among the raw sound and the crude sex/porn referencesa personal approach and more intimate statements were being made with the music and general concept. The band was really successful in portraying that sense of despair and angst, with a melancholic feeling on top of a fundamental violence that is particularly hateful and ill-natured.
This act will bring a debut record on early 2013, and this performance at the Unicorn was a great preface for the insane intensity that will come from them pretty soon. It is really difficult to grasp the whole concept of a band of this ilk based only on this show and their online material, but their live performance and the songs that they have available through the internet are enough to make me look forward to it. Check them out at http://www.facebook.com/voiceslondon.
Hails to Isengard Promotions and Terrorizer for coming up with this cool event. Video – 'Fragmented Illusions Of Anger'.