The Asylum, Birmingham – 05/04/2019
Review and Pictures by Sheri Bicheno
Having just had my chat with Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh – myself, Jim Beerman and Dave Wilkins headed into The Asylum to get our metal on.
The Asylum downstairs main stage is dark, big and already starting to get full and down the front at the barrier, a crowd of people eager to get a similar amount of metal on is starting to take shape.
First band Khost are from Birmingham and if you like your doom, these are the guys to check out. They appear on the stage as a two man act with guitars, synths and raw, deep vocals, chanting and satanic growls, like something you’d expect from a horror movie ritual. Their track played live ‘Subliminal Chloroform Violation’ is a clear example of this. Stage presence is kept dark and smoky with an air of mystery about them. The drawn out, deep and bassy strings deliver an intoxicating feeling with the growling and backdrop of chants and cymbals. I really enjoyed watching these guys perform and liked that the doom and elements of black metal were not compromised.
Whilst waiting, Jason Mendonca goes along the front line and addresses everyone to ask if they are “READY FOR SOME METAL”. Behind me, the room has filled right up, jam packed to the very back – moving to another spot would be a challenging option here… and the hype is getting more and more intense as the stage fills with red lights and smoke, a red mist effect, and…
Akercocke take to the stage, Sam Loynes smashes right into the long drone of the keyboard synths and then the guitars and bass are let loose on the low and melodic intro to ‘Horns of Baphomet’. Immediately, Jason’s vocals are delivered to us at their full pelt, it is almost majestic. We get a combination of high growls & beautiful whale song type vocals through lyrics “I can hear you calling” to low & deep growling plus the emotion of the wailing for horrifying effect.
David Gray’s drums are masterful, the backbone of what holds Akercocke in place – everything just fits perfectly with the tempo and pace of vocals, strings and synths. How Akercocke can cram so many elements of their style into each song, from one extreme to the other and make it not sound like it’s thrown together is mind blowing.
We are then taken into the song ‘Verdelet’, it is fast paced and energetic. The pit behind me is already going crazy and the crowd surfers have begun. Everyone is having an utterly wicked time. As the set goes on, we get a proper journey through what Akercocke are about, performance wise. How they blend through tones that are hard, fast, energetic walloping into some gentle, progressive and beautifully paced moments to creating devastating emotion, are displayed throughout.
They enter through a dark mist and the UTTER DESPAIR begins straight off the bat. Behind me, a sea of people are going absolutely mental – this is Anaal Nathrakh’s first home town show for a while and they are welcomed back with so much passion from their viewers. It’s bloody beautiful.
Upon entering the stage, the presence of these guys is something to behold. The utter energy that radiates off the stage… strings and beats just bounce off each other, the pace is ever changing and brings a new vibe around every corner. Dave Hunt’s vocals demonstrate demonic low growls and high pitched wails to a beautifully balanced range… all at once! The concepts that come out in the lyrics are of utter relevance, addressing the global issues of poverty, warfare and depravity.
The live track that stood out for me is ‘Forward’, taken from their most recent album “A New Kind Of Horror”.
Forget your fear, the guns at your back scream
Who gives a fuck if your enemy’s starving?
No place for cowards, up and over
Your country needs you, so start killing”.
Throughout their set, bodies are floating amongst the crowd and pints are flying from every direction. There’s a guy next to me that tries his hand at sitting on the barriers and getting his friends to catch him as he falls – which hilariously and epically fails but, unscathed, he emerges back to thrashing around in the room sized pit behind me… cue where Jim Beerman’s famous “Nathrakhccident” happened… but it’s ok, he found a new tooth. 🙂
If you’re not familiar with Anaal Nathrakh, now is a good time to get your ears into these guys. – mixing elements of progressive, death, black and extreme metal, they are a force to be reckoned with!
Thanks Sheri, sounds like everyone had a fabulous night! If you haven’t then you definitely need to check out all three bands!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.