So on a rather cold night in London, well to be more precise at the Camden Underworld. Three bands amassed all the forces of darkness to splurge out a hellish display of chilly atmospherics, ferocious walls of sound and above all an experience that left the crowd bedazzled as to that they just witnessed.
Carpathian Forest of course have been knocking around for yonks and are no strangers to the Norwegian Black Metal scene having effectively become a part of what was known as the 'second wave'. Naturally headlining a gig would always be second nature to them as they've seen it, done it and sold many t-shirts.
Supporting them was East Anglian troopers Eastern Front and London's very own The Rotted. Eastern Front specialize in singing about the conflict of the same name which took place in the second world war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union at the steps of Stalingrad. The Rotted on the other hand are a Death Metal / Grind unit of whom were previously known as Gorerotted (1997-2008) but subsqeutnly changed their name and had released two well-received albums since then.
Let the mayhem begin.
With the crowd already amassing to bear witness to the onslaught that was about to unfold them, some punters were already questioning why The Rotted were chosen to play owing to the fact that Eastern Front and Carpathian Forest are both Black Metal bands. But surely that need not matter, and it didn't because as soon as the band let out the first riff, an emphatic moshpit emerged as a result, crushing anyone who questioned the band selection in the process.
With beer and other drinks seemingly unable to stay in the cups, it was clear that the band had certainly got the crowd moving, obviously this was going to be a rather epic night. Despite the efforts of the crowd to arouse the band further, it seemed as if they were stuck in third gear for best part of their set and as a result let themselves down (well they won't think that right?).
In fact, there were times where the crowd was unresponsive to the gritty onslaught laid bare by The Rotted, who themselves by 2/3 of the way through their set looked slightly weary - never drink before playing a set... - but for sure they gave it a good old go and despite said effort, they walked away looking slightly demoralized. This certainly was not a performance to remember, even if they offered glimpses of what they're capable of, this simply was not The Rotted whatsoever.
Soon enough it was time for them to give way to the 'War-Torn' Black Metal horde Eastern Front, who by largely got a greater cheer than The Rotted did...
Eastern Front never put a foot wrong and they didn't tonight either, fully amassing their cold and bitter style of Black Metal and slamming it head-first into the unsuspecting crowd, Eastern Front had the crowd up by their balls and boobs... literally. If there was any artillery that could match the sheer power these lads gave tonight, I'd love to know, because the Black Metal delivered was easily greater than a platoon or armada of ships.
With their theatrical aesthetics in tow, that is the powder-covered uniforms, white-painted faces and banners supporting their latest album 'Descent Into Genocide', few would have thought about drawing comparisons between the band and the Norwegian horror film 'Dead Snow' as both are very grim indeed. As For Eastern Front, they summoned their rallying troops in front to mosh and create havoc as the band tore into the darkness with their ear-piercing explosive form of Black Metal. Who'd have thought that this album would be their strongest to date, despite them actually including some songs from their debut album 'Blood On Snow'; one of the songs being the title track.
Rampaging on and with their use of strobe lights to create the am-dram as it were, Eastern Front once again proved themselves capable of joining the very elite within the British Black Metal scene. Soon enough though it was time for them to disembark the stage, pack away their rifles and switch off their ferocious Panzer-attitude for the Norwegians were soon to invade the stage... but not to burn it of course, but to set the motherf*cker alight!
25 years down the line and still going strong, the headliners were primed and prepared to unleash a torrent of Nordic hell. Carpathian Forest ascending the stage, dressed in traditional Black Metal garb, including an inverted cross which Nattefrost gleefully waved about, as if he was conjuring some sort of dark magic or just simply 'christening' the audience.
This is what the punters were duly waiting for and whilst the crowd incessantly moshed, headbanged, downed beers and tried singing to the band, Nattefrost did the unexpected, he leant backwards and fell over only to be showing his bum to the audience; some nearby girls remarked that he had no pants on (well guess who was getting horny, ay ladies?). Despite mooning to the crowd, the real deal was the fact that the band showed no signs of slowing down or indeed stopping.
For a band who has been around for two and half decades, they certainly know what it takes to play on a sensational performance and they did exactly that tonight, there was not one moment where the crowd decided enough was enough, no, instead the moshpits were becoming so uncontrollably violent that at least two punters came out with bloodied heads - kvlt to some, scary to others.
But as the beer was still flowing and the band still playing, song after song the crowd showed no signs of tiring out despite the time clocking on. By the time of the last song, the amount of beer that was consumed probably outdone the amount of beer that was made during the entire gig, it was a tremendous amount. But like most good things, it has to come to an end and as Carpathian Forest disembarked the stage and curfew drew closer, the feeling that the crowd had been to what could be seen as the best gig of the year, was certainly on the table.
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
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