As pleasing as the ongoing reformation of every British metal band ever has been, for the most part it’s just a matter of filling in gaps, getting to see acts you missed the first time round, indulging in a bit of celebratory nostalgia.
The return of Akercocke feels different, like a necessary keystone has slipped back into space. Emblems for an audacious era of UK metal, their first gig back in their native London has drawn a sold-out crowd eager to return to their fray. Both supports, if tangentially, share a history with the headliners.
TALANAS  pick up the devilishly dandy baton and progressive flourishes to occasionally over-fussy ends while still winning the crowd over; THE KING IS BLIND  take a groove-laden, route one approach as compulsive as it is uncouth. Shorn of the iconic suits – and the overt Satanism – AKERCOCKE  are liberated by having no point to prove, other than reminding a room exploding with losing-your-shit exhilaration that they’re still one of the greatest death metal bands of a generation, perverse in many senses. Orgiastic, riot-inducing density gives way to rich, 80s-infused decadence as a sumptuous A Skin For Dancing In, Verdelet’s fevered whorl and an exultant Son Of The Morning become binding rites for a crowd still beholden to the beauty of the Beast.