Akercocke live review – London, Underworld

A celebratory return for the UK death stars Akercocke, live in London

Abercocke live in London 2016

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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 [7] pick up the devilishly dandy baton and progressive flourishes to occasionally over-fussy ends while still winning the crowd over; THE KING IS BLIND [7] take a groove-laden, route one approach as compulsive as it is uncouth. Shorn of the iconic suits – and the overt Satanism – AKERCOCKE [9] 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.

Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.