Doom Over London V

Asphyx and Forgotten Tomb headline a day of devastation

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After battling with the football crowds and arriving a little way into Crypt Lurker’s [8] set, their nasty cavernous rumble seems to sum up perfectly the atmosphere of slow-moving aggression and volatile behaviour in the area today.

A candlelit stage adorned with skulls, chains and other charnel house memorabilia instantly captivates the audience and the slow ritualistic throb of filthy blackened death metal sets a morbid tone to begin proceedings for the day. Topping off proceedings with a superb cover of Beherit’s Gate of Nanna, which sounds as if these Liverpool warlords wrote it themselves after an all too short performance, the band exit stage leaving the crowd craving more.

The always dependable locals Serpent Venom [7] swing right into their trademark sound of perfectly executed traditional doom with a bombastic heavy metal swagger. Ploughing straight into newer material from the bands latest opus Of Things Seen and Unseen, the band seem to be having the time of their lives onstage. Vocalist Garry Ricketts’ pleading howls and sermon-like warnings fill the entire venue and the band infects the audience with a trancelike groove with not a moment wasted for these true masters of their craft.

A quick dash to the smaller stage sees local powerhouse Witchsorrow [7] heading straight into the superbly satisfying gallop of There Is No Light, Only Fire from the forthcoming album, a perfect style of Venom brawling with Omen and an antidote to break the spell of the previous, slower-paced bands. The power trio are still glowing from a recent stint in the studio and their brand of old-guard doom metal is a refreshing, back-to-basics dirge played with total dedication to the forefathers of the genre. Extra points to frontman Necroskull for the fringed jacket.

Back to the larger Dome stage, ex-Cathedral axeman Gaz Jennings and his NWOBHM-inspired doom’n’roll unit Death Penalty [7] seem to suffer from a murky sound that takes the shine off one the most highly anticipated bands of the day. Thankfully these veterans forge on undeterred and eventually any gremlins in the sound are banished to give Gaz the spotlight to showcase his guitar heroics. Despite a dwindling crowd due to the venue’s frustrating door policy that forces many to seek immediate nourishment before being denied re-entry, the band close with She Is A Witch from their flawless debut album and rightfully receive a wild ovation.

Following on from mostly British bands thus far, France’s Funeralium [8] bring proceedings to a more dismal level, with their cacophony of death metal and funeral doom perfectly filling the smaller stage. Sharing members of Ataraxie makes them no strangers to Doom Over London and the change of pace seems a welcome for those craving for more misery. Lengthy swathes of bleak death metal are dragged out at a tortured pace that stands in stark contrast to the more upbeat bands of earlier in the day.

The sudden exodus from the smoking area and all corridors towards the Boston Arms stage clearly marks that its time for Italy finest, Forgotten Tomb [9]. Transcending to higher realms of a more grandiose windswept intensity of funeral doom, the band are unmatched by their peers for pure intensity and the tightly packed crowd soak up every moment. Melodic death metal style tempests wind down into sombre moments only to rise back up into more epic shifts in tempo and leave spectators thoroughly mesmerised.

By the time Dutch death metal heroes Asphyx [9] take stage the crowd is appropriately inebriated enough to give them a heroes welcome and baying for some well needed up tempo aggression. Despite Vocalist Martin Van Duren possessing one of the most tormented voices in death metal, he is beaming with energy and smiling enthusiasm and instantly connects with the crowd. Classics from The Rack incite a brawling most pit and slower numbers are thrown in for good measure. A perfect ending to another Doom over London and a solid showcase of such variety in a genre that can often be considered one dimensional and over saturated. The strangely happy atmosphere throughout the day from both audience and musician is a true testament to the devotion and organisational skills of the hosts.