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Incineration 2016 live review – London, The Dome/Boston Music Room

Tsjuder, Marduk, Dark Funeral and many more bring blast glories to London for Incineration 2016. Read our live review here...

Tsjuder band, live shot

SATURDAY

Now in its third year and still growing, Incineration must be commended for bringing the European extreme metal festival experience to the UK, managing to draw international talent into London for what has become a two-day celebration of all things heavy. Opening proceedings on the main stage are local black metallers SCUTUM CRUX [6]. With a decent crowd in attendance – impressive given the time and the sunny weather – the band tear through a solid set with attitude, though a few more memorable riffs would surely lift their game higher. Featuring Rotting Christ guitarist George Emmanuel, LUCIFER’S CHILD [7] are another relatively new outfit, and their combination of Greek atmosphere and Swedish-inspired groove works very well in the live environment, offering both catchy songwriting and a welcome sense of energy.

In the Boston Music Room, HADES LAB’s [7] brutal death/black is built on the three guitarists’ alternating riffs and frontman Hauron H Kerty’s unstoppable energy. The perfectly executed covers of Gorgasm’s Seminal Embalmment and Sepultura’s Troops Of Doom are a crowdpleasing success. In an era when UK black metal is getting increased international recognition, it is nice to see the forefathers of the scene, HECATE ENTHRONED [8], getting the attention they deserve. A glorious resurrection of mid-90s BM spirit, their familiar synth-and-scream-heavy compositions go down well with both old-school fans and younger acolytes. MITHRAS [7] blast through an array of tracks from their Morbid Angel- influenced repertoire, Worlds Beyond The Veil, a heavy, mystically charged anthem, a notable highlight. AGELESS OBLIVION [8] are the festival’s first progressive metal band, their hypnotic chord progressions and heavy riffs impressing a responsive crowd downstairs.

One of this year’s most highly anticipated acts, TSJUDER [8] blast through their fast-paced black metal hits, including a coruscating The Daemon Throne, as the crowd engages in a set-long moshpit. London death metallers UNFATHOMABLE RUINATION [8] are no strangers to Incineration, and both their speed and technical ability is in full force tonight, songs such as Carved Inherent Delusion proving perfect for the live stage.

Basque old-school brutal death metallers CEREBRAL EFFUSION [7] headline the second stage, their speedy riffs and catchy melodies provoking a small moshpit and a constrained attempt at a wall of death. Despite being another band who started life before many of those here were born, DARK FUNERAL [8] are clearly the major draw of the day, packing out The Dome. A tight, well-honed machine, they are, as ever, an unholy assault on the senses, methodically bombarding the listener into submission with machine-gun beats and icy riffing, providing a satisfying conclusion
to the day’s festivities.

SUNDAY

DE PROFUNDIS [6] have been doing their progressive death/doom metal thing for some time now and are fairly reliable live, but today they are not only battling audience hangovers and good weather but somehow don’t gel as well as usual. DECREPID’s [7] angry death metal vocals, screeching guitars and pounding drums, however, provide the day’s wake-up call. Next up are Belgium outfit SAILLE [7], who lean unashamedly towards the more polished end of the symphonic black metal spectrum on record. Their set here is a bit up and down, perhaps simply due to the nature of the material, but the music seems to benefit from a live setting. LVCIFYRE [8] arguably offer the grittiest, murkiest, most muscular listen of the day, their unpolished but well-composed combination of black and death metal free of any niceties or concessions. It doesn’t always come across as terribly dynamic, but it’s still a convincing display.

Hailing from Barcelona, the progressive black metal quartet FOSCOR [8] lighten the oppressive mood in the downstairs venue, charismatic singer Fiar’s enchanting growls and clear vocals offering a delightful break from the brutality of the previous bands. With their technical death credentials and brutal/slam approach, ORIGIN [8] are clearly coming from a rather different place musically and culturally than most of the other bands at the festival. The contrast seems to work in their favour, though, and they provoke some of the day’s liveliest pit action, their crisp and precise compositions working the crowd into a frenzy.

The Boston Music Room is packed to the brim for Ipswich’s war-obsessed EASTERN FRONT [7]. Musically orthodox they may be for the most part, but they don’t lack for dynamics or emotional pull, and they channel the crowd’s energy as they delve into their 2014 album Descent Into Genocide. Kings of no-nonsense, New York death metal, IMMOLATION [9] are in full force as usual, and after 20 years of touring their live performance remains boundlessly compelling and close to perfection. Blasting through groovy riffs at breakneck speed, thrash metallers BLOODSHOT DAWN [6] unleash a whirlwind of flying hair from the stage and infectious headbanging from the crowd. Deviants both musically and thematically, VOICES [8] offer a captivating live performance to close out the Music Room. Their heavy riffs and progressive guitar tones shift tempos and fry brain cells as they turn urban extremity into a bewilderingly psychedelic experience.

Bringing the weekend to a close is MARDUK [9], and there could be few more fitting bands for the job. Now at a point in their career where they’re spoiled for choice when it comes to material, they optimise the dynamics with a mix of their ferocious, fast-paced numbers and their more creepy, mid-paced songs. Most importantly, their confidence and charisma shines throughout, the Swedes proving themselves masters of their craft. An apt finale for what has been a pretty triumphant event.