MALTHUSIAN  may have listened to Deathspell Omega once or twice, but unlike many of the tired, hackneyed rip-offs that have done the rounds over the last half-decade, this lot have done something interesting and individual with it. It’s atmospheric as hell, but there’s a twisted structure to the claustrophobic chaos that makes their brutal evil gripping. The early start means half the ticket-buyers miss it, which is a big loss.
PORTRAIT  are slightly better attended but probably wish they weren’t, as singer Per Lengstedt is obviously ill, his voice sounding thin and weak, and as a result, their set is beyond saving. Their pure-blood metal may have the stylings, licks, riffs, and chops to excel, but it all sounds too limp tonight to get that quality across.
WINTERFYLLETH  have, in this venue, supported the band they borrowed their guitar tone from before, but they have improved significantly since. Their set is far more varied with the The Divination Of Antiquity tracks, and their earnestness is as apparent as ever. That said, supporting tonight’s headliners is a thankless task, as you need to approach a spiritual experience to survive comparison, and Winterfylleth have never quite managed to inspire the transcendence live they do on record.
The problem for every other band here is that PRIMORDIAL  are so obviously extraordinary. It is not just the power of their riffs, or the melodic brilliance of the songs, or the stage presence of Alan Averill. It’s the passion and overpowering sadness of their heavy metal thunder that grips in a way that few other bands can, and throws you completely into the moment so that all other thought is obliterated.
It’s the way they create a sense of unity between them and their audience and the fact that, despite being well into their third decade, they can draw the majority of their set from the last three albums (although Gods To The Godless is stunning), and no one complains. In fact, Wield Lightning To Split The Sun is welcomed almost as passionately as closer Empire Falls. Moist eyes, sore necks and raw throats abound in the aftermath./o:p