Death Angel – Underworld, Camden
My penultimate gig of 2013 arrived and I found myself at the Underworld in Camden for a night of old school thrash. The Underworld is a 500 capacity venue and is ideally suited to rock and metal gigs. What is also particularly pleasing about the venue is that the bar is located in a different part of the building to the auditorium, which allowed me to focus on the music without being disrupted by those in need of booze flavoured beverages.
I arrived too late to catch to catch Italians Adimiron but did catch fellow countrymen Extrema’s set. Apparently these guys have been around as long as the headliners but I have to admit that my knowledge of Italian metal is limited to Lacuna Coil and Fleshgod Apocalypse and I was unaware of them. Extrema delivered a strong set of Pantera style thrash with vocalist GL Perotti animated throughout. His vocal delivery is very much in the Anselmo mode, snarling and guttural and large amounts of audience encouragement. The band played eight songs from their catalogue of albums including a couple of tracks from their latest release The Seed of Foolishness. A relatively sparse crowd gave Extrema a pretty positive response with the front row warming up for the evening with a cracking display of wind-milling. The band closed with a track called From The 80s which was probably an apt summary of the entire evening. 7/10
The main warm up quickly followed in the shape of German thrashers Dew Scented. Now if you like your thrash, Germany is possibly THE place to look to. The likes of Kreator, Destruction and Sodom have long been leading lights in the thrash movement and Dew Scented are of a similar ilk. And they were damn good too. Decent thrash does exactly what it says on the tin and Dew Scented didn’t deviate from what you would have expected, producing a fine 40 minutes of powerful and groove laden Germanic thrash which was appreciated by the crowd which had by now increased substantially. Opening with Sworn to Obey, Dew Scented made it clear that they meant business. Twin guitarists Rory Hansen and Marvin Vriesde laid down riff after riff along with some excellent soloing. Driving the band forward were the rhythm section of drummer Koen Hefst and Dutch bassist Joost Van Der Graft who was celebrating his 40th birthday. Later in the show Van Der Graft was covered in beer whilst the crowd sang a quite awfully out of tune ‘happy birthday’ to him. The focal point of Dew Scented is clearly frontman and original member Leif Jensen. Not only does the man possess a decent set of pipes, his interaction with the crowd was pretty impressive too with Jensen very keen to say thank you to all of the hardy souls who turned out on cold but dry London evening and constantly encouraging the formation of the inevitable circle pits.
Dew Scented have been around since 1992 and have released eight albums, all bizarrely starting with the letter I. Highlights from their set included Never To Return and the fast paced Thrown To the Lions from the 2012 release Icarus. Closing with Acts Of Rage from 2003’s Impact, this is a band who would go down a storm in the tent at BOA. Well worth checking out if you like a decent bit of thrash. 8/10
No messing about from Death Angel. Storming Straight Into Left For Dead from this year’s quite exceptional The Dream Calls For Blood, the Bay Area thrashers made it clear from the start that their only UK date on the European tour was going to be a memorable one. Anyone who witnessed their excellent set at BOA this summer would be aware of exactly what was going to be served up. Another track from TDCFB followed, Son Of The Morning before the first cut from their Debut album The Ultra Violence followed. Mark Osegueda is one of the most engaging front men I’ve ever seen, and as well as being able to deliver vocally in the live setting, he appeared genuinely grateful that there was a healthy turnout. Grateful I hear you ask? Indeed, because this was on the same night that a certain Black Sabbath were packing out the O2 arena not a million miles away. This meant that this was really a diehard crowd who were extremely engaged with the band. Over the next hour and a half Death Angel proceeded to deliver a quite brutal set combined of some older classics such as Thicker Than Blood from the Art Of Dying, Sonic Beatdown from the underrated Killing Season integrated with further tracks from TDCFB. Original guitarist and clearly the beating heart of Death Angel Rob Cavenstany was in particularly inspired form, shredding like crazy whilst maintaining the cool stage persona that he has always maintained. He was ably aided by Ted Aguilar on stage left along with the ripped Damien Sisson on bass and Will Carroll on drums. Death Angel have always had numerous time changes in their writing and their tracks contain intricate technical aspects not always associated with this genre. The evening flew by with one of the more interesting highlights a truncated cover of Love Gun by Kiss. A quick breather at the end of the main set was quickly followed by the killer encore of Lord Of Hate and Thrown To The Wolves which saw a final circle pit run for the entire the length of the song. Osegueda thanked the crowd several times during the show and provided a lesson in the art of being a metal front man. Death Angel are a band who should have been much bigger than they are in the UK. Tonight was an excellent reminder of the technical excellence that set them apart from many around them when they burst onto the scene in the late 1980s. 9/10