The Infernal Sea, Deadwood Lake, Promethean Reign & Saarkoth at Fuel, Cardiff
There were two metal gigs on in Cardiff on this Sunday night - boy band Bullet For My Valentine playing a huge show in the Motorpoint Arena and in the small confines of Fuel Rock Club we had a showcase of the UK black metal scene headlined by The Infernal Sea. It’s safe to say I wasn’t at the Bullet For My Valentine show (you couldn’t have paid me to be there) and I was at Fuel early in the evening to catch all the bands playing.
Despite all four bands falling under the bracket of black metal they all their own different take on the style with each band sounding different to the rest which just shows the versatility of the genre. Opening band Saarkoth (7) had a melodic yet atmospheric style with hugely epic songs in both sound and structure with acoustic intros and some almost celtic sound melodies. They very much reminded me of bands such as Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone and Saor in style which is by no means a bad thing. Unfortunately for the band they are currently without a drummer so had to use a drum track for their performance which whilst not ideal was pulled off effortlessly. A band well worth seeing and hopefully next time with a live drummer which will definitely enhance the live experience.
Next up were Promethean Reign (6) who performed a mix of black metal and death metal bringing forth the viciousness and brutality. Having listened to their Aftó Eínai Pólemos EP the first couple of songs in the set sounded strange and distinctly lacking in something. It turns out that Promethean Reign were also having line up troubles and were down a guitarist and bassist resulting in a far more stripped down sound. The band seemed to grow in confidence as the set progressed and so did the quality with the songs sounded more fully formed and oozed viciousness. Another band I would love to see again with a full line up.
The main support for the evening came from Deadwood Lake (9) who also had an atmospheric and melodic style albeit drenched in sadness and melancholy. The backstory of the band and their music is the death of Gary Powell who was brother of frontman Bruce Powell. All the music is dedicated to the memory of Gary and the lyrics are all based on Gary and the grief felt by his loved ones and it is truly carried forth into the music which is quite frankly jaw-dropping being both moving and poignant but also full of unbridled rage. It truly captures the range of emotions felt when you grieving a loved one. The band manage to capture this perfectly live and performed a spellbinding set with material drawn from their new EP Forgotten Hymns and their previous releases. Truly a band worth hearing and seeing.
Headlining the evening were the fantastic The Infernal Sea (9) who performed an incredible set which was rooted in the classic black metal sound complete with gnarly tremolo riffs, a barrage of blast beats and shit tons of aggression. The band built atmosphere filling the room with clouds of dry ice whilst an ominous ambient pulse emanated from the sound system before hitting the stage and smashing the place to oblivion. Audience engagement was minimal with the band letting the music do the talking and they absolutely took no prisoners with a set gleaned from their two albums The Great Mortality and Call Of The Augur. I had heard many good things about The Infernal Sea and they most definitely lived up to their reputation. All in all it was a hugely enjoyable evening which showcased how strong the underground black metal scene in the UK is right now and how much diversity there is between the bands within the scene. I look forward to more of these shows in the future.