I’d been really impressed by the French band's latest release, Empires Of Mediocracy so despite the attraction of a night in after two nights at Fuel I headed West to Creature Sound, a music venue in Swansea for another night of heavy music.
It's actually easier for me to get to Bristol than Swansea but a event free drive saw me arrive about 30 minutes after advertised start. Luckily things were running late and so I was there in time to catch the opening act. First up in a sparsely populated room was Metal To The Masses hopeful outfit Rapture's End (5). The local five piece had been drafted in at the last minute and despite their ragged approach they do have some promise. Musically the lightest band on the bill, they put together a reasonable set which at times saw only guitarist Tom and drummer Chris on the stage. Singer Annie decided that being off stage gave her more room to flex the vocal chords as she strode back and fore across the front of the stage. For those who are unaware, the band's sound fuses hard and heavy rock with punk tinged elements. The local support was typically partisan and spurred the band on and If I have one criticism it would be that their songs are a little similar in style and sound. Whilst this was a local show with a relaxed atmosphere, they will need to tighten up their game substantially if they are to progress to the semi finals in Cardiff.
Ylem Darkul (5) had supported Dunkelnacht through their four date tour and their raw black metal fitted the bill. I’d seen the band in Fuel at Winter Eradication where they had failed to impress. A full complement at least allowed them to open up their game but there is still very little to get excited about. I’d have expected them to have been a bit more cohesive but as it was there wasn’t a lot to really hold the attention. Maybe I’m just missing something because the Bristol band worked hard with a small crowd.
Two night's earlier Sepulchre (7) had delivered a rock solid set which had been sufficient to send them through on a wild card at the first heat of the MTTM. Led by Darren Evans, a veritable whirlwind of energy and pure metal style, the band blasted through a short but potent set, which included tracks from both their fine EPs. Betrayed By God and Scriptures Of War were again ferocious and incited minor action within the small but energetic gathering. As in previous viewings, the drumming of Aimee Coppola once again impressed as she held everything together tightly, rightly drawing a huge cheer at the end of the set from Tegaarst Dunkelnacht. Sepulchre stick tightly to the thrash path but do it in such a way you cannot fail to be entertained by them. A good warm up for the main event.
Although running 30 minutes behind the advertised times, as this was a free entry gig you couldn’t really complain. The French band Dunkelnacht (9) were a different class to what had gone on before them. With a decent catalogue of tracks to play from, they kicked off at high speed and for the next 60 minutes delivered a masterclass in blackened death metal. Tighter than Steel Panther’s spandex, the band were on point from start to finish. Triggers were hit on cue, smoke and lighting synchronised perfectly as Tegaarst hammered his double bass set up. The band played as if headlining Wacken, vocalist M.C. Abagor constantly urging more action on the floor. Flanked by guitarist Heimdall and the intensely focused bassist Alkhemohr, M.C Abagor dominated the centre stage with superb presence.
New tracks from Empires Of Mediocracy sounded solid despite their relative freshness and as the set progressed it was impossible not to become more absorbed in the professionalism on display. As the band hit their final song I grabbed a shirt a copy of their latest album before heading out of the door and the drive back East. Despite the poor turnout, which I calculated was about seven punters who didn’t actually belong to one of the bands playing, this was a good evening headlined by a superb outfit who I would love to see again in the near future.