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Sunday, 4 June 2017

A View From The Back Of The Room: Nargaroth, Absu, Hate (Live Review By Paul)

Nargaroth/Absu/Hate - Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff

It is a credit to the team behind Eradication Festival that this gig went ahead in the Capital. Only a couple of weeks before the event was pulled from Clwb Ifor Bach, allegedly due to poor ticket sales. Eradication stepped in, Fuel providing the host venue and with some strong social media campaigning a reasonable turn out witnessed an evening of rare Welsh appearances from some of the black and death metals heavy hitters. Full respect to Eradication Festival for their efforts.

Belgians Nekrodelerium and Swedes Bloodrocuted were on too early for me to catch them so apologies to them for that. It was Hate (9) that had stimulated my interest in this gig in the first place so I made sure I was in place as the band took to the stage. The biggest turnout of the evening without a doubt witnessed a masterclass in extreme metal from the Polish leviathans.

Crushingly heavy, curiously melodic and at all times intense as hell, ATF Sinner, Pavulon, the imposingly corpse painted bassist Kain and lead guitarist Domin laid waste to the venue with 40 minutes of brutal metal. I'm not an expert on this band by any means, but their new album Tremendum is an epic slab of death metal, with a couple of tracks standing comfortably alongside their older tunes. An excellent reception from the assembled throng made Hate a difficult act to follow.

A thinning of the crowd saw Americans Absu (7) give not one fuck. Opening with a huge entrance, the band's appearance is "interesting" to say the least. Formed in the late 1980s these guys are veterans of the scene and combine massive riffs, doom infected death and thrash with an element of pantomime. With frontman Proscriptor McGovern confined to the drum kit for the opening few numbers, it was initially left to guitarist Vis Crom and bassist Ezezu to provide the visual stimulation. Both had some kind of apocalyptic S&M outfits on with Ezezu playing his bass in what appeared to be a pair of latex bondage gloves!

 McGovern informed us, "Cardiff, we bring you 39 minutes of mythological occult metal", and the band proceeded to do just that. Once McGovern was freed from his percussion duties, the focus was very much on the frontman whose theatrical image (don't mention Ben Stiller in Tropic Thunder) was reminiscent of a death metal Dave Bower. Musically the band are an interesting mix of thrash, death and elements of progressive technical metal. Making use of backing tracks including bagpipes at one stage, tracks such as Circles Of The Oath, She Cries The Quiet Lake and Stone Of Destiny were impressive.

Nothing unimpressive about headliners Nargaroth (8). The German legends are black metal through and through and despite the protestations of main man Rune Ash Wagner that the band are "German hateful and misanthropic metal" these guys delivered a black metal set in all but name. With dry ice and dramatic stage entrances and exits, the band blistered through 50+ minutes of new and old music, including one of the highlights of the evening, the awesome Possessed By Fucking Black Metal from 2001's Black Metal Ist Krieg. This drew in some of the old school who punched the air and formed a small but brutal pit in the tight area front of stage. 

Nargaroth deserve huge credit for delivering a full show, despite the relatively small turnout and the reception was enthusiastic. Pleasingly for all involved, the evening appeared to go down well. Eradication Festival has shown that there is a taste for the more extreme side of metal in South Wales, although as I left a little before the close of the main set, I once more noticed that fewer punters were watching the bands than were outside drinking. For the price of three pints, this was an event which deserved more attention.

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