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Thursday, 2 May 2019

A View From The Back Of The Room: Incursion, Blind Divide, In Which It Burns, Black Pyre (Paul H)

Incursion, Blind Divide, In Which It Burns & Black Pyre, Le Pub, Newport

Some familiar faces, a mere £1.70 bus ride and a venue which has great sound (for the audience at least) meant that this gig was one in the diary from the moment it was announced. As it turned out, events prior to the night meant that this gig became a warm-up for the fast approaching Metal To The Masses semi-finals.

Stepping in at the last minute, the lords of the South Wales permafrost Black Pyre (8) who are improving with every outing. Shaking their set list up a little, the corpse painted trio launched into the icy Summoning to appreciative nods from the small but appreciative crowd. Black Pyre are growing in confidence and stature as they continue to gig, and further tracks from their EP and some witty banter from vocalist and guitarist Asbjorn, Daemonium de Noctis once again prompted the right amount of laughter. Introducing the final song, he stated “this is a song about black magic and heresy. It’s called Black Magic Heresy!” before the band concluded their set with the track in fine style. Holding their nerve, commanding the stage and relaxing enough to enjoy the experience – if they can do these things then the Semi-final should be a great night.

I’m becoming increasingly addicted to the Machine Head style of West Walians In Which It Burns (9). Their angry, hate filled thrash ticks all my boxes and the band opened with their usual ferocity. Tight and pacey, the M2TM hopefuls ripped through another neat set which contained tracks old and new. 6341 and the snarling The Creed induced much head banging around the room as the band warmed up nicely. Indeed, by the end of their set, it looked like Stretch, Steve, Vinny and Mikey could have played all night. Despite Mikey telling me afterwards that his monitors gave him nothing back you couldn’t tell as the band gelled nicely. I’m gutted to be missing their semi-final but a tasty support to Ashen Crown at The Gryphon on 11th May suggests my next fix may be closer than I thought.

I’m beginning to run out of superlatives for Cardiff’s Blind Divide (9). Another band who are just getting better with every show, the five-piece can flick the switch to ‘destroy’ and just level venues. Led as always by James Birkett’s roaring vocals, the band are now demonstrating much more movement on stage and used the additional stage space to full advantage. Guitarist Adam Duffield was a blur of headbanging energy, bassist Declan McCabe nodding away as he locked tight with the gurning Anthony Ellis on drums whilst on the other side of the stage guitarist James Ponsford is looking more relaxed with every show, banging his head at every opportunity. Tracks from their soon to be collectable EP are now familiar with Pathfinder particularly brutal but the highlight of the band’s solid set was excellent new track Betrayer which sounded great. If these guys bring their ‘A’ game to Fuel on 18th May, the competition may struggle to live with them. They are that good.

Headlining this fine night as well as organising the whole event, the fabulous Incursion (9), another band who have really upped their game in recent times. Thunderously heavy, the humour and crowd interaction are still very much in evidence, but Jonny, Adam and Robbie can play some bone crushing metal and didn’t disappoint. A mix of tracks included the notorious Hob Nob Song, which provoked the most uncomfortable moment of the night as the volunteer to hold the golden prized digestives was a female member of the audience who was warned, “there may be involuntary touching.” With Blind Divide quickly moving to the back of the room out of harm’s way, it thankfully petered out into a game of catch, but not before Jonny introduced another slightly steamier packet of chocolate Hob Nobs from about his person. Lawsuits averted, Incursion continued to crush and closed with the anthemic Scourge.

This was a fine night, a showcase of some of the best talent in South Wales and with all bands punching hard, the two semi-finals promise to be memorable evenings. You need to be there.

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