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Tuesday 15 August 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Frozen Soul, Celestial Sanctury & Wallowing (Live Review By Matt Bladen)

Frozen Soul, Celestial Sanctuary & Wallowing, Clwb Ifor Bach, 07.08.23

Loud noises, circle pits, crowd surfers, absolute madenss, these are the best ways to describe what the hell happened when Texan death metal, Cambridge death metal and extra terrestrial weirdness all converged on Cardiff just days before Bloodstock festival.

Basically a warm up for the headliners before they levelled the Thursday night at BOA, things started off a little more auspiciously as intergalactic beekeepers Wallowing (8) packed Clwb with their strange frequencies from another dimension. A terrifying visual site, draped in green light and more smoke than a Arnold Schwarzenegger can produce in a humidor. They play noise, crushing, all consuming noise, low, distorted doom riffs, infused with electronics that pierce through any ear protection you may have. When I saw them at Masters Of The Riff, Wallowing blew my mind with their unbridled heaviness, but in Clwb it was the crowd I focussed on as most were dumbstruck by what the hell was going on. Not the sort of thing a death metal crowd would think about as an open but I love the weirdness of Wallowing.

Back on course as the circle pits began in earnest as soon as Celestial Sanctuary (8) hit the stage. The UK death metal rising stars, unleashed the brutal death that's seen them spearheading the new wave of death metal alongside US/Canadian acts like Gatecreeper, Tomb Mold and Undeath as well as paying homage to the mainstays such as Cannibal Corpse and Obituary. With sick gore filled song titles played out with techincal precision and am obsession with causing as many pits as possible, Celestial Sanctuary have cuts from their debut album as well as their soon to be unleashed new record (review coming soon), to take from all of them causing Clwb to descend into chaos. With the death train back on track Celestial Sanctuary made sure that those in camo shorts and sleeveless shirts got to bang their heads.

The madness of Celestial Sanctuary was nothing compared to what Texas death crew Frozen Soul (9) were about to bring to South Wales. If there was a band who embodied the look, sound and sheer force of British veterans Bolt Thrower it's them, though they would say they would rather carry the legacy of Mortician, who's Witches Coven they covered for an encore. Before that though was one of the wildest shows I'd seen at Clwb, including Wolfsbane and Orange Goblin. This one saw stagediveing encouraged by Frozen Souls vocalist Chad Green cueing waves after wave of surfers carried by the crowd. No additional security needed just death metal fans bearing the weight of death metal fans. Despite being from Texas all of their songs are about glacial themes, ice, coldness and darkness much more suited to a Welsh crowd, however the irony is deliberate as these Texans bludgeoned South Wales, genuinely thankful for the big turnout and the warmth shown to them, even though they were far from home.

Biting death riffs, grooving basslines, guttural roars and blast beats, this was a feast of extreme music, with two death metal courses and an alien entree.

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