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REVIEW: INFERNAL DAMNATION FESTIVAL
A hot, sticky April afternoon hardly provides a grimm, trve and frostbitten backdrop for eight hours of black metal, however, the guys at Arcane Promotions prove on Saturday, April 30th that this can be done – it comes in the form of Infernal Damnation Fest located in the heavily air conditioned confines on The Underworld, Camden.
British black metallers, OLD CORPSE ROAD, kick the event off to a promising start; weaving sections of folk into an unrelenting backdrop of fierce guitar patterns.
Next on are CROM DUBH, meaning ‘crooked and black’ in Scottish and Gaelic, there is nothing crooked about these guys. Straight up metal and a truly heartfelt performance.
PRIMITIVE GRAVEN IMAGE give an impressive performance, charged full of energy and surprisingly fun for such a dark genre. Watching the band members strolling casually around after their performance, still corpse painted up, is a sight that must be seen to be believed.
Fourth on stage are DE PROFUNDIS – their performance is tight and they are clearly well practiced. Not nearly as entertaining as the essay by Oscar Wilde, from which they take their namesake though.
EASTERN FRONT are up next with rather questionable stage gear – banners portraying the band name, akin to those you’d find in Odeon cinemas and more spikes than a Saw movie. Fans of CRADLE OF FILTH and DIMMU BORGIR go mad over this. For fans not driven so much by image this band are a bit hit and miss.
After an hour’s break and backline change, WODENSTHRONE make an appearance. Close your eyes and imagine you are listening to a CD – the music is incredible – open them and be greeted by the sight of a vocalist wandering around the stage, looking rather disinterested, as though he is looking for his car keys. Musically flawless, but never underestimate the power of stage presence.
Contributors to nature compilation ‘Whom The Moon a Nightsong Sings’ play second to last – Austrian ambient metal band, DORNENREICH. The start of their set is acoustic and unfortunately does not work entirely well live. However, this only lasts for a couple of songs and soon they are in the full swing of things and engaging the crowd in a performance that’s bursting with personality. ‘Jagd’ is a definite crowd pleaser.
Headliners, ALCEST, are faultless and beautiful as always; undeniably black metal but with hints of shoegaze and post-rock. Fan favourite ‘Percees De Lumiere’ is well received. Neige is clearly on top form and plays through the entire set list like a well oiled machine. Fans of this French experimental act have come expecting something breathtaking and are not disappointed. They close with ‘Elevation’ – a perfect ending to a near perfect night.