Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Sonic Obliteration 2013: London Underworld - 4th May 2013

After being off the grid for a couple of weeks now, something I apologise to you guys profusely for, I'm back with a new live review, this time covering my jaunt to London last Saturday for 2013's Sonic Obliteration fest. On the 4th of May 2013 the Underworld played host to 9 extraordinary bands in an entire day of unparallelled death metal carnage. Despite not everything going to plan a good time was had by all and every band performed excellently.

Making a (relatively early) start a little after half past 2, the doors opened and a small crowd of people began to spill into the underworld. I've stated before that I'm not a great fan of the underworld due to the abysmal toilets and the extortionate prices for drinks, but at the same time I was eagerly awaiting a day of windmilling and generally fucking my eardrums up.Straigh away openers Anoxide (6) showed signs of getting the crowd going and had some decent thrash inspired death metal riffs, but with so few people in attendance at the start, their efforts have little effect. The small crowd watches enjoys them regardless. However when Oblivionized (7) take the stage the crowd has easily doubled. After previously hearing this band's EP and being very impressed I was looking forward to their set, and while musically the band is very tight and technical, the high vocals eventually began to grate on my nerves. Despite my personal views on the vocals Oblivionized played a tight set full of their signature "misanthropic deathgrind".

The next band is a band that I've been a massive fan of since the self release of their debut album last year. Portsmouth's Bloodshot Dawn (10) are rapidly becoming one of the biggest names in the UK underground, and for very good reason, they're sick as fuck. Mixing technicality, brutality and plenty of groove, these guys own the stage for their entire set. These guys were a highlight of my weekend on the Sophie Lancaster stage at Bloodstock 2012 and I knew they wouldn't disappoint this time either. These lads deserve every bit of praise they've recieved in their career thus far, they've earned it all and more. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited to see what's in store for Bloodshot Dawn this year.

After a quick change over, Unfathomable Ruination (8) give us a blast of highly technical brutal death metal, with a special mention to drummer Doug Anderson (also of Bloodshot Dawn), who played 2 consecutive sets flawlessly. The one problem I was able to find with Unfathomable Ruination's set was the appalling work by the sound guys. Due to the bass and low frequencies coupled with the underworld's low ceiling and the lack of work by the sound engineers to counteract this, the vocals were almost completely lost in the mix. Regardless, the band gave an excellent performance and turned out to be really great guys. I ended up buying one of their shirts and I must say it looks sick.

Belgium's The Last Shot Of War (5) were not as popular by a long shot. Playing a simplified beatdown based version of deathcore, there were very few who showed any real level of enjoyment in the crowd.

Next up was Finland's Re-Armed (8), who impress the crowd with a few fierce tracks of thrashy death metal from their debut "Worldwide Hypnotise" as well showcasing a few tracks from their upcoming album. The set goes well but after a while people begin to realise the band's set should have ended. This is when things began to go wrong....

After an extra 15 minutes of Re-Armed, my friend and I decided to go and ask the guys in Bloodshot Dawn if merch for the headlining bands would be available, only to be told that none of the headlining bands had arrived yet. This caused us to feel a wee bit uneasy to say the least. Re-Armed continued their set and most were none the wiser. However when Re-Armed left the stage nothing happened, and people gradually began to grow restless, some even leaving. Eventually, around half past 8 (the time Cattle Decapitation were due to finish), something finally happened. Decrepit Birth's frontman Bill Robinson came onstage to explain the situation (some absolute bullshit involving the tourbus company and travel arrangements), causing me to feel a great degree of sympathy. This was of course mixed with fury when he announced that Decrepit Birth would not be playing their first London date in over 5 fucking years due to time constraints. However after a brief discussion with Bill the guys in Decrepit Birth will hopefully work their way back over here soon.

All rights go to the original owners at
Within minutes, Cattle Decapitation (10) were onstage and all was proceeding as if nothing had gone wrong. Despite clearly being angry at being fucked over, the band put on an excellent show for the 25 minutes they play. Travis Ryan truly lives up to the nickname my friends and I have so lovingly given him, "the man of 1,000 growls", showcasing some excellent power and control over his growls, screams and shrieks at all pitches. The entire set is chaotic and magnificent, but "The Carbon Stampede" is particularly memorable due to a spectacular stage dive from Decrepit Birth's Bill Robinson, along with "Forced Gender Reassingment", forever present in my mind due to the frankly gruesome-as-fuck video that was made to accompany it.

At roughly 9:25 Cryptopsy (10) finally emerge and after a brief apology speech waste no time in fucking everyone up within a 100 foot radius of the stage. The set, while again heavily reduced (35 minutes or so) is brutal as fuck and the band fits in some excellent tunes, including a personal favourite of mine from "Whisper Supremacy", "Emaciate". Ending on a high note with the magnificent "Phobophile" from magnum opus "None So Vile", Cryptopsy assure us they'll be back soon and end the night positively.

Summing up, despite the disappointment of not seeing my favourite band of the 3 headliners, and the vastly shortened sets of the other two, this was an excellent day full of death metal and I'm definitely glad I was able to witness this spectacle.

Cattle Decapitation Setlist
  1. The Carbon Stampede
  2. A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat
  3. Testicular Manslaughter
  4. Lifestalker
  5. Your Disposal
  6. Forced Gender Reassingment
  7. Kingdom Of Tyrants

Cryptopsy Setlist
  1.  Two-Pound Torch
  2. Benedictine Convulsions
  3. Emaciate
  4. Worship Your Demons
  5. Graves Of The Fathers
  6. Blasphemy Made Flesh Medley
  7. Slit Your Guts
  8. The Golden Square Mile
  9. Phobophile

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