It’s a quiet Sunday evening at the recently resurrected Unicorn in Camden. Once threatened with (and hit by) closure last year, the venue was brought back to life by the remnants of the old team and restored beyond its original glory (hello, new and improved sound desk and system! Finally we can hear those vocals!), to what is now a stellar and well-loved, free entry music venue. Bands and music fans alike rejoiced and, since its reopening earlier this year, have been attending the bar in full force every week without fail.
Which is why it’s somewhat surprising to see a modest crowd here tonight. Alas, it’s a Sunday. Nevertheless, tonight shapes up to be a killer night of crusty, blackened death, thrash and full jacket metal groove, kicking off with All Consumed.
The Preston based death/thrash metal merchants for want of a less cliched description, take absolutely no prisoners from the offset. Seamlessly blending classic death metal with the primitive aggression of thrash, beautifully smashed out by drummer Dave by way of captivating time signature switches and complementary drum riffs, these guys reek of slick tightness and a well thought out concept. Darren on vocals and guitar glows of brutal proficiency, power and overall heaviness that grips your innards and twists them with pure deliciousness.
Every tune is a banger, the foursome ooze professionalism and present shedloads of heavy, addictive groove. Appearing at the Unicorn as part of an ongoing tour in support of their newly released album, Birth of Ruin (available on Bandcamp), it is evident that All Consumed were about to go and impress audiences all over the country. It’s no surprise that they were crowned the winners of Metal 2 the Masses in 2014.
Death metal powerhouse Annunciation is a band I’ve personally had the pleasure of seeing live a number of times. The hard working lads of this act are, as individuals, highly talented musicians with a fantastically dynamic idea. They have a tonne of potential and tonight, they regularly expose glimmers of greatness in the shape of Deano’s relentless guitar riffs, impressive musical structures and Ted’s cleverly interwoven basslines. They also take hold of the stage and tear it up with their overbearing presence.
However, since competing in this year’s (and reaching the finals of) London’s Metal to the Masses competition, their vocalist parted ways with them, meaning Total Consumption’s guitarist Matteus filled in on throat duty tonight and has been for a number of shows. He is more than capable of taking this position (although the band is currently auditioning for a permanent vocalist), but overall Annunciation lack in fluidity and overall solidarity. We were treated to their debut EP release earlier this year, which really shows the world what they are capable of and once they have become a tight live unit again, there will be no stopping them.
Now for tonight’s headliners, Dgorath. From the onset it is evident that we will have our eardrums penetrated, skin shredded up and organs rearranged (metaphorically speaking) by this act’s refreshing bastardisation of black, grindcore, crust and death metal genres. Dgorath is a melting pot of all of the most impressive and enjoyable elements of the heaviest of metal, and where it may not sound as though it would work on paper, once again we are shown that where highly proficient musicians are involved, almost anything is possible.
Monadth on drums is an impeccable player, with extremely high levels of technical ability that glow from the back of the stage like a beacon of blast beats, D beats, complex black metal styling and a confidence in talent that is luckily showcased regularly (Monadth also plays drums with Sewer Trench, and bass with Satlan). Vocalist Hadley forgoes the stage in favour of consistently pacing up and down on the floor in front of it, making use of that cursed space that gig attendees are guilty of creating, and enigmatically screams his way through each song.
The intensity of their performance never once relents, with classic and modern black metal guitar riffs courtesy of Adrijus consistently cutting through and bringing everything together. Extremely well rehearsed with a sound that is quite incomparable to anything else that can be seen in London at the moment, Dgorath should be kept under close watch.
Photos by Danni Garner Photography