What was meant to be a much needed break of a week or two away from writing reviews somehow spiralled into five months in which Spirit Level lay dormant. In order to throw ourselves back into the game, we felt it was necessary to dive straight in to the deep end with one of the UK's most savage lineups of the year. Last year, the Birmingham lords of extreme metal blew us away at The Black Heart ahead of their sensational new record 'A New Kind Of Horror' which is still one of our most played albums on iTunes. This year, 'Anaal Nathrakh' have stepped things up a notch by returning to London to play a venue over twice the size with a monumental support of fellow extreme metallers 'Akercocke' as well as hardcore newbies 'Ithaca' and electronic duo 'Diamat'.
The Garage 07/04/2019
Kicking off proceedings for the evening are two piece electronic outfit 'Diamat'. Alternating between control over vocal duties and electronics, the duo stalk across the stage inviting you in to their world of chaotic white noise and sermons of Hegelianism. As their set progresses, the beats begin to get more catchy and the crowd start to be won over. Whilst this is not particularly our cup of tea, the fun atmosphere is undeniable although we cannot help feeling that they could benefit from the addition of a live drummer to bring a bit more energy to the live show.
A band that definitely do not have to worry about a lack of energy however are 'Ithaca'. One of the latest additions to the Holy Bible of Hardcore that is Holy Roar; Ithaca may seem like an odd fit on a bill that leans closer to Black Metal than Hardcore, but that does not stop them from throwing everything they have into their performance. Their debut album 'The Language Of Injury' may have only been released a few months ago, but they have already won over a sizeable fan base and tonights show will have definitely won them a few more. What is most impressive for us is how comfortable the band seem in such a sizeable venue considering their relative youth. With a set packed full of riffs and an insanely tight rhythm section, Ithaca are definitely a band to keep an eye on.
Following a surprise reunion in 2016 and the release of a new album the year after, 'Akercocke' are a band that have always been on our radar, but we have yet to fully dive into. Tonight is a truly educational experience then as we are treated to an hour long set that spans their entire career. 'Ithaca' may have helped to energise the crowd, but Akercocke make sure that every soul in the building is going wild as they power through a relentless set of non stop shredding, blast beats and guttural screams. Blending together elements of Black Metal and Death Metal together, there are moments where Federico Bellini's bass almost sounds like djent. We may have entered the venue with only a basic knowledge of Akercocke, but we leave as devoted fans.
Even a band as ludicrously heavy as 'Akercocke' cannot compare to what is to follow though as 'Anaal Nathrakh' bring their unique sound of sonic terror to the stage. Opening with 'The Road To...' straight into 'Obscene As Cancer' the Birmingham quintet start of savage and get heavier as they progress. Playing a colourful set spanning the majority of their career including Eschaton's 'Between Shit And Piss We Are Born', 'More Of Fire Than Blood' from In the Constellation of the Black Widow and last years seismic single 'Forward' which turns the moshpit into a warzone, there isn't a single moment to stop for breath. Unfortunately, curfew times mean that we do not get an encore, but that is a minor concern after a performance as monstrous as the show that Anaal Nathrakh have put on for us.
Last years show at The Black Heart was an incredible baptism of fire for our first Anaal Nathrakh show, but tonights show in the much more appropriately sized Garage in Islington has cemented them as one of our top live bands.
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