Solar eclipses, the birth of your first born child, council tax payment deadlines. There are some things that you can not miss. Banding together the four horsemen of the Technical Death Metal apocalypse didn’t quite bring with them Famine, pestilence, death and war but it would have been pretty close. Consisting of Rivers of Nihil, Beyond Creation, Revocation and Obscura this is what separates the men from the boys.
Batting first are the eager Rivers of Nihil, taking to the stage as early as opening acts do can be somewhat detrimental at times. Not tonight. Despite it being their debut UK performance the audience eagerly waits for the band to come on. Harvesting anticipation its immediately dispelled with the commanding drum fill from Dylan Potts as the gauntlet is well and truly thrown down. Featuring material from the band’s first record The Conscious Seed Of Light and their 2015 summer ripper Monarchy their material is divisive. “Rain Eater” goes down a treat with the likes of thrashing single “Perpetual Growth Machine” gnashing its way through the crowd. Opting for a slightly different set up here tonight it’s paid off with biting distortion cutting through the mix to deliver a signature crunch. Combined with singer Jake Dieffenbach’s Herculean bellowing it’s an imposing mix to say the least. With two albums under their belt now, Rivers of Nihil are beginning to attain some serious momentum behind them. Performing with stop on a dime accuracy the band are very much at the vanguard of the future of Death Metal. Well done lads.
Changing pace somewhat from the Death Metal burning we’re moved to the blizzards of Canada as Québécois Beyond Creation bring their infuriatingly technical approach to the UK. Countering their technical wizardry the band have a fantastic presence whilst performing here tonight. Often a static genre Tech Death can be a little, well, boring to watch! With both guitarists Youri Raymond and Kevin Charté bringing the guitaring thunder the likes of “Coexistence” give life to the music. Title track from their Earthborn Evolution record goes down a treat. With their focus on so much melody, Beyond Creation are able to maintain an avid curiosity within the listener. Whereas so many other become a meld of speed and aggression instead the likes of the whale conjuring “The Deported” are technically demanding yes but retain a sense of understanding in them. Not to mention new bassist Hugo Doyon-Carout, after the departure of Lapointe pulls of the arachnid like riffing with ease. Coming together for momentary moments of riffing the band get our punters headbanging furiously along to “Fundamental Process”. Long overdue a visit from Beyond Creation is a welcome sight. Releasing only two albums the band have established themselves as key players in the Tech Death arena.
Owing to their elasticated genre classification Revocation are able to fit in just about anywhere on the Metal spectrum. From Death Metal to Prog the band fit in effortlessly, now acting as main support for tonight’s headliners, Revocation deliver a deadly concoction of speed and accuracy. Expertly motioned in “Communion“, the fastest Revocation song to date blisters past the uk crowd. With this being the first appearance since their support slot with Cannibal Corpse two years ago the crowd here tonight are rewarded after their lengthy wait. Jettisoning energy from the word go with Great Is Our Sin opener “Arbiters Of The Apocalypse” the band deftly swoop and slide over their musical assault course. Drummer Ash Pearson making a fitting addition to the band after the departure of Dubois-Coyne ensuring that anvil weight behind the drums remains on the likes of “Scorched Earth Policy” . Continuing in the vein of Deathless, after a bit of banter about time signatures the lumbering “Madness Opus” is summoned from its slumber before ending with a truly triumphant “Witch Trials”.
Carving a niche for themselves Revocation are band unable to be pigeonholed. Despite their absence of late to good ol Blighty they have been welcomed back with more than open arms tonight. Naysayers all proved wrong and believers put right the band perform renditions of tracks with pitch perfect sound. Giving “Crumbling Imperium” and all its hammer on prowess the kind of status it needs. With their biggest release to date, Great Is Our Sin might finally see Revocation begin to break through this boundary that has held the band back somewhat and truly enter the mainstream. It’s no surprise that with the kind of musicianship shown here tonight, proving their place as worthy successors at the top of Death Metal table.
Following on from the Boston boys would be an arduous task to say the least. Coming out of their chrysalis after a five year incubation period Obscura are here to deliver the final blow to tonight’s proceedings. Taking to the stage like a duck to water, the Death Metal equivalent of an Audi confidently move into “Ten Sepiroth“. The graceful clean sections are banished with the arrival of the shred driven main section. Potentially crowning the band the most technical of the night however this isn’t necessarily the best of things. Having to concentrate so much on the material the band are slightly too robotic. Dispatching solo after solo frontman Steffen Kummerer is just as proficient a guitar player as singer. “Akróasis” single going down a treat, no doubt owing to its shorter length eludes boredom. Melding melody together the pure performance demonstrated from the band is a sight to behold.
Once again owing to The Dome’s massively improved sound riffs cut through with a clarity even making Kummerer’s right hand man Linus Klausenitzer’s fretless bass come through with clarity. Tracks like “The Monist” make their place known with its philosophical ideals coming through from the band’s music. Consisting primarily of material from the band’s new offering there are occasions when they delve back into the past. Reaching back into the era of Cosmogenesis “The Anticosmic Overload” still sounds just as pioneering as it did all the years back when it was written. Giving somewhat of a new take on the album perhaps aiming to forge into the future rather than focus on the past following the departure of previous members. Which is by no means a problem with material like “Sermon Of The Seven Suns” and “Ode To The Sun” keeping up the worship of our glowing ball of fire.
Nevertheless grand finale of “Centric Flow“,as always, steals the show. Wading through the technical madness presented by the band were at last rewarded with the final rhythm section where the band launch into the universe devouring landing. Combining phenomenal talent, borderline pitch perfect sound and within the Death Metal constraints a sense of variety tonight, like what our German counter parts sing so fondly of has been as exciting as journeying into realms far beyond the cosmic imagination of the human mind. A veritable tech death nirvana.