For a Sunday, during the weekend of Download Festival, it is always going to be a bit of a hit and miss turn out for any venue, so when a show with the likes of death metal titans Exhumed taking the Underworld on, who knew what to expect.
With doors opening for those loyal enough to the death metal flag, a beast of a line up in one of Camdens finest, intimate venues was set to kick off, opening the show came last minute fill ins Anoxide, these home town boys found their way on the bill through unfortunate circumstance with Black Skies Burn sadly having to cancel their performance due to the ill health of drummer Steve, we can only wish for him to get the diagnosis and recovery he needs. A just giving page has been set up to try and aid the help and support he needs here.
Anoxide themselves were going through some changes, and this last minute performance proved to be a perfect opportunity to welcome said change. As it turned out, a new vocalist was set to join the band, tonight being his debut show. Not before the farewell performance of their last vocalist however. Smashing through tracks in their death metal style, they blending other fashions of metal with a vigour and lust to make every moment last, they nailed a rapturous set sharing a few great moments with the slow, growing crowd. With a few more tracks left to play, the time came where the passing of the mic and announcement of the new frontman, step forward Ben Friston of Divine Chaos, with big shoes to fill, there isn’t any better suited, and they finish strong and we really look forward to what the new future will bring.
Following on were the blackened death metallers Hades Lab, mustering a deep and destructive wall of hateful sound that could spook the devil, they play through a fine blend of original material along with plenty of decent covers. For those unfamiliar with the band, the covers provide a great bit of familiarity to keep them interested, with the likes of Suffocation and Sepultura in the set, it’s hard not to find something to like. Despite the sometimes lacking involvement from the crowd, and a few small mistakes once or twice from the band, they took it all in their stride with tongue in cheek humour and certainly did enough to make a memorable impression, if they could play that well with a small crowd and hiccups, then on form they would really be one not to miss. Monstrous, guttural vocals, unforgiving blast beats and blistering guitars and bass riffing, what isn’t to love?
Possibly the most out of place band on the line up with their straight up thrash style, Dust Bolt travelled over from Germany to support Exodus on a small UK tour, and we were lucky enough to see them hit the capital in support of Exhumed on the way back. Having caught them once before supporting Obituary a few years back just down the road, I knew exactly what to expect and was extremely excited to see them in such a small venue. Thankfully the crowd had began to grow as the night grown on, and their explosive, non stop assault was swallowed down and taken with great enthusiasm from the crowd. Playing such a small stage would limit most bands that are usually active on the stage, not Dust Bolt, they make use of every inch of
the stage, and when that wasn’t enough, frontman Kenny jumped down and made his way into the pit to rip out yet another impressive solo. When packed, the Underworld can really become a sweat box, no person that night could deny that the band made it feel like the place was sold out from the energy shared between the crowd and band.
Exhumed were up next, the entire reason we are all here, they weren’t here in support of any new release, no anniversary of a release or anything special, they were here just for the sake of it. Having just shown up to play a show just for the sake of playing a show, they were extremely thankful for the turn out, especially with the consideration of Download festival weekend. The fans in turn were just as thankful for them to be playing such a venue, and who wouldn’t be?! Their death metal/grindcore style cuts like a hot knife through flesh, and tracks from their entire catalogue are playing and enjoyed with the great loathing and disgust, just as they should be. Sounding phenomenal, the band don’t seem to slip once, the place erupts without a moments hesitation as they start with crowd surfing galore. Not something we could condone with a gig not at full capacity as some did manage to time their jumps from the stage not so well with no doubt, painful consequence, but you can’t ask for much more at a show like Exhumed.
With continuous thanks and love being shared between the fans and band, those that weren’t there really did miss out, while those like us that did show, really struggle to find the right words to describe just how good it was. A night of horror I will not be forgetting in a while, I doubt I am alone with that too.