It’s a dark and cold wintery night which couldn’t be a more fitting setting for the debauchery in store this evening. In a venue no bigger than your nans front room, Swindon’s Level III has played host to many bands that we champion in our scene and tonight it’s about to have another added to the list.
The last time we saw Devilment was at this year’s hugely successfully Bloodstock Festival and it goes without saying that the 6-piece goth-tinged metal outfit from deepest darkest Suffolk were one of the many talking points over the best weekend of the year.
Being little over a year since the release of the fiendishly good II-The Great Mephisto Waltzes, fans have been chomping at the bit to see more material from this record played live and tonight doesn’t disappoint.
Before we get to the main event something pretty special is happening. In a year full of amazing new bands breaking through its great to see that this shows no signs of stopping with two of the south west’s most promising bands knuckling up.
Drawing first blood tonight are local phenomenon Merithian. From releasing a debut EP, winning the Metal 2 The Masses and opening this year’s Bloodstock Festival, it’s been a hell of a year for this band. Bearing all the traits of a traditional Metalcore band but delivered in a way like no other, Merithian close their year in spectacular fashion. As the doors open, the walls start to shake as the band tear into their set. It takes a few songs before all the punters are in the venue, but they make it just in time for the track ‘Grow’ which sounds absolutely colossal. Fronted by a masked psychotic, wielding a megaphone. No bones about it, this band have the songs to be something.
Next up, Deathcore bandits Ursus. Black body paint to the max, aesthetically this band look ready to eat you and musically it comes pretty close. Pulverising beatdowns and groovy deathcore done to a standard that could give Whitechapel a run for their money, this band bring the party and bring it hard. Everyone is left gasping for more after they bring their set to a crushing finish.
Looking around there is one thing that’s fairly noticeable, the place isn’t very full this evening which may sound like a criticism, but it really isn’t. On average there has to be around 50-60 people in the place but each and every person in this room tonight made the atmosphere electric with every last drop of energy being wringed out of like a towel.
As the lights go out It’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for, thunderous drum fills circulate around the room as we’re catapulted into ‘JudaStein’ which sounds absolutely massive in this tiny little venue. Axemen Colin and Nick both standing either side of the stage like towers. The band sound so much tighter than the bloodstock set and there’s not one note that’s missed throughout the night. Heavy hitters ‘Hitchcock Blonde’ and ‘Even Your Blood Group Rejects Me’ get the biggest response of the night.
Dani is his usual brilliant and charismatic self, even with a torn shoulder or as he so eloquently put it ‘My wanking arm is fucked’. Where these tracks are dynamically a lot more simplistic than the Cradle Of Filth material you’re used to, you can really see that this gives him the freedom to be more engaging and menacing with his stage presence.
The band close the night with ‘Under the Thunder’ and may as well have pressed a big red button that says KILL. There’s not one person (band included) that are not banging their head, moshing on stage and genuinely losing their mind. Capping off one of the last gigs of the year, if you’re fortunate enough to be at one of the other select shows on this tour be prepared to see one of your gigs of the year!
Special thanks to Karolina Skarpetowska for the use of photographs. All credit to Karolina Skarpetowska