Rotting Christ and a medley of Brit Support – London May 1st, ULU
I was truly psyched for this gig – Rotting Christ and Bolt Thrower, with support from Benediction and The Rotted. In truth, I was only ever going to be there for one band, and it wouldn’t be a British one. Rotting Christ impressed me greatly with their last two albums of powerful, memorable Hellenic black metal, so much so that to see them live was truly a no-brainer. As it transpired, the decision to see them in London was a wise one. And one can’t sniff at 5 bands for £10 – hell, I would’ve paid £10 for Rotting Christ alone!
After getting thoroughly drenched on the way to the venue (a 3 week heatwave broke down at just the wrong time. It was only 500 yards from the tube stop to the venue, but that was plenty of time to drown the peasants), the deluge being weathered by a prolonged visit to a Waterstones en route, I got into the venue in time for the first support act, a band named Ancient Ascendants or something to that effect. Much like their name, their music left little lasting impression – bog standard death metal from what I could discern.
After picking up a rather tasty old-school RC T-shirt (based on their Satanas Te Deum 1989 demo tape) and having found my friends in the crowd, we proceeded to watch The Rotted, who slung out their standard bolshy death/punk metal, again leaving little in the way of lasting impressions. I’ve seen these guys a few times now, and good as they are, I’d never pay to see them headline.
The venue was a student’s union, capacity of some 1000 people. It was nice to get comfy seating off to the side, but the expensive beers and downright retarded toilet arrangements (as in, if you need to pay a visit, you must first cross the mosh pit, which never goes well with a full bladder) rather soured events at times. The balcony upstairs was welcome for the improved view and seating, however.
Rotting Christ were the third band on, and easily band of the night. They played a tight, exciting setlist culled mainly from their latest two albums (follows at end of blog), Sakis proving a dynamic, fiery frontman, in the same league as Nemtheanga, no less. They were absolutely superb, though the sound effects were at times muddied in the mix and the bass guitar a little overbearing. It would be superb to see them put on a fully orchestrated show, with ethnic instruments and a Greek choir. Maybe for later in the cycle…
Benediction were up next, and were quite the disappointment. The very fact that they lost a guitarist halfway through the third song of their set without any discernable impact upon the music really says it all about them as a band – bog standard death metal all the way. I yawned and got in another coke.
Bolt Thrower could sadly be described much the same as Benediction in my book. Yes, they have been around for 23 years, but their songs are so damn formulaic, their music so damn linear, that after 4 songs I was counting down to doors. It was nice to see them, but I would, much like Benediction and The Rotted, never pay to see them headline (well, effectively I did this time, but RC were the sweetener).
To conclude, it was a great value gig, but with 4 of the 5 bands proving to be cut from the same mould by the same unimaginative scupltor, Rotting Christ remain the only redeeming factor, aside from the company and the plush venue.
Rotting Christ setlist:
–old track I didn’t recognise–
Fire, Death and Fear
The Sign of Prime Creation