The wet pavements of a London October were filled with steel toed boots pattering towards a tiny venue that was about to filled by the legendary masters of technical death metal that are Decapitated. An evening of budding death metal talent and musical sorcery ensued and chronic tinnitus awaited the unprepared. Bloodshot Dawn kicked off the evening with some killer tunes from their debut album and wowed the uninitiated with their catchy melodic style. 'Godless' was by far the stand out track of their set, whipping up the crowd with an onslaught of disjointed chugging that was almost akin to a Meshuggah riff.
Surprise guest vocals from Xerath's singer Richard Thompson also occurred for approximately three seconds during the unrelenting fury of Godless to the amusement and appreciation of the crowd. Josh McMorran's vocals were monstrously powerful as he roared through Quantum Apocalypse and the instrumentation was flawlessly executed. The only qualms were directed at the lack of rhythmic variation from the drums, however this hardly stops the band from being a rising talent in the ranks of their genre. Dyscarnate were welcomed quite enthusiastically by a crowd that soon became divided by frantic headbangers and extremely bored people. The band threw themselves into their music and delivered a spotless set, however the music itself was predictable and provided no novel characteristics.
Dyscarnate are a death metal band with no faults in particular, but they have no distinctive sound or style to separate them from the myriad other bands out there who sound exactly the same.Xerath are a completely different breed of band, they have been tearing up the London underground scene for years and have a dedicated base of diehard fans. They play technical death metal with symphonic overtones and do so in a way that would make a symphonic metal fan cry blood. They manage to sound epic without resorting to Manowarisms and pull off synthesisers without sounding like Dimmu Borgir. Xerath juxtapose scintillating riffs and quixotic orchestral motifs with gigantic sections of disjointed guitars and strange time signatures.
Despite having his stomach pumped only the night before, Michael Pitman managed to drum as if he hadn't been playing Golden Eye on a ferry after several bottles of drink the night before. Xerath are just ripe for recognition which they thoroughly deserve after years of hard touring. Decapitated are seasoned veterans who have kept going through every horror that could possibly befall a band. Deaths, comas and car crashes have done little to detract from the power and refined talent that Decapitated ooze when live. Intricate riffs mingled effortlessly with expert drumming and the power of Rafal Piotrowski's vocals gave the music a ferocity that you simply cannot experience when listening to the band on mp3. Their setlist contained a good mix of old and new songs including Winds of Creation and Day 69. Naturally Spheres of Madness ignited the most chaos in the pit and drew the evening to a violent close.