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In choosing my death (metal) I decided not to go to the big touring package in town the night before, featuring the ever reliable but rarely changing old school titans Obituary, and instead go for the current and the vibrant end of the detuned scale with the young Greek gods of Dead Congregation

Having seen them in Hellfest back in 2013 I know they could deliver live their stunningly heavy recorded works like a force of nature.  The positive contrasts in the gigs for me included half the price on respective tickets, maybe that’s related to them being in existence for less than half the duration of their rotten forebears, and also the venue allows for a more intimate experience of the aural horrors.

First up we had Deitus from London, something new to me, but there was some familiarity too.  This was mainly rooted in matching their vicious blasting black metal to their visual appearance, which appeared a masked, hoodied and bloodied nod to the likes of Svartidaudi and the current Icelandic wave of the genre.  Thrown then by them veering into some almost retro rawness of the likes of Venom which seemed a little disjointed but was still interesting.

Locals Wode were even more striking than when I’d seem them in these parts way back at the FOAD festival. Focussed on their fury, the speed of their black metal is phenomenal, especially with the intense drummer.  Up to a four piece now but quality across the board, heavy bass sound, skilled lead melodies, and a harsh vocal delivered with madness in the eyes.  Pick up their CD to savour some more

Incarceration I also knew nothing of, so it was all the more of a wide grinned pleasure for me to see them unleash their exuberant crusty hyper death/thrash upon us.  Main man Daniel is originally from Brazil but now the band operate from Germany, and he was an absolute star in having an almost uncontrollable excited energy to him, as they barrelled along through their furious songs with his reverbed roared vocals over the top. We’d get occasional melodic interludes from him before the three piece kicked back in to the frenetic attack, all celebrated with horns raised aplenty. Was just really entertaining and I gladly picked up their new “Catharsis” vinyl LP.  Don’t think I’ve seen so many !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’s used on a lyric sheet !

The headliners, Dead Congregation present a more serious proposition, battering us from the off with their grim darkness and determination.  There’s a sharply shifting technicality to their approach and structures, but unlike say Nile it’s not virtuosity for its own sake, but a driving complexity that fogs the senses into a maddening delirium of twisted noise.  There’s a real crawling chaos undertone to their whole vibe, the relentlessly guttural vocals, the thundering yet subtly pace changing drums, the break downs from the double picked riff whirlwinds into namelessly threatening atmospheric passages.  It’s a complete pummeling that you feel in the chest, in the heart, over the best part of an hour set, impressive, satisfying, reaffirming the sheer glorious vitality of quality death metal.  We leave the place of worship enlightened by the heaviness!