Overoth/Rabid BitchOf The North/Mordrake/Isolation/Incursion – Cardiff, Fuel Rock Club – 28 September 2017 Print E-mail
Written by David O'Neill   
Saturday, 07 October 2017 04:00

Having recently reviewed the Rabid Bitch… LP, the editor asked me if I’d like to pop along to give them a review of their live show in Cardiff. Having recently seen some serious symphonic black metal at my local which left me a bit nonplussed, at least I knew what to expect from RBOTN! Whilst I have confessed to metal and its multiplicity of subgenres not really being my thing (other than the original exponents such as Sabbath), I remained open minded in the interests of parity, (and the liking for taking the odd band picture, irrespective of the genre).


For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fuel, it is currently one of not very many venues in Cardiff who regularly support this style of music. It is “compact and bijou” with the music room separated from the main bar area by a set of double doors. Despite this the sound engineers usually do a damn fine job of mixing the music in what must be a challenging environment. I always like to big up these guys as they can make the difference between a great night and a pretty awful one despite the musical offerings.


Incursion 2 at Fuel

Anyway, the first band should have been the Pontypridd three-piece Incursion. This didn’t quite materialise, as the bassist was stuck in Pontypridd. But being the original two members of a metal band Robbie Leyshon (drums) and Jonny threw together a random set list of songs that included all the originals – ‘The Times And Trials Of Han Zoller’, ‘Scourge’, ‘Wolves’, ‘Tempting Demons’ and ‘Gravemind’ all impressed the small but appreciative audience. It was a hell of a performance from Jonny Foxhall on guitar and vocals, and the death/thrash metal styling was lapped up by those present. It was a 30 minute set of original in your face metal with Jonny more than holding his own on guitar and vocals. They even had the nerve to throw in a combined Metallica/Slayer/Pantera medley.


Isolaton 2 at Fuel

Next up were the Cheltenham five piece Isolation. These guys have been gigging around the region for a while and have had several performances at my local (The Dragonffli in Pontypool). However, I have never been there when they have. When they came on stage I thought WOAH! This is gonna be heavy. All dressed in orange prison boiler suits with appropriately applied face paint. I was actually surprised by the lighter metal style of the music. After talking to Al, the singer, after the set he said that they may have been included on the wrong bill. However, I will be seeing these again on 22 December when they support Wolfsbane in the sold out gig at the Dragonffli. The music was hard rocking and full of intricate guitar work with Al doing a superb job on vocals with very little screaming included.


The third offering were the Bristol based melodic metal band Mordrake. The four piece cite many influences and describe their music as a combination of Black, Groove, Melodic death, Doom and Viking metal. Having recently seen a Viking metal band I can see where they’re coming from. Their set list included an instrumental recorded introduction called Hollow Awakens before going into tracks such as Rumours, Myths and Legends, Guardians will Return (which sounds a bit like White Stripes Seven Nation Army at the start), Claim for the Dark from their 2014 EP/LP and Blidvolsted and Bloodstained Winter from their repertoire. Despite the multiplicity of genres cited I found myself beginning to enjoy myself. Their album, ‘Unhallowed Chambers’ is available for streaming and download.


Rabid Bitch Of The North 2 at Fuel

Then the main support Rabid Bitch of The North, kicked off with ‘Sisyphus’ from their first EP Defending Two Castles. The guitar playing of Gerry is rapid fire and he obviously enjoys himself on stage and the audience were head banging in time to the music. Most of the set was from LP ‘Nothing But A Bitter Taste’. The three-piece from Belfast really got the audience (which was now building to some appreciative metal heads) going. ‘Green Eyes’ is a track that the guys have only released as a single, and it was rapidly followed by ‘The Missionary’, which has a very catchy riff starting off with Gerry showing off his range of playing. Joe’s vocals are easily determined (unusually for metal) and his voice is quite powerful. This is probably the track I like the most. ‘Gilded Men’ and ‘Trapped In 1999’ were wrapped up by ‘Us Against Them’. The rhythm section of Chris and Joe supported and drove the guitar work of Gerry really well, and despite not being a fan, I actually began to enjoy the set towards the end. If this is your thing then it’s well worth the couple of quid to get of your butt and go to see when they are close to you.


Rabid Bitch Of The North 1 at Fuel

The small stage sometimes struggles to get full bands on it and they are often squeezed into smaller space than they need. To this end, I’m sure Chris on drums needed a bit more room despite there only being three in the band.   My other criticism of the venue is that the lighting makes it difficult as a photographer to get decent shots of the band members on the left side of the stage without winding the ISO right up which leaves the shots grainy (techy moment).


Overoth 3 at Fuel

Finally, Overoth hit the stage. These guys have been around the scene since 2005 and have toured all over the UK and Europe since then. This was the first date of their European tour supporting the release of their latest LP on Hostile Media records, ‘The Forgotten Tome’. The death metal styling was not lost on me and the music was slick, with fast paced guitar work from the solo guitarist, (the second guitarist couldn’t make the first gig apparently). The entire set was death metal at its finest (from what I am led to believe). The audience at this point were fully engaged in the experience even though it was small. The drumming was machine gun fire, the bass was in your face and the vocals were as guttural as you would expect. Some of the lighting made frontman Andy appear quite demonic at some points.


Overoth 1 at Fuel

I’m sure RBOTN and Overoth enjoyed their mini tour of Wales, England and Scotland before they returned to Northern Ireland. Overoth return for further gigs in the rest of England, Scotland and southern Ireland later in October, and Switzerland in November, while RBOTN also return to the mainland for a few gigs later in the year. Check their respective Facebook pages for details.


Overall, am I a fan of this? Probably not, but I can certainly appreciate the musical technicality and difficulty associated with this style of music. I’m pretty sure the people at Fuel enjoyed it. The guys from all the bands were really nice to talk to as well, and I wish them all the best with their future endeavours.


PHOTO CREDIT:  All photos © BandTogs/Über Rock.


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