The Black Dahlia Murder - London, Camden Underworld - 11th January 2012 Print E-mail
Written by Darrel Sutton   
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 05:00

blackdahl3The last time I saw The Black Dahlia Murder was in a sprawling hall of a place in Texas, with no running water. They kicked seven bells out of all in attendance that night, and the prospect of seeing them in the much more compact Underworld is a mouth-watering prospect. That also seems to be the case for many others as, well before Italian deathsters Fleshgod Apocalypse hit the stage, the place is damn near full and the atmosphere bristling with anticipation.


So it is when Fleshgod Apoclypse do hit the stage to a sizeable crowd chanting their name that it seems everything's all set for a top night. The Italians get the crowd going well enough and they execute their stuff faultlessly, but despite a couple of high points, 'The Violation' in particular, their symphonic death metal never really threatens to excel. A steady enough opening, but it certainly left me wanting something to grab my head and bang the fuck out of it.


As if by magic, my wish is granted in the form of Skeletonwitch. I'd heard good things about the Athens, Ohio quintet and I was very pleased to find out it was all true. From opener 'Reduced To The Failure Of Prayer' to closer 'Within My Blood' they are a thrash metal maelstrom. The guitars are absolutely ripping and frontman Chance Garnette alternates between his throat ripping vocals and continually trying to cadge weed from the audience like a true pro. When they rip out some of the highlights of recent album 'Forever Abomination' they are pretty much unstoppable and songs like 'The Horrifying Force (The Desire To Kill)' will rip you a new one in no time. A stunning set, no doubt.


Black_Dahlia_PosterNow your average metal fan might have heard of The Black Dahlia Murder but probably thinks of them as some obscure noisy band. It's not until you realise that they are embarking in a 20-odd date UK tour and pretty much selling it out (including another night in this very venue the following night) that you realise that this Michigan death machine are pretty much icons in the extreme metal scene. And that status is built on absolutely face-melting live performances. Like tonight. It might be the first night of the tour, but there's absolutely no signs of rustiness as they blaze through an opening tirade of 'A Shrine To Madness' and 'Moonlight Equilibrium', and with the ever-bonkers Trevor Strnad leading the madness you can't help but get consumed in their utterly vicious energy. Strnad is absolutely beaming as the crowd goes utterly nuts. A constant stream of stage-divers welcomes the likes of a 'A Vulgar Picture' and 'Necropolis' and by the time Strnad has once again given us the benefit of his shirtless torso, the likes of old faves like 'Miasma' has given the Underworld a ferocious kicking.


They may not stray too far from a tried and tested formula but so long as they keep ripping out shows like tonight's and releasing albums of the quality of latest opus 'Ritual' then their iconic status is unlikely to be relinquished anytime soon. Needless to say the following day there were going to be some seriously aching necks and limbs within the crowd, as they keep up the intensity right up to encores. As they sign off with 'Deathmask' there's some seriously fucked, but very happy people heading off down Camden High Street safe in the knowledge that The Black Dahlia Murder always fucking kill.