@ Boston Music Rooms, London
10th January 2023
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photography by Graham Hilling
It is no secret that January is a quiet month due to the damage of Xmas on both the body and the wallet. But it seems the world of death metal is somewhat immune to said damages for a decent crowd packed out the Boston Music Rooms in London’s Tufnell Park last Tuesday (10th January).
Monstrosity, one of the veterans of the Florida death metal scene which brought the genre into fruition was on tour celebrating 30 years of their debut album Imperial Doom – aptly named, The Monsters of Death Europe Tour 2023.
First on the bill, greeted by a good-sized crowd, was a band from Estonia. Intrepid, performing a mix of the old and new schools of death metal.
From the moment the first note rang out, Intrepid got the job done with some well-paced rages about death, destruction and violence making me aware that the Eastern European scene is as strong as ever.
Even though the bass was a bit too high for me to hear the guitars most of the time, Intrepid’s set hacked into the eardrums with no slip-ups from any of the band.
This was certainly a decent opener, but my only gripe was the cringe of vocalist Raiko Rajalaane’s need to grab his crotch when hyping the crowd at the start of a song.
I am aware that some bands embrace the cringe factor of this particular genre but it just didn’t fit with the overall theme of this gig. This was a death metal show, not a hip-hop party.
Apart from that, a good job all-round and I expect Intrepid to be leading the Tallinn scene soon if not already.
By now the venue was packed out and the second band were ready for action after a brief switch-over on stage.
Reject the Sickness was, I’m sorry to say, one band I wasn’t expecting much decency from due to their description as a mix of melodeath and metalcore on the Metal Archives site.
However, from the moment the band started these guys from Belgium had the venue held tightly in an audible chokehold with some catchy as-hell pieces about neglect, suffering and general horror.
Each tune flowed well with a mix of default death metal and melodeath, and I was most pleased to hear nothing in terms of boring breakdowns which makes most -core genres boring in my eyes.
It was here we saw the first sign of moshing this evening, albeit two blokes doing their own thing in terms of slamming into each other hoping to start a pit; the crowd didn’t seem hyped for that just yet.
Seeing fans enjoy their favourite group live is what I live for in the metal scene so kudos to them for their appreciation, and Reject the Sickness are a band I’ll be adding to my death metal collection in future.
So now we’d had a share of Eastern and Western Europe, now it was time to venture to the other side of the Atlantic for the evening’s co-headliner.
Origin, hailing originally from Kansas and having been located between California and New York over the past few decades, were faced with a number of technical faults before they could begin.
Despite it taking a while to get the PA and drum triggers in gear, the crowd had now swelled to almost full capacity, making me feel this was the band most of the scene had turned out for this evening.
Eventually, the problem was fixed and without further ado drummer John Longstreth launched Origin into an audible assault on us with some of the most precision blast beats I’ve heard in a long time, particularly the gravity blast – a signature of the brutal tech-death Origin and their ilk are known for.
Now we had a more lively audience than the two previous bands, for the first mosh pits of the night broke out close enough to the stage which sent me and those around me closer towards the band. I feel Origin’s vocalist Jason Keyser faired well both as a man of strong vocal skills and also as a hype man keeping the crowd alive between songs, ready for each audible attack the band had ready for us.
One thing I did not expect to see was crowd surfing, for the Boston Music Rooms isn’t the ideal venue for such a thing in my eyes, but there were a good few blokes clambering on stage and sailing over people’s heads to the back of the room. Security did intervene at times but didn’t stop the crowd from having the fun one can only feel at an extreme metal show.
Origin have been there right from the start of the death metal scene and paved the way for the more advanced, technical areas of the genre, and they noted this by playing tracks from the very beginning of their career, meaning we had some old-school tunes delivered with the impressive precision of bassist Mike Flores and guitar player Paul Ryan.
In all, Origin are a band whose take on the genre isn’t to my palate but their appreciation from the crowd meant they are well respected by the London scene and it was good to see such strongly devoted fans.
Good job, Origin.
Now it was time for the band I and most of the crowd had been waiting for. I did notice a slight shrink in the audience following Origin’s departure but no difference in the enthusiasm of those who stayed.
Monstrosity, on the road since 1990 and hailing from the same state that gave us Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide and Obituary and celebrating 30+ years of their premier studio outing: Imperial Doom.
They might not have gained the level of notoriety as their fellow Floridians, but Monstrosity still packs a good punch – particularly with a set as old school as the aforementioned record.
This time there were no issues with the setup and the blast beats rained down like a hail of gunfire from a wartime turret. Each tune was as raspy and guttural as vocalist Mike Hrubovcak could muster and the precisions of the guitars meant these guys hadn’t mellowed in their output across their long, fruitful career.
I think it would be fit to say that Florida is still the rightful home of death metal for the craziness of the mosh pits that began spiralling through Monstrosity’s set meant the devotion of the London scene was as strong as ever.
Even though they aren’t the most brutal band from the classic DM canon, Monstrosity hacked away like a crazed lunatic with a chainsaw into the ears, hearts and minds of me and the rest of the crowd as classic after classic was performed with blood-pumping aplomb.
Monstrosity brought the night to a close with an excellent tirade of metal that buried the crowd under a blast of audible fire and brimstone, the best thing a band who’ve made some of the most beautifully evil metal imaginable for the best part of a generation.
I left the venue that night very pleased to see the London death metal scene still as active as ever and I hope all the bands have a blast on the rest of their tour across Europe.
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