The second and final day of Incineration is met with record-breaking temperatures of 27 degrees. This sunny climate is not the kind usually associated with metal but such hellish temperatures are perfect for street drinking to. Outside the venue, the streets are littered with metalheads in an alcoholic daze, some of whom spent the night sleeping on the pavement and undoubtedly appreciative of such fine weather permitting them to do so with comfort.
Opening up the Dome's stage are London's own ambitious black/death metal act De Profundis. Formed in 2005 and familiar in the local scene, the five-piece executes progressive extreme metal influenced by the likes of Death, Cynic and Opeth with remarkable musicianship that entertains the commendably busy audience given the earliness of the day.
Next up is Belgium's Saille and their symphonic black metal. Despite the melodic keyboard-driven nature of the music, their black metal remains caustic with seasoned blastbeats alongside crunchy guitar rhythms. The punters are appreciative of their theatrical sound and their study performance supports the professionalism of the music.
Increasing the sonic intensity are the capital's own black/death devotees Lvcifyre, a scarce appearance. Immolation-style angular guitar riffs, heavy with a sense of foreboding, are engorged by a black metal spirit. This style of extreme metal may be popular amongst new bands nowadays but Lvcifyre's intricate and frequently shape-shifting riffs maintain intrigue and refuse to get dull. The likes of 'Husk of Impurity', 'Fiery Spheres of Seven' and 'Liber Lilith' are popular with those watching, evidenced by their robust ovation.
Brutal technical death icons Origin waste no time unveiling their frenetic out-of-this-world technicality. With fingers dancing on fretboards at jaw-dropping paces yet forming coherent songs that do not reduce the heaviness of their sound, these Americans get the mosh pit fired up effortlessly. Cranking the heat up even further, vocalist Jason Keyser invites the audience to stage dive and his recommendation is met with an endless surplus of volunteers for the rest of the set. Pounding through the likes of newer numbers 'All Things Dead', 'Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex' and 'Redistribution of Filth' as well as older attacks including 'Staring from the Abyss', 'Wrath of Vishnu' and 'Portal' hit the spot as the spectators increasingly becomes more engaged in the spectacle. Keyser increases this interaction by dividing the crowd – the black metal fans on one side, the death metallers on the other – and getting them to participate in a genre-defined wall of death. Concluding with 'Unattainable Zero', only the audience remains with overwhelmingly positive thoughts on the show.
At the busy and difficult-to-enter Boston Music Room, Suffolk's Eastern Front are on stage, drilling the audience with their Marduk-esque black metal. Armed with a limitless inventory of blastbeats and tremolo riffing, their Second World War-influenced music is far from inventive but with two albums on their side, a barrage of live shows under their belt and a current deal with Candlelight Records to their name, they have accrued quite the following – the reason why this room is not light on observers.
Still retaining the American death metal bands, Immolation take the stage with 'All That Awaits Us' – their first time in London since 2012. Their signature sound features angular riffing like some death metal Voivod, mesmerising guitar melodies from Robert Vigna and off-beat technical drumming from Steve Shalaty. Frontman Ross Dolan strikes quite the impression barking his demonic vocals while pounding his bass through a tide of extremely long hair. With such a storied discography, the band democratically plays a song from each album (excluding 'Failures for Gods') and the 'Providence' EP along with four from their most recent 'Kingdom of Conspiracy' full-length. Fan favourites 'Father, You're Not a Father', 'Swarm of Terror' and 'Into Everlasting Fire' are expulsed alongside less heard songs such as 'Burn with Jesus´ and 'Unholy Cult' and selections from the tail end of their musical output like 'What They Bring', 'Majesty and Decay' and 'Kingdom of Conspiracy'. This is a fantastic exhibition of their musical endurance for over 25 years and how influential they remain on younger metal bands today. Closing with 'A Spectacle of Lies', these old school death metallers undisputedly leave behind one of the most formidable shows of the festival.
Finally the last band of the festival Marduk launch their black metal assault, beginning with the title track of their latest album 'Frontschwein' . The venue is well and truly heaving with a sturdy mosh pit as the Swedes blast through their rapid Swedish black metal. Like Immolation before them, the four-piece manage to stretch their setlist across most of their repertoire, attempting to satisfy followers from all eras of their existence. 'Afrika', 'The Blond Beast' and 'Wartheland' represent 'Frontschwein' while other selections from the night include concert staples 'Wolves', 'Azrael' and 'Materialized in Stone'. Despite having being blaspheming for over 25 years, their musical output throughout their career is not particularly divergent or inventive. With such a similarity in sound, as the set wanes on, the audience's attention appears more distracted, not to mention those prioritising the last train home and leaving early. Naturally, the fan's most wanted track is put aside until the end: 'Panzer Division Marduk', the highlight of the set that incites the spectators into frenzy. These corpse-painted black metallers may have put on a commendable show but compared to the intensity of Immolation and Origin before them, there is certainly something lacking.
So ends the third edition of Incineration Festival. Such a fantastic collection of death and black metal bands is to be applauded and there were no hiccups that spoilt the weekend (not even the weather). This well-orchestrated event was well-attended and positioning the stages in one building eliminated some of the hurrying and queuing of last year's three-venue set up. All of London's black/death metal fans should attempt to attend this event seeing as it features premier bands in the genres right on their doorstep. Here's hoping that next year's edition will surpass this one.
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