2016 sees the annual Doom Over London fest transform from a one-day festival into an ambitious three day event stretched over the Easter holiday. Aiming to bring together doom metal in all its various guises – as well as a few non-doom but complimentary acts – the sixth edition of the event takes place in the neighbouring Boston Music Room and the Dome with an extension to the Aces and Eights bar across the road.
This years' edition features three headliners – Impaled Nazarene, Moonspell and In the Woods - that are not purely doom metal but the crossover appeal and style is one that can be appreciated by the festival regulars. With so many bands representing doom metal's multitude of subgenres including traditional, death/doom, sludge, funeral and stoner, there is something for any doom adherent to sink their teeth into. With three stages, a couple of merch stores and a burger eatery in addition to the food normally served at the Aces and Eights, the set up for the festival gets a thumbs up.
The first day acts more like a warm up session that only utilises the Dome's stage. Ireland's Malthusian have been making waves in the underground black/death metal scene with simply a demo and an EP to their name and for good reason. Performing 'Below the Hengiform', their extreme metal draws heavily from Immolation and drenched in misery. Unfortunately, the sound hinders the quartet slightly but the show remains formidable.
With Autumnal having to cancel their appearance, next is Belgium's Bathsheba - also wielding just a demo and an EP exhibiting patient doom metal with haunting guitar melodies and the sturdy yet ethereal female lead vocals. Although far from unlistenable, the Belgians do not seem to move beyond the palatable, their music not enough for them to stand out amongst the tide of new doom acts that are spawning seemingly weekly.
Death/doom metal favourites Mourning Beloveth follow, infusing their sound with bucket-loads of suspense. Lengthy songs ooze despair with guitars of a rough traditional heavy metal dent, bone-crushing heaviness and a matrimony between growls and sung vocals. These Irishmen are precisely what the festival is all about and a significant portion of the crowd laps up everything they dish out with gusto.
The mood changes yet again with death metal revivalists Undergang. Grasping tightly to the old school death metal sound, the Danes proceed to batter the venue in early '90s brutality with guttural growls, a faint doom influence and choking grooves that get the audience to bang their heads. Undergang's death metal holds no pretension and has the sole aim of reproducing meat-and-potatoes classic sound. Unfortunately, the music growls stale after too long as – as authentic-sounding as it may be - this ground has been explored to death before the '90s even expired let alone in the current miasma of the old school death metal revival.
Headliners Impaled Nazarene arrive on stage to blast the cobwebs out of the venue's collective ears. Not being a doom metal act, the audience seems bemused as to how to handle the Finns. The crowd is far from expansive and the majority of those present and somewhat subdued by the performance. Impaled Nazarene have been firing out black metal for over 25 years. Often spliced together with grindcore, it can be a frenetic listening experience but they appear lost on the stage of the Dome, larger than where they would usually play in London. The likes of 'The Horny and The Horned', 'We Are Satan's Generation' and 'Motorpenis' (the latter dedicated to Lemmy naturally) are fired into the venue but are greeted with a meek response. Vocalist Mika Luttinen tries to rev the audience's enthusiasm but does not succeed. A somewhat damp way to conclude the night but the lion's share of the festival is still to follow.
latest on this festival
Doom Over London 2016 review
Doom Over London 2016 review
second wave of acts announced