It is the final day of Doom Over London, the sixth edition of a festival with the objective of showcasing all of doom metal's multiple subgenres from abroad and the UK, both new and old, across three stages in Tuffnell Park.
At the Boston Music Room are The Wooded Kings from Devon, just over a decade old and signed to Candlelight Records with five albums to their name. Their traditional doom metal is drawn out with meandering and guitar work and wearied vocals, wearing their Black Sabbath influence confidently on their sleeve. Such slow tempos do occasionally see attentions wandering but the four-piece are a palatable appetiser for today's festivities. Still at the Boston Music Room is Pantheist, originally hailing from Belgium but now relocated to London. They started out as a funeral doom band, playing at the slowest tempos imaginable before incorporating progressive metal elements adding another dimension to their atmospheric sound. This prog edge somehow contributes to the sinister nature of their dirges and the result is a band that knows how to slow things to a crawl while maintaining intrigue.
Crushing the Dome with their extremely heavy riffs are Coltsblood, another Candlelight act, this time hailing from Liverpool. Thick abrasive grooves and extremely drawn out tempos are the order served up but there is little in the way of atmosphere or divergence away from a very familiar formula and many punters find conversing with friends at the bar better than watching.
Composed of former members from seminal traditional doom bands St Vitus, Reverend Bizarre and Count Raven are Lord Vicar, playing at the Boston Music Room. Their music is alive with chunky distorted grooves, occult rock temperament and the Ozzy-esque vocals of Chritus, preaching songs from their repertoire including 'Sinking City', 'Down the Nails' and 'Birth of Wine'. Being a rare show for this international act, the venue is packed as the music plods on insistently with Reverend Bizarre's swagger that makes it challenging to resist headbanging to and the set one to vicariously enjoy.
At the Dome, the Finnish melodic death doom act Swallow the Sun proceed to drown the audience in rain-drenched melodies. Their newest offering 'Songs from the North I, II & III' is three discs of music, more mature and focused than previous outings. This studio effort naturally receives an abundance of attention on tonight's setlist with particular highlights being '10 Silver Bullets' and 'Rooms and Shadows'. The music drifts into the heaviness of melodic death metal juxtaposed with beautifully icy melodies making use of both clean and growled vocals. The audience are continuously engaged in their set and sound a thunderous ovation when the Finns wrap up their performance with the usual rendition of 'Swallow (Horror Pt I)' from their debut 'The Morning Never Came'. It is always a pleasure to see Swallow the Sun in London and this is no exception.
Finally headliners – the reformed In The Woods - take the stage. Formed in 1991 and only surviving nine years before calling it quits, these Norwegians pushed the boundaries of black metal towards the start of their career before maturing into a doom/progressive/avant garde metal band, releasing three highly lauded albums. The set opens with the unorthodox 'Yearning the Seeds of a New Dimension' from debut 'The Heart of the Ages'. New vocalist Thomas Sebastian Haleth does a great job replicating the varied vocals of Jan Kenneth Transeth. The Norwegians look like they are thoroughly enjoying the performance, breathing life into songs from throughout their career including 'Heart of the Ages', '299 796 km/s' and 'The Divinity of Wisdom'. This year sees the band release their reunion album 'Pure' and the London crowd is treated to material from this release, including the title track, which builds on the previous avant garde sound. Thoroughly entertaining and brimming with a wide range of emotions and fresh ideas, In the Woods are a delight to watch and this reunion looks promising. The crowd appreciates this rarity and it rounds off the festival in a superb manner.
The sixth Doom Over London has been nothing but a definitive success. The promotors should be thanked for taking the plunge and putting on an array of diverse acts (and not just sticking to straight-forward doom metal), some of whom have not been seen in the capital for a long time and local talent that deserves the exposure. Hopefully next year will see a similar event with even more attendees.
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Doom Over London 2016 review
Doom Over London 2016 review
second wave of acts announced