Kataklysm / Aborted / Man Must Die
24 October 2007
Camden Underworld, London

The barrage of technicality that greeted us as we entered the Underworld indicated that Man Must Die had already taken the stage and were in fact halfway into their set. Joe McGlynn was directing his guttural roar at a busy but static crowd. The twists and turns in Man Must Die’s material probably make it difficult to keep up whilst headbanging, but what the crowd lacked in movement, they made up for in appreciation at the conclusion of each song.

The delivery of Alan McFarlane (guitars), Danny McNab (bass) and John Lee (drums) was precise and clinical. McNab grinned like a man possessed and his fingers certainly seemed to be as they whizzed around the fretboard.

Whilst the Scots songs are somewhat schizophrenic, they do throw up the occasional hook, like Pinhead tearing flesh in Hellraiser. Waster contained a Slayer like guitar melody that punctuated the aural madness. Listening to the band’s excellent album The Human Condition and seeing this professional life performance, it’s not a surprise that they became the first UK band to be signed by Relapse.

Man Must Die set list included:
1000 Promises Of Pain / Waster / Severe Facial Reconstruction

Judging by the size of crowd and response, it seemed like the headliners had arrived when Aborted took the stage. Their performance would certainly have been befitting of such status, as they set about obliterating the Underworld with surgical precision. With shockingly good sound, as it was all night, the Belgium based five piece played with jaw dropping synchronicity. Recent British recruit Dan Wilding, attacked his drums sounding like a tommy gun firing and laying foundations for the guitars of Sebastien Tuvi and Peter Goemaere to scythe like scalpels. The two guitarists seemed to be having a whale of a time with one mimicking fellatio on the other during one song.

Whilst Aborted clearly wear their Carcass influence on their sleeve, over time they have broadened their sound. Avenious is such an example, which briefly slowed the pace and featured a tortured vocal over a dreamy backdrop during its chorus. It soon put its pedal down though, like much of the band’s material. The Saw & The Carnage Done proved a fan favourite and for the first of many times, frontman Sven De Caluwe uses a “1,2,3,go” shout to direct the crowd to action. First it was with a mass headbanging session and then to incite the pit. Meanwhile the band uniformly froze frame at each beat of the drum.

For the Sanguine Verses (Of Extirpation), De Caluwe split the pit, with mayhem ensuing when the two sides met. Bassist Sven Janssens looked on with a self satisfied grin, occasionally sticking his tongue out. Aborted aren’t headlining however and the set is brought to a close leaving the crowd baying for more. I’d heard good things about Aborted at the recent Damnation Festival and they did not disappoint in London.

Aborted set list:
? / Gestated Rabidity / Avenious / The Saw & The Carnage Done / Sanguine Verses (Of Extirpation) / Hecatomb / Dead Wreckoning

A tough act to follow then for Kataklysm and initially I didn’t think they would pull it off. The crowd did not seem as dense as the Canadian’s kicked off with Like Angels Weeping (The Dark), however the energy in the pit had moved up a notch. What was initially distracting however was the additional people on stage. With a sea of mobiles and digital camera pointing at the band, a large security guy took to the stage during the opening number and set about warning people to desist. A hopeless cause really and he was soon heading for the exit with his position on stage replaced by a variety of fans.

Frontman Maurizio Iacono explained that without the fans Kataklysm wouldn’t be on the stage and hence the fans deserved to be there as much as the band. I think he was expecting they’d get up and dive off, which many did however, there was annoying bunch that would get up and outstay their welcome. One, who was stranded when a song finished, wandered round looking deranged, to which Iacono commented, “You’ve got some f**king good beer in England!”.

Back to the music though and once you got used to Kataklysm’s stage sharing policy, which brought to mind thrash’s heyday, and concentrated on what the band where serving up, it was hugely enjoyable. Let Them Burn is apparently what Kataklysm do to traitors and many here, constantly named, “The sick f**ks”, were keen to join in the song title refrain. With the top notch sound, Jean-François Dagenais guitar sounded ferocious and the fact that he was the sole six-stringer made for a clear punch.

Based on the reception, Iacono conceded that Kataklysm don’t come to the UK often enough, noting that as Canadians they are our Commonwealth cousins. A joke of “Who likes the Queen?” got a mixed response and Iacono was quick to state that there’s no politics at a Kataklysm show. What he did want was pit violence and Crippled & Broken was an apt choice of song.

1999:6661:2000, from The Prophecy album, was the oldest selection tonight. Kataklysm having moved on considerably from their early works, that pre-dated that cd. As pre-warned, As I Slither was monstrous followed by the relentless Face The Face Of War. Clearly enjoying themselves, a round of beers from their tour manager was held aloft and the approaching curfew was cursed before the band hit us with Illumanti.

Tonight’s show proved death metal has a lot of variety to offer, with all three bands falling under it’s banner but each sounding distinctly different.

Kataklysm set list:
Like Angels Weeping (The Dark) / Let Them Burn / Ambassador Of Pain / The Resurrected / Crippled & Broken / Serenity In Fire / 1999:6661:2000 / Where The Enemy Sleeps / Beyond Salvation / As I Slither / Face The Face Of War / Manipulator Of Souls / Illuminati / In Shadows And Dust

Man Must Die