Lock Up / Voices / Dripback
8 February 2013
The Borderline, London
There was an element of déjà vu about this show having last seen Lock Up in London at our last gig of 2011 also with Dripback opening. This time Voices took up the middle slot previously held by The Rotted and we were down the road at The Borderline rather than the Underworld which was hosting Vader, Aborted and Bonded By Blood, on a heavily congested night which also saw High On Fire playing in Islington.
Whilst I like the Borderline as a venue, it’s noticeable that it hosts few extreme metal gigs and its sound system was certainly put to the test tonight. With a full length due out in 2013, Dripback peppered their set with new songs (note setlist titles were as on stage but likely not correct titles), with the opening duo unfamiliar. Immediately the sound did them no favours with frontman Wez complaining all he could hear was feedback and Lee’s guitar completely cutting out. Fellow guitarist Luca, who was in an apparent jovial mood this evening, joked,” Think of all the guitar harmonies you’ve missed.”
The familiarity of No God, No Master from the band’s debut EP gave us something to get our teeth into as Dripback started to warm up as the muddy sound relented a little. Another new one, billed as Red Stripe kicked off in a punk fashion with some Scandinavian melodic death metal also evident. Kick Out Time received the warmest response of the evening whilst another new one, Profit, mixed speed with a massive mid-paced hardcore breakdown.
The delays due to sound issues meant there was only time for one more, with Dilapidated Soul dropped from the setlist and closing with another new song. Despite suffering with the sound, Dripback put in another energetic performance and I look forward to catching them again under more favourable circumstances.
Dripback setlist (new songs working titles):
Poo / Whimper / No God, No Master / Red Stripe / Stig / Kick Out Time / Profit / High
Apart from a couple of shows in 2011, all went very quiet on the Akercocke front and I really have no idea what their “official” status is. Half of that band together with their former live keyboard player convened on stage this evening in a new black metal project, Voices.
The band state their mission is to create “a deep brand of cold and confronting music, part hypnotic yet often disturbing, focusing from an avant-garde take upon black metal, whilst always striving to explore a wide musical spectrum.”
Grand intentions indeed and ones which tonight’s sound provided no help in achieving. David Gray’s machine gun drumming obliterated all in its path and whilst the pace was frighteningly impressive, I really couldn’t get a grasp on the music at all. After a couple of songs I gave up, retreating to the rear of the venue. My ears perked up briefly to familiarity, having seen the band’s video for Fragmented Illustrations Of Anger, which confirmed I need to revisit Voices in the live arena after hearing their “Voices From The Human Forest Create A Fugue Of Imaginary Rain" debut due 11 March 2013.
With Shane Embury out on duty with Napalm Death finding someone to fill in on bass for the grindcore legend could have been a stretch. However, Lock Up have none other than Dan Lilker on hand and having provided his services before, he was fully prepared to take up the challenge. His presence certainly impressed frontman Tomas Lindberg who noted, “If someone had said I’d be sharing a stage with you when I was diving off it back in the 80s, I wouldn’t have believed them.”
With fewer instruments and a more direct, if no less intense, sound then the bands preceding them, Lock Up faired far better sound-wise. The balance between Nick Barker’s incendiary drumming and Anton Reisenegger’s guitar was such that I no longer had to struggle to work out what was being played.
Playing songs from all three of their albums, the setlist was actually very similar to the band’s last visit with only Stygian Reverberations added and Triple Six Suck Angels, Rage Incarnate Reborn and High Tide In A Sea Of Blood omitted. As is their tradition, a couple of Terrorizer tunes were included as a tribute to late guitarist Jesse Pintado, though with a club night following the show, a curfew meant there was little opportunity to stretch things out, so sadly no cover of Dark Angel’s Merciless Death.
Lindberg made note of the other shows taking place in London tonight and thanked the crowd for choosing to see Lock Up, suggesting meeting for drinks in the Crobar next door after the show.
Lock Up setlist:
Cascade Leviathan / Brethren of the Pentagram / Pleasures Pave Sewers / Slaughterous Ways / Accelerated Mutation / Violent Reprisal / Detestation / The Embodiment of Paradox and Chaos / Feeding on the Opiate / Stygian Reverberations / Castrate the Wreckage / Necropolis Transparent / Submission / The Jesus Virus / Vomiting Evil / Storm of Stress (Terrorizer cover) / Fear of Napalm (Terrorizer cover) / After Life In Purgatory