Suffocation / Desecration / Descent
10 November 2004
Camden Underworld

Right from the outset I should point out that we attended tonight`s gig purely to check out Descent. Whilst I am partial to a bit of death metal, it is a wide ranging category and although I appreciate that Suffocation were pioneers of the genre, the type of extremely brutal, high velocity metal that they play leaves me feeling a bit cold. That is not a criticism, I appreciate people like it, which was evident by the packed out Underworld, it`s just not my thing.

Anyway, on to openers Descent. We had previously caught Descent as unannounced openers for Death Angel back in July and having picked up a copy of their demo after the gig I`d been looking forward to seeing them again.

By the time we had made it down in front of the stage the band were already finishing opening song Enemies Closer. Dust Of The Fallen, from the demo, followed next. This song encapsulates many of the pieces of Descent`s sound, mixing Carcass like death metal, with thrashing riffs and featuring a painfully dampened slow breakdown section reminiscent of early Machine Head.

Vocally, Descent have all bases covered. Main singer Ross White`s caustic shouts occupy mid-range, sounding not unlike the style many metalcore bands have adopted and he occasional adds a clean vocal. Bassist Duncan Mitchell provides a higher pitched shriek, whilst lead guitarist Tim Spurr adds a ghostly guttural bellow.

The venue was already pretty full and Descent aren`t taking any prisoners, blasting through their short set with hardly a pause for breath. The band seemed to have tailored their set for Suffocation`s crowd by selecting their more brutal songs, with the likes of Behind Closed Doors getting a fair amount of cheers.

My own personal favourite from the demo Reveal is the penultimate song of the set. It`s awesome At The Gates style opening riff kick starts the first pit action of the evening. The all out death metal of 9 Hours Of Hate closes a well received set. Descent`s next task in hand is the recording of the debut album which I look forward to hearing.

Descent set list:
Enemies Closer / Dust Of The Fallen / Unanswered / Nothing`s Changed / Behind Closed Doors / Reveal / 9 Hours of Hate

There were quite a few people I wanted to catch up with at the venue tonight and hence I did not witness the whole of either Desecration`s or Suffocation`s sets.

Having not heard them before, Desecration were completely at odds to what I had expected. The splatter titles of their Gore & Perversion album, home drawn logo and sick artwork had always led me to believe that they would be more along the lines of looser death metal acts such as Mortician or the gore of Autopsy. It came as some surprise to therefore discover how immensely tight this three piece are.

Song titles such as Pharaonic Circumcision caused a few chuckles and if I`d been sat down I`d have probably crossed my legs. To be honest though, vocalist/guitarist Ollie could have been singing about his pet cat for all I picked up from his speedy death metal delivery.

Someone close by shouted "Irish Vader" towards the end of the set, which was a bit odd given Desecration are Welsh, but he wasn`t far off the mark with the Vader comparison and I`d add Deicide to that. In fact I couldn`t help but think if Desecration were from the States or mainland Europe, it`s likely they`d be headlining to crowds this size.

Desecration set list:
None Of Us Are Saints / Insane Savagery / Pharaonic Circumcision / Corprophilliac Circumcision / Fontanelle Fornication / Cerebral Annoxia / Grave Wax / Human Gore / Maggots In Evidence / Turning Black / Bacterial Breakdown / Beyond Recognition / Asphyxiate On Blood / Dig Up, Dig In

Many people here were probably completely unaware that when they arrived at the Underworld Suffocation were still in transit to the venue. As a result there was obviously a significant break after Desecration whilst their gear was set up. When the band eventually did start, I was in the process of refilling my pint and by the time I`d wandered in from the bar, the floor area of The Underworld was completely packed.

Suffocation are super fast and super tight and whilst the intricacies of their material was flying over my head it was going down a storm with their gathered faithful. Many of whom were pleased to hear that guitarist Terrance Hobbs was compiling a tablature book, so Suffocation fans can play along with their heroes.

To be honest after about 20 minutes I`d had my fill and headed back in the bar, though this was down to my own tastes and I`m sure, as I could see from the crowd reaction, if you`re into this uncompromising style of death metal you`d have loved it. I`ll leave you to enjoy Johan`s pictures.

The Underworld