GIG REVIEW: KATAKLYSM’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Live at O2 Academy Islington, London
Kataklysm were here to celebrate their 25th anniversary with the eagerly awaited A Moment In Time Tour 2017. Having opened proceedings in Germany just under a week ago it was finally time for the Canadian modern death metallers to hit London’s O2 Academy Islington. Backed with a solid support in the form of Graveworm, tonight held high expectations for hardcore Katalysm fans- can the hyperblasters replicate the studio sound of Shadows & Dust and Serenity In Fire as it’s performed in its entirety live? Old and new fans alike were in for a treat tonight and the celebration of this jubilee can only be described as brutal!
Opening proceedings of the night was Italian dark metal band Graveworm. Playing on the classic melodic death metal sound incorporating symphonic arrangements via keyboards the band had the crowd head banging immediately following frontman Stefano Fiori’s commands to pump fists in the air. Stefano effortlessly unleashed the aggression and brutal force that this band is known for with his death growl and guttural screams. I was fixated with drummer Martin Innerbichl er’s intensity from the onset. He used every muscle in his pumped body to pound every inch of the kit and adopted my favourite technique of swivel double kick drumming in “Legions Unleashed.” Metal heads were treated to new songs “Blood, Torture and Death” and “Death Heritage” taken from their current album “Ascending Hate” (2015). They went old school with the hit “Demonic Dreams” which gave Eric Righi and Steve Unterpertinger the opportunity to come into the foreground and play short guitar solos.
Graveworm set the bar high and warmed up the crowd paving the way for headliner’s Kataklysm to cause chaos and destruction all in the name of a solid musical career spanning 25 years. The only way to celebrate the occasion was to take fans back to the Shadows & Dust vs Serenity in Fire era. They ploughed straight into “In Shadows &Dust.” The band injected fresh energy into the crowd which caused a surge of people to push to the front. The pit was wide, it was open and it saw the biggest person at the gig get flattened by fellow moshers. The sheer brutality of their set reflected crowd behavior. No blood was drawn, but it was the most entertaining moment of the night. “Where the Enemy Sleeps” and “Face the Face of War” went down like a storm as it turned into a mass sing-a-long with vocalist Maurizo Iacono. Strobe lights, shocking riffs and fat blast beats provided by drummer Oli Beaudoin sent shock waves through the venue and ruptured ear drums no doubt with his destructive stage performance, but the crowd seemed to burn out quickly by then. Added the fact that security suppressed crowd surfers which killed the mood as this was part of the whole experience during a metal gig.
After a 15 minute interval the quartet entered the stage to the crowd chanting their name to play Serenity in Fire. The hyped crowd went mental when the worldwide hit single “As I Slither” started which didn’t need an introduction. The pit party continued during “For All Our Sins” which went down immensely illuminated by mobile phone flashes filming the antics rather than focusing on the real action- the band’s performance! He asked “are you tired?” after “The Night They Returned” to which the crowd responded with a resilient “NO,” however the crowd action was the polar opposite. Nevertheless, the band made a thrilling performance of the last three songs off Serenity that have never been played live until now, which went down a treat with diehard fans.
Overall, Graveworm provided a legendary energetic performance with their blistering sound featuring songs ranging from the early days to the current album. So, if you’re a fan of Soilwork or Fleshgod Apocalypse you’ll probably like the sounds of Graveworm. This melodic death metal band worked the crowd into frenzy ready for headliner’s Kataklysm to batter our aural receptors. With 25 years under their belt the nostalgia kicked in with A Moment In Time Tour for loyal fans. Despite some tired moments the hyper blasting band flourished and there was not a note out of place. The celebratory night can only be described as striking and joyous. Catch Katklysm and Graveworm destruct your city and join in on the celebrations!