GIG REVIEW: DECAPITATED, DYSCARNATE & BAEST Live at O2 Islington Academy, London
Back in the UK after their tribulations, the prospect of Decapitated bringing Killing the European Cult Tour 2019 to London on 19th February would have been an unmissable event for any self-respecting metalhead and so it was proved. Due to popular demand, enthusiastic fans waited outside the larger venue O2 Islington Academy where everyone was ready for an evening of partying all in honor of the album Anticult. With support from Baest and Dyscarnate, be prepared for a colossal barrage of metal.
Opening Proceedings tonight was Baest, hailing from Denmark, exploded onto the stage with a heap of energy to unleash. The venue wasn’t full, but they played to a decent crowd. Vocalist Simon Olsen was persistent when it came to crowd interaction and they soon warmed up to the venomous vocal displays reminiscent of the beast. The thrilling performance of top track “Crosswhore” proved to be a crowd pleaser as the set finished. The unashamedly short set excited the crowd which had them screaming for more.
Up next, spreading death metal all over the world is England’s finest trio who descended onto the stage in the shape of Dyscarnate. They clearly wasted no time and roared straight into the track “Of Mice and Mountains.” The power of their set gripped the crowd immediately and three songs in saw headbanging in full swing. Fat beats and thunderous drumming perfectly executed by Matt Unsworth shocked the cerebral cortex. Where have I been?! I’ve never heard of this band, I didn’t know what to expect so it was fantastic to see two vocalists, Al Llewellyn (bass) and Tom Whitty (guitar) each displaying various vocal ranges and this brought diversity to their sound. The crowd chanted “Dys-car-nate, Dys-car-nate” as they ploughed into “This is Fire.” Whitty called for more pit action, but moshers and crowd surfers were suppressed by security! This was undeniably a triumphant performance almost stealing the show. They could easily be a headlining act.
As the energy intensified the metal community welcomed Polish death metal pioneers Decapitated with a fantastic reception of loud cheering. They went full throttle with an extreme onslaught ripping straight into “One-Eyed Nation.” It was a constant attack on the senses as their stage presence was destructive. They steamed through the set with relentless speed and never lost momentum through pauses or long speeches. Fans were delighted to hear set staples “Day 69” and “Homo Sum.” The blood-curdling journey continued with “Kill the Cult” which saw the mosh pit rage with aggression. Temporary replacement drummer James Stewart’s (Vader) impressive drum work caused utter carnage in the pit with enormous blasts from the drums and intense double kicking that had us on our toes as he sent shock waves across the venue. Together with Hubert Wiecek as he slapped the bass to add body and volume to the bludgeoning sound.
Rafał Piotrowski aka Rasta made for a great frontman demonstrating that this band is a leader in their trade as they continue to dominate the death metal scene with their ferocity and technicality. Rasta masterfully complimented the music and was on top form tonight as he barked lyrics at volume with drawn-out screams which captivated the crowd. He also played with the idea of singing over screaming in “Earth Scar”. The spine-tingling performance of penetrating riffs and ferocious shredding came from guitarist and founder of the band Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka. This certainly contributed to the creation of churning whirlpools of moshers and a constant wave of crowd surfers. Rasta’s appreciation for the crowd is admirable as he thanked the fans for their loyalty over the decades, through the good and the bad times as they flowed into my favorite track “Never” where the set reached a new emotional height.
It was a night of pure death metal. Baest delighted the crowd with a short and punchy set. Dyscarnate blasted the crowd with brute force. Headliner’s Decapitated delivered an unforgettable crushing set. They deserve an even bigger stage! The UK leg of the tour has reached the end, however Killing The European Cult Tour continues across Europe so be sure to catch them in a city near you.