Date: September 20th, 2013
Venue: Islington O2 Academy, London
Support: Revocation / Aborted
Website: None available
Awash with critical acclaim and benefiting from a live reputation as stellar as any in the game, it’s difficult to imagine The Black Dahlia Murder ever not delivering the goods. Indeed, fortified by two cast iron support acts on the ‘Into The Everblack’ tour, it stands to reason that a packed out Islington Academy witnesses what is perhaps the most metal evening in recent memory as the trio utterly demolish London.
Openers Revocation (****) turn in an impressive display. With cuts from their freshly delivered self-titled bolstering their set dramatically, even a somewhat muted crowd reaction can do little to dampen what is a fiery half hour of tech death histrionics and thrash stomp. Frontman Dave Davidson is certainly a marvel to watch, his six string dexterity consistently matched by a maniacal vocal performance and wide-eyed stage presence, especially apparent with highlight track ‘Dismantle The Dictator’‘s finger cramping riff work and spin on a dime tempo shifts.
Next up, bloodthirsty Belgians Aborted (****) are an altogether more savage prospect. Lurching from switchblade pace to gut wrenching slams, the grisly subject matter spluttered through thunderous lows and earsplitting squeals strangely cannot diminish what is fantastically fun showing. Perhaps it falls down to frontman Sven De Caluwes‘ infectious energy or some devastatingly clinical breakdowns, yet as the band exit the stage their murderous tunes leaves a now considerable audience battered and grinning.
Coming on to a heroes reception, The Black Dahlia Murder (*****) are simply breathtaking on the night. Launching into the opening brace from their latest full-length ‘Everblack’, the Michigan quintet cement their standing as extreme metal luminaries with new material shining brightest in a set consisting entirely of gems. From the rousing call to arms of ‘On Stirring Seas Of Salted Blood’ through to the technical bluster of ‘Raped In Hatred By Vines Of Thorn’, the band run a fine line between imposing musicianship and an arresting vigor which is tailor made for audience engagement, confirmed by a 50/50 split of those gawping dumbfounded at the stage or throwing down in the pit.
Closing with the searing violence of ‘Deathmask Divine’ and ‘I Will Return’‘s melodic splendor, there can be little doubt that the capital’s metal heads leave with appetites sated and expectations shattered. Extreme metal can understandably come under fire for being rather too stringent and humourless, yet The Black Dahlia Murder prove to tout time and again the ability to remain wholly intense and refreshingly jovial.
Written by Tony Bliss