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FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Incineration Fest 2019 - Part I

The annual inferno of blackened brilliance that is Incineration is about to hit Camden on Saturday and no doubt, like us, you’re bouncing off the walls with excitement - but the sheer amount of eye-wateringly exceptional acts crammed into this single day can feel daunting even to the most obsessively well-informed of fanatical metal-heads.

But fear not, Dark Matter have got your leather-covered backs. We’ve sacrificed both sleep and sanity over the past few days to relentlessly trawl the dark corners of the internet, researching each band in meticulous detail to bring you the ultimate lowdown on the choicest gems of the festival. Use our snappy summaries to tailor your schedule and ensure your Incineration experience runs seamlessly.


SOUNDS LIKE: Emperor, Immortal, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth

STANDOUTS: 'Freezing Moon', 'Deathcrush', 'Pure Fucking Armageddon'

SIGNED WITH: Century Media

SEE THEM: From 8.30-10.30pm @ The Electric Ballroom

The founding fathers of Norwegian black metal, these absolute legends are on their way to the UK. Formed back in the 80s and mired in murder and madness, Mayhem’s intensely disturbing behaviour both on and off stage came to define an era. Dead’s suicide, Euronymous’ murder and the band members’ alleged association with church burnings and other blasphemous misdemeanours lit the fuse for an explosive, controversial movement whose ripples of disquiet can still be felt today. The very definition of angry young men, Mayhem’s raging rebellions have inspired a myriad diversity of follow-up acts and their influence can be felt wherever metal can be found.

It could be argued that it’s Mayhem’s notoriety that has kept them on everyone’s radar for so long, but that is to deny their sheer tenacity following such a turbulent history and the pure raw power of their music. Their most acclaimed releases, debut album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanus and EP Deathcrush are stone-cold classics of the genre and essential listening; the whetstones where the abrasive, biting distortions, caustic vocals and bleak, atmosphere-laden nightmare-scapes that typify the frostbitten black metal sound were sharpened into shape. Although their most recent offerings have strayed a tad wide of the mark, even their latest release, Ordo AD Chao, while perplexingly experimental, has an untethered wild beauty that is worthy of interest.

Despite no longer boasting the original line for obvious reasons, the band are still going strong today and captivating live audiences. For their most recent tours, Mayhem have dived back into their swampy, primordial beginnings and pulled out their acclaimed early masterpieces to showcase to their rapt audiences. With any luck, this will be the case at Incineration – so steel yourself for a journey into the sullied rotting heart of black metal. The Mayhem experience at its most true will plunge you headfirst into the most nebulous of black holes, overwhelming your senses with echoing riffs that reverberate like giant glaciers crashing together, excruciating, dirge-like chords and keening, hyena-like vocals that pierce to the marrow of the bone. Despite their many tempestuous years, Mayhem’s irresistible gravitational pull is still stronger than any empyrean event horizon and like the most terrifying of cosmic in-balances, once they have you in their icy grasp, Mayhem will freeze you to your very core.