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  • Review by Faye Coulman

FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Incineration Fest 2019 - Part. II

The blackened and violently energised delights of Incineration Fest 2019 are just hours away from spectacularly laying waste to an unsuspecting capital this Saturday. But before you hurl yourself headlong into this glorious feast of gratuitous, blackened aggression and alcohol-sodden shenanigans, do yourself a favour and check out our ultimate guide to the fest's finest forthcoming attractions!


SOUNDS LIKE: Immortal, Emperor, Marduk

STANDOUTS: 'A Forest', 'It’s Darker Than You Think', 'Likeim'

SIGNED WITH: Season of Mist

SEE THEM: 5.15-6.15pm @ The Electric Ballroom

Catch the ‘Forest at Incineration and prepare to enter the sylvan realm of some guerrilla beasts of black metal; the darkest of dark woods where convention is ripped to shreds with sharpened tooth and claw.

Norwegian renegades Carpathian Forest were one of the acts to rise from the ashes of Mayhem’s self-immolation in the 90s. Immersing themselves in the murky satanic world of early Scandi metal the band wholeheartedly embraced full-on corpse paint culture and circulated some not so memorable demos. Following a brief hiatus, it was their debut album Black Shining Leather, released in 1998, that really put them on the map. With enough demonic shrieking, skilful tremolo and frostbitten atmospherics to make any black metal virtuoso proud, this tour de force also marked a wicked desire to stray from the path, featuring a stunning cover of The Cure’s A Forest, a delicious fusion of metal groove and Gothic rock.

Their next few albums followed in the same vein of experimentation, injecting a wild recklessness into the genre as they played around with hard rock and punk influences. Their latest single Likeim, paired with catchy, black-humoured number All My Friends Are Dead, is pure morbid fun, the lunatic blast beats and addictive symphonic chorus conjuring the gleeful theatricality of Cradle of Filth. And if you’re not a fan of this kind of musical progression and actually quite snotty about it? The title of Carpathian Forest’s 2006 album release is the band’s flippant clapback: Fuck You All!!!



SOUNDS LIKE: Shining, Craft, Tiamat

STAND OUTS: Pestilence Shall Come, With Storming Death, Before the Dimming Light

SIGNED WITH: Independent

‘The sound of hopelessness, violence and despair….’ is how Advent Sorrow themselves describe their affecting, doom-weighted melodies. Hailing their startlingly original music as ‘torturous black metal’, they blend the brutality of death with classically-inspired instrumentals to depict gorgeously exquisite, painfully drawn out agonies of internal torment.

Formed in Perth, Australia in 2009, their grim introspection is at odds with the sun-soaked, golden-sanded beaches and gleaming, airy skyscrapers of their native city. Instead, they exist deep in a harrowing alternate nightmare-scape, where crackling thunderstorms of acute sound are punctuated by cascading, furious riffs and blizzards of baleful blast beats. Drawing heavily from avant-garde and progressive subgenres, with hints of gauzy shoegaze, their first album As All Light Leaves Her is a very lesson in the savageries of suffering. With lashings of existential angst thrown in, it even features a recitation of Dylan Thomas’ rage-fuelled rhyme, ‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night’ set against gloomy, solemn chords. Their second album, freshly-released Kali Yuga Crown, builds on these depressive themes with haunting harmonies and heavy rock guitars that pluck at the nerves as vocalist Rhys King screams his throat raw with the ardency of his feelings, as if his soul has literally been stripped bare.

You may need a shot of high-proof whisky or two to enjoy with this one when they hit Incineration this week. Expect to be overwhelmed by some unbearably intense emotions as the band rip out your heart and your guts and leave you bleeding out on the floor of the pit.



SOUNDS LIKE: Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, Possessed, Benediction, Death

STANDOUTS: 'Deathhammer', 'M.S Bismark', 'Candiru'

SIGNED WITH: Century Media Records

SEE THEM: 9-10pm @ The Underworld

If you’re intrigued by the idea of Dutch death metal, don’t hesitate to check out Asphyx at Incineration this week. With a respectable, hardcore fan base behind them, Asphyx are an old school style outfit who literally do what they say on the tin; with their 2009 album release title perfectly encapsulating what to expect: Death… The Brutal Way.

Formed in 1987, Asphyx were present in the heady early days of classic death, and while they may not be amongst the most daredevil pioneers of the genre, they certainly absorbed the atmosphere of the times and crafted a suitably savage sound brimming with raw power. Although they’ve had their ups and downs, notably a damaging split followed by the tragic death of one of the original members in a horrendous car crash; since reforming in 2007 they’ve released a handful of well-received albums including the popular Deathhammer. Alternating between rampaging, thrash-like outbursts of percussion and heavier, doom-diving riffs; these experience-hardened extremists ply their instruments with awe-inducing skill and precision. Get stuck in to some down and dirty death and feast your eardrums on this enjoyable treat.



SOUNDS LIKE: Cradle of Filth, Carach Angren

STANDOUTS: 'Nihilartikel'

SIGNED WITH: Cacaphonous

SEE THEM: 7.45-8.20pm @ The Black Heart

Don’t be fooled by the playfully comedic band name. The delectably frostbitten cosmic horrors of Necronautical are about as far removed from such cheesy, swashbuckling territories as you could possibly imagine. Born in 2010 out of a collective, fanatical admiration for the stirring, ritualistic energies of classic black metal, the founding trio (comprising vocalist Naut, drummer Carcarrion and bassist Anchorite) quickly set about crafting these inky, genre-defining yarns into a formula of their own fiercely individualistic design. Steeped in generous lashings of fantastical, seafaring legend and nightmarish, Lovecraftian horror, these richly symbolic reflections on human existence and our utter insignificance in a cold and vast eternal cosmos have long proved a source of intense fascination for these philosophically-inclined black metallers.

With its breakneck mix of blasting aggression and flourishing, Cradle of Filth-esque atmospherics, debut opus ‘Black Sea Misanthropy’ was released to a glowing critical reception back in 2014. Gathering rapid creative momentum off the back of this hugely promising starting point, sophomore record ‘The Endurance of Night’ followed a mere two years later, with critics across the continent praising the ripping technical precision and intensely sinister atmospherics that characterise this blistering studio offering.

Underpinning tautly controlled measures of crushing, sepulchral blasts that ooze deathly majesty beneath snaking lashings of tremolo, theirs is a grand and profoundly chilling presence. And from frostily ethereal, Dimmu-flavoured soundscapes that glimmer with the blackened, incandescent fires of the infernal abyss to shrieks so unearthly in frequency they could rouse the dead from their dirt-caked eternal slumber, it’s with bated breath that we’re eagerly awaiting the UK wrecking crew’s electrifying forthcoming appearance.

"We are honoured to be appearing at Incineration Festival MMXIX,” reports frontman Naut. “We will be bringing our Nihilistic Black Metal Majesty to the Black Heart at 19:45, and will be performing two songs from our new album for the first time ever. Do not miss it!"



SOUNDS LIKE: Death, Hades Lab

STANDOUTS: 'Shed The Flesh Form'

SIGNED WITH: Death, Hades Lab

SEE THEM: 2.15-2.45pm @ The Black Heart

With its post-apocalyptic melding of densely unrelenting percussive blasts and breakneck feats of intricately complex fretwork, newly-forged technical aggressors Mechanized Dirge boast a musical pedigree like no other. Sourcing its respective players from such prestigious underground names as manically energised UK hellraisers Hades Lab and Meta-stasis, there’s no mistaking the impeccably engineered precision and prowess that comes with this illustrious wealth of prior experience.

Yet with a fresh and ingeniously devised new formula that’s unmistakably their own, it’s clear that, despite forming barely a year and a half ago, the talented quintet have already carved out a uniquely distinctive identity within the UK's creatively flourishing extreme scene. Spanning a hostile, almost otherworldly plethora of jarring percussive blasts, mind-bending time signatures and caustic snarls delivered in tight and insanely paced style, Mech D’s prestigious round of UK tour dates alongside genre titans Decapitated recently proved a riotously entertaining success.

Now with their sights set squarely on bringing maximum carnage and chaos to Incineration 2019, charismatic main man Hauron Kherty eagerly reports: "We are ever so excited to be part of this year's Incineration Fest. We have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time that we have been together it makes us very proud to be invited to appear alongside the legends of Black Metal Mayhem and many others. We are gonna be ticking on Def-com one at the Black Heart, setting the tone for the day and things to come. We'd like to thank Nimai Pujara for believing in what we do and giving us the platform take our music to a larger audience. Strap your balls to your legs - Mech D is coming to town!"



SOUNDS LIKE: Suffocation, Deicide

STANDOUTS: The Misanthrope, Squalid Thoughts, Incised Wound Suicide

SIGNED WITH: Brutal Bands

SEE THEM: 10pm-11pm @ The Black Heart

Fun fact: There is a Maltese death metal scene, and it’s positively thriving. Abysmal Torment are the lush archipelago’s most brutal export to date, and a shredding example of pushing the envelope when it comes to the extremes of technical death. Formed in 2000 and diligently releasing new albums every couple of years or so culminating in their latest serving of savagery, The Misanthrope, the band have gradually built up a small yet loyal fanbase.

Expect a pounding joyous mash-up of high-speed tempos, furious breakdowns, gurgling vocals and gory lyrics – with the odd mind-shattering heady riff thrown in - played with gut-wrenching passion and unrestrained, bloodthirsty excess. The final act of Incineration, Abysmal Torment will undoubtedly prove a steely palate-cleanser as bracing as any acerbic minty mouthwash.


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