Monday 11 August 2014

Live Review: Ravens Creed, Pentagram Chile. The Purple Turtle, Camden, London. Saturday, 2nd August 2014

The show started oddly, being the doors to the gig were at 4pm.  I certainly missed the other support bands- so sadly I cannot comment on what they were like.  Regardless, I and other intrepid metallers attended to witness Ravens Creed tear the Purple Turtle a new one. The turnout (even for a 7pm stage time) was disappointing, but those who were there were into it. The band fairly ripped through a set mostly culled from “The Power” opus released a couple of years ago. Yes, ‘Stand up and Be Cunted’ made an appearance (from the Ward-era “Albion Thunder” album) but highlights for me included ‘Kick to Kill’, ‘Bashed In’ and ‘Unleash The Ratbashers’. Steve Watson delivered the riffs with iron fisted spite while new (ish) recruit Rod Boston held things down on bass- complete with foot on the monitor stance marking him out as Nottingham’s rock god in waiting.

As usual Jay Graham proved that independence of limbs is more important than speed when it comes to playing drums properly. His right foot and left hand were right on the money every time- playing thrash beats as they are supposed to be played. His right hand gave great cymbal work in support and the left foot came in for well timed and dynamic double bass drum parts (instead of just continually rolling away, as many metal drummers do). Front man Osta gave an aggressive performance, stalking the stage with barely checked menace- in contrast to his wilder stage persona manifested in Satanic Dystopia’s live shows. The band played short and sharp, clocking in a set time of shy of half an hour- but when the set is this intense, that really is all you need.

Come 8pm Pentagram Chile were waiting in the wings and ready to go after what had clearly been a trying journey over from their European shows. Having witnessed these death/thrash denizens in 2013 at Live Evil I knew that they would not disappoint and they turned in a strong and professional performance of real metal. There is something about  South American metal bands that always stands out- they are wholly committed to the cause and mirror German bands in this regard- they take their metal seriously, but not without a sense of fun. The musicianship on the part of all band members was superb. Anton Reisenegger led from the front with his camo-patterned guitar blazing through some unorthodox and totally metal solos.

The two Juan Pablos (Uribe and Donaso) provided able and kinetic support- with Donaso particularly impressing on drums- fluid and expressive playing being his hallmark. The bass was convincingly handled by Dan Biggin (I think the lineup remains the same). The band used unusual rhythms and motifs to their advantage throughout the set, drawing from 2013’s “The Malefice” and their earlier demo material- ‘Temple of Perdition’ making a very welcome appearance. Song introduction of the night goes to Anton for this gem: “This song is about having a psychological aversion to all that is holy... SACROPHOBIA!” Well, quite!

Reisenegger made a couple of references to the show not being their best- and even left the stage in frustration  at one point after guitar problems, but he and the band persevered to turn in a convincing and evil sounding set. Fortunately, the room was full for the Latino headliners- Chile is a long way from the UK, and it would have been very disheartening for them to play a set to the number that witnessed Ravens Creed (hell, even Nottingham is a long way from London in more ways than one!). It appeared that many punters simply massed outside, only coming in for the headline act. Nothing new there, but it has been a feature of London shows of late. A shame, as it robs the support acts of exposure, the venue of profit and the event of atmosphere (although £4.20 a pint in the venue is fucking outrageous- albeit not by the capital’s ridiculous standards). Those minor gripes aside, the show demonstrated two of the best underground bands around- if you ever get the chance to see Pentagram Chile, take it without hesitation as you will not be disappointed.

While you’re at it: check out “The Malefice”- I overlooked it to a certain extent last year. It made my year end list, but not as high up as it should have been. I would like to redress this balance now: it is one of the best metal albums of recent years! So good, in fact, that I bought the two CD edition online and whilst at the gig I picked up the vinyl and a t-shirt! I support Pentagram Chile and think that anyone who likes metal in the vein of Venom, Bathory, early Slayer/Sepultura etc would do well to do the same. Real metal, real musicians and a great show!

Words by: Richard Maw

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