As the raging wind beat against the masses of crowd descending upon the ‘hard rock’ district of London; deep in its heart the unmistakable crash of cymbals could be heard signalling The Facemelter 2015 finale , at the infamous Our Black Heart, Camden.
First up were Vodun – with their masterful fusion of tribal, psychedelic metal, infused with elements of doom, their sound as unique as their outlook. The trio were garbed in their usual homage to the Yoruba deities and the stage was strewn with a wide assortment of tribal percussion instruments from bells to snares and bongos. They were standing in for the billed HAG (who had to cancel at the last minute for personal reasons), and this was their chance to bamboozle the crowd with their brand of hard hitting, percussion centred voodoo metal. To say they blew the crowd away is not an overstatement. Their set was a beautifully crafted journey of sound through the ancient lands of Africa full of gut wrenching guitar leads and progressive drum grooves, complimented by the powerful, soaring vocals of Chantal (aka Oya). The band worked the crowd into a frenzy with their extended breakdowns as Zel beat the living hell out of her drum kit and Chantal ran into the crowd arming them with percussive ammunition to keep rhythm until the entire room was a fireball of bangs and crashes, building up, tearing down. And then came the riff! The crowd erupted as one at the phenomenon unfolding before their very eyes. Loud cheers greeted the voodoo warriors as they bowed out to a crowd which, by now, was entirely under their spell.
The Chickens caught up with Chantal after the show who mentioned that the band’s album was due for release on the 11th of March shortly after which Vodun will be on the road again.
Next up were Casual Nun a five piece psychedelic noise outfit with elements of doom (in keeping with the night’s theme) and industrial metal. Arguably the least technical of the three bands, their strength lay in building an entire mammoth of a metal tune on a simple yet trippy groove, the impact of which was two-fold given the band’s dual drum attack. The two drum kit beats played side by side, building tension on the groove, while the guitar – overdriven to an extreme – drove the melody, adding to the indecipherable high pitched vocals. All this culminated in a psychedelic frenzy of sound. To get an idea, check out this live vid courtesy Graham Dyer, or listen below –
Finally it was time for The Facemelter veterans, The Day of Locusts armed with their brand new album ‘From The Gutter to the Gods’ (buy here) to take the stage and tear it apart with their intense technical progressive death-doom sound. The band opened with a citation of the famous Orwellian prophecy (from 1984) ‘If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.’ What followed was a fulfilment of that prophecy with a down tuned onslaught of odd time riffs, blasting drums and despair filled ambient guitar tones that created an atmosphere of utter disdain and chaos…song after song a relentless flow of overwhelming emotions captured perfectly in Simon’s death growls, bending minds and (aptly) melting faces as the instruments collided and heads banged in a masterful show of technicality and all round heaviness.
As the band bowed, signalling the end of the set, the crowd burst into applause, each listener satiated with their monthly dose of quality heavy metal, eager to discuss the intricacies of what they had all just witnessed. The wind outside had stopped raging, and Facemelter drew to a close for 2015.
They’ll be back in 2016, and, bad music/storm analogies notwithstanding, so will I.
Keep up with Facemelter and other Chaos Theory events here.