Beneath The Massacre / Obscura / Hate Eternal Live at the Underworld

Tuesday night is not, in fairness, a great night for gigs. This is especially true when said gig is to be followed by a 4 hour drive home. Saying that some of us will never learn and hence I found myself heading back into London for what promised to be an evening of the finest in death metal….

Delays getting into the venue (ok, delays caused by spending too long gabbing in the pub beforehand) meant that I missed Japanese band Defiled, but I made sure I was there in plenty time to catch Canadian Grindey-Death metallers Beneath The Massacre who set a suitably ferocious baseline for the evening’s entertainment. This is a band who keep things simple but know exactly what they’re about; fast, extreme and musically as tight as fuck.

The next band up tonight were German outfit Obscura. I was particularly looking forward to this as their latest release “Omnivium” is one of the best death metal albums of the year (only Abysmal Dawn’s new one running it close) and they have an impressive reputation as a live band…

And by god they deserve it….

Obscura are anything but a simple Death Metal band, oh they can certainly do brutal, growling DM, but they have so much more to offer. OK, it helps that they are, to a man, brilliant musicians. Steffen Kummerer is an excellent frontman, and don’t get me started on guitarist Christian Muenzner, who is just sickeningly good. You don’t usually associate words like “virtuoso” with extreme metal bands, but Obscura’s performance tonight was just that.

But they’re all so, I dunno, unassuming. Smiling and looking like they were really enjoying themselves.

There was a bigger-than-I-expected-for-Death-Metal-on-a-Tuesday crowd in the Underworld, and judging by the t-shirts on the attendees many of them were here for Obscura. As they opened their set with a couple of tracks from the new album heads started banging, but when they followed that with The Anticosmic Overload the place went suitably mental.It was a real shame that the band just didn’t have long enough, and when the set ended with Centric Flow we were all left wanting more.

I have GOT to see these guys again soon….

Obscura were going to be a hard act to follow, but the headliners have been doing this for too long to be worried about minor details like that…

Hate Eternal are much more traditional Death Metal, with none of the more technical, intricate and (dare I say it) accessible elements that Obscura deliver. But then again intricate and accessible is not what these guys, or their fans, want. This is angry man metal delivered with an absolutely awesome ferocity.

The flow of the early part of the band’s set was interrupted by technical gremlins, but once these were overcome they got straight back into bludgeoning the crowd into submission with unrelenting sensory GBH. Erik Rutan was in incredible form, with an intensity and stage presence that most frontmen would kill for. This was the first time I’d seen Hate Eternal, and it’s fair to say they blew me away.

The spur of the moment decision I made to head into London turned out to be the right one, I saw three really good bands and thoroughly enjoyed myself to boot. It was a brilliant night where all the bands I saw well and truly delivered the goods, but for me Obscura stole the show, demonstrating that you can be technical and even progressive while remaining crushingly heavy and undeniably “true”.