“We’re going to burn Camden to the ground today!”
Sounded the threatening phrase loudly from my mate on the way to Camden. Despite the pyromaniac propensity of his clouded mind, we could control ourselves as well as our crazy thoughts during the second turn of London’s so far biggest black/death/extreme metal event.
Camden is not an ordinary part of London anyway as we all know it and it sees numerous weird happenings day by day, but in comparison with Incineration 2K15 anything that had happened here before was just an easy walk in the park.
Unfortunately the launch of the fest was a bit erratic due to the disorganized ticket checking and wristband hand out, but the way I saw it everyone was waiting patiently for their turn in the 2 street-long queue.
In terms of the festival, compared it to last year, the main innovation was the increased number of stages. The whole event was organized around the 30 confirmed performers, scattered them through 3 stages and venues: at the Electric Ballroom, The Underworld and at the Black Heart. The multi-staged layout also caused some issues to many.
The biggest concern was the tight schedule, I suppose. It is a natural human weakness that we can’t be in several places at the same time. Physically impossible but I tried my best to tick as many boxes as I could. So, here is my way of this year’s Incineration Festival. All you can read here is just roughly reflecting the real situation based on my defective memories.
Despite the stumbling kick-off, some people could get into The Underworld in time to see the very first performer of the day. To be honest the place never was such comfortably empty before and it made really enjoyable the first show. Premature Birth were the only band who reminded us the yesteryear’s Incineration as they opened that one as well. As they used to do, many incense were lighted up on stage to create the astral atmosphere. They closed their short set with a cover of Satyricon’s Mother North again, just like they did when they opened for Tsjuder not long ago. Such a brilliant closure for an opening act.
In the meantime Aura Noir sharpened their instruments for a killer black trash offensive within the dark walls of the Electric Ballroom. However I’m not really familiar with their works, I did not regret to follow the flowing mass into the right direction. I would say their show turned on everyone without a doubt and put us in the perfectly aggressive mood to keep up with the rest of the day.
People started to fill the hollow spaces back in The Underworld where Otargos were already preparing themselves. They were the first band that I watched entirely as I firmly decided previously I will do so no matter what. The French extremists’ music is a long time favorite of mine. This time they delivered a short but very intense and technical set. Unfortunately the singer’s guitar solos and most of his riffs were hardly audible. Nevertheless Otargos are never disappointing.
To be completely honest the performance of Keep of Kalessin didn’t cut it at all. Although they could manage to fill the Electric Ballroom I was expecting a bit more complex and forceful show. Possibly the reason why they could not convince me because I wasn’t up to date about their current status and recent works. It was mere curiosity that draw me to their set. I should have seen them 10 years ago during the ‘Armada’ era. Such a sad thing it was my first date with them.
On the way between the venues, the unadulterated festival feeling was clearly sensible. Hundreds on the streets, without past and future. Only the here and now that mattered. At this point the festival was being unleashed with full steam ahead.
Shining‘s psycho terrorist and sinister reputation follows the band wherever they play. It was no struggle here either to attract the fans to get involved with Kvarforth‘s dark self-expression. The band leader’s controversial personality makes their “concept” unexceptional and trustworthy. That’s not a secret, Kvarforth started it all back in 1996 as a self expressions to pour his negative visions into an artistic frame to avoid the complete madness. And yet, their 9th album (Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends) still sinking in more depths into the abysmal of the dark side of the human soul. Fortunately they played loads of old tracks well balanced with new ones. In every terms Shining‘s performance was one of the highlights and the same time the most depressive moment of the festival.
It was obvious, almost mandatory to attend Funeral Throne‘s gig to get some old school black metal. They were the only band that I witnessed at Black Heart. Funeral Throne‘s set was ‘the’ black metal set for me at this festival. Most of their songs are pretty long but never dragging and very engaging. Beautiful melodies and strong atmosphere. Nothing is overdone or forced. To simply put it, jaw-dropping.
One of the headliners was the legendary God Seed. The band still feeds their reputation from their notorious past. It might be pessimistic but they will always do, following the court’s conclusion of Gorgoroth‘s band name dispute. So much for history. The front man Gaahl‘s frightening presence can always stimulate thinking and evoke real feelings in those who can get eye contact with him. There is a lot more to him than meets the eye, though. Their one and only full album titled I Begin has built upon the typical Norwegian sound, however God Seed can’t be farther from the underground sound or direction. They successfully stepped over it and boost the band into a higher and more professional level.
The festival was getting incredibly busy hour by hour. All the venues turned to intolerably crowded, warm and barely approachable. To get close to the bands was almost impossible.
As far as Necrophobic concerned it was absolute nuts. Their original singer Anders Strokirk returned last year, about which quite a few people were happy. The set was mind-blowing. The Underworld went absolute apeshit with people moshing in the middle and ‘singing’ all the songs in the front row. There were hardly anyone there who at least didn’t raise their fists or headbang to the killer riffs of the Swedish horde.
Alcest‘s melancholic shoegaze could fit into fairy tales but can still melt the strongest of stone hearts. Nothing proves this better than the hundreds of weeping souls that lurked within the grim exterior of metal fans, who were staring at the stage rooted to the spot. Next time you have a chance to Alcest live you’ll see what I mean. The band are always grateful to play in front of a metal audience but of course they are keen to play anyway.
To sum the festival up, the event was just a bit too much and slightly above the easy pastime level. Literally too many bands were squeezed into a very tight time frame. Performances were often clashed which made all the people showed up feel like they had to keep rushing all day long.
Obviously, there were much more on the list. All of my impressions are the result of a short stay witness but as I mentioned above it was impossible to cover every single band’s performance. Maybe next time our crew will be stronger and more effective. In the meantime cross your fingers (or horned hands) for a 3rd chapter. There are still some ruins that should be incinerated!
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A live report by LGH – MMXV.