Wednesday 8 November 2017

Live: Damnation Festival 2017, Leeds 04/11/2017

Leeds University,

The stars having aligned correctly and the goth festival season over it was with great joy that your the humble correspondent strolled the short distance to Leeds University and Damnation Festival 2017 - an appointment which where possible should be kept with extreme prejudice, as it represents unbeatable thrills and chills as one of the foremost extreme music festivals in Britain.

Disentomb kicked off proceedings on the Terrorizer stage, providing pulverising riffs & death metal growls in equal measure and setting the tone for a day of monumental brutality. Meanwhile, slightly earlier than expected on the Eyesore Merch stage Italian doomsters Psychedelic Witchcraft were making their presence well and truly felt. Building on the mellow blues-rock of their recorded output the band seems truly transformed on stage, full of harder riffs and band leader Virginia Monti's bravado performance behind the mic. Transformed with such striking completeness. their vigour is almost too much for the early afternoon crowd.

In contrast, Myrkur's live performance doesn't really build on the quality of her recorded music. On record her particular brand of ethereal banshee-metal is innovative and uncanny, yet her live band comes across as almost disappointingly orthodox, and prosaic. Although still a superior live band, their performance leaves you wanted more of the angular, indefinable thrills of her studio work.

West Yorkshire gothic legends Paradise Lost return to a heroes' welcome, and despite some much-demonstrated sound problems they turned in a flawless performance that took in old classics like 'Enchantment' and a final rollicking 'Say Just Words', this was a set worthy of a headliner and one that shows great things still lay ahead for Cleckhuddersfax's finest.

Following such a set wasn't going to be easy, but the Ruhr's Sodom prove more than up to the task. With their stripped-down and sped-up barrage of riffs their high-octane performance reminds the listener of a Motorhead on steroids, a brutalised and streamlined thrash machine that is the perfect counterpunch to the gloom of earlier sets.

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