LIVE REVIEW: Winterfylleth, Fen, Dread Sovereign, Boston Music Room, London, 23/10/2021
Let’s face it, the world is looking bleak at the moment. The everlasting shadow of COVID still looms over all our heads with threats of things heading back into oblivion in the near future. So, with that in mind, what is the best medicine for such grim and overtly depressing times? Dark, aggressive music of course and Winterfylleth are the perfect band to fill that bill.
Tonight, the Boston Music Room in London’s Tufnell Park region is the setting for a night of heavy, dark music and it feels as though it is built for that purpose. The bar is busy all night and the main floor is a hive of activity from the very beginning of the opening act Dread Sovereign’s set. The Irish purveyors of doom effortlessly hold the crowd in the palm of their hand with the low-tuned, infectious riffs and energy by the bucketload. The band has an immense level of stage presence, the set is campy and heavy in all the right places. The guitar solos are wailing and soaked in Wah and the vocals are note perfect throughout. And just when you think that their set can’t go any further to win over the hearts of the fans before them, they churn out a ridiculously slow and heavy rendition of Black Sabbath’s classic eponymous track from the album of the same name. Give us a headline tour lads, that was superb. 7/10
Fen are an entirely different monster. They are a band with enough of a cult following in the city to have merited headlining this show tonight, and they are far more fitting to the bill than you would have expected Dread Sovereign to be. With their ethereal, eerie introduction replacing the beer-drenched rock and roll vibe that the aforementioned left before them. The band are captivating with their constant shift in dynamics sounding resonant of In The Nightside Eclipse era Emperor and the twin attack of the vocals creating a sense of raw power and melody in equal measure. The audience are loving every moment of the set as the band navigate their way through complex chord progressions and mechanical-like drumbeats much to the awe of everyone in attendance. As previously mentioned, Fen are a band with the credentials to headline an occasion such as this and hopefully it won’t be long before we see such an event. 8/10
It takes Winterfylleth mere seconds to assert themselves as the rightful headliners of tonight’s proceedings. The band set things off with Absolved In Fire from their latest release The Reckoning Dawn with its forlorn guitar opening quickly giving way to a bludgeoning assault on the senses with the insanely complex drums, buzzsaw guitars and banshee screams scything their way through the sweat soaked venue. Despite some initial sound issues the band are on top form, the music is note perfect and is delivered with the kind of professionalism we have come to expect from a band of this ability. The quality of the vocal performance tonight is a real highlight, with the interlinking between all members adding a certain depth to the sound, playing off against one another perfectly including with the cleaner sections of the band’s repertoire. One of the highlights of the set is Whisper of The Elements from the group’s effort The Divination of Antiquity with the clean section in the middle sounding superb and whipping the crowd into a frenzy when the atmospheric black metal element kicks back in, generating the largest pit of the evening by a country mile.
Despite the seriousness of the music on show here there is very much a feeling of occasion that is being enjoyed by all. During the later stages of the set, we get cameos from the frontmen of both of the opening acts, and it appears that everyone involved is simply having a good time and enjoying their time back on the stage. A sentiment very much shared by all of those in attendance tonight, we have all missed seeing our favourite bands in the flesh and as the final notes of Ensigns of Victory ring out there is a feeling of great relief that we are able to get back into our local venues and enjoy a band at the very top if their game. It may have been a long time coming, but these British black metal sweethearts haven’t missed a step. Welcome back lads. 9/10
Written By: Rich Webb