LIVE REVIEW: Undeath, Celestial Sanctuary, Mutagenic Host, The Black Heart, London, 02/02/2023
Photo Credit: Errick Easterday
Tonight is a special night in the famous The Black Heart. Upstairs in this renowned pub, nestled in the very heart of northern London’s Camden Town one of the most important jewels of the modern underground death metal scene is about to play it’s very first show in the capital city and it is set to be a big occasion. The boys in Undeath have proven in their relatively short careers that great music shines through and that metalheads the world over will stand up and listen to you if you have a fire in your belly and ambition in your soul and tonight the band have brought their It’s Time to Rise… From The Grave! Tour to a ravenous crowd and have brought some friends along for the ride.
Opening up proceedings tonight is London’s very own Mutagenic Host. The band are in their relative infancy and as a result the set is pretty short. However, this is not always a bad thing. The boys waste little time in delivering all the songs from their debut EP The Genotoxic Demo, showcasing their ability for writing groovy old school death metal tunes and presenting them with great stage presence and humility. By the end of the set the crowd have been won over and hopefully it won’t be long before the band are back with more material and some headline shows of their own. 7/10
Next up is another local act. The fast-rising underground heroes in Celestial Sanctuary. None can fault this band for it’s incredible work ethic over the past few years. Seemingly being prepared to jump on any opportunity that comes their way and impressing on every outing. From the very outset tonight the heavy riffers have the crowd in the palm of their hand and revel in the moment, dishing out set staples such as Rid The Gormless and Trapped Within The Rank Membrane to the adoring crowd. Frontman Tom Cronin is a proud flagbearer of what he calls ‘The New Wave of British Death Metal’ and why wouldn’t he be when his band are currently standing atop of its pile and looking to do big things in the very near future. 8/10
With the crowd reaching fever pitch, it will take something truly special to top the aforementioned support set. However, Undeath are no normal band. From the very moment the boys take the stage they take things to another level entirely. Frontman Alex Jones is one of a kind. His stage presence and charisma are unrivalled he stalks the stage wearing a plastic crown (a gift from the lads of the Bangers and Mosh Podcast). The band are in devastatingly good form as they lay waste the sold-out venue with tracks such as Necrobionics, Enhancing the Dead and Brandishing The Blade with the mind of surgical precision that would be befitting of a band with twice the experience that the New York natives boast.
As the band work their way through the set the energy levels from the stage and the floor match each other with little sign of slowing. By the time they reach Chained to a Reeking Rotted Body the noise is through the roof. This is an old-fashioned venue, where you can see the smiles on the faces of the performers as they provide the soundtrack to the now raging pits that have opened up near the front, making the very floor that they are standing on shake and shudder with all of these components adding to the experience.
One of the highlights of the evening comes at the very end of the night. The band exit the set after playing Lesions of a Different Kind and are beckoned back on by their adoring fans for one more song, which the band happily oblige to. When the band come back onto stage, they pull the bold move of closing the set with the track Rise from the Grave, the exact same song that the group opened the set with. This is practically unheard of and goes down an absolute treat with the audience and further pushes the fact that the band are as funny and clever as you could hope to see in the modern era.
The connection that the band have with the crowd is something that has to be admired, making the fact that it has taken this long for the boys to reach our shores even more criminal. However, with the way that they are picking up momentum the group seem to have found their second home and will hopefully be returning regularly going forward. 9/10
Written By: Richard Webb