Abgott

support Affluenza + L Sol Tace
author EW date 25/11/12 venue Bull & Gate, London, UK

There are gigs one eagerly awaits the arrival of for months on end, counting down the days to finally seeing a favourite band perform live in front of you, and then there are those taking place on wet, cold, dark Sunday evenings featuring no bands of interest and only the strongest of duties to one's good friend who has put on the event forcing an attendance. This was such a night when the appeal of a warm home was rejected in the name of metal and the support of of the most sparsely populated gig in my 46 and counting this year, but featuring three local bands of varying stature for an audience of no more than a few dozen, one could at least feel a small sense of pride in supporting the scene at its grassroots. Here is how my last Sunday evening weighed up.

L Sol Tace

L Sol Tace

With just one three-song demo in a two-year existence to their name, L Sol Tace are the proverbial upstarts looking to find their sound and footing in a crowded music world all the while filling slots such as this to an audience barely topping 15 in number. Their melodically-inclined thrash/death was nothing if not heard a thousand times before, not helped by the finer subtleties of Sam Wallace's guitar playing being lost in a sea of feedback but the general gist of what the band were aiming for could just about gathered in the cosy pub backroom. Vast improvement in songwriting and performance, especially from their frontman who did little to engage the solitary few, would of course be expected from a band aiming for bigger things, but in truth their performance felt as much like a band rehearsal a dozen or so of us were privy to watch than any glorified 'show'. Still, any situation like this is one a band can learn from and the polite applause at their conclusion shows the efforts of L Sol Tace were appreciated.

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Affluenza

Affluenza

Another inexperienced act, Affluenza bore resemblance to L Sol Tace but with a stronger groove element to proceedings which when padded out with two guitarists to the openers one gave a greater presence and fuller sound, albeit one from which no distinct riffs or songs linger in the memory. Their vocalist (whose name I cannot find anywhere) had a more confident air about him - whether his slurred words were the effect of drunkenness or nerves I wouldn't like to judge - while his bandmates plugged away contentedly besides, appearing thankful that despite the scarcity of beings in the room there were still enough to get some sort of pit going.

A better mix coming from the desk helped in making each instrument distinctly audible, with the band's drummer in particular holding together some nice rhythms, but I'd be lying to say anything played held long in the conscience. Still, as a live performance this was an improvement on L Sol Tace but the same consensus on quality of songwriting naturally remains my biggest recommendation.

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Abgott

Abgott

Dwarfing the two openers in size of name, Abgott have earned themselves a small pedigree down the years as a band rooted in the Norwegian black metal sound laced with an unusually technical twist. I couldn't possibly tell you how far their name has spread beyond London but as a local opening act who have dropped off the radar for some time it was good to see them active again after line-up troubles have seen mainman Agamoth joined by a whole new cast since I last saw them nearly 8 (!) years ago.

From their vampirical make-up and blackened attire to the effort injected into an 9 song setlist, Abgott gave the impression of a band appearing to a much larger audience; a simple request but one difficult to achieve in such an environment. Their songs were primarily at the fast end of the BM spectrum, 1349 a reference point that is not wholly invalid, with a focus on solos (little that they could be heard) and mixing of riffs a standard feature, notably in stand-out track "No Mortiis". Calling on L Sol Tace's vocalist to provide vocals to a cover of Iron Maiden's "Wasted Years" (dedicated to Agamoth's deceased father, with a twist) only solidified the influences that have gone into their charismatic take on BM.

I may not have known any of their material beforehand but with the flurry of headbanging and commendable attempts to provide a spectacle high on the agenda, Agamoth & co gave a good account of themselves in denial of how many there were to witness it, capping off a solid evening of personal assistance in this selective growth of the underground.

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All photos taken by Teodora Dani. Full set available on her blog here.

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