Hypocrisy

support Bloodshot Dawn + Ancient Ascendant
author EW date 16/04/13 venue Underworld, London, UK

Touring off the back of an album that is as solid as anything in their past and being a first London show in seven years it was little surprise that the Underworld performance of Hypocrisy turned into a near sold-out sweatfest of a show. Bolstered by two up-and-coming UK acts and a scheduled signing session from the Swedes at doors time there was every reason to arrive promptly for this one.

All photos taken by Teodora Dani. Apologies for lack of Bloodshot Dawn photos.

Alex Butler of Ancient Ascendant

Ancient Ascendant

Having started to make waves for themselves in recent months, this was a good opportunity for Reading-based boys Ancient Ascendant to make a mark on an Underworld floor that was half-full by a couple of songs into their performance. AA's sound sits in the melodic death category with a strong element of modern metal at their core; combined with the hoarse direct vocals of Alex Butler that immediately make me think of Gorefest, their sound is not unique or genre-leading but it is powerful and delivered with conviction. With songs taken from debut album "The Grim Awakening" and last year's "Into the Dark" EP AA are starting to possess a decent arsenal for these occasions but the lack of any genuine excitement or memorable moments being fired from the stage - obligatory headbanging aside - allow their set to pass off comfortably. Still, a promising start and one greeted with warm applause throughout.

5

Alan Webb of Ancient Ascendant

Bloodshot Dawn

Portsmouth's own Bloodshot Dawn have been making larger waves in the past year - not limited to exemplary mini-tours undertaken of India and Japan - and this is borne out by the more crowded Underworld floor ready to crash along to their technically-structured, melodic death metal. Frontman Josh McMorran is a a more natural frontman than Butler, whose vocals may be stronger but is not as confident and engaging as the BSD leader, a feature I was thankful to find solace in during a half-hour set that left me in the cold trying to find appreciation in the chuggy dynamics of "Godless" and the likes. Based on the quieter reactions from the crowd and exhortations for a wall of death that resulted in about four lonely guys crashing into each other in front of me the same could arguably be said for many of those around me. As becomes apparent when this evening's headliners take to the stage, it is not the lack of musical ability holding back BSD's show but the absence of notable hooks or melodies on display or a burning fire in the bellies of the performers which one can take away to remember and love them by. Far from being an uncommon malaise in most modern (extreme) metal at all, it still requires consideration when discussing the merits of bands like Britain's much vaunted Bloodstock Dawn.

5

Hypocrisy

So, in "End of Disclosure" melodic death stalwarts Hypocrisy have released an album better than I thought possible, one in which the dynamic limitations the band operate under has resulted in a number of tracks that slot comfortably into a live performance and gave ample reason why sometimes less is more when considered against Bloodshot's show before them. Hypocrisy's straightforward song structures are a natural bed-fellow for live shows as the tempo is slowed from death metal's tendency for the all-out blast to more appreciable tempos and the kind of melodic, memorable riffs that I was bemoaning the absence of earlier. Entering to the sound effects which open the new album and an extremely impressive light and smoke-show, which was not unlike an alien spaceship coming in to land, made for an attention-grabbing opening, before the airing of the title track of the new album as an opener was an expected ploy given it's status in the LP. However it was the following other new tracks which feel more likely to hang around into the next tour set: "Tales of the Spineless", "44 Double Zero", "The Eye" are all closer to the death-infused pummellings we expect from Tägtgren & co.

The delicate state Peter Tägtgren found himself in this evening following the over-exuberances of the previous one appeared to hamper his communication levels with the crowd to minimal between-song chat but their overall performances hit the mark expected of a band of their experience - though Horgh on the kit at the back may well have not been there given how obscured he was by smoke the whole set. Packing out the remainder of the set with a foray into their back catalogue and airings of the usual classics "Eraser" and "Roswell 47" were as pleasing as they were expected, which backed up by a sound that allowed for the majority of their nuances to be audible left few grievances to grumble about. A performance that goes to show how a disinterest in the flashy technical side of DM can work for the good when combined with songs that maintain the interest levels.

8

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