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Brujeria Shine In An International Metal Gathering With Cryptopsy In London

Photo of Cryptopsy

Band Photo: Cryptopsy (?)

On Friday the 14th (probably unlucky for some,) two of death metal's cult favourites, Cryptopsy and Brujeria, performed a co-headlining show at The Dome in Tufnell Park, North London, joined in their venture by Brazilian thrash trio Nervosa and Australian technical death metal outfit, Psycroptic. The Dome itself is a solid venue, especially for housing metal shows, comprising mostly of a large hall, with the usual club features of a cloakroom and smoking area. Unfortunately, because of renovations at the Tufnell Park underground station (which is literally across the street from The Dome,) the best option was to get off at Kentish Town and walk from there, which is only a ten minute straight walk. It's a venue well worth checking out if there's something on that fits your taste, and on this night, The Dome was catering to those of us with a taste for the extreme.

First up, at only half past six in the evening, was the all female thrash metal group, Nervosa, arguably one of the most exciting bands coming through at the moment. It was their first time visiting Great Britain and they were clearly keen to both showcase their talents and win over new fans, which they most certainly did on the night. Though the crowd was relatively sparse when they took to the stage, Nervosa played with a frenzied passion that encompassed both the anger that drives their creativity and the love of metal that taking them to new places. As more people entered the venue, they found themselves gravitating to the stage to see this exhilarating three piece, mostly performing music from their debut full length, "Victim of Yourself." The album itself is a great listen, and songs such as, "Death" and "Into Moshpit" sound even heavier in a live environment and it took no more than two songs for the whole crowd to be converted, with more being won over from start to finish. It was a great way for the band to introduce themselves in the UK before heading out on their headline run, which is a must see for those who like their thrash tinged with death metal. A fantastic way to start the show.

Coming up next were Australian quartet, Psycroptic. The band have been going since 1999, releasing their first album, "The Isle of Disenchantment," two years later and whilst they perhaps haven't received as much attention as some of their contemporaries, they're an enjoyable live act, showcasing some great musicianship and a death metal sound which caters to both lovers of the genre and newcomers alike. Psycroptic, and vocalist, Jason Peppiatt in particular, possess a commanding and ferocious stage presence, with Peppiatt's quite reminiscent of Phil Anselmo in Pantera's, "Cowboys From Hell" era. Though perhaps not the most gripping of the bands performing tonight, there was enough to keep their fans very happy and at least impress those who hadn't heard of them before or who were not won over by the studio offerings they'd heard before. A decent continuation of the roster and an energetic link.

I was initially under the impression that the Mexican/Mexican American supergroup Brujeria were to headline the night, but this was not to be. They were also the band with the most fans in the audience, attracting a great range of metal fans of different ethnicities with plenty of languages to be heard throughout the venue. They took to the stage to the familiar intro of Jello Biafra, parodying former Governor of California, Pete Wilson, leading them perfectly into the title track from their sophomore full length album, "Raza Odiada." The record is perhaps their most praised work and they represented it well, performing other cuts from the album including, "La Migra," "Consejos Narcos" and "La Ley del Plomo," as well as treating fans to a preview of their upcoming fourth album, by performing the single they released last year, "Angel Chilango."

What makes Brujeria such a great band to watch is that in addition to their excellent material, they put on a great show. All clad in masks, except for female vocalist, Pititis, who introduced herself in some style by taking to the stage with a whip, reminiscent of Alice Cooper's stage show, while Juan Brujo and El Sangron raising their machetes in the air and banging them on the floor towards the end of their set was an intimidating sight. Throughout the show, stage divers were fairly common and after working everyone into a craze for "Matando Gueros," the stage was swarmed by crowd members, joining in for what was essentially a karaoke version of, "Marijuana," which Brujeria's take on the famous dance, the macarena. It made for a really fun end to one of the performances of the year. Brujeria, quite simply, must not be missed.

As I mentioned before, Brujeria seemed like the natural choice for the headline act and it seems I wasn't the only one surprised to see that French Canadian death metal veterans, Cryptopsy were finishing the show. Though not empty by any stretch, there was a noticeable decline in audience numbers during Cryptopsy's set and frankly, after a performance that featured whips, machetes and the macarena, Cryptopsy felt very anti-climactic, struggling to win over neutrals as more people steadily decided to head home.

Perhaps some old school fans still haven't warmed to the idea of Cryptopsy continuing without Lord Worm or forgiven them for "The Unspoken King," despite the controversial album being released seven years ago, but for whatever reason, it didn't feel like watching a respected name in death metal genre such as it would say, Septicflesh or Obituary. That's not to say however, that they were terrible, or even bad, they just weren't the right choice to cap off what was otherwise such a unique show. They performed music from the forthcoming crowd funded EP, "Book of Suffering Part 1" as well as delving into their back catalogue, much to the delight of fans, but all in all, Cryptopsy were not interesting enough to be this evening's headliners. A slightly disappointing end to an otherwise amazing show.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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