18 April 2015
Review by Demitri Levantis
Symphonic Black Metal outfit Hecate Enthroned have been on the road for the best part of 20 years now. I’ve regarded them as the unsung heroes of British symphonic black because they began around the same time as Cradle of Filth but never quite made it to the same level as the Filth.
But they still have it in them to put on a breathtaking show, as exhibited on Saturday 18 April at the Boston Music Rooms.
Opening for the symphonic veterans were youngbloods Scumpulse, who certainly upped the energy and anger for a good evening with their blackened crust punk. I was impressed to see a band with one member wearing an Aus-Rotten patch and the other in an Immortal shirt, so it meant this band had a diverse taste. It really was true nihilism put to music. Vocalist Ross Necro told the audience that most of their songs cover the frustrations of knowing ‘some of the biggest cunts in the world.’ Blackened punk metal at its finest.
Then we had the Leeds outfit Sathamel raining their occult themed tunes forth into a happy audience. I was sad that not many people applauded Scupulse, but by the time Sathamel were on stage everyone seemed more in the mood.
This band certainly have potential. Sathamel were tight and knew what they were doing. It was nice to see a fellow band from the north exhibiting all the might of northern England metal before Hecate took to the stage. Sathamel pulled off both slow and fast tunes which equally held up as lovable British metal. I look forward to seeing them again.
But up next we had the lowest point of the evening. And this point told me one thing: it’s best not to drink too much before a show.
I am of course referring to Sturmtiger. A good band whom I know can put on a good show, but my god was this performance bad. You had the drums out of time and the guitars slipping off key and the group even stopped halfway through one track.
I could see the group where exhausted from drinking heavily before the gig and the alcohol level was putting them down. From my own experiences, it’s okay to have a few jars before a show as it can relax the muscles, but this was evidence of too much.
Sturmtiger were disappointing and I know they can do better, so please keep this all in mind for next time guys.
Thankfully Sturmtiger didn’t ruin the evening.
I’ve seen Hecate Enthroned before – around the time they released their fifth album Virulent Rapture which debuted new vocalist Elliot Beaver and Drummer Gareth Hardy. And I can safely say that these additions to the lineup have really paid off because this performance was out of this world.
Tight is an understatement, breathtaking is an understatement, and so is beautiful; because Hecate delivered the most morosely entertaining performance of Symphonic black metal I’ve seen in over a year. All guitars were on point and the sound engineers had everything at the right level, and vocalist Elliot seemed to control the crowd like an artist giving a rallying battle cry.
It did feel like I was listening to the band on CD, so if they can sound as good live as they do in the studio, then you’ve got a band who know what to do in any situation. The keys blended in superbly with the crunching tremolo picking of the guitars and it eventually turned into one of those performances you just don’t want to end.
Hecate Enthroned are keeping the heart of symphonic black metal beating at a healthy rate. Regardless of how many obnoxious additives have been thrown into its bloodstream, the scene of Britain’s symphonic black metal is not going anywhere. And it is only the veterans we can thank for such a swell show.