We Must Dominate, We Will Dominate
Dark Tranquility, Enslaved, Bewitched, Swordmaster, Demoniac and Dellamorte (Osmose tour package)
at the London Astoria 2
London, England, December 4, 1997

by: Paul Schwarz
A six band bill for only 7.50 pounds -- now that is pretty damn fine value for your money. Of course if all six are bad it isn't so good, but in tonight's case that was not the case. First band on were Dellamorte, apparently a mixture of the sound of old and new Entombed material. However, I missed their whole set, as I arrived later than expected, so who knows? I came in just as Demoniac were beginning their set. The sound was of average quality, the usual sort during support acts' sets, and the band didn't look raring to go. From what I have heard, and what I heard this evening, Demoniac are a retro-thrash band trying to relive the glory days of the 1980s. Visually, the drummer and bassist provided some enthusiasm and the guitarist was obviously drunk and generated some amusement through leaping around the stage before lying on his back on the ground gratuitously soloing. The singer, however, was abysmal. His style was an average raspy scream and his stage presence was non-existent he stood with the mike held in front of his face without moving and nervously stepped back and forth about 3 inches. Demoniac failed to impress me on any level and I doubt there would be any derision from the rest of the LA2 on this fact. Swordmaster are not best placed going on after Demoniac, a band whose interest in the 80s they share, but they provided a far better visual and musical experiance than Demoniac. Swordmster had no qualms about moving around the stage, showing their aggression and posing in classic 80s mannerisms. The music was similarly thrashy and low end chord driven but marginally better and Swordmaster made it seem less dreary by putting some spirit into it. Bewitched now became the -third- retro, 80s band to appear on stage this evening, and you'd think this would naturally give them the least impact; well, you'd think that, wouldn't you? Bewitched upped the stakes, and assured me that my money would not be wasted even if the last two bands had to cancel. The sound was not hugely improved for their set, but the energy and songs were there and by the middle of their set there was a good mosh and a good number of tapping feet. I have heard good things about their new _Pentagram Prayer_ album and, judging by their performance this evening, these reports were not exaggerated. Bewitched show what good can be done with retroism, but these three similar bands do make me wonder whether Osmose should have signed quite so many bands in this vein and whether they should have put three of them in succession on one bill.

After so much retroism this evening, Enslaved's viking-like apearance on stage was refreshing and also very daring. Enslaved looked out of context, like rejects from an Errol Flynn film, but that was just the point; they didn't care. Enslaved play, look and do just as they want and they deserve respect for it. Their music was similarly idiosyncratic. Although not controverting the black metal norm, Enslaved do two very important things with it: play and write it very well and break the rules every now and again. A band to watch and whose most recent album _Eld_ sounds like a very worthy purchase, if this performance is anything to go by. So, here we are and it is time for Dark Tranquility to take the stage now. Other bands of their ilk having taken the stage this evening, Dark Tranquility don't even have to try that hard to draw the crowd into their excellent blend of melody and death metal. Material from most recent album _The Mind's I_ was extensively covered (including "Zodijackyl Light" and "Constant", among others), with material from _The Gallery_ making up most of the rest of the set along with "Of Chaos and Eternal Night" and a storming Kreator cover for an encore. So, although the first three bands were somewhat disappointing (or unheard in the case of Dellamorte), the last three all made the 7.50 pounds I spent well worth it. If the World Domination tour is heading your way, don't miss out.

(article submitted 5/2/1997)


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