Malicious Rot
Rotting Christ, Malevolent Creation and Incantation @ Camden Underworld, London - March 11, 2007
by: Jackie Smit
Unless you're a regular on the Last Fm forums, it's unlikely that you'd be found cackling with exhilaration whilst slating the efforts of yet another band -- particularly one so sincere about what they do as Incantation. For nearly two decades, this trio has walked it like they talk it with very little in the way of recognition coming their way. Tonight you can't help but feel some sympathy. The pained expression on John McEntee's face as he pulls off riff after ultra-technical riff on his BC Rich is enough to make you want to root for them. But no matter how hard they try, their performance -- like virtually every album with the exception of _Onward to Golgotha_ and _Primordial Domination_ -- is devoid of personality and lacks the proverbial bite to make us want to see more.

Malevolent Creation, on the other hand, are another matter entirely. With yet another shift in personnel reinstating Brett Hoffman to what some would argue is his rightful position behind the microphone, the band are, in a word, crushing. Hoffman sounds better than he ever did on any record, and Jason Blachowicz and Dave Culross churn out a pulsating undercurrent that actually throbs all the way inside the darkest recesses of your brain. As their forthcoming opus, _Doomsday X_, only hits shelves in June, they wisely stick to old favourites and for our money we get: "Multiple Stab Wounds", "Slaughter of Innocence", "Impaled Existence", "Coronation of Our Domain", "Blood Brothers" and "Prophecy" -- and that's just to get us warmed up. Closing off after nearly an hour with "The Will to Kill", they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they remain a compellingly relevant and vital act. I'd have loved Blachowicz to add some backing vocals, but that's just me being pedantic.

If anything, their blistering set leaves Rotting Christ in something of a quandary. Not only does at least a third of the floor vacate the building following Malevolent Creation's final bow, but with such a brutal display left in their wake it's up to the Greek black metal legends to step up to the plate. It certainly doesn't put frontman Sakis off, who appears to be genuinely enjoying himself throughout his time on stage. The rest of the band follow suit and the hour long set is a whirl of intensity that is second to none. While the set list is a tad on the one-dimensional side, the audience is assaulted with rousing renditions of "King of a Stellar War", "Athanatoi Esti", "Serve in Heaven", "The Sign of Evil Existence" and "Deamons". Material off their blistering new effort, _Theogonia_, goes down a storm as well, with "Nemecic" proving particularly inspired.

Yet with the bar raised so dramatically by the previous act, one can't help but feel that Rotting Christ seem just a little undercooked by comparison. They may have given it their all tonight, but the truth is that as a band they've always worked best when their more aggressive side is contrasted against their atmospheric, experimental overtures. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we get very little of the latter this evening.

(article submitted 25/3/2007)

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