Lair of the Minoatur / Capricorns

  • London
  • United Kingdom
  • The Underworld
  • 2007-07-10

Although the smoking ban has unfortunately revealed Camden’s hallowed rock/metal pit The Underworld to be smelling as foul as the mood of the music often gracing its atmosphere, it remains one of the capital’s most choice venues within which to descend and embrace all things dark and heavy. It also seems formally most fitting for a band who have a penchant for delving forth into Hellenic mythology as do Chicago’s Southern Lord artists Lair of the Minotaur.

Offering the headline slot to Capricorns (the band’s extremely ‘real metal’ status allowing them to do nice things without affecting an image?) they took the stage before them (lead singer clad in leather waistcoat…), and gave them something to live up to (ah, perhaps actually conniving?). Lashing out a brand of many-barbed tentacle riffs one after the other the group burst through a bludgeoning rekindling of old metal forms — the fires of classic era Venom, Celtic Frost, Slayer and Hellhammer being not just relit but showered with a load of new petrol, in the form of an aggressive energy. The band create an ultra-metal shape, free from scene, pretension or either frivolity or over-seriousness, just the unholy noise created through pummelling drums, pounding bass, a mix of sludge and thrash riffs and the meatiest of vocal sounds. Offering perfect live takes on material from both the debut album Carnage (2004) (including “The Wolf” and “Cannibal Massacre”) as well as some classics from the more recent The Ultimate Destroyer (2007) (such as the punishing title track) the band created a wholly head-nodding and satisfied crowd.

a wholly head-nodding and satisfied crowd

Taking on from where LOTM left off Capricorns offered big riffs and big noise although their sound is a cry away from the near-relentless barrage of their Chicago counterparts, the London group forging a more post-metal dirge of mammoth instrumental proportion. These big fast riffs change into equally big ones though switching the frenetic rhythms backing them for half-time doom-outs which perhaps traverse math terrain before hitting big again. Elsewhere it all starts ultra quiet, ultra slow and with top-end melody finding mid-level harmony, growing progressively through sections to gain intensity, depth, bass and noise. Recalling Pelican, Russian Circles and Neurosis among others these are metallic journeys which are perhaps not always individual or groundbreaking but are thoroughly engaging, and though not they weren’t best band of the night, Capricorns still proved very worthy headliners.

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