Reverend Bizarre Underworld, London, 28/10/2006

Mon 6th November 2006

Support from The Gates of Slumber, Centurions Ghost, Sloth


Having not been to a gig for a good six months, I indulged myself at the end of October by seeing three gigs in three days, the final one being Reverend Bizarre's London show. As well as marking my return to regular concert-going, this show also marked a somewhat sadder occasion, for it was to be RB's last show on UK shores, this being their final tour. Having seen them twice before but not for a good while, there was no way I was missing this, and after the obligatory pre-gig pint in the World's End my friends and I descended into the venue for a riff-filled night of fun.

We left it slightly too late, however, as by the time we got there Sloth were already halfway through their set - their first live show in a while, apparently. Though it consisted, as I learned later, of all new material, they were still good to watch - you can't go wrong with a band like this live, they'll pretty much always deliver good riffs and solid tunes - and I regretted not seeing more.

Going to the bar for a pint, I was slightly caught unawares by Centurions Ghost starting their set sooner than I expected. The band turnaround at most gigs is normally slow, but not this time, it was very quick indeed between all bands (no longer than 10 minutes perhaps) and kept catching me out. Still, at least it meant that my feet weren't as sore! Centurions Ghost produced a solid and enjoyable set, although I preferred the slower and more doomy aspects of their music to their other, more metallic (and slightly less memorable) ones. I wasn't familiar with their stuff before tonight but they impressed me more than I expected and the ferocity of their performance (notably the skin-flaying vocals) provided some enjoyably masochistic entertainment.

However, it was really the final two bands on the bill that I had come to see. I'd heard several good things about The Gates of Slumber before, but hadn't actually heard their music. I definitely want to hear some more now though, because the unspoken motto of their set seemed to be BANG THY FUCKING HEAD! They displayed a classic metal/doom sound that had its slower elements neatly balanced (and often outdone) by the sheer power of the faster riffs that just kept coming and coming and coming.... just when you thought the next songs couldn't be better, it was. Totally classic metal that levelled the audience and by the end of their set my neck was very sore indeed.

After TGOS I was thinking to myself "how can Rev Biz top that?" Well, top it they did. Coming onto an amusing intro tape of what I presume was Finnish polka music, they ground into 'Sodoma Sunrise', which was a very nice surprise for yours truly as I remember asking them a couple of years ago to play it the next time they played here. By the end of it it was clear that the band were on exceptional form as they charged into 'Doomsower' which got everyone down the front headbanging. The set kicked up a gear though, with the next two songs. 'In the Rectory' slowly levelled the crowd with its monstrous riffage which went on and on, in a good way. Top notch doom this, probably the set highlight... or maybe that was 'Cromwell', (probably their catchiest song - oh that riff!) which sent everyone in the place utterly insane.

Things cooled slightly for 'Funereal Summer' which was one of those epic, slow songs for which RB has become known. Although I didn't know this song, it was still good as it slowly unwound itself to its full length. And then all too soon it was time for the last song. For me the set went by way too quickly, but that's probably because half the songs played were over ten minutes long...

What has by now almost become the band's anthem, 'Doom Over the World' closed the show with a rapturous fan reaction, causing my neck to become even sorer, before things descended into the realm of feedback and guitar abuse, the band finally leaving the UK stage for the last time (hopefully not - roll on the reunion tour in a decade!) to the sound of the guitar amp making sounds it really shouldn't have been making, before the polka music tape slowly ushered us out into the night. Grab a tshirt, then homewards.... gig of the year for me, so far. So long and thanks for all the riffs...


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