The Anvil’s basement is not the largest of venues, but for a place like Bournemouth, the size can work in its favour, and a small crowd can seem a little larger than it is. Three bands, varied in both genre and geography, make this quaint venue their home tonight.
UK natives Ageless Oblivion open proceedings with their particular brand of death metal. While there are definitely some influences from the night’s headliner in there, AO are definitely more riff and vocal-oriented than Ulcerate. Steve’s voice is powerful, matched by a controlled yet commanding stage presence, and avoids the pitfalls of death metal monotony.
While the rest of the band is definitely more than adequate, they could use a slight refinement in songwriting to properly polish them into the band they could be. There are glimpses of genuine greatness throughout the set, but it’s not quite there for me – however one would be foolish to discount what could come out of Ageless Oblivion’s forge in the very near future.
Seattleites Bell Witch comprise of a drummer and a six string bassist who split vocal duties between them. Their brand of doom is more in the vein of Finnish funerals (Thergothon) than the broken gothic hearts of Britain (My Dying Bride) and as such takes a bit of patience to get into. Combined with the trouble Bell Witch are having with the sound at The Anvil, the set feels like it drags a little.
Bassist Dylan Desmond’s playing, filled with chords and tapping, keeps eyes glued on his fretboard, as if he were playing Psyopus songs in super slow motion. The vocals are a mixed bag however, with Jesse Shreibman’s screams drowned in reverb (perhaps intentional) and sounding barely human (probably intentional), while Dylan’s ritualistic ooohs and aaahs are barely audible over the music.
Despite all this, Bell Witch are positively hypnotic when you get into the groove – a facet sometimes stunted by punters’ drunken conversation during quiet parts. You could try to convince yourself it was all a part of the song – a lamentation written for the dying art of listening to live music with your mouth shut and your phone in your pocket – but that’s a hefty load of self-deception to work on while also trying to enjoy yourself. Alas.
Finally, the master blasters of Ulcerate take to the stage, The man of the hour is without a doubt Jamie Saint Merat and his 19 piece drum kit, which takes a heavier beating than Rocky Balboa. Although blast beats are definitely his weapon of choice, Jamie is no one trick pony: Ulcerate’s set was one of the most impressive drumming performances I’ve ever seen
It was no glorified drum solo however: the crushing atmosphere Ulcerate are known for would not be attainable without guitarist Michael Hoggard working alongside Jamie, bringing alternating riffs of slow, lumbering post-metal and intense death metal in a style often imitated, yet uniquely theirs. Of course, this whole sound would be hollow without the low end and vocals of Paul Kelland, and to be honest it’s positively mind boggling how tight and massive they manage to sound as a three piece.
The band’s set largely showcases their latest offering Vermis along with a few older tracks; fan favourite “Everything Is Fire” is greeted by rampant cheers when it’s announced as Ulcerate’s final song of the evening.
It’s a massively impressive, seemingly effortless display of brutality and is exactly what people came to see. Next time any of these bands play near you, make sure you don’t miss it.
Architect/Designer : AFK Architects.
Contractor : ISG
Area : 13,000 sq/ft
Scope of Work : Systems and loose furniture procurement
Value : 200K