Now with its fourth edition, BTGF sees its biggest undertaking yet. Taking place over two of Camden’s most intimate homes of extreme metal, The Underworld & The Black Heart saw hundreds of hungry music fans flood the venues for a day of unbridled fury.
Due to transport issues I unfortunately missed the opening acts of the day but luckily hitting The Underworld stage REPULSIVE VISION kicked off the day nicely for me. Hailing from Cumbria the group is a nice blend of old-school death metal, Mixing the fast chaos of Entombed & Death with a slight hardcore punk sound.
Not just your straight-up blasting but these guys have a really interesting writing style. Guitiarts Matt Davidson’s stage presence is great. He seems to have a lot of fun & his fret fingers not standing still for even a second the energy he brings to the group’s riffing is chaotic but a great watch.
I managed to pop over to the BH to catch the last few tracks of TO OBEY A TYRANT. A great Bournemouth / Dorset group melding together deathcore & symphonic metal. Their sound was top-notch & heavy as hell.
Vocalist Brandon Singleton had a great charismatic stage presence & vocal range. Whenever a breakdown would hit you could feel the BH’s tiny room shake it was that heavy. I wasn’t accepting something this ridiculously brutal so early in the day but these guys blew my socks off. Well done lads.
Next up over at The Underworld are Bristol death thrashers SEPREVATION. A group that I had heard about through the underground scene for some time but had never checked out & now that is a huge regret. These guys were absolutely phenomenal. Mixing elements of Slayer, Possessed, and Early Death to create this hard-hitting style of death metal-soaked thrash which impressed me hugely. Drummer Jamie Wintle is a superb drummer. His technical ability throughout the whole set was mesmerising. They had my headbang throughout the whole set & also showcased new tracks you were able to pick up quickly & they are so enjoyable to watch. I hope I get to see these guys again soon!
Now over at the BH is one of the first groups I’ve been eagerly awaiting to see. London / Czech Republic HM2 death metal soaked SYMBTOMY.
These guys are bringing back the pure form of that Swedish style of 90’s death metal. Taking influence from Grave, Entombed, Carnage these guys really brought it. With a fantastic guitar tone & presence, they put on a solid live show. It shows how real classic HM2-style death metal should be done! Check out their two demos if you love this style of music you won’t be disappointed.
As the day starts to really ramp up the Italian takes the stage over at The Underworld. Blending technical riffing with brutal death metal their titan like sound was a true force of nature. Not a misplaced note & the speed the group places is ridiculous. But even with the ferocious abilities they have there is great melody throughout their set. Moments to breathe within songs & frontman / guitarist Paolo Pieri talent to play such complex riffs & have the most guttural vocals of the day was pure delight to witness.
Norwegian powerhouse BLOOD RED THRONE takes the stage brandishing their flawless style of death metal. Since starting in 1998 BRT have become a solid name in the underground death metal scene & their show tonight shows why. Even with their bassist Stian Gundersen currently fighting leukaemia & vocalist Sindre Wathne Johnsen having to take over bass duties they are still setting a perfect live show.
One of the heaviest sonic assaults I’ve heard today, these guys really brought it. Guitarist Ivan Gujić’s stage presence & energy really seeps into the bands live show & helps their set fun & playful but still keeping that hard & brutal style the bands create in a live setting.
Heading over to the BH for the last time tonight to check out a band I’ve been waiting for some time to see. Bristol based bring their perfectly slimy & grimy brand of death metal to london tonight.
CRYPTWORMare one of the fantastic bands spearheading the new wave of British death metal. Mixing the rhythmic chaos of Autopsy with the sludgy & dirging sections of Undergang. As soon as the band plays the first note the crowd goes ape. Really supporting great underground death metal. Playing tracks from last years seminal album “Spewing Mephitic Putridity” showcasing these guys have something fantastic up their sleeve & i can’t wait for their new release “Oozing Radioactive Vomition” to be released this coming December.
Closing out the festival at The Underworld are the British death royalty BENEDICTION. Now it goes without saying these guys are one of the pillars of the 90s uk death metal scene. And it’s crazy to think 2023 that the group are still kicking arse as ever. As soon as they hit the stage they are at full power. Even with a few technical mishaps they put on the performance of the festival. Celebrating “Transcend the Rubicon” and its 30 year birthday & a few tracks from the album really shows the level of songwriting & the craft these guys always had & still carry into 2023.
As the room gets more violent & sweaty the band bring out a feel of the staple tracks from the classic vaults & even tracks of the bands newest release “Scriptures” which sound just as at home with the older material. Unlike most legacy bands BENEDICTION still have the drive & power to hold the crowd in the palm of their hands for an hour while still flying the flag for UK death metal in their other mighty fist.