Incineration Fest // Live Review // Camden London

As I turned the corner of Camden Town tube station & saw a sea of metalheads I knew Incineration Fest 2022 would be something to remember.

Saturday the 7th of May saw the legendary Incineration festival return to London. Composed of four venues & a lineup second to none, Incineration was by far the best London based festival I’ve been to in some time.

The majority of the first half of the day for me was spent at the mecca that is The Underworld.

Kicking off the day was the magnificent NOCTULE.

A wonderful project started by Serena Cherry from Svalbard.

A Skyrim themed Black Metal band which was right up my alley.

I had only recently found out about the project & learnt that Incineration fest was their first show!

If you know Serena & how much heart & soul she’s put into her performance then you know this was a fantastic one.

A raw but very poetic set. They arent your box standard black metal band, Noctule are a totally different breed. Like the themes Serena set for the band, their music even feels like you are listening to the Skyrim soundtrack. Peaks & valleys throughout the set, Hard-hitting moments and also epic moments that leave you blissful.

Really impressed with it being their first show. Can’t wait to see it again!

Following Noctule are the Italian titan’s BLASPHEMER.

A band that I found when searching Spotify finding new music during the UK lockdown.

Blasphemer are the perfect band for the Incineration crowd.

Nonsense blasphemous death metal. In the vein of Vital Remains, Hate Eternal & Belphagor this band is a freight train of the chaotic & brutal. Even with a few technical issues the band played a stellar set & had the audience banging their heads and fully in the mosh pit! Only the second band into the day & already two great sets!

Veterans BEHEADED hailing from Malta kept the night’s energy going. I’ve been lucky enough to see Beheaded a few times throughout the years & this was by far their best set.

Bringing a thick slab of brutal death metal to the underworld this band is such a tight well-oiled machine. From Suffocation style slamming chugging to Cannibal Corpse blasting sections Beheaded captures it all. This is where the underworld turned the notch up to 11 during this set! Bodies flying off stage & the whole audience’s reception to the band was a delight to see.

Next up is one of the bands I’ve been looking forward to the most, SKELETAL REMAINS.

Right now Skeletal Remains are leading the pack on the old school death metal revival. And to be honest they are doing it perfectly. Their live show was phenomenal & better than I could hope for!

As the stage lights dimmed & the intro from their latest album started the crowd erupted and started shouting & screaming as the band blasted into “Illusive Divinity”. Stage dive after stage dive, the crowd gave just as much as Skeletal Remains did.

While watching the set I had a sense that the band is going to be huge & will blow up within the next few years. I can honestly see them being the next Morbid Angel or Obituary. Their live show was flawless & I just hope they return to the UK soon!

The only disappointment about the festival was that Unleashed had to pull out the night before and were a band I was really looking forward to seeing but what it allowed me to do was watch the full stellar set at the Roundhouse by the Swedish death metal titans BLOODBATH.

The last time I saw Bloodbath was at the same venue supporting Kreator & they killed it on an opening slot, so I was intrigued to see what they could do with a headlining set!

I decided to watch the last few bands up in the stalls to experience the live show & it was the perfect place.

The moment Bloodbath hit the stage it was a wall of punishing sound in all the best ways. The signature HM2 sound with Nick Holmes growling deep vocals the speakers were rumbling & the sound was perfect.

Opening the set with “Fleischmann” & “Let the Stillborn Come to Me” was the perfect one-two-hit that got the crowd riled up & bloodthirsty. And Nick Holmes stage banter was in full swing tonight. Keeping the performance light-hearted but still maintaining the unrelenting death Bloodbath provides.

Cracking out crowd favourites like “Breeding Death”, “Cancer of the Soul” and the legendary cannibal themed track “Eaten”.

Bloodbath destroyed the stage & was a highlight of the day for sure. Made me crave the new album they have announced!

Now for the main event. Tonight was all about celebration.

Celebrating EMPEROR & their legacy within the black metal scene.

Now I will admit I’ve never given the Emperor the time they deserve.

But tonight taught me why the band is so beloved.

As soon as the lights dimmed the whole venue erupted into a sea of horns & smiles.

Opening the set with “In the Wordless Chamber” & “Thus Spake the Nightspirit” they had me hooked. The interplay between the members & the sonic sound they were creating was breathtaking.

The hordes of fans sitting around me, pumping their fists & throwing up the black metal claws showed me how loved this band was & how long the group had been away from London.

Half way through the set the band celebrated a milestone bringing out early drummer Faust. Treating the fans to two covers “Call From the Grave” (Bathory) & “Innocence and Wrath” (Celtic Frost) before they celebrate the bands early releases with hitters “Wrath of the Tyrant” & “Inno a Satana”.

Already by now, the crowd was electric. What more could the band give to make it a perfect show? Their encore…

As the band rejoins on stage the last few ounces of blood & sweat they have are poured into these last few songs.

“Ye Entrancemperium” is a barrage of blasting & soulful chanting from the audience. No one is leaving with their voice box intact tonight that’s for sure.

Ending the night with “The Majesty of the Nightsky” was the perfect way to end the evening. Tonight’s show wasn’t just any other metal show. Tonight’s show was one in a million & im so proud to have witnessed such a legendary band celebrate their long-standing legacy.

Now just another 365 days until next year’s Incineration Fest but it will be worth the wait!

Joseph Mitchell

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