New Wave Of British Death Metal Showcase – Celestial Sanctuary, Slimelord, Vacuous & Mortuary Spawn at The Black Heart

As soon as I walked up to the Black Heart for tonight’s shows I could feel a strong presence. This was a gig a lot of people had been waiting for, me included.
A sold out venue on a Thursday night is a very rare thing, but with a line up like tonight showing the new breed of UK death metal, who’s gonna pass up the chance right?
First on the bill & kicking off the night is Leeds death metallers Mortuary Spawn. I was pumped to see these guys for a few months before I stumbled upon their newest release & was blown away.
Mixing the typical old school style with something a bit different here.
Throughout the set i felt leanings towards hardcore & punk. The great thing Mortuary Spawn is changing up the tempo, Be it a slow knuckle dragging pace straight into blasting sections very thrash in nature. A solid & impressive start to the showcase.
Next up are London natives Vacuous.
Like all the bands I was excited to see them all live for the first time.
But what intrigued me about Vacuous was their hinged sound.
It’s rare I find a band who surprises me so much. Within the set the band would break into sections that felt so close to the edge of breaking point but somehow they band rode that line, chaotic & frantic they made a normal support slot all that more exciting.
During the Vacuous set the singer stated that his voice was blow from recording new music recently but for me his voice was on point. His vocal delivery was that more anguished & when letting out bellowing screams almost pierced my ears drums in the best way ha.
Now for the sledgehammer to the face that was Slimelord.
Where do I begin with this band? Well first of all since leaving the show I have listened to both of their current releases, “The Delta Death Sirens” & “Moss Contamination”. Which are now both two of some of my favorite death metal albums of all time.
Slimelord are 1000% death metal but what they do different from the rest of the bands is bring that slower sound, Mixing the finnish styles of say Demillich with the slow cavernous sounds of Disma & Ossuary. Their set blew me away.
Andy Ashenone the bands vocalist was commanding the crowd, using down right dirty gurlges & sonic like high screams to convey the pain & suffering Slimlord create. If you haven’t heard or seen these guys live, DO IT NOW!
Now for the title card event, what we all came here for, Celestial Sanctuary.
Ever since first talking to Tomas about Celestial Sanctuary and him creating the band I’ve been so excited to see them live. Originally written by Tomas himself but now with an extensive line up we are able to hear tracks from the band’s full length for the first time since its release in March 2021.
The lights dim as the band are ready to play, a sample starts over the P.A. Tribal drums below throughout the venue, getting you more excited and anticipating the band’s first note.
“Suffer Your Sentience” opens the set as Tomas climbs up upon the stage monitors playing the monstrous opening riff of the track before the band on a dime come in like clock work. Within a few phases of the opening riff you know these guys are tight & are seasoned musicians.
Tomas vocals. And I gotta say he nails the whole set. Only ever being a guitarist he nails playing guitar & vocals at the same time. Sounding just as good as the Soul Diminished album & even better live with the raw aggression he brings.
What I will bang on about is how great the band is as a whole. The musicians chosen for the band aren’t only technically brilliant but all have their own stage presence. All keeping up the energy throughout the set & making the band’s performance so enjoyable.
The highlight of the night was the pit that broke out from the first few seconds from the band smashing into “Rid The Gormless”. This track is one of my personal favourites from the album & to hear it live was fantastic, Keeping all the energy & furosticy from the album but adding so much more in the live setting.
To cap of the night the band closed the set with the title track “Soul Diminished” not once but twice. After the band had played the final track the crowd started screaming, “ONE MORE SONG, ONE MORE SONG”. Which i havent heard for a long time at a gig! The energy from the crowd was still high.
And even on a second round “Soul Diminished” was just a crushing & unrelenting as the first time showing that from start to finish Celestial Sanctuary are able to turn a 10/10 album into a 11/10 performance.
Tonight was a rare look into a new breed bands keeping the UK death metal scene alive & was bar far the best gig ive been too in the last 5 years!!
Long live the NWOBDM
Joseph Mitchell
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