HMV Forum, the final date of the 'Creatures From The Abyss' European tour and a perfect excuse for a pre 'silly season' get together with a couple of good friends.
After an obligatory raid on the merchandise stall swiftly followed by a planned assault on the bar we were ready for the first band, Blynd, a heavy/thrash Metal quartet from Cyprus. None of us had heard of them before this gig but we were all seriously impressed with their performance and they are a band we will certainly be checking out further. They seemed to be making an equally good impression on the rest of the crowd also. An excellent opening band.
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The first of the main bands, Rotting Christ, a long time favourite of mine and my friends, were up next. Sakis Tolis was his usual engaging and charismatic self, with plenty of banter between songs. They played an excellent set, mostly from 'Aealo', 'Theogonia' and 'Sanctus Diavolos', including the anthemic 'Athanati Este', much to my delight.
My only tiny criticism was the classic guitar sound that you associate with Rotting Christ was not as prominent within the overall sound as it should have been, but as the set progressed, this deficiency did seem to remedy to a certain extent.
Third band to the stage, God Seed, was the band whose performance I was looking forward to the most, after being highly enamoured with their recent album release 'I Begin'. I was not in the least bit disappointed; in fact they surpassed my every expectation.
Gaahl didnâ€™t just own the stage, prowling and pacing like a predator, he owned the audience with his phenomenal stage presence and I was completely mesmerized by his performance. Add to that his vocal capabilities, the range and power of which were just astounding. They were by far the best live vocals I have heard in a long while.
The rest of the band also gave an enthusiastic and excellent performance and God Seed were for me the highlight of the evening, regardless of the heated discussion afterwards with my friends who both thought Rotting Christ to be the superior act of the night.
I wasn't expecting much from the final band, Cradle Of Filth, not one of my favourites but my friend had assured me I would enjoy them live and he was right. Diminutive Dani Filth was witty and entertaining between songs, they played a long and well executed set including the only two tracks by them that, prior to this event, I liked, 'Nymphetamine' and 'Her Ghost In The Fog'. I came away that evening with a greatly elevated opinion of Cradle Of Filth.
I always enjoy gigs at the HMV Forum, it is a great venue with good acoustics and this was no exception, the only pitfall, as always, was the door staff who are somewhat overzealous and 'jobs worth' in their treatment of gig goers, but I guess you can't have everything perfect. However it was an amazing gig to end the year on. Roll on 2013!!