Bloodshot Dawn at The Old Angel, Nottingham, 13 October 2019
In the Lace Market area of Nottingham, there is a Grade 2 Listed pub that has a microbrewery attached to it. The Old Angel also has a small venue upstairs called the Chapel. The pub has a rich history. It dates back as far as the 17th century. During the 1700’s there were two murders on the site, a policeman and a prostitute. It has previously been a brothel and a church (not at the same time). The young prostitute is said to haunt the building and deep below the pub, under the cellars, there are caves in the shape of a crucifix; these apparently served as an air raid shelter. More recently a mural of famous Nottingham author Alan Sillitoe has been added to the outside wall.
It was our first time in this pub, and it would have been rude not to try one of their brews. So, a 5.2% porter called ‘Hung, Drawn and Portered’ went down very well while we waited for the Chapel to open.
The time came and we wound our way up the narrow staircase to the venue. As we stepped into the room It became obvious that the room was a chapel at some point. It has a very high ceiling and at one end there are stairs up to what would have been a pulpit. This is now used for the in-house mixing desk. Next to it, suspended from the ceiling is an old church organ. It’s all very gothic and the perfect place to watch technical death metal!
First band up is Lost Brethren. Band is stretching it a bit as there are only two of them on stage, a drummer and a singer / guitarist plus guitar and other stuff on backing tapes. Originally the band was a solo project by Anthony Deane, who is on the drums tonight. Later he was joined by Adam Brown who is the man on vocals and guitar (which he apparently made himself) and Adrien Crozet (perhaps the other guitarist on the backing tape?). Notable guest appearance on the band’s albums include Michael Keene (The Faceless) and on their latest release, "The Abduction", Rafael Trujillo from Obscura. The musical style is Sci-fi inspired technical metal. It’s very heavy with no clean vocals and interspersed with nice little lead breaks. The opening track on the album is its title track. It starts with a short conversation between a woman and a man, which finishes with the man asking, “Would you recognise any of them? Can you recall their faces?”. She replies, “You don’t understand, they had no faces”. Eerie stuff, and the story continues through the album. Some of these subtleties are sadly lost in the live performance, but it was skilful and flawless none the less.
There is quite a long gap between bands as the in-house sound engineer gives everyone a thorough sound check, mixing it all from the middle of the room on his smartphone. A lot of care is taken over the sound quality and it pays off. Just a shame the lighting didn’t get the same level of attention. It was poor and static; the brightest thing in the room was the exit sign above the fire escape. Not the best conditions for photography!
Next up are Becomes Astral from Canada. After a strange little intro about learning to speak the Canadian alphabet, which I believe is a clip from South Park, the band launched into their set with songs from their 2017 album, "Paleblood Sky". Layne Richardson’s rasping vocals cut through the intricate progressive metal riffing. Next to him fellow guitarist Alex Snape looked really in his element, grinning from ear to ear. The line-up is completed by Liam Frith on bass and Greg Carvalho on drums. A twenty-minute set started with ‘Beneath the Sea of Blood’, followed by ‘The Glass Lake’. Then Layne announced that they only had one song left to play, but it was a long one. ‘Conman’ clocks in at just over 12 minutes and is a very varied epic (available on Bandcamp for one Canadian dollar). A great end to an enjoyable set. Formed in 2013, the band also released an EP in 2014 entitled "The Mind", which is available on Bandcamp as well.
The stage in the Chapel is quite small and although the four members of Becomes Astral could fit on, the next band Infected Dead had an extra member. Those playing instruments occupied the stage, but vocalist Lou Ede had to stand in front of the stage at floor level. This meant that due to the afore-mentioned poor lighting, he was virtually invisible. Just a shadowy figure moving back and forth. Most of the set was taken from their 2017 six track EP release. After an intro of ‘Book of Dead Names’, the set proper started with the title track ‘Archaic Malevolence’. Screaming vocals from Lou and copious guitar solos from Alex Brown who stood front centre, tall and confident. The rest of the line-up was; Chris Rahman on guitar, Nathan Hammond on bass guitar and Martin Tang on drums. Another track from the EP followed, ‘Resurrectionist’ and then a new track, recently released single, ‘The Rache’. Two more from the EP finished off an excellent set, ‘Invocation of Unspeakable Gods’ and ‘Samsara’. The EP was on sale at the merch table for just £5, bargain. The band, who are from Kent, will be releasing their debut album in 2020.
While the final sound check of the evening was taking place, we retired to the bar for a sit down and a drink.
Then back up to the Chapel for the headliners, Bloodshot Dawn. Having been blown away by these guys at UK Tech-Fest 2018, we have been on the lookout for a suitable gig near us. A Sunday night in Nottingham was close enough.
Drawing from their three albums, S/T, "Demons" and "Reanimation", we were treated to just short of an hour’s worth of brutal, blistering, tight as hell, technical death metal. Josh McMorran roared out the vocals, he and Canadian guitarist Morgan Robert Nember Reid both shredding their way through the set. Although the internet tells us that the band are from Portsmouth, they are in fact multi-national. Their bass player, Giacomo Gastaldi is from Italy and their drummer, Janne Jaloma who features on the Demons album, is from Sweden. There was plenty of merchandise on sale and we made purchases. Proceeds will be going towards the cost of recording the new album which hopefully should be out soon.
Set List: Smoke and Mirrors ¦ Survival Evolved ¦ Godless ¦ Unified ¦ Shackled ¦ The Quantum Apocalypse ¦ Black Hole Infinity ¦ Consequence Complex ¦ Seared Earth ¦ DNA/ Reanimation ¦ Encore – Vision
As with a lot of these smaller gigs, the attendance was low and probably half the audience for each band were the members of the other bands. However, every band put in a professional performance and it was a very enjoyable and intimate evening.
Thanks to Josh, Alex S and Alex B for the help with set lists.