Live Review: Nekrogoblikon – Birmingham

Live Review: Nekrogoblikon – The Asylum, Birmingham
19th September 2023
Support: Cage Fight, Æther Realm
Words: Cat Finch
Photos: Tim Finch

As autumns embrace looks set to smother the UK’s second city, The Asylum venue opens its doors to accept a tour of thunderous intent. Unique death metal outfit Nekrogoblikon are in town and with them are Æther Realm and UK hardcore/thrash crossover act Cage Fight.

As the venue fills it’s down to Cage Fight to kick off the evening. The line up of this band has been fairly fluid since its inception, with band mastermind James Monteith juggling duties with Tesseract, Will Centaur has in the past stepped in on guitar, but also more recently on bass. Tonight with James out again Will takes over guitar once more and Polar bassist Stefan Whiting steps in as cover; the line up completed by the ever present Rachel Aspe on vocals and Nicholas Plews on drums.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

Over the past two years Cage Fight have set out their stall, across the UK and beyond their reputation is growing, their shows a melting pot of aggression, riffs and fiery mosh pits. Tonight in Birmingham is no different, despite opening the show the fans are up for it from the opening notes of ‘Shine Don’t Fade’. Rachel’s haunting growls ring out and the atmosphere in the room rises.

Through ‘Guillotine’, ‘One Minute’ and ‘The Mirror Shattered’ the band highlight their talent. A tight unit despite the personnel changes, to the uninitiated you wouldn’t know this is not the full time line up, Stefan’s blistering bass keeping pace with Nicholas’ beats.

Will dedicates ‘Eating Me Alive’ to the late, great Trevor Strnad and they blow the roof off the place. The Asylum tonight a fitting venue for the mayhem that ensued during Cage Fights stunning performance.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

As Æther Realm take to the stage the area is cleared, its unique to see the clutter of stage monitors, cables etc removed and to have a band perform on a clean and clear space. But as they kick things off the audience soon realise they are on an unforgettable journey through the sonic realms of folk-infused melodic death metal. Starting with a high-octane 'Redneck Vikings From Hell,' the band immediately set the crowd's adrenaline pumping once more. As they segued into 'The Magician,' the audience was spellbound by the masterful guitar work and the enthralling interplay between clean and growling vocals. 'Cycle' followed, weaving a captivating narrative through dynamic shifts and virtuosic instrumental passages, showcasing the band's prowess in crafting intricate compositions. The atmosphere took a darker turn with 'Swampwitch,' as Æther Realm's brooding intensity cast a spell over the audience.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

But it wasn't all about darkness; 'Guardian' brought a glimmer of hope, with its uplifting melodies and empowering lyrics resonating with the crowd. 'Should I?' unleashed a torrent of raw emotion, baring the band's soul, and 'TMHC' had the venue pulsating with its infectious energy. The performance reached its zenith with 'The Sun, the Moon, the Star,' a breath-taking closer that epitomised the band's capacity to take their fans on an exhilarating musical journey. Æther Realm's eclectic setlist and exceptional musicianship left the audience yearning for more, reaffirming their status as a band to watch in the world of melodic death metal.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

To close proceedings Californian technical death metallers, Nekrogoblikon put on a performance like no other. To pigeonhole the band as “technical death metal” does them a disservice, they are so much more than that. They bring elements of comedy, tomfoolery, entertainment and goblins to an otherwise overly serious faction of the metal community.

The underlying traditional musical stylings of death metal remain with melodic overtones and a real live goblin thrown in for good measure (his name’s John). John spends the set bouncing around the stage, surfing the crowd and other such antic’s whilst the band show Birmingham what a good night’s entertainment is.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

The show was nothing short of a raucous, fantastical journey through the bizarre and brilliant world of goblin-infused metal. The night kicked off with an explosion of energy as 'Right Now' unleashed a frenetic onslaught of riffs and ferocious drumming. The band's stage presence was electrifying, and the audience was immediately captivated by their unique blend of humour and heavy music.

As the set unfolded, 'No One Survives' became a resounding anthem that had the crowd singing along with fervour. The mix of melodic hooks and growling vocals showcased the band's versatility and ability to seamlessly blend contrasting elements. The eerie and atmospheric 'Darkness' introduced a haunting dimension to the performance, transporting the audience to a world where goblins and metal reign supreme.

'Goblins', a fan-favourite, starts the begining of the end of the night on a high note. Nekrogoblikon's charismatic and theatrical stage presence, combined with their masterful musicianship, proved that they are not just a band but an immersive experience. With 'Powercore', Nekrogoblikon left their mark on the hearts of every Brummie in attendance, ensuring that this performance will be remembered as a wild and unforgettable night in the annals of goblin-inspired metal.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

Photo credits: Tim Finch Photography

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