I may be bruised, scratched, full of cold and aching but this week was worth every second. Let me take you back to Monday.
Filth Fest was made up of this lot; Asrai, Septic Flesh, Moonspell, Gorgoroth and Cradle of Filth. I met a mate for a few looseners before making the journey to Kentish Town as I didn't really feel like standing in the freezing cold on my own for hours - Hot Chick was going to be down about two hours after kick off. I got there at 18:00, a little after the doors were scheduled to open at 17:00. But they didn't. An the queue was fuckin' massive.
Popped into the Bull & Gate for a quick Guinness, recalled seeing one of Bro Dude's bands playing there about 8 years ago, went back to the queue. The doors still weren't open. Back for another Guinness. About 90 minutes late, I was in.
By the time I got in I'd missed Asrai but nothing to worry about here. Septic Flesh were predictable dark but during their set I was mainly getting my merch, chatting to a mate who I found inside and chugging beers.
Hot Chick arrived as Moonspell took to the stage. Nicely beered by now, I led her down towards the front. The Portuguese doomers played a blinder and really got the pit swelling. Unfortunately, a massive cut in sound, light and power about two thirds into their set took the edge off an otherwise highly entertaining performance. I shall be investing in some of their work forthwith.
And then came Gorgoroth. This notorious clan of reprobates have a reputation for shocking the crowd and media with their crucified nudes and sheep's heads on spikes, so I was looking forward to the show. However, as the crosses were erected and the topless man and woman walked out, I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed. When you watch someone hauling themselves onto a cross, putting a bag on their head, then standing a la Jesus, it doesn't have the same impact as if it all went on behind curtains and then is suddenly revealed to the crowd with a dramatic curtain drop or something. I know little of Gorgoroth's back catalogue but they got the crowd going insane. True to form, and mainly due to my large intake of Tuborg, I entered the pit, had a row, went over the top (really caught the bug for that at Alter Bridge) and hit the bar again. I felt their performance was lacklustre and if it wasn't for their notoriety and aggression of the songs, this would have been a bit, dare I say it, boring.
You know who ain't boring? Cradle of Filth. I forget what they opened with now but song two was "Guilded Cunt" (cue the most offensive singalong in history) and this led seamlessly in to "Dusk and Her Embrace", which is the first Cradle song I ever heard. I was going mental, as was the pit. I have never been involved in such a ridiculous shitfight in my life. Due to the inclement weather outside the floor was like an ice rink and, again, beer not helping, I stacked it backwards and landed on my elbows. The crippling pain didn't set in until I'd left the pit so I carried on regardless.
The tightness of COF's set shows a band that have been doing this for years. Unfortunately, due to the epic nature of their songs, the set was probably only 6 or 7 long but hey, it's the way of the black. Hot Chick doesn't feel black metal at all and spent more time being amused by Dani Filth's insanely high-pitched screams than anything else. I, however, appreciate the variety of his range as all too often, the black bands will rely on growling and leave it there. Cradle mix it up in a big way. There was great interaction with the crown, Dani was having a great time and the pit was an extension of the band (if the band was a sweaty mass of tattoos and hair. Oh, actually...). I'm surprised these guys don't play the bigger venues as they are by far popular enough but at the same time, it's good to be in a situation where you can get right up and personal with these cross-over black metal Gods.