In a change of plan to my original gig for this evening I’m now driving up to Leeds for the inaugural Ritual Festival, which is headlined by Swedish death metal forefathers Grave on a rare foray to the British Isles. Having said that though by August they will have played here on three separate occasions since November 2015.
Ola Lindgren has lead the Visby band from the front over eleven albums and during the three decades of Grave he has been the only constant member.
I have been listening to them on and off since the early 1990’s with their first two albums Into The Grave and You’ll Never See. Along with the likes of Dismember, Entombed and Unleashed they were part of the infamous Swedish melodic death metal sound that was born out of Gothenburg and Stockholm’s Sunlight Studios, a veritable who’s who of predominantly Swedish death metal bands have made use of the studio during their careers.
I missed a whole chunk of Grave’s output post 1994’s Soulless release until I listened to Endless Procession of Souls from 2012, mainly due to a hint of curiosity due to their version of Them Bones by Alice in Chains (which is rather enjoyable) and tomorrow will be the first time that I have seen the band on stage.
I’m not sure where this live version of Into the Grave was recorded, but it’s the first song they wrote as a band and still in their live set to this day.
This week I’m still on holiday and we start again in Canada and finish up in Leeds, via Manchester.
Monday – Toronto, Hard Luck Bar
Finnish Melodic death metal band Kalmah are on stage on our last full day in the land of the Mountie. We could have tickets for a Maple Leafs hockey game, so these Finns might be benchched.
Tuesday – Manchester, Sound Control
Back on home soil and dependant on tiredness / jet lag, I’m hoping to catch, what on paper, is the mismatch of New Jersey thrashers Overkill supported by Polish death metal legends Vader. Leeds the night after is an alternative option.
Friday – Manchester, Star & Garter
London hardcore veterans Knuckledust are supporting Chula Vista (or San Diego) hardcore band Take Offense, with a gathering of some other up and coming UK talents.
Saturday – Leeds, Canal Mills
This is a late alteration to my original gig choice of PVRIS in Birmingham. Swedish death metal band Grave only got announced as the headliners of Ritual Festival mid February and as I’ve never seen Grave after listening to them for a quarter of a century I have to go, and I think I’ll have more chances to see PVRIS than Grave in the future.
When the concerts are getting sparse it’s either the height of the festival season and every band seems to be playing in a field of mud somewhere within Europe or winter is drawing in and Christmas is fast approaching. In the forthcoming seven days I only have one guaranteed show, but I have a dilemma for mid week.
Sunday – Camden Underworld.
Confirmed. This is the only guaranteed gig for the week and involves yet another trip to the nation’s capital. This marks the first visit to these shores by American technical thrashers Vektor. Support is of an international ilk from Spain’s Angelus Apatrida and Dutch thrashers Distillator.
Wednesday – The dilemma!
I have the choice of four shows all on the same night.
- Turnstile supporting The Story So Far in Manchester. I missed Turnstile at Ghostfest, so I’d really like to catch them here, but this show looks like it’s sold out.
- Grave and Malevolent Creation in London. I only really want to see Grave on this co-headlining jaunt as I’ve yet to see them live, but the running order isn’t announced yet and I’d miss most of Grave to get the last train home if they headlined.
- Hobb’s Angel of Death play a Northern show in Liverpool. One of Australia’s earliest thrash bands makes an extremely rare (if not debut) set of shows in the UK.
- Belphegor and Vital Remains in Wolverhampton. Definitely the fourth choice gig of the lot as I’m not a massive fan of the Austrian and American black metal and death metal offerings, but if I do end up here it’ll be due to me being the designated driver.
So lets wait and see what happens.