The Unicorn is suffering from a severe lack of air con tonight, the tension in the air made all the palpable by the insane levels of heat and the anticipation for the very first UK performance by French black metal quintet The Great Old Ones.
First though, are London based grind/tech/what the fuck is going on chaps Oblivionized who kick off tonights proceedings with a sub-fifteen minute aural assault. Wild groove and screams make up a good portion of the short time the trio spend on stage, but the lack of bass or a second guitar tends to give the music a little too much space on the stage. There's only so much one guitar and a drum kit can really do, but Oblivionized are not to be thwarted and time will only improve this set-up. The band are tight and work incredibly well together and this slight curiousity will likely give them that extra advantage over other bands of their ilk.
Next, Dutch black metal group Terzij de Horde take their place on the stage and vocalist Joost Vervoort extols such passion and fire, falling to the floor and reaching to the heavens for mercy. Terzij de Horde are glorious tonight, the highlight coming when they play their track "A Chosen Hollow" off a recent split with fellow countrymen Starve. It's a stark and moving piece that bodes well for, hopefully, more new material this year. Terzij de Horde cut their mesmerising tones with intense movements of speed and passages of sheer delight and it's obvious that those who didn't know of them before have come away from this experience with a new favourite act.
Finally, The Great Old Ones arrive on stage and within mere seconds have opened up torrents of pure, unadulterated magic. Playing songs from their debut Al Azif, a record so beautifully rendered through shades of H.P. Lovecraft worship and post-black metal moments of joy and horror that it quite rightly, is starting to be seen as one of the most affecting debuts of recent times. From the sublime "Jonas" to the grandly epic "Al Azif," The Great Old Ones show that they are desperately in control of their sound and their performance is as stunning in the live arean as it is on record. Long may they continue to call upon the Ancients and let us hope that they grace these shores and more in 2013.