Blood Covered Shovel, Aeon of Horus, Altars @ Enigma Bar, Adelaide (29/05/09)

Nessun Dorma opened up the night for The War Room, with an abrupt, dissonant, disjointed style of songwriting. They were also unexpectedly brutal at times; these young guys really knew their way around their instruments. Their sound was a bundled amalgamation of Behold... The Arctopus style randomness, with some black metal and metalcore thrown in. A broken strap one song in was quickly remedied by a helpful member of another band and smoothly handled.

Generally the kids had a good presentation, which is surprising for such a new band with such technical music. It was clear that a few of the younger folk in the room were all there to see Nessun Dorma and quickly left after they had played, which is fine as the other bands on the bill probably weren’t appealing to them.

Altars play old school death metal reminiscent of Morbid Angel with just enough of a modern spin to please a wider audience. Fallen Beneath Seleucid Temples in particular feels like it could’ve been pulled right out of 1988, while Towers of Silence is quite modern with its technicality. In the middle, they featured the two-parter Nepenthe/Sepulcher which will be on their next release, a split with fellow locals Tzun Tzu.

This gig saw the band trying drum triggers for the first time which made it different from the other times I’ve seen them, with a tighter but more robotic drum sound, but it worked rather well. Also, guitarist Lewis was unfortunate enough to have a string fall out of his bridge, but once again after a helping hand from another band he was lent a replacement guitar. Luck on their side that it was a seven string and in the same tuning so the show went on with no time lost.

Aeon of Horus are a brilliant new act from the ACT combining twisted tech death like Sweden’s Anata with symphonic elements via keyboard. The Embodiment of Darkness and Light is Aeon’s debut album and all the tracks they played in their 45 minutes were from that release, and they were recreated perfectly. Crazy haired frontman Andy was brilliant in a dual role on vocals and keyboards, and guitarist Barry was an amazing talent on guitar (the same guitar that was hastily lent to Lewis from Altars). Rousing renditions of 3c321 and Icon were highlights of this evening at the War Room.

Unfortunately, there were only about twenty people watching them, which was quite baffling to the few who had the decency to stay around. It seems that the band either hadn’t made a splash with the greater Adelaide crowd or the melodic style wasn’t to everyone’s liking, but it was disheartening to see these awesome musicians who flew in from Canberra not getting the respect they deserve. They played their set with as much fire as with a huge crowd, which is quite noble of them.

Blood Covered Shovel were to close the show and seemed to be just the right gritty, scummy, dirty death metal to go with the drunken state of just about every punter in the place in this late hour. The many that were absent during Aeon of Horus returned, and the band kicked into their death metal, reminiscent of Entombed and Skinless. Full Metal Jacket was a highlight of their set, a chunky romp that got people moving.

Some great leads were played by both guitarists, and singer Rob had great Chris Barnes sounding vocals, with some screeching highs. Their presence was slightly lacking and I expected some more motion to suit the thrashing music but no big deal. BCS finished up a lot earlier than it said on the line up sheet on the wall but their set felt complete and the audience were satisfied, and kicked on to more beverages.