A Pale Horse Named Death - LIVE: The Underworld, London 2014

Lay My Soul To Waste Tour
February 13 (21:35 - 22:45)
Capacity 500

After a couple of bad experiences on the road, Europe is currently the only place A Pale Horse Named Death are keen to book headlining tours, so with a new album out, they wasted no time in announcing another run with Finns Blood Runs Deep, who also opened for them in 2012.

Before Blood Runs Deep this time though, for absolutely no good reason whatsoever, the promoters had booked Scots Stormzone as the night's openers. The evening really didn't need a third band anyway, but even moreso it didn't need a fairly generic power metal band. Unsurprisingly only a small section of the audience, most of whom seemed to already be familiar with the band, were at all interested or responsive to their efforts. Too often London promoters book too many bands under the misapprehension that it offers better value for money, and this is one of those times when they got it completely wrong.

Blood Runs Deep didn't have much to follow, but have in fact become a greatly improved band in the last two years. Tighter, with better material from new album Into The Void they were much more engaging and energetic than at the Borderline on the last tour. Stylistically they're actually very similar to APHND, which meant that they went down very well with the crowd, and succeeded in drawing more people in from the bar as well. This was definitely a more successful show than last time, and welcome relief after the ridiculous booking of Stormzone, who did at least appreciate that they shouldn't have been there, but tried admirably hard anyway.

APHND were much better this time than on the first album tour as well, and ridiculously heavy too. Guitarist Eddie Heedles has replaced Biohazard's Bobby Hambel, and although three guitars is still a bit overkill for their songs, which are mostly based around reasonably simple riffs, it does making them oppressively heavy, adding a "wall of sound" quality to their live shows.

Unusually for The Underworld, for both bands, the sound was excellent throughout and front-man Sal Abruscato in particular was in a much more jovial mood than last time. So with everything sounding so good, both band and crowd were in good spirits, and despite the needless opening band, they were still able to add a couple of extra songs to the setlist compared to what they had normally been playing on this tour. Somehow they seemed to play everything harder, heavier, with more energy than their first visit, and the crowd responded to that. The band are also more energetic than their music would ordinarily lend itself to, and particularly Matt Brown and Eddie Heedles look like they crave a bigger stage to move around on, leaving Abruscato largely in the middle with the mic.

The best thing about new album Lay My Soul To Waste following the blueprint of And Hell Will Follow Me so closely is that in a live set, tracks from both albums sit alongside each other perfectly. It's a trick which might not work for a third successive album, when probably introducing a few new ideas would be the best plan, but for two albums' worth of material it makes for a consistent set during which the quality never drops.

APHND don't really tour North America at the moment after a bad experience on their last tour there, so another European tour will probably arrive sooner rather than later, at which point any fans of their albums are advised to see them.

“ oppressively heavy ”

Setlist: To Die In Your Arms / As Black As My Heart / The Needle In You / Devil In The Closet / In The Sleeping Death / Growing Old / Cracks In The Walls / Shallow Grave / Pill Head / When Crows Descend Upon You / Die Alone // Killer By Night

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2014, Doom Metal, Gigs,

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