Dragged Into Sunlight brought their own special brand of mayhem to District last night and Getintothis’ Mark Greenwood was there to see it all happen.
A couple of days ago we were frantically trying to get a ticket for this gig.
Somebody told us that it was happening at the ‘Old Picket’ which we wrongly assumed was the ‘Buyers Club’ on Hardman Street. So that’s where we turn up at 8pm only to find a cardboard sign on the door, stating ‘we’re in the kitchen with the black metal stars’.
Given this was apparently a low key show we’re perplexed to enter the ‘kitchen’ to find a dozen or so well groomed ‘hip’ couples sipping prosecco and snacking on canapés. Not a satanic tattoo in sight and a complete lack of battle vests.
Realising that we’re complete dicks, we quickly re-navigate to District, where we’re happy to find a fairly full venue, enjoying Employed to Serve. Unfortunately, we barely catch the end of the set due to our pure stupidity, but what we do catch is a compound of heavy, repetitive grindcore pummelling the District P.A system.
The Woking quintet get great feedback from those who bring us up to speed and their track I Spend My Days (Wishing Them Away) from their forthcoming album, The Warmth of a Dying Sun is the perfect accompaniment to any kind of stereotypic movement disorder.
Next up are Canvas from Leeds, a notoriously savage crossover of metal and hardcore dating back over twenty years. The band are tight as hell, with a series of psychotic time and tempo changes to bewilder the security guards who try to extinguish any form of moshing in front of the stage.
Like an out of control juggernaut, Canvas smash through an impressive set, their front man resembling a seasoned, bare knuckle boxer delivering dangerous jabs to the frontal lobe. An occasional melodic hook emerges from a flurry of flying fists and a dysfunctional mic stand soon falls victim to an engrossing display of powerful violence, arising from a precisely engineered rhythm section intent on damage.
We caught Venom Prison at Drop the Dumbulls around September last year. Back then we were deeply impressed with their blend of death metal and hardcore that had the notoriously sweaty and care-free venue going absolutely crackers.
Six months on, the band are in brilliant form and more finely tuned and polished in a performance sense. Their singer prowls the stage like a possessed Banshee and delivers one of the most stunning vocal performances we’ve seen from a metal band in some time.
Venom Prison’s music is spiteful and vitriolic, feral and earnest. There’s an intense labour about this band and an aggression that reminds us of Kreator in their heyday.
We’re fortunate to witness the band flourishing and sharpening their deadly art to a delighted gathering; tracks from their latest album Animus going down immensely and testifying to their talents. There’s not a note out of place in an avalanche of screaming guitars and meticulous, crunching rhythms.
To us, Dragged Into Sunlight are more of a shapeshifting, chimeric entity rather than a band; a kind of destructive art movement or a dark conceptual experiment that thrives on intense and palpable violence. As a collective force, they surge through a kind of dystopian, black psychedelia that merges intense noise and whorls of deep feedback in a vortex of broken industry and severe blast beats.
These hooded upstarts genuinely inspire fear as they continue to re-define and innovate the black metal genre with tracks such as Visceral Repulsion and Lashed to the Grinder and Stoned to Death. Dragged into Sunlight are easily one of the most compelling and exciting live acts around and as the pungent clouds of toxic gas disappear into the ether of the black Baltic Triangle skies we genuinely feel like we’ve been lobotomised with a blunt tool after enduring a strange anti-catharsis evoked in a sadistic pagan ritual.
Let’s hope we don’t end up in the Mersey. Brilliant night…more aggressive metal please.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Francesco Imola