DARKNESS descended on Bolton on Friday as the Alma Inn took a venture into the blacker side for night of uncompromising extreme metal.

The Bradshawgate pub was ravaged by crushing sounds from one of Lancashire’s promising young metal outfits and an unholy trinity of three of Manchester’s best up and coming underground talents.

Kicking of the night's proceedings, Andracca immediately set the tone with their cold, atmospheric sound recalling the genre’s second wave Norwegian forefathers.

Despite some technical and sound issues the band persevered to demonstrate their old-school black metal riffs and esoteric lyrics inspired by the Tolkien mythos.

A change of pace came with the second band of the evening, Coprocephalic Mutation, whose brutal death metal sound added a touch of variation to the black metal dominated bill.

But as shredder Sam Mansfield and vocalist Barney Southward hastened to add: “What’s a night without a bit of slam”.

Relentlessly, track after track, the outfit’s chugging and breakneck riffing and guttural vocals are a grooving fire up with some “light” relief thrown in, and get a solid pit going in the cosy venue.

Argesk are a far cry from their slamming bill-mates, although no less savage, as they bring their mighty melodic riffing.

With their debut EP set for release in the coming weeks the Manchester outfit are certainly cutting out a name for themselves in scene.

The band’s titanic atmospheric black metal transports the crowd to the deepest dark forests and iciest precipices, with raw frenetic tremolo picking and demonic vocals, lifted by spellbinding synth and mesmerising drum-work courtesy of former drummer of Welsh legends Hecate Enthroned, Bob Kendrick.

By the time the headliners take the now barbed wire bedecked stage The Alma is well and truly rocking. And Deus Mori hit harder than a marauding Mk IV tank, bringing the horrors of the trenches to Bolton with their punishing First World War inspired cuts.

Theirs is a tight and masterful display of uncompromising brutality. Dødsklokken is a commanding frontman leading the charge with his air raid siren screeches, supported by an artillery barrage of shredding guitar, pulverising bass and incendiary drumming.

The band blitz through tracks including Defiling The Cross and Uprising before set closer Ritual Silence hits faster and harder than rampaging machine gun fire.

As the dust settles it’s great to see one of Bolton’s thriving smaller venues providing a platform for artists from more underground subgenres and proving that the North West’s extreme metal scene is one of the best in the country.


Special thanks to Skye Skadi