The Black Dahlia Murder - Sub89, Reading
Turning up just in time to catch Ohio thrashers Skeletonwitch, Reading's Sub89 is pleasingly packed for a cold Monday evening. Any thoughts of the frost outside are quickly dispelled as the mosh pits fire up and all hell breaks loose.
Skeletonwitch do a good job of keeping the energy levels high for the duration of their forty five minute set, but it does very much rely on the Slayer formula. Take some time to step back and actually listen, and there is precious little variation between the songs, whether they be from their first or last album.
The Black Dahlia Murder have heavily built their set around last year's Ritual album, playing two thirds of it in total and with it, mixed results. Things start off on the right note as both 'A Shrine To Madness' and 'Moonlight Equilibrium' have the pits spiralling round in a frenzied state of bedlam.
But amongst the likes of classic Murder tracks 'A Vulgar Picture' and 'Everything Went Black', a number of the new tracks fall a bit flat. There is something of a divide in the room, as stage left go berserk for every track, and stage right being far pickier in what to lose it to.
By the time we reach 'On Stirring Seas Of Salted Blood' the throng is thinning as last trains and buses call, but a triumphant encore of 'Blood In The Ink' and especially 'Deathmask Divine' rewards the faithful for their loyalty and sends them off broken but elated.