The Secret / Tombs - The Borderline, London
Opening band Dead Existence provide a suitably weighty start to the evening, their doomy sludge crawling across the Friday night faithful, already here in numbers, like a menacing thunderstorm. A particularly tuneless wall of sound, the guttural drones are very welcome to the work-weary and overly-stressed.
Brooklyn trio Tombs (now expanded to a four piece for this tour) are monumentally heavy - a bowl-churning, brain-exploding din of visceral black metal and hardcore. Plummeting straight into 'Black Hole Of Summer' from this year's gargantuan Path Of Totality, the next forty minutes are some of the bleakest and loudest possible, and the packed Borderline show their appreciation at every opportunity. The band's ability to craft a set into more than just a collection of songs is phenomenal as the likes of 'Black Heaven' and 'To Cross The Land' weave their magic around the enthralled audience.
On the back of last year's excellent Solve Et Coagula, The Secret have finally made it to these shores in an attempt to become less of their namesake. Unfortunately they somewhat pale alongside their touring partners, although admittedly the horrifically muddy sound does them no favours. The dense wave that is 'Cross Builder' washes over the expectant crowd, ratcheting up the tension before exploding into the turbulent grindcore that is at the heart of the band's identity. The poor mix means that from here on in everything rather merges into one, ultimately feeling a wee bit dull in all honesty; yes, it's bloody heavy, but not much more than a very deep buzz punctuated by squeals of feedback.