Live Burial/Vacivus @Trillians, Newcastle, September 30, 2021

A flashback to March, 2020…

Live Burial were all set to mark the release of Unending Futility, their sophomore album, at a triumphant hometown show.

We all know what happened.

But one global pandemic later, the Newcastle quintet finally managed to give that record the party it deserved at a packed Trillians… and in front of a host of extreme metal musicians. 

With members of Penance Stare, Plague Rider, Winds Of Genocide, Nemorous and more in attendance, this was a celebration of the North East’s dark musical underbelly. The reignition of a scene.

And after the last few months of rehearsals – and writing for Unending Futility’s follow-up – Live Burial looked as sharp as their pre-pandemic incarnation.

It’s easy to see why, pre-Covid-19, they were being booked for the likes of Finnfest.

Rotting On The Rope – surely one of 2020’s finest OSDM songs – was an exercise in savage intensity, with guitarists Rob Hindmarsh and Richard Codling in a vicious mood, and Jamie Brown enjoying the opportunity to lacerate his vocal cords one again.

Swing Of The Pendulum swung to a death doom groove, underscored by the bubbling bass of resident prog-head, Lee Anderson, while the near-10 minute Cemetery Fog was unveiled in all its spectral glory.

Both were a demonstration of what Live Burial are capable of… and what could come next.

There was even room for a reanimation of 2018’s Forced Back To Life, with the title track flaying out wildly from Trillians’ stage.

Live Burial seemed determined to make up for lost time… and eager to return to the fray.

You’ll be seeing a lot more of them.

Vacivus: time to annihilate

Vacivus – just like their comrades in Live Burial – were knocked off course by Coronavirus.

2020 should have been the Sunderland act’s year, thanks to their stunning second opus, Annihilism.

A prestigious slot at the first UK Deathfest was secured.

They were ready to put Britain to the torch.

So this comeback gig meant something.

Playing Annihilism in its entirety, Vacivus showed why they turned the heads of US label Profound Lore… and why they have a reputation as one of the UK’s finest underground DM acts.

Opener Of Ruinous Essence slithered its way into life, building tension before detonating with a storm of blastbeats.

Terminus took us into the heart of a dying star.

Indignus chugged with remorseless power.

Convulsing vocalist Nick Craggs looked possessed.

Vacivus were in commanding form.

Spiritual healing

Last autumn, assailed by a second Covid-19 wave, it seemed that we’d never see a show like this again.

And that precious rock venues like Trillians would close their doors forever.

It feels different now.

There is hope for bands, fans and the wider scene.

Local metalheads turned out in force for this show: so much so that Trillians needed to draft in extra staff to cope.  

Acts like Live Burial and Vacivus are finally back, doing what they do best.

And after 18 months of misery, despair and frustration, tonight was cathartic.

We needed it.