Live Review : The Infernal Sea + Necronautical + Burial + Ba'al @ The Outpost, Liverpool on July 11th 2019

I know Black Metal has an obsession with Satan and his dominion, but the authenticism seems to have been taken to another level tonight as the Outpost is so hot that you truly feel like you are in the very bowls of hell. This evening the smoking area has become a place of sanctuary where heat exhausted revellers go for air, before diving back into the all-consuming unbearable cauldron of undiluted heat that is the performance area. 

Ba'al from Sheffield are first up into the furnace and they are actually a lot more introspective and experimental than I was expecting. There is a real cinematic and ethereal edge to their music, in many places they are Solstafir with added white noise. For the first on, in a night of primal Black Metal, they are actually rather a curve ball. This is Alt Metal, with chords and notes held and contorted to ensure that there is a general blanket of fuzziness. They are also really rather good. 

By this point, my t-shirt is soaked so I dive outside for some welcome breeze before heading in again for Mancunian’s Burial. They are a much more brutal proposition than the previous band but for the first few tracks it just doesn’t quite click. It might be the unrelenting heat or it might be that their fanbase haven’t bothered making the trip over to Liverpool, but it all feels a little subdued and under baked. However, suddenly six tracks in with ‘Cursed by the Light’, it all just suddenly kicks off and there they are, the band that I know and love. It is like someone has flicked an invisible switch, as the whole place bursts into life and the crowd seamlessly shift gear from disinterested to ape shit. The energy level on stage also magically ratchets up to eleven and we are in business. Sadly there is only two more tracks left, but they are played with such conviction and furiosity that they more than make up for the rather lacklustre beginning. 

Necronautical bring all the corpse paint to the yard. In this heat though it has melted and run down their faces before even the first track is through. This means that Naut, Carcarrion, and Anchorite and Slurgh look even more demonic than usual. Think the melting face bit at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you like your Black Metal filled to the brim with theatrics and high camp than then Necronautical will be right up your street. This is the very symphonic and bombastic end of the scale, where the influences are more Rocky Horror than Aleister Crowley. However before I start getting disgruntled messages, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t great fun. Necronautical is in character for the whole performance, introducing tracks in the same possessed tones that he sings in and this just adds to the immersive world that they create around themselves. Yes, they are treading the same path as say Cradle Of Filth and Carach Angren, but this tiny bit of plagiarism doesn’t matter as they are immensely enjoyable, even if my body is feeling like it is being boiled from the insides.

In terms of Black Metal, The Infernal Sea are one of the UK’s great black hopes. They are on an upward momentum and with their highly traditional take on the genre, they seemed to have found a distinct USP appealing to those who like their Black Metal pure, undiluted and just plain evil. Sadly technical issues mean they emerge way after schedule to just those who didn’t have to run off for their last train. It is to their credit that they are not put off by the thin crowd and instead put the same level of conviction and passion into their performance as they would if the place was packed to the rafters. As said this is Black Metal as the Norwegian fore-fathers made it; claustrophobic, insular and raw. The cloaks and plague masks only add to the atmosphere, personifying the dark, apocryphal sound that they create. If you like your music nasty and heretical then you will love their stuff as much as I do, but next time people, get a cab home.

Words by Stewart Lucas
Photography by Johann Wierzbicki