Death Metallers just want to be loved

It is Saturday night in a stifling, foetid underground nightclub in north London. Outside it is hot and oppressively close. Inside it’s worse.

The names on the bill are a giveaway: this is Deathfest VII at The Underworld in Camden, north London, an annual showcase of death metal. Headliners are Master, but there are also bands including Disavowed, Amputated, the Monolith Deathcult, Arsebreed, Infected Disarray, Bloodstream and Toxocara (itself a side project of Prostitute Disfigurement). This is extreme metal, this is death metal – a son of thrash metal and brother of black metal. This is as brutal and bloody as it gets. And having the baddest name is part of it. They are competing with names such as Anal Vomit of Peru, or Dying Fetus from Maryland, or Melbourne’s finest, Disembowelment.

Lyrically, it is no more pleasant. It is very much rampaging hordes and doom and bloodsucking. But as Paul Carter of death metal promoters Arcane Promotions puts it: “I don’t think you can realistically sing about flowers in a death metal style.”

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