The news that Vader's Peter Wiwczarek has put the kibosh on the interview we had arranged over a month previously doesn't get my evening off to the most pleasant start. But it's okay; I'm a pragmatist. I will however call BS on the reason given. Wiwczarek has claimed that he needs to save his voice for the show. I submit that he and his cohorts have picked up a copy of "Grand Theft Auto 4" and are so immersed in spreading woe across Liberty City that even the impending performance itself hangs in the balance.
Devian do very little to turn my frown upside down, save for the fact that their frontman bears an uncanny resemblance to Dwight Schrute of "The Office". Come to think of it, his exuberance and hand gestures aren't far off either. Still, I've got to hand it to them. Their brand of black 'n' roll may not be my can of malt liquor, but despite an embarrassingly empty floor they give it their absolute all, delivering select cuts off their Century Media debut, _Ninewinged Serpent_, as if they were playing the main stage at Wacken.
If anything is going to attract attention, it's Spiros Antoniou's unearthly roar. This man possesses a growl that's intimidating enough to send a grizzly bear with a case of the crabs scurrying for cover, and when he bellows a line during soundcheck, the interest of all and sundry is very quickly piqued. It's a good thing too, because when Septic Flesh launch into "Unbeliever", there is literally nowhere you ought to be other than stageside. What's most striking about their brand of symphonic death metal is how overwhelming it sounds within the confines of the Underworld. As they plow their way through "Virtues of the Beast", "Lovecraft's Death" and other devastating renditions of newer material off their magnificent _Communion_ opus, there's an increasing sense that this venue is too small to contain their colossal wall of sound. Spiros looks genuinely shocked by the enthusiastic response, but rest assured, the audience are equally gobsmacked by the spectacle unfolding before them.
Considering that this gig is meant to mark Vader's two-decade odd anniversary, it seems slightly unsociable of them to take to the stage at 10pm on a school night. Not that anyone seems to mind much when the aural carnage ensues. Though springing into existence when many in the crowd who've gathered to see them were a glint in the milkman's eye, Vader deliver every tune with a savagery that will make your knees buckle. The setlist may not have too many surprises, and the usual suspects ("Unleash Chaos" and "Sothis" to name two examples) are wheeled out. But they do deliver a jaw-dropping "Silent Empire", taking me back to the days when _De Profundis_ ruled my world -- and that's good enough for me.