Nick Barker, a man known around the world of extreme music as a prolific drummer having played in bands like Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, and currently playing in the likes of Brujeria, Borstal, and Shining, needs your help. He is battling kidney failure, and a GoFundMe campaign has been set up by his friends to help pay for his medical bills and living expenses while he undergoes dialysis.
As well as the campaign, which has been set up by Brandi Campanile and Tony Dolan (Venom Inc.), a number of different fundraisers have been taking place. One of which took place this past week at the Black Heart in London.
Going under the name of Barkfest, featuring several of the UK’s brightest extreme metal acts, and serving as a fundraiser for Barker himself, the event had a thick vein of positivity and camaraderie running through it all night. Needed, as it’s been a very busy weekend for live music in the capital, and this does mean the Black Heart isn’t exactly the busiest you’d ever see it. Something that fluctuates wildly throughout the night, depending on the band.
Which is a problem that opener, Primal Damnation suffer from, as the sparse crowd seem to just be mildly interested in the thrashy metal noise they bring. They certainly bring the noise, with the usual Black Heart volume seeming even louder tonight, and it’s easy music to headbang to. Yet, the whole thing just has a muted feel to it, and the band seem to lack the confidence needed to really gee the room up.
No such issues for the blackened death metal sound of the phenomenal Corpsing though, who simply steal the night with a display of garish and grim heaviness that hits the twisted soul perfectly. Their stage presence is immense, their musicianship is tight as f**k, and they play with a passion that just marks them out as a different beast all together. Easily the band of the night.
Although, the following Sanguinem give them a hell of a run for their money with a headlining worthy showcase of black and death metal, tinged with thrilling displays of melody. A band that are immensely watchable and immeasurably listenable.
Brighton’s extreme metal show, 10Plagues are up next, stripped back to a three-piece (no idea why), and leave a more substantial crowd with their ears well and truly ringing. The sense of being part of a perverse carnival of horror is enhanced by the gaudy face paint of the drummer and guitarist, and the evil looking mask worn by the vocalist. Yet, it is the music they play that really makes them a memorable watch. There are moments where things sound a bit samey, but that could also be put down to the unnecessary volume that the Black Heart feels needs to come out of the speakers.
Finally, it’s Damim, a band we have gotten to know much better since they blew us away at Uprising in April this year, and a band who continue to delight with a measured and meticulous display of death metal. Death metal given a melodic twist and featuring eccentric and exciting displays of progressiveness. They are, once again, a revelation in the live environment, and would have been the band of the night, if Corpsing hadn’t pulled out all the stops.
It’s a great night of extreme metal overall, with the good cause not forgotten, and hopefully it went some way in helping Nick Barker overcome his health issues. Don’t forget, you can donate to the GoFundMe directly here.
Barkfest - Featuring Damim, 10Plagues, Sanguinem, Corpsing, and Primal Damnation at The Black Heart, Camden, London (12/11/23)
Damim - 9/10
10Plagues - 8/10
Sanguinem - 8.5/10
Corpsing - 9.5/10
Primal Damnation - 6/10