Easter Sunday, the sun was shining, those of a religious persuasion were celebrating the resurrection whilst the rest were just eating chocolate. A lucky few though, were tucked away in a dark room in the centre of Derby witnessing a feast of some of the finest death metal and grindcore action at The Old Bell. The death metal juggernaut rumbled into town carrying Somerset’s finest Flayed Disciple, Glasgow’s new kids on the block Cerebral Bore and Swedish heavyweights AEON, ably supported by an undercard of some of the UK’s rising bands.

Walking through the doors, a huge noise greeted us. This noise was in the form of Regurgitate Life, a death metal band from London. At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me as all I could see was one man onstage, after a second look my eyes confirmed there was in fact just one man onstage… Now this was very much a first for me, death metal to a backing track. I know, it sounds a terrible idea but trust me, it sounded great. Sammy Unwin was a great front man and had no shortage of decent songs. I am lead to believe that actual people will be filling out the band in the future.

Following on from Regurgitate Life were Bristol tribe, Merciless Precision with their memorable death metal/grindcore sound. Lead vocalist Harry Bryan barking the lyrics through a truly phenomenal beard growth. In true grindcore style they played tracks varying in length from a couple of seconds through to a few minutes long. The aforementioned Sammy Unwin even joined them onstage for the 30 second epic ‘Noel Edmonds Is A Cunt’… Merciless Precision will be heading to the US alongside Cerebral Bore for a tour of America and Mexico. A band well worth checking out, if you get the chance.

Flayed Disciple took their turn on the stage next to smash a few more faces with their 100 miles an hour death thrash stylings. In what was another first, they had no bass player… I don’t know the reasons behind that decision but the noise they belted out went a long way to proving they had no need of one! Flayed Disciple treated the crowd to tracks from their new self-titled EP including ‘Ejaculate While Killing’ and the Mad Max inspired monster, ‘Inteceptor’. Vocalist Tim Whyte, bedecked in a great vintage Evil Dead shirt, was all hair and growls, flanked by the twin guitar assault of lead guitarist Thurston Howe and rhythm guitarist Jon Whitfield and backed by master tub thumper Phil Tolfree. Flayed Disciple are a band on the up and don’t be surprised if you see this name a lot in the months to come!

Fresh on the release of their debut album “Maniacal Miscreation”, Cerebral Bore have been making huge waves in the death metal scene. The Glasgow quartet recently signed a worldwide contract with Earache Records and they haven’t looked back since. With the guitar onslaught of Paul McGuire, the bass machine Kyle Rutherford and the brutal drumming of Allan MacDonald in full effect, Cerebral Bore can match anyone… But what elevates them above their contemporaries are the brutal, guttural growling vocals of Simone ‘Som’ Pluijmers!

Yes, there are those who will simply call it a gimmick and say it won’t last but I guarantee that these people haven’t seen Cerebral Bore live and in full effect. They are about as tight as a band can get, brutal in delivery and performance. Launching into their set with ‘The Bald Cadaver’, quickly followed by ‘Mangled Post-Burial’, Cerebral Bore were here to make a statement! Other monster tracks from the album followed ‘Entombed In Butchered Bodies’, ‘Flesh Reflects The Madness’ and ‘Epileptic Strobe Entrapment’ before the last few faces were ripped off by ‘Maniacal Miscreation’ and ‘24 Year Party Dungeon’. An behemoth set left the crowd baying for more, well and truly warmed up for the main event… AEON.

Swedish death metal pioneers AEON, whose third full length album “Path To Fire” was released last year through Metal Blade Records, took to the stage and continued where Cerebral Bore left off, pummelling the crowd into submission. Recent line-up changes have seen original drummer Arttu Malkki return to the fold replacing Nils Fjellstrom and Marcus Edvardsson as the latest incumbent of the bass. Both members fitted in seamlessly with stoic precision. The wall of sound created by AEON matched the flying wall of hair and beards as the first notes escaping from the PA system, causing an eruption of headbanging in unison, from both the floor and the stage, which pretty much set the tone of what was to come.

Tommy Dahlström‘s commanding presence, dominating the stage as he barked out the lyrics whilst his trusty sidekicks Sebastian Nilsson and Daniel Dlimi deliver the pulverising riffs that define AEON‘s sound. Through the intro of one track Dahlström could be seen masturbating the microphone in time with the music… Other than the more than occasional headbanging, AEON don’t move around onstage a great deal, they don’t have to as they have a presence that seems to fill the stage, a natural, larger than life aura.

AEON played tracks ranging across all three albums “Bleeding the False” (2005), “Rise to Dominate” (2007) and the latest release “Path of Fire” (2010), with the highlights being ‘Spreading Their Disease’, ‘Forgiveness Denied’, ‘Forever Nailed’ and the massive ‘Of Fire’. The final track of the set was the immense ‘God Of War’, also the last track of their latest album.

AEON left the stage and the fans left happy, pummelled and bruised but happy! A great gig in which all the bands performed to their maximum, reinforcing their fans belief in them and gaining many new fans too.