Halloween 2011. The venue: Shacklewell Arms, East London. I'm here to see Norwegian noise rockers, Arabrot, play the only UK show of their European tour. This is the final show before they fly back to Norway to recuperate, before the touring continues.
The venue feels like the archetypal East End boozer; old-fashioned and a little bit seedy. Tonight the place is full of metallers.
There are three acts on the bill; along with Arabrot are Dethscalator, who have supported them across the whole tour, and Vile Imbeciles.
The night kicks off with Dethscalator, who produce some heavy grinding sounds and are very noisy indeed. Their set is short but pumped, and they manage to get the crowd moshing from the outset.
Next up are Vile Imbeciles, complete with trendy haircuts and tight jeans - my first reaction is that they are there to cater to the teenage girl section of the audience. I'm grateful to say that my assumptions are unfounded, as they make some heavy and energetic music and play a tight enthusiastic set, at times jumping from the stage and strutting through the audience. This feels like more than mere rock posturing or style over substance, however; the band appear to be really enjoying themselves and getting into their music. I'd definitely like to see both support acts play longer shows in the future.
The band everyone has come to see are Arabrot, however. They are on at 10:30 and by that time the small venue is packed and buzzing. Who would have thought that the hotbed of Norwegian Necromantic music would happen to be in Dalston?
Their stage presence is striking; aggressive and dominant. The show kicks off with 'Solar Anus' - the title track from their latest album. The guitars are heavy, the drums pound and front man, Kjetil Nernes, is snarling and charismatic in equal measure. Normally a duo, they have drafted in a bass player tonight, and he does his job well. The addition of bass (missing on the actual album) makes the music sound more layered and dense, and adds to the brutal attack of the senses handed out by the band on stage. I can't think of a better sobriquet for this than "noise rock" - and I really do mean that in a positive way.
From here the songs blend together into a wall of ferocious, scary sound, and I lose track of how many they play, or indeed what they play. If Dethscalator have been a noisy opener, Arabrot certainly crank it up to 11.
A great gig to accompany a great new album. I can't think of a better way to spend Halloween.