Dark Age

vader-the-ultimate-incantation-lp

 

Even though we’re thirteen days into 2018 is it too late to say Happy New Year? If it isn’t then I wish you a “Happy New Year”, if it is then I’m sorry and please don’t take offence!

It’s been another long lay off on the blog since mid December, once again trying to be a responsible adult and that Christmas thing has got in the way.  The run up to Christmas is a busy time at work for me and the days over the festive period are a hassle as I’m the sole driver in a family of nine, so muggins here has to don his chauffeur’s cap for three days.  I was fortunate enough to wrangle the days off work between Boxing Day and New Years Day so the wife and I took off to Chester and Conwy for a well deserved break from the rest of the family and the car.

I’m back in the the groove (rut?) now and those few days away seem so far behind us!  At least I didn’t have to wait too long for my first gig of the year and with that debut show of 2018 being headlined by those rowdy Germans Kreator I couldn’t have wished for a better start to this years time consuming hobby.

Kreator are a band I’ve seen in excess of twenty times now over the last 23 years, six of those shows were in 2017 alone, yes I got a bit obsessed with them last year.  Their Gods of Violence album was my number one pick for the year and slightly nudged Power Trip’s Nightmare Logic to the silver medal.

Originally Polish death metal band Decapitated should have been the main support on Kreator’s current run, but with all of the unpleasantness surrounding them in America last year they were ultimately pulled from the tour.  It’s pleasing to see that the band have seemingly had all charges dropped and are free to go about their own business freely and try to restart their career after last years promising Anticult album surfaced.

The main support slot was handed to fellow Poles in the form of the long standing band Vader from Olsztyn.  Guitarist Piotr Paweł Wiwczarek (Peter) is in his 50’s now and has been fronting the death metal band since 1983 and sharing the stage with an impressive thirty other band members over the 35 years.

From a band I’ve seen over 20 times to one I’ve only seen a handful of times then. Thursday was only my third time, maybe the fourth, time seeing them since 1998. I might have seen them at Hellfest 2016 but I don’t recall them – I had to be reminded that they were there!  My last confirmed sighting was in Manchester at what was the called NQ Live in 2013.  I think I only went along to that show as thrashers Bonded By Blood were also on the bill and when I first saw Vader in Dudley fifteen years earlier I wasn’t over impressed with them.  I also missed them supporting Overkill in Manchester in 2016 as we got caught up in horrendous traffic trying to get to the train station due to a major closure of the M6 motorway which gridlocked the local roads where I reside.  We pretty much got to Sound Control as the Imperial March theme was fading away from the PA.

I have to admit though, after seeing their set on Thursday I was mightily impressed, maybe not impressed enough to purchase a shirt on the night but impressed enough to listen to their back catalogue that I have in my iTunes library when I got home on Friday.  If it was a physical collection of their works I would be blowing the proverbial dust from the CD cases as I rediscover the band. 

As Vader’s jaunt throughout Europe is under the banner World Incantation Tour it only seems fitting that the video presented here is taken from their debut album The Ultimate Incantation that was released back in 1992.  Their celebratory touring cycle began last year when the album turned a quarter of a century old.  I know I missed them in Manchester last year, a show i was in two minds about attending but obviously didn’t, but it’s not a mistake I’ll make again when the Poles return to British shores.

 

 

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The Satanist

  
    

In the “special guest” slot to Twisted Sister on the Friday evening are controversial Polish blackened death metal demigods Behemoth. This will be my fourth time seeing the band, and my second time at Bloodstock. 

They belatedly played the festival in 2012, originally they should have graced the main stage in 2010 but were forced to pull out when frontman Nergal was diagnosed with leukaemia. When they eventually did play they headlined the main stage and they were absolutely devastating. If it was an indoor gathering it wound have been an open air version after the proverbial roof was ripped off. One of the best performances I’ve seen over my 17 visits to the festival – and this is coming from someone who doesn’t necessarily like black metal. 

Formed in the industrial city of Gdańsk in 1991 I didn’t pick up on the band until 2009 when I head Ov Fire And The Void taken from the Evangelion release, their ninth album. Moving a few steps sideways from black metal to a much more death metal sound, for me, the release became that bit more palatable. 

A bug bear with this festival is the repeat acts. On the Friday alone at least four of the nine bands have played the festival at least once, and as stated earlier Behemoth are one of those. But at least this time they are doing something a bit more unique and playing last album The Satanist in its entirety, a thing that hasn’t occurred on the shores before. I have seen a few people moaning that they are playing their “overrated” album, how they come to that conclusion I don’t really know. I’m no black metal aficionado so I’m not in a position to compare this to the best of Immortal, Emperor, Darkthrone or Dissection, but to me The Satanist is a great example of extreme metal. 

I was going to post the video to the aforementioned Ov Fire And The Void, but as they are playing The Satanist in full (and there are more videos for the album than I imagined) here’s the title track to the album. 

Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel

From the four shows I could have attended tonight I ended up in the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton for an evening of death and black metal.

 

Mancunian black metallers Ethereal opened up proceedings, but we missed them.

Polish death metal band Hate were a new one to me so I was unsure what to expect. I quite liked them by the end of their 40 minute set. It’s odd hearing proper metal guitar solos incorporated into this genre of music, but it worked well.

Providence, Rhode Island natives Vital Remains were my draw for tonight. Guitarist Tony Lazaro is the only constant member in the band from 1988. This is the third time I’ve seen them smashing out their anti Christian death metal and it’s the third different line up I’ve seen. For those who saw it in some news feeds, this is the band that had the police officer on stage singing Let The Killing Begin in Florida recently. He later got fired.

Capping off the evening, and still on stage as I write, are Belphegor, an Austrian black metal band. There are very few black metal bands I enjoy and unfortunately these aren’t one of the select few. I just don’t get black metal in general. Musically they can be great with their fast tempos and irregular structures with an the emphasis on building up an atmosphere. The drumming is so frenetic at times it can be a joy to watch. Then the screeching vocals kick in and I just zone out. You can’t like everything.

So randomly here’s some Behemoth. As Vital Remains have no video, here’s a track from one of the few black metal bands I like.