”That Fucking gig was probably one of the best i’ve ever went to!!”
”I’m going to their next gig in London, whenever that is!!”
”My friend said the above!! She has summed up my experience in a nutshell!! That gig was brilliant. The first act on were called Trepaneringritualen, this was a slow ponderous introspective set that at times felt like i was having my intestines pulled from my body, twisted and then wrapped around a gnarled tree. This reminded me of Skinny Puppy/Throbbing Gristle and Performed by a Swedishman from Gotland going by the name of Th.oth XIX and his gadgets, i got the feel of the performance and when i was not having my guts twisted and wrapped around trees it felt soporific, something i could have been more attentive too if i was not standing in amongst a crowd of strangers constantly shifting my weight from one leg to the other to alleviate the aches!! This gave me the feeling of some prehistorical ritual staged in a cave, paintings all over the walls and fire burning in the centre of things, smoke billowing upwards , orange embers floating in the heated updraft. Figures with bones and shrouded in furs sit transfixed by the hypnotic proceedings take journeys into the other world to coax out answers to the mysteries of life. This can be a healing experience if given the chance…”
And then there was Schammasch…
”First we had a shaman and next we have monk priests who conduct the second act of the liturgy replete with candles and incense to invoke the spirits of anticipation and to fine tune the atmosphere. I have been listen to The Maldoror Chants at home and this gives an idea of what to expect at a Schammasch live show!! Big, The album is inspired by a surrealist/Misanthropic book written in the late 1860’s by The Comte De Lautremont and is about a character who denounces god and conventional morality! If this was a photograph i’d liken it to a melding of Horst P Horst, Billy Brandt and Ansel Adams. The tones and colours are deep blacks through to bright whites with muted colours to accent. The drums are heavy and menacing and demand attention and the guitars set the hairs on the back of your neck on edge. The production is not over done, but what is there is put together in just about the right proportions to evoke the feelings i expect are intended!!There are sludgy moments interspersed with simple but effective riffing that succeed in getting across the feeling of menace, dread, transgression, the ”warped” joy of transgression and the cathartic transformation of being!! Schammasch hail from Switzerland just like Triptykon and i find them sounding similar to them in places which isn’t a bad thing to soud like in my view!!”
”Batushka, the Coptic ”anti Popes” are the final act on tonight’s bill of Triptych entertainment!! They were the crescendo of this experience, hailing from Poland, being somewhat mysterious is as much as i know of this band at the moment along with the fact that Batushka means ”Father” in Cyrillic and the chanting is a subversion of Russian Orthodox Traditions, or so I’ve read. What Schammasch did Batushka cranked it up a notch further. This was dark Orthodox Mass with lecterns and sensors and candles galore. Another demand on the attention which was given without reserve. You could feel the awe and admiration in the room, The music is not overtly technical in my view but it is well produced and put together in the right proportions!! Everything is choreographed according to its place and point in the proceedings and nothing seemed to be there for no reason. The point was to seduce the senses and keep hold of your attention until the ritual has run its course and at the end you are not thinking ”Is that it??” When i left i felt like i had been fortified by something incorporeal, like a dose of cosmic Vitamin D.”
”Like my friend said, I’m going to their next gig in London, whenever that is!!”
”I arrived in Leipzig on a hot and sunny Thursday to get my wristband from the Agra Messpark and meet up with a few friends in the Bayerischer Bahnhoff for a few beers and a bite to eat.”
”To be honest i was feeling quite subdued in mood for some reason and also in the back of my mind i had thoughts of the terror attack in Manchester at the end of May. From the time i got off the Flixbus outside the central station i was looking around for suspicious activity and continued after the London Bridge attack on the Saturday. But there was a visible police presence in Leipzig that was not there last year. After finishing with my photography/gig duties i’d sit outside the Haupfbahnhoff by the taxi rank for a few moments of rest and reflection and i lost count of the armed police i saw walking about or patrolling in their vans!! I did not really start to relax and enjoy myself until the Sunday, i loosened up and dropped out of meerkat mode! The Thursday and the Friday were both very hot days (29/30 degrees) and for the life of me i have no idea how most of these goths got through the day caked in layers of make up, petticoats, corsets and pvc boots!! No! in fact i do because i used to spend hours and hours refining my look before i went out and i was prepared to tolerate extreme temperature as long as i looked good. Not any more though, i have less tolerance for that kind of thing and my time could best utilised elsewhere!! Having said that minimalist cotton was still not good enough to stay comfortable but i coped, i had too!!”
”The first act i saw on the Friday was Jarboe at Shauspiel in Bosestrase , a grand venue with red carpeted stairs and a long entrance hall/foyer, if one wanted to be seen here then you would be seen quite clearly. This venue would not be out of place in an episode of ”Once Upon A Time” I have visions of Lana Parilla in her wicked queen finery decending the stairs complete with full on scowl!! The sound was great, Jarboe had a great voice that was expressive and full of emotion. The feel was pensive and thoughtful. Every note was precise and with an economy in delivery, i thought that added to the performance rather than making it overbearing with pointless vocal gymnastics, i mean why show your full range unless it it is pertinent to the art?? The vocal has a passing resemblance to Diamanda Galas too but with a warmer bluesy tone, less strident i would say!! Also there was no talking between songs, which i liked. I get bored with pointless waffle, it does not add to the experience and i just end up saying ”yeah yeah just get on with it will you!!?” This was the first time i’ve seen Jarboe live and i must admit that her output is something i have not researched in a long time, since the 1980’s in fact when i was into the band Swans but as i say the voice is still great!!
”After Jarboe finished i had a glass of wine before getting a tram down to see Devilment at the Agra Messpark. Devilment are a metal band formed in 2011 by Daniel Finch and had problems finding a stable vocalist until Dani Filth of Cradle Of Filth joined. The sound was good for this venue, i know a lot of people have issues with the sound, last year i listened to people who had issues with it but i thought everything was ok with Pete Murphy and Nouveau Vague etc and there were no issues tonight! The mix was just about a perfect as you could get and Dani’s vocal screeching were a joy to witness in the flesh, the quick changes from screeches to clean vocals to death growls had me mesmerised!! Yeah i’ve heard many vocalists who paint aural pictures like this but this was on a different level, i’ve tried to vocalise like this and all i end up doing is retching!!”
”Saturday in Leipzig was sunny until around 5pm when the weather turned on a sixpence to dark, hot and humid with thunderstorms! The Altes Landratsampt where i spent all of my evening was warm and steamy, it was like a greenhouse inside. Fill it up with legions of people and the temperature for me was uncomfortable!! Lebanon Hanover were playing at Leipziger Stadbad and Rotting Christ were playing the Kohlrabiszirkus but due to scheduling issues and the weather i thought i’s stay put in one venue, the trams/buses would have been packed and most likely i’d have ended up hot, wet and extremely irritable!! One of those great bands was Paris outfit Saigon Blue Rain. They are a band of reverie, dreams and flights of fancy and have been in existence since 2012, if you know what The Chameleons and The Cocteau Twins sound like then you have a good gauge of SBR output. It is music that is easy on the ear but at the same time it sends a chill down the spine whilst recharging the batteries! They played a great set that went down well with the crowd and the sound was perfect. I think it is about time they were playing venues the size of the Altes Landratsampt more often, no bigger than this i think because the impact would be lost otherwise!!”
”And then came Italian band klimt 1918 who i have never heard of before, i was not that interested in them to be honest, they are a bit shoe gaze and i like shoe gaze but for some reason i was not that enamoured by the set or the sound so i went walkabout around the venue politely applauding now and again Sylvaine were good i thought, i’ve not heard before either but there was something in the sound that perked up my interest!! From Norway and Paris, i would describe them as sounding like All About Eve, ethereal, dreamy, Pre Raphaelite, images of pained dead bodies in water surrounded by flowers fill my head, Interspersed with the dreamy vocals are screams and screeches that i don’t think Julianne Reagan would have indulged in!! Think of Dani Filth like vocal contortions!! The track ”Earthbound” is an interesting listen!! So is ”A Ghost Trapped In Limbo”
”Finally i got to see Esben And The Witch!! There is a Doors/Ani Di Franco/Savages feel to this band, which consists of Daniel, Thomas and Rachel. The venue was by this time quite full and really steamy!! The band got appreciation throughout their set, the sound was somewhat darker than Sylvaine, thicker and more spicy with an eastern sprinkling in places like a dark chocolate laced with Aleppo Chilli flakes, the sludginess complimented the steamy humidity of the venue i think but the bass was a bit distorted. Apart from that the sound in the venue was pretty good!!”
”Gene loves Jezebel on Sunday at the Agra Messpark was a great set!!! The band came on late afternoon in a very light arena. The area around the front of the stage was busy all the way to the back where the mixing desks were but the areas outside of the Speaker positions were virtually empty. Jay Aston’s voice was very strong, another voice that is gymnastic and elastic and used to add tone colour to an aural painting with flourishes and accents etc. Arcturus, the band i saw afterwards at The Felsenkeller were just as good but in a different way! Again the vocals were tight but elastic with an expressive range!! If you have not heard any of Arcturus output before then the best way to describe them is spacey cosmic and astral. Just like the Gene Loves Jezebel show before there was a good crowd of appreciative die hards in the venue but it was not full
The Final Day!! Monday’s weather was warm and bearable!! After sleeping in late, showering and then packing my bags i made my way from Bad Lausick 15 miles south of Leipzig into the centre of the city where i left my luggage at the Absintheria Sixtina before making my way down to the Pagan Village which is located amongst the trees near Torhaus Dolitz and not far from the Agra Messpark. The weather took at turn for the worst and for the rest of the time i was there it was raining.There was a German band that played at set times throughout the day called Nachtwindheim but i was here to see Forndom even though i had to wait until 9pm. I was looking forward to this since arriving in Germany and the 50 minute set started out really well until the Tagelharp experienced tuning issues brought on by humidity/temperature changes. This caused many drawn out pauses to rectify the problem, Ludvig Sward was patient and did not show any signs of frustration with this predicament and the crowd were patient too for the most part. some people moaned and many left but the bulk of the people in the audience stayed and allowed the performance to conclude although in an abreviated form. I bet Ludvig was seething when backstage though? Maybe?
Anyway this was not the smoothest ending to my festival experience but hey ho!! I got a tram back to the Absintheria Sixtina, had wheat beer, took a photo of some goth girls still up for a party and then i headed over to the Haupfbahnhoff to get an early morning Flixbus back to Berlin.
To conclude, it took me a while to get into this years proceedings and i shall be back next year for round three!!
Venue:- The Boston Music Rooms, Tufnell Park, London.
”These guys are like Magi!! The sounds that can be conjured from their guitars is pure magic. Sure other bands are just as competent with their instruments but the whole here is greater than the sum of its parts!! The image, the smells emanating from the stage and the production, it just does it for me. Inconcessus Lux Lucis are a great live band, they are raw and stripped down, monochromatic shades that emphasis rather than drown and dull!! A melodic sludge played out in the shadows!! If i ever get the chance to walk through London’s sewers then Inconcessus Lux Lucis is what i want played as my accompaniment!! Black is the canvas, the bass flicks paint like a heavy brush, the guitar offloads paint laden wire flicked with abandon and the drums are paint cans, lids removed and dropped from a great height!! There is something visceral going on here, it’s like my base needs are being catered to without all the sugary bullshit getting in the way!! Pure sucks out the pure!!”
”One of the festivals on the European metal/alternative circuit that i have always wanted to go to is the Wacken Open Air festival which is 50km north of Hamburg in the state of Schleswig Holstein. Over 3 days in August over 130 bands from various different metal subgenres will play on numerous stages to thousands of dedicated metal pilgrims, many of whom will be making their annual pilgrimage from all over the globe. It will be a time to party, to catch up will old friends,meet new ones and listen to some of the finest music created by some of the most influential acts from all over world, established acts and also new ones too!! All sub genres are catered for, from Hair Metal to Nu Metal all the way through to Black, Death, Thrash, Industrial etc etc! The average age of attendees is around 27 years old and 84, 000 tickets roughly are sold every year and for the past few years all the tickets have been sold out within 24/48 hours of them going on sale which is usually the day after the current festival ends. A nice touch is that approximately 1800 residents of the village of Wacken get free passes which is only fair considering that the village has to cater to thousands of people for 3 days, acting as guides, offering accommodation, catering/beer etc and of course putting up with a disruption to their peace and tranquillity!! In 2011 expansion to the festival was halted so as to not abuse the hospitality of the village and also for safely and logistical purposes. I personally think that was a good idea, obviously you want your event to be popular and grow but there comes a point at which the bigger you get the more problems you encounter and the unique vibe that makes an event what it is can end up being watered down and being totally ruined!!”
”The Seminal Wacken commenced on the 24th August 1990 with a band called Skyline and finished the following day with 5th Avenue, Ax’n Sex, Motoslug, Sacred Season and Wizzard (I assume this was not Roy Woods Wizzard but Wizzard from Sweden who were formed in 1985) The 26th Edition in 2016 commenced on Thursday 4th August and finished on Saturday 6th August and bands that played that year included Iron Maiden, Henry Rollins, Ministry, Borknagar and Twisted Sister Amongst others. In the intervening years there have been many bands that i have never heard of playing on the bill with plenty of familiar faces that have included the likes of Dimmu Borgir, Black Dahlia Murder, Motorhead, Cradle Of Filth, Therion, Saxon, Iced Earth, Celtic Frost, Gorgoroth, Mayhem and Amon Armath. This years iteration will include Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Lacuna Coil and the Cavalaera Brothers to name but a few. So, in 26 years we’ve gone from humble beginnings with a handful of bands to the pulsing behemoth we have today with hundreds of artists who are part of the global metal family. May this years festival be a roaring success and for many years to come.”
All travel and accommodation information can be found here. Please do your research carefully and thoroughly, i shall not be held responsible for your mistakes!!:-
Venue:- The Underworld, Camden Town, London, UK.
KAMPFAR!!!!! An Old Norse Battle Cry meaning Odin or Wotan!!
Abraham Ben Jacob:- ”Never before have I heard uglier songs than those of the Vikings (in Slesvig). The growling sounds coming from their throats reminds me of dogs but more untamed!” 10th Century AD
”The last time I saw Kampfar was last year when they played at the Dome in Tufnell Park supporting Gorgoroth! They grabbed my attention more than Gorgoroth, the energy was captivating, the rhythm was intoxicating and presence of all the band was stereolithic! A brief biography, the band has been in existence since 1994 when Dolk parted ways with his previous band called Mock. The band started as a duo and their first release was a self titled mini cd followed by their first album in 1997 called “Mellom Skogkledde Aaser”. These guys are no wall flowers, you know they are there, they pull your attention and it is kept for the duration of the gig!! I’ve always found Kampfar spine chilling, i’m not fully up to speed with all their catalogue yet but what I have heard is sublime!! ”Mylder”, 6 minutes of raging goodness accented by a teasing airy and somewhat mocking flute, ‘Swarm Norvegicus’, rousing and bombastic, the guitar cutting through you like cheese wire! In fact the whole experience of listening to Kampfar is like listening to an opera whilst being garrotted with cheese wire, and loving it!! Dolks guttural utterances mirroring your own gurgles as the blood spews out of your neck!! I was on a bus the day after this gig listening to ”Glory Ablaze” and I was in a trance, a look of insular musings on my face and a propensity for uncontrolled jerking, I had a need to break out and thrash my head about but I could not, I was on a bus! Any one looking at me would have thought I was mad! I was having an experience, a visceral experience, it was like an orgasm but better, prolonged!! The set list for tonight gig consisted of tracks from albums, in no particular order:- ‘Kvass’ (2006), ‘Profan’ (2015), ‘Djevelmakt’ (2016). I was listening to ‘Lyktemenn’ whilst writing this, I went into a trance again, sorry!! And the other albums are:- ‘Heimgang’ and ‘Fra Underverdenen’. After skimming through all the albums online I have found some gems to explore in more detail and to be honest although there are some tracks that I don’t like the majority are satisfyingly brilliant, for example ”Hymne” from ”Mellom Skogkledde Aaser” and ”Troll, Dod Og Trolldom” from the album ”Fra Underverdenen”.
”I know what I like and I like this band!!”
Release Date:- November 26th 2010
”I’ve listened to this album before but today i thought it deserved some more of my attention, and it held it! This is great!!!
Desolate, miserable, cold, cutting, wet, despairing, dark humour, it’s like being cut by a rusty, wet and blunt razor blade whilst sitting in a puddle of your own piss, at night under a muffled red street lamp surrounded by glass, and rodents! Textured and hypnotic with screeching that jolts out of reverie!! What else can i add?? Not a lot! Shoe gaze in places mixed with post punk slivers topped off with generous shavings of metal, black metal, of course one would expect nothing less!! LifeLover started life in 2005 in Sweden and are credited with being a big influence on the metal sub genre of Depressive Suicidal Metal. If you are going to be depressed and suicidal then be it with style!!”
Stand out Tracks:- Strangt P.G.A Semester and Bitter Reflektion