Panorama Tower


”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!!


Devilment featuring Dani Filth


”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”


Esben & The Witch

”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!!
















The Festival:-

”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 History:-

”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.

Date:- 25/10/16

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!!”

















Venue:- The Islington Assemby Rooms, Upper Street, Islington, London, UK

Date:- 31/3/2016

All Photos:- ©ClaudiaBlack2016


My Dying Bride

My Dying Bride










”The Islington Assembly Rooms are very convenient! I live just a 10 minute walk away so if anything worth seeing is happening at this venue i can get there quickly and the bonus is if i get too drunk i can roll in my front gate hahaha! The building is built in the art deco style and has been in use since the 1930’s. The building is used for weddings, private functions, jumble sales, political events and of course bands. I like the venue, it’s pleasing to the eye, big but not cavernous and when filled there is a good atmosphere. What is also handy is the fact that there is a bus stop next to the venue that takes you to The Angel/King X/The West End and there are a few pubs opposite handy for a post gig drink or two. Or there is also The Hope & Anchor up the road if more live music is what you crave! Tonight my visit was to see metal Legends My Dying Bride who i was seeing for the first time. First up were 40 watt Sun who i never saw so this is all i can write about them, and Oceans Of Slumber, a Texas based female fronted band that sound like metal, like jazz, like hard rock, a fusion of differing ingredients that are performed with virtuoso skill! They can play i tell you, they can play!! I have listened to their music online and it is definitely worth delving into more deeply, unfortunately the sound in the venue did not do them justice in my opinion and the atmosphere was a bit flat from the crowd, it was lacking in enthusiasm, Polite applause was the order of the day, the crowd saving their energy and enthusiasm for the main attraction. And guess what? The sound quality for the main attraction improved considerably with the click of a finger! No longer thin but rich and booming, the sound filled the auditorium like musical treacle flowing and then covering all in its path! I was instantly hooked and drawn into the MDB experience. I love the mix of dark but clean vocals interspersed with the guttural unclean version. I particularly liked the track ”Erotic Literature”! I can’t remember how much i paid for the ticket but it was worth it!! I left the venue contented!!!”


My Dying Bride

My Dying Bride











My Dying Bride

My Dying Bride











Oceans Of Slumber

Oceans Of Slumber










Oceans Of Slumber

Oceans Of Slumber










My Dying Bride Setlist:-

1:- Your River

2:- From Darkest Skies

3:- And My Father Left For Ever

4:- My Body, a Funeral

5:- Feel The Misery

6:- The Raven Wings

7:- The Prize Of Beauty

8:- Erotic Literature

9:- To Shiver In Empty Halls

10:- The Cry Of Mankind

11:- She Is The Dark

12:- Like A Perpetual Funeral


<iframe src=”https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify%3Auser%3Afr101621%










Metal To The Masses Heat 3

Venue:- Nambucca, Holloway Road, London, UK.

Unheard Before The Wake:- Melodic Death Metal

Bad Frankenhausen:- Heavy Metal

Xelas:- Melodic Death Metal

Mercury Rising:- Hard Rock  (Did not see)

”Four Bands playing short sets of around 3/4 songs and then they wait to see who has been voted into the next round by the crowd and judges! I have not seen or heard of any of the bands on tonight’s bill but i did enjoy Xelas and Unheard Before The Wake, very Cradle Of Filth/Dimmu Borgir etc!”


Bad Frankenhausen

Bad Frankenhausen








Unheard Before The Wake

Unheard Before The Wake








Unheard Before The Wake

Unheard Before The Wake









Unheard Before The Wake

Unheard Before The Wake
































Lifelover, Hypothermia, Eye Of Solitude and Kall

Venue:- Nambucca, Holloway Road, Islington, London.















“I was supposed to go to Hastings tonight to see Dave Roca of The Underrunners play a solo acoustic set at The Carlisle Pub but due to circumstances I won’t allude to here I did not go! So to fill my time I thought I’d take the short trip from my home up to Nambucca on Holloway Road to listen to some black metal. Tonight’s event was promoted by Old Empire and Cult Never Dies and all of the bands I’ve not seen before apart from Eye Of Solitude. I missed Kall because I was still phaffing about going to Hastings but once I had finished phaffing I got to Nambucca whilst Eye Of Solitude were onstage! I paid £20 to get in which is £13 more than I’d usually pay to see a band at this venue but the place was packed, I’d say that there were around 150+ people there, the bands obviously were worth paying for I assumed! Getting to the stage to take photos was going to be a chore so I stood at the side of the stage to watch Eye Of Solitude.













At this point I will say that the music played was in the vein of Burzum, Gorgoroth and Dark Throne for all the bands, sparse, dark and atmospheric, think of a Billy Brandt photography or Ansel Adams, variations on tones from dark black through greys to pure white! Hypothermia had sparse vocals but when used the effect was to accent, to remind or to emphasis the mood in the music! I felt hypnotized in places and in need of a pick me up due to soporific effects and in other places I felt invigorated, fully lucid! There was an incident when Hypothermia started their set, all dressed in what looked like Hessian shrouds, when an audience member took one of the candles off of the stage and started waving it about, the vocalist kicked said audience member and told him to fuck off out of the venue! He then took of his shroud and got even more irritated with this person who eventually left the stage area! To be honest I was looking forward to a fight!! I was standing on a bench stage left so would have had an ideal view of the violence! That was not the end of it, there was more to come when Livelover came onstage!


Eye Of Solitude

Eye Of Solitude










From their Facebook page I see that the vocalist is called ( )! Yes ( ), dressed like a slaughter man who had just finished work and who wanted to express his thoughts of the day by getting up onstage and purging until he could purge no more! Now a punter is getting angry at a person wondering through the crowd wearing a balaclava, he knocks a pint glass into said punters face and said punter is losing his composure! He goes for him, said man in balaclava removes it and says “back off” or “fuck off!” I’m not sure which. There was calm  for a few tracks and then said punter starts his whining all over again! Whilst this goes on the band play on oblivious to what we going on! Balaclava man’s friends defend him from this guy who I can now see resembles a pissed Uruk Hai, he disappears never to return! Balaclava man ends up onstage eventually death grunting through a few tracks and the crowd seem to appreciate what was going on, was he a band member? Or was he a fan given  privileged stage time? I don’t know, some more research is warranted!! I shall research later, to sum up I’ll say that I had an enjoyable evening!!”

”I have done some research!! Balaclava man is either band member LR  or member 1853, both of whom were in the original line up when they formed in 2005. Their biog on Reverbnation states that they both contribute ”Random Elements”

“A trip to Hastings would have been nice though!!!!!”












Cult Of Fire, Saturnalia & Shrines And Skan

Venue:- The Boston Music Rooms, Tufnell Park, London, UK.

Tonights musical supper consisted of three bands i have not seen before and one that i had. The one that i wanted to see came on stage at 7pm and i was still at home getting ready!! Slightly annoyed that i was made aware that Skan were coming on five minutes before they took to the stage, i wish promoters would put stage times up hours before showtime and not minutes before, it would be a great help!! Anyway, i arrived at the venue 45 minutes later and paid my £20 ticket fee! I was expecting the same price as online but i was not in the mood to argue!! The venue was pretty busy, not packed but i’d say around two thirds full. I have not been to this venue before either, i quite like it, it’s easily accessible from the street and near to bus stops and Tufnell Park Tube, getting back to Kings Cross is easy if you have come from outside London.

The band onstage when i arrived was Shrines, i’ve seen them before at Metal To The Masses, they played a good set at the  Purple Turtle from what i can recall but i am not very familiar with them to be honest and did not see much of their set tonight, i’ll do my research and post on them at a later date!!


Saturnalia Temple

Saturnalia Temple










”Next up were Saturnalia Temple! Again a new band for me, first impressions, Burzum and Sabbath like in places, indefinable in others!! very acidic and sludgy and i get the image of wading through knee deep mud that suddenly descends to the ankles facilitating easy progress forward towards the next puddle of knee deep mud!! I am loving ”MARCH OF GHA’AGSHEBLAH”, ”TO THE OTHER” and ”CROWNED WITH SEVEN”, other tracks are a bit hard going and hit and miss, i’d have to be really in the right frame of mind to get through this album in one go without bashing my head against the nearest lamp post!!They had a drummer that was not visible initially so i thought they were a 2 piece with a drum machine, ha! metal with a drum machine?? Yeah but Varg Vikernes composed a lot of Burzums stuff using keyboards and a drum machines whilst in prison for murder!! Until i went and stood on a bench to the right of the stage and i could see light glint off the cymbals!! The closer to the stage i was the more the drummer became invisible!! Especially when you are crouching down to get a decent shot and waterfalls of hair come cascading over my head stinging my hands with whip like efficiency!! The tracks mentioned above come from Saturnalia Temples recent album ”TO THE OTHER” So if you’d like to go check it out then go to Bandcamp, the links will follow below!!




Cult Of Fire

Cult Of Fire










”Finally, after the setting up of altars and the lighting of candles and incense Cult Of Fire take to the stage!! They are from the Czech Republic! There were many Czechs in the front row jostling for position in front of some very imposing crossed scythes! First impressions? Very striking and very imposing and very mysterious!! Think Darth Maul crossed with Benedictine Monks! This was not merely a gig, it was a ceremony, a ritual, a gathering of the energies, a transcendental experience!! Something to savour from a distance for me i think and not at the front of a busy crowd jostling for position. This was tantric sex for the ears albeit with a bit of chafing but if the overall experience was rewarding then whats the problem with a bit of chafing?? I bought their album ”Death tapasi anudhyana” after the gig and i have been playing it to death, if you like Nepalese imagery entwined with occultish themes then you may like this!! Check Cult Of Fire out on Bandcamp!!”