Vera, Groningen, The Netherlands
What do you do when the month has been uncommonly warm, there are little lambs gambolling around everywhere and you feel like your soul is just not as black as it used to be? Yes, find a black metal concert. Luckily for yours truly this was arranged easily as the venue Vera had an evening planned with a bunch of soul defiling black metal bands: Koldbrann, Ondskapt and Endstille.
The music of Koldbrann was the most accessible of all the bands this evening. The basis of their music is mid-tempo, rough-around-the-edges rock, sometimes complemented with rapid drums and cutting guitar melodies. Although this five piece Norwegian group has been around for more than 10 years, their gig did was not up to that level. The start of the show lacked enthusiasm by some of the band members, who – especially during the first songs – mainly imitated statues and were not really interacting. Thus, leaving the beginning of the gig a little blank.
Later on the atmosphere loosened up when mainly vocalist Mannevond and his comrades attempted to get an energetic performance going by moving around on stage. This was especially the case when the black metallers played the gem of their previous record, Drammen and (surprising choice for a black metal band) a song about booze, Russian Vodka.
Ondskapt from Sweden already did a far better job performance wise. Of course, their attributes: faces and torso’s smeared with blood, singer Acerbus embraced by a black cloth and the musicians wearing bone belts, already gives them a more endearing edge. It was pleasant to see more movement on stage, like headbanging, switching places and so forth from all the five members. These Swedes play straight forward pure, raw black metal. The razor sharp riffs sound like they come straight from the veins of hell, the mid paced drums add to that ominous feeling and add to that the desperate, tortured cries of Acerbus and you have Ondskapt. All in all, the quintet gave a decent performance.
The German band Endstille brought the evening an end with ferocity. As soon as this formation entered the small stage, all restraints were gone on both ends. In front of the stage a small band of headbangers gathered and did what the term headbanger implies. On stage was a competition going on of who could show the most grim, evil faces and it ended up in a tie between the bassist Cruor and frontman Zingultus. Their show was like a blitzkrieg, they came, played their intense, raw and fast music and before you realized it, the gig was over. There were some calls from the audience for an encore, but that did not happen. In the end, Endstille was victorious, but left their legions a bit sudden. However, don’t worry, they might come back for another invasion.