2 jul 2015, 16:31 av GothicBowie666
15 jun 2015, 07:20 av GasMaskedLestatOfficial video for Conjecture's "Angakkuq" from the album 'Nunavut' - Released by Raumklang Music Label in April 2015.
The main concept behind the video clip is the three transcendence stages of a shaman, untill he reaches the communication with the intellectual and spiritual figure that the inuit shamans calls Angakkuq.
Directed by George Dalis (http://www.giorgosntalis.com/)
Conjecture - Nunavut CD & MP3
11 jun 2015, 19:53 av GothicBowie666The 69 Eyes - Angels
Angels is the latest album from THE 69 EYES that pops into my mailbox. It’s again a new version, with some extra’s. I was already hooked on their catchy sound and vampire inspired lyrics! So let’s Goth’n Roll!
Angels didn’t figure on their recent best off, well, I regret that. But the best off already counted 28 tracks, so yeah, rock on! Embrace the melodramatic Goth’n Rocker! Apparently vampires are angels flying over our heads, joined by the apocalypse and the four horse riders! Can you see the clip, or the movie that goes along? It must be pretty scary. If your fantasy is not working, well: enjoy the great guitars and backings! The musical feel will drag you into their world! Never heard a better opening track that works so much on my fantasy!
Interview: Jyrki talks about The 69 Eyes and The 69 Cats ...
I reviewed lately the best of Heslinki Vampires, Devils, Paris Kills and Angels and played their music for several weeks. I’m hooked now, so time for a chat with Jyrki (the voice and leader of The 69 Eyes and The 69 Cats) …
read the interview
12 maj 2015, 12:19 av GothicBowie666Mon 11 May – Les Nuits Botanique 2015: Marina & the Diamonds
Mon 11 May – Les Nuits Botanique 2015: Roscoe
Mon 11 May – Les Nuits Botanique 2015: Elvis Black Stars
Les Nuits Botanique legt al vele jaren de vinger op de pols, wat betreft opkomende talenten. Hoeveel bands en artiesten er ondertussen via Les Nuits uiteindelijk de sprong hebben kunnen doen naar zogenaamde eeuwige roem? Ze zijn niet meer te tellen. Vaak bleken ze naderhand menig festivalweide in vuur en vlam te zetten, de daarop volgende zomer. Maar ook werden verdere carrières gelanceerd dankzij o.a. Les Nuits Botanique. Met deze denkpiste in het achterhoofd, maakten we ons op voor een nieuwe dag vertoeven in de oorspronkelijke Brusselse Kruidentuin. Les Nuits Botanique, dag 3 - voor ons dag 2- het verslag:
30 apr 2015, 21:09 av zastranienie
30 apr 2015, 08:40 av GasMaskedLestathttps://raumklangmusic.bandcamp.com/album/nunavut
The new album "Nunavut" by the Post-Industrial project Conjecture is now officially released.
Like with the first album, the subject of shamanism is present, but with a slight difference on this new album: the description of a dystopian place covered in ice, the country of Nunavut which resides in Northest part of the inhabited earth, in Canada.
Gloomy worlds open up and take the listener trapped in his melancholy. Nunavut draws you into the abyss of the sound. Pure, clear, honest and without compromise.
The cd contains 11 tracks (one featuring track with the screaming vocals of the Greek Hardcore band Psycorepaths) and 2 remixes.
26 apr 2015, 15:36 av GothicBowie666The 69 Eyes - The Best of Helsinki Vampires
Great thing is that even outsiders who now nothing from THE 69 EYES loved them as I managed to present their music to a lot of people, so there is a lot of people to be convinced! This best of is the best way: only filled with pearls and killer songs, no fillers! Get fanged by the Helsinki vampires and turn into an immortal fan, just like me!
Founded in the Finnish capital some 25 years ago, THE 69 EYES spawned a total of ten full-length records and an additional selection of live, best-of and re-mastered albums. Looking back at it they must have been blessed as they managed to keep their line-up ever since 1992, when Jussi69 replaced original drummer Lotto: this way they could work on their own style and call it Goth’n’Roll (with some blues elements in it)!
12 feb 2015, 00:14 av haadeusI will list here the concerts I attended during 2014, and once the list is ready I will add some recollections and moods according to my limited memory. I am writing this in February 2015, and it is interesting to notice how much memories twist, change time and place and how much is thrown in the sewers of the mind. Oftentimes, when purchasing a ticket, one tends to think "well, it's a lot, but I'll see the band(s) x on top of the band I'm really into" but you'll just end up socialising with people, drinking, smoking, gazing at the Moon while the bands play, or just downright forget after a month that you even saw the band x play.
Køpi-Hausfest: Ruidosa Inmundicia
at Køpi, Berlin on Friday, February 21st
Køpi-Hausfest is a yearly week-long celebration of the existence of the oldest house project in Berlin, and a major den of all things punk and DIY. On this particular date I recall seeing some German hardcore and punk bands play on all three stages, but the only band I went to see on purpose was Ruidosa Inmundicia. They rocked in a regular fuzzed-out no-nonsense fashion, as expected. After the concerts there was also a minimal-electro party in true Berlin style, with a dance floor crowded with cross-dressers and wild Polish punks.
Satanic Assault Division, Galadriel, Grimegod and Negură Bunget
at Blackland, Berlin on Wednesday, March 26th
First time for a concert in the infamous Blackland in Prenzlauer Berg. The place was a bit more put-up than the regular places I go to, and actually doesn't differ much from many metal bars in the Nordic countries. Run-of-the-mill extreme metal blasting from the sound system, and moderately expensive beer with a deposit that one seldom remembers to cash in by the end of the evening.
I don't have concrete recollections of the opening bands, apparently they were not worth of any redeeming nerve connections. Grimegod were supposedly a long-running band from Romania and they did indeed have a sound that reeked of the glorious nineties.
The renowned Carpathian fiddlers of Negură Bunget were, simply put, excellent. Proper black metal fused with dark folk atmosphere and traditional instrumentation – and without even a hint of the redundant "battle metal" that many Finnish folk metal bands end up sounding of. The crowd that was present was rather modest, but apparently the band has gained more popularity during the last year, and in Spring 2015 they will play in the more mainstream locale of K17 with a lot higher entrance fee.
Gomora, Grime and 16
at Køpi, Berlin on Friday, April 11th
This event was a full-blown sludge night at the AGH stage of Køpi. Gomora opened the evening with their occasionally slowed-down brand of crust punk. Grime from France continued with a sound that went very much according to their name. By the point 16 hit the stage I was mentally and physically ready to receive the live sound of probably my favourite sludgy hardcore band. 16's music is slowed-down dirty hardcore, relentless pummeling without much of the long dragging dirges that most bands of this style tend to do. Slow enough to follow, fast enough to not get carried away – perfect for a stoned-out drunken Friday evening. In a hindsight, easily one of the best concerts I witnessed during the year.
Graves at Sea and Sourvein
at Lovelite, Berlin on Saturday, April 12th
After still being stoked by the 16 concert the night before, another evening of sludge ensued. The venue was Lovelite, a locale I seldom hear any good bands playing at. It's a regular rock-oriented club in a more hip part of F-hain. Both bands sounded great, while you could still hear and see the mileage on these weathered touring artists, for better and worse. Graves at Sea offered the doomier side of the craft that Sourvein gave a more southern rock groove.
Dark Easter Metal Meeting 2014:
Wraithcult, Fäulnis, Eïs, Sear Bliss, Thulcandra, Agrypnie, Negator,
Root, The Ruins of Beverast and Triptykon
at Backstage, München on Sunday, April 20th
This really interesting mini-fest was part of my spring backpacking journey through München, Switzerland and lake Konstanz. Root, The Ruins of Beverast and Triptykon shared my main interest, and shook my bones as vigorously as expected. The rest of the bands were quality too, but a bit too generic to get me excited. Mad props for cheap vegan burgers sold at the venue and the renowned Bavarian beer culture. München is also one of the few cities I know where one can enjoy quality Vöner, right next to the main train station.
at Bi Nuu, Berlin on Saturday, April 26th
I went to see this cult dadaist goa-trash group sober, down and with mixed feelings of fear and anticipation. The mascot, the diaper punk, had some baboon-shouting meditation rite before the show, and the "songs" played were brought forth in a way that reminded more of shouted drunken karaoke most often witnessed on a ferry ride in the Baltic Sea. Quite an experience on its own right, but with the salty price of the ticket I'd rather put my money elsewhere.
Cro-Mags and Terror
at outside of Core-Tex and Trinkteufel, Berlin on Thursday, May 1st
Cro-Mags and Terror playing on a street fest for free, quite a treat! The concerts, especially the latter, were riotous and violent. Actually the situation in the neighbourhood eventually progressed into an actual riot, and after checking the situation I stumbled to the shadow fest nearby, that stands as a protest to the main street fest. I recall the protest was about the commercial, tame and un-anarchistic nature of the main one, but there might've been more to that too. A really wicked Russian slam hardcore band played there.
The Gash and Natural Born Grinders
at Sama-Keller, Berlin on Xday, May XXnd
Proper underground show, literally underground in the cellar of one of the seediest kneipes, Sama-Café, that I still frequent regularly. Dirty, dusty cellar laden with candles and trash from earlier nights of excess. Both bands were stellar. The Gash played old-school, rocking and furious black metal punk. Natural Born Grinders were, on the other hand, brutal death metal/grindcore band with an insane drummer – insane both with the relentless pummeling of his kit and excessive weed consumption – while the rest of the band also professed in the latter. Easily the best small-scale show I went to in 2014.
at Postbahnhof, Berlin on Thursday, May 22nd
Motorpsycho was a sort of boring and clean modern rock band from Norway, but since this was my first flyer-tossing stint I was glad to attend.
Merrimack and Mayhem
at C-Club, Berlin on Wednesday, May 28th
This gig was a follow-up to the previous flyer duty. Merrimack didn't move me much, but they were not wholly crap either. Mayhem was the reason I was here anyways. Their sound was fuzzy, loud and relentless, as it should be. Csihar Attila's stage antics were deadly serious and kitsch at the same time. Good times were had with music that encompasses very essence of the bad times.
Carneval of Subculture 2014
at Strassenfest Köpenicker Straße/Schillingbrücke on Saturday, June 7th
I was here, but I can't recall seeing any bands play. I was too busy with downing red wine, smoking the good stuff and meeting people. The weather was nice and sunny. Totenwald apparently played in the evening, but luckily I ended up seeing them on two occasions in the following autumn.
Goatblood, Horrid, Satanize and Mystifier
at Blackland, Berlin on Friday, June 13th
Mystifier is a cult band for real cultists, a macabre Brazilian cousin of Beherit. I'm talking about high-pitched synth-laden bestial black metal of death here. Excellent show and cool, down to earth lads, none of that rock star cockiness.
Mülltüte, Piss and Tragedy
SO36, Berlin Wednesday, June 18th
Tragedy were, once again, great. The location was the famous SO36, actually a very regular small rock club that has a long history in the underground rock music.
Under the Black Sun Festival – Part XVII:
Friday: The Committee, Voidhanger, Plaga and Mgła
Saturday: Countess, Corpus Christii, Inquisition and Belphegor
at Reiterhof Helenenau, Börnicke on July 3th-5th
I plodded our way with Scottish comrades to the camping grounds in the darkness of the night, after a variety of events that can only be filed under Murphy's Law. After putting our tents up and doing the necessary rites to elevate the festive mood we headed to see if we're still able to hear some of the bands. The ticket booth was closed, but eventually we got in without tickets because the bouncer was a fan of Finland and Moomins in particular. Nunslaughter was the last in line with their brand of horror-movie death metal. Topped with the hilarious stage patter and vigorous moshing of the mascot guy, this was definitely the most fun show of the festival.
Friday, just like rest of the weekend, was sunny and scorching hot. Most of the day was spent at the camp, which we relocated to the shade of the trees, nearby a colony of Polish maniacs and a couple of Dutch die-hards. Concert-wise Plaga and Mgła were definitely the highlights of the day.
The next day I looked forward most for the cult act Countess, since Inquisition I had already seen once before. Countess pounded their barbarian tunes of Hell's rock and roll to a scarce yet devoted crowd under the midsummer sun. Inquisition had a neat light show projected to the spruce forest behind the stage that complimented the solemn mood of the music.
All in all, UTBS was an excellent small festival in the woods, devoted to the black arts.
/ / /
Church of Misery played in Cassiopeia, Berlin on July 21st. I was handing out flyers outside the venue as usual, downing a couple beers and maybe smoking a small one, amped up to see these Japanese hessians again. At the door, however, I was treated really snobbily by a young blonde to whom speaking English was apparently such a straining effort. The doorman basically forced me out and I was denied entry and any possibility to explain myself. At the Conan concert later that year, a friendlier member of the staff came to apologise about this incident (and to toss me some more flyers).
Slave Hands, Kaleidobolt and woodrue
at Vapaan Taiteen Tila, Helsinki on Saturday, July 26th
First (and eventually, only) time visiting Finland in 2014. I flew to Tampere from Bremen on Saturday morning, strolled around in the sunshine and reminisced on the time I lived in this fine town. Most of the people I am in still in touch with were spending this weekend in the legendary punk festival, Puntala Rock, and hence I decided to take a bus to Hel-sink-i. I met up with an old friend from the infamous Northern-Northlands where both of us grew up, and headed for an outdoor punk happening by the seaside at Konttipiha, but eventually we only ended up seeing one complete show of hardcore and part of another, more garage rock-oriented band.
But the main treat I was looking forward to followed after this outdoors side-route. An evening of sludge in a bomb shelter. While this country is constantly narrowing its citizens' freedoms, it is curious how such an "important" government location can be used for "free arts" as the name of the locale says.
Slave Hands and Kaleidobolt were mid-paced 101-sludge. The sound in the venue was not the optimal, but improved by the point woodrue hit the floor. I recall this was a record-release party for a split with SemTex, and a track by them was performed by Woodrue. I think it still sounded pretty much of a Woodrue song. After the show I met up with a bald-headed gent of the local stock who kindly offered me his home-grown and told me of the times he spent in the French Foreign Legion. Good times in the summer of nightless nights.
Friday: Speedtrap, High on Fire, Dark Angel, Loudness and King Diamond
Saturday: Ranger, Behexen, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Samael, Triptykon and Testament
at Ouluhalli, Oulu on August 8th-9th
After being some summers away and unable to enjoy the previous yearly tradition of attending Jalometalli, I was really looking forward to this weekend, and High on Fire and King Diamond shows in particular. High on Fire was the epitome of post-Motörheadian stoner metal, basking in the summer heat. King Diamond had the classic stage antics and props, and also an actual magic trick with a furnace in a coffin. Was it real or just a dream? It was magic, i know!
impivaara, Tungsten Tungsten, Sottaaja and Laitos
Oulun Taidemuseo and Kulttuuribingo, Oulu on Thursday, August 21st
These shows were part of the annual "Oulu Night of the Arts" happening. impivaara had in the backyard of the art museum their dadaist performance that celebrated femininity and freedom of expression. I appreciate the Pussy Riot-esque attitude they had going on, but musically they left a lot to hope for. Afterwards we visited a Viking camp and historical museum, and finally ended up to Kulttuuribingo for the closing party of my friend's art exhibition Uutisista hyvää iltaa and the accompanying noise and power electronics artists.
Unclean, Pain Nail, Fleshpress and Pyhä Kuolema
at Veljesiltamat, Oulu on Saturday, August 23rd
Veljesiltamat has been a special almost-annual event since its foundation, and as I recall I've had the fortune to attend all of them. A stellar evening of power electronics, sludge doom metal, and neofolk played in an old mansion with a sauna and a small river to plunge into. If pre-natal soundscape has an effect on an unborn child, for better or worse, mine had a strong dose of harsh electronic noise before his birth.
This was the second time seeing Pyhä Kuolema play. The first time was a hazy noon in an Estonian countryside church the winter before. On this occasion the man behind the sanctified name had company, and the resulting sound waves were more atmospheric and full, beautifully complimenting the noble mood of the locale. Stoned-out midnight sauna rituals followed. Eventually the attendees slowly retired to the night that hinted of end of summer in these northern latitudes, and for this migratory bird to return to more hospitable climates.
Rainmaker, øjne and Glances
at Ligera, Milan on Thursday, September 4th
Because I anyways had to do one or more detours to reach Berlin, I decided to have a quick trip to Italy. While there, I checked the local underground shows and ended up to Ligera in eastern part of Milano, in the same neighbourhood where also my hostel was located. The bands I saw play, øjne and either of the other two, played screamo hardcore with youthful enthusiasm.
At some point around the turn of September and October I attended a tattoo fest at New Yorck in Bethanien, Berlin where I witnessed Totenwald first time. Cold, old-school, anarcho-punk-fused post-punk with intriguing stage attire (or lack of it). Needless to say, I really liked them. After the show my Aussie bud finally surfaced from his lair nearby and we decided to escape the chilly autumn drizzle to Køpi, where an unknown female-fronted occult rock-tinged band, much in the vein of Blood Ceremony, played to an almost empty AGH hall (the bigger stage in the Køpi complex). They had their moments, but apparently not enough to make me look them up in the interweb afterwards.
[a couple crust bands] and Nuclëar Fröst
at Køpi, Berlin on Xday, September XXnd
A regular metal punk evening in Køpi. The Brazilian Nuclëar Fröst stuck to my head the most with their dis-first wave black metal punk.
Mantar and Conan
at Cassiopeia, Berlin on Tuesday, October 14th
As a devoted fan of boring drone, I can safely say Conan is boring drone done wrong. It's not complete crap, it's just redundant and dull. Luckily I didn't need to pay for this trifle. Regardless, I had fun times with an old Lithuanian bro who was visiting the town.
Nawaharjan, Temple Desecration, i i and Darkmoon Warrior
at Blackland, Berlin on Thursday, November 6th
Nuclear War Now Festival's warm-up gig. Fun and hectic evening, even if the bands were forgettable norsecore. II, i i or whatever you call it created the thickest atmosphere in the crowded bar.
at Tempodrom, Berlin on Tuesday, November 11th
I know Einstürzende Neubauten has a special place in the hearts of many. Therefore I am sorry to admit that the concert left a lot to hope for. Considering that people (except me, since I was handing out flyers) paid over forty euros for the ticket, the lack of dynamics and sound that would fill the stadium was unforgivable sin.
Goatwhore and Dying Fetus
at Lido, Berlin on Friday, November 14th
Another flyer stint, and once again I had problems getting into the venue, but eventually iron will triumphed and I got through. I also managed to get in with me an American music biz veteran who's ego seemed to take a slight blow when he wasn't let in on guest list – supposedly he was old friends with Goatwhore guys.
]Goatwhore played energetic death thrash metal with a contagious groove. Dying Fetus played a steady set of hit songs of their brand of brutal death metal that slams like a rhino in heat.
Ast, Ancst and Thränenkind
at X-B-Liebig, Berlin on Thursday, November 20th
First bands to see in this house project in Friedrichshain. The bar side there consisted of two small rooms and no actual stage, so during this sort of hip show the place was packed full. I don't have much of story about these bands, shoegazey flannel shirt black metal all the way. Ast, the starter duo, were cool with their stripped-down approach. Ancst were more crusty and forgettable, albeit I only listened to them from the back of the crowded room. Thränenkind were once again one of those bands that worked really well live, vivid and rocking, but for some odd reason their records didn't make any lasting impression on me, before or after the concert.
Totenwald and Dividing Lines
at Køpi, Berlin on Friday, December 12th
Both played neat old-school post-punk, Totenwald from Berlin and Dividing Lines from Leipzig. A basic damp cellar show with an audience of introverted blazed-out crusties.
Morbus Chron, Triptykon and At the Gates
at Postbahnhof, Berlin on Saturday, December 20th
This was another concert I got in in exchange of my time handing out flyers to other concert-goers. I took the aforementioned Aussie bud to be my aide and companion in this task. We were treated politely by the staff at the door (for once!) and listened a bit of Morbus Chron's sound check with the singer of At the Gates. We didn't see the actual show, because we had to go to the door to toss our junk (the flyers, duh), down a couple beers and to call those who didn't accept the flyers posers.
By the point we were about finished, we popped some acid and went in to witness the mighty Triptykon. Their sound was huge and clear, and I could imagine a cool Alpine wind sweeping over me. After seeing them the fourth time, I have spent about same time listening to them live as I have by listening their records. We were also catered some slowed-down Hellhammer and Celtic Frost gems too as usual.
I lost the Aussie culprit and socialised with the local German stock before heading back to the show room for At the Gates. I haven't been much into them before, but they really sold their craft to me that night. Some of their more preppy songs were a bit too much, but the overall atmosphere was grand. There was even a wedding couple doing some spins along a more up-beat instrumental moment. My heart melted a bit at the sight of their overwhelming joy.
After the show the DJ, a middle-age forever-teenager, started playing some of the worst dance floor pop imaginable. I went to the set to talk to him but he responded coldly and called security to drive me off. The place emptied double-fast but we stayed for a beer and a joint. Soon the 50's dad hair jocks with glossy puffy vests poured in. Apart from some odd smirks and ironic Dio horn signs, the air, especially outside, started to reek of hostility. I can't recall how many times we were called Assi (basically a fuck-up, drop-out) and other things, but eventually we shouldered ourselves out before anything worse happened, and shouted some offensive nonsense to the huge queue outside the venue. All in all, a great success.
26 feb 2015, 20:24 av GothicBowie666Dead High Wire-Endless discussions bore me to death
Dead High Wire is een rock formatie afkomstig uit het Antwerpse. Ze brengen indierock gecombineerd met wat garagerock, new wave en postpunk. Een resem aan genres, m.a.w. Onmogelijk in een hokje te plaatsen de muziek van deze sympathieke heren. In 2012 brachten ze hun allereerste EP uit. Wij bespraken deze een jaar later, in 2013. De conclusie van onze recensie schrijver was toen eensgezind: ik kan elke track beschrijven want telkens zijn ze anders opgebouwd met een eigen unieke inhoud. Maar dat is natuurlijk aan jullie, de luisteraars, om te ontdekken. Op muzikaal vlak zit alles zeker goed. De gitaren kunnen hen gading vinden met de drums en met het vocale gedeelte. Ook omgekeerd en vice versa. Een uitdagende postpunk/indierock/new wave band afkomstig uit België.Pas heel recent brachten Dead HighWire één nieuwe EP op de markt, onder het label Oddie Records. Met de veelzeggende titel: Endless Discussions Bore Me to Death. Wij legden ons oor weer eens te luisteren, en kwamen tot deze conclusie:
11 feb 2015, 23:00 av haadeusIntroduction & Disclaimer
Hello dear reader. I am glad that you made it to this side of the internet. Some might even refer to this as to the very fringe of it. A place of wonder where non-Euclidean calculus is applied to reach the utmost pits, Darwinian evolution is defiled with putrid subterranean mutations and the common morals of society are cast aside and spat upon, while the Lady Justitia, that wretched skank, writhes in the gutter with torn garments, begging for next hit and further debauchery. But I digress. I think I know why you are here. You would like to read about a particular Artist that I have tagged to this post. Well, you're in luck today, since I like to write. I see an immediate, reciprocal relationship manifesting here between the two of us. I will cherish this beautiful moment until the day I hit the big sleep... or at least until when the nerve connections hosting the said memory are reduced to mere cinders. Which is, apparently, just a matter of time. Anyways, I've been pondering upon the prospect of writing a blog on a variety of musings – including music, of course – but for now I will settle with trying out the practicality of the journal feature of this fine, fine website service that I have been using somewhat regularly since November 2007. I will start with the most recent events I have attended, but depending on inspiration I might reminisce all the way down to my first metal festival in 2005 when I witnessed live the mighty Dissection. At the end of the day, I write for myself, but I do wish like-minded people (read: metal nerds) find my rantings enjoyable.
Blackdeath, Ondskapt, Archgoat and Inquisition
at K17, Berlin on Tuesday, January 20th
First concert of the new year was one that I had been waiting for a couple months with growing anticipation, mainly because Inquisition had been one of my favourite "new" or "more modern" (read: active) black metal bands for the past odd-five years. K17 is far from an optimal location for this kind of line-up – instead of an underground metal den, the place is actually more of a rock-oriented night club in the northern Friedrichshain. I hadn't been to a concert at K17 before, but I have fond memories of downing cheap shots of spicy Mexicaner and dancing to DAF and other infamous Härte hits with a Swedish friend some time ago.
By the way, going to a black metal show sober, ordering alcohol-free beer, dreadlocked and not wearing a single black piece of clothing, topped with a khaki Om shirt can give you some odd looks from uninitiated Amon Amarth fans. I might have gained some questionable credibility back by speaking Finnish to Archgoaters and -goatesses, and by finally purchasing my very own Inquisition swag.
Blackdeath had a properly raw and menacing sound. The vocalist, wearing a Laibach-esque headgear and Immortal-tier spikes, produced vocals that reminded of raking nails over a chalkboard. The drummer seemed to be pummeling through the set with the exact same beat over and over – and that's how their songs ended up sounding, too, for the uninitiated. I do have one LP, "Bottomless Armageddon" by them stashed in a safe location in the cold north, so that at least some droning russian black metal will be preserved for the post-apocalyptic generations.
Ondskapt sounded modern Swedish, looked modern Swedish, felt modern Swedish. They had the whole kit; skulls, capes, candles, ash/flour scattered all over. I checked most of their set and went to have a coffee and coke at a nearby Turkish Späti.
Archgoat delivered again exactly what was expected. Relentless, lo-fi, rather droning black metal, very much in the vein of the first Beherit LP. The low end was now more audible than last time, and the smell of blood was less prevalent. The high and low points of bigger stages – apparently you can't have both. I liked the sharply pronounced and no-nonsense stage patter "Vokal. Up." and "Peer. Peer." that echoed of my past life elsewhere. I cannot say that I recognised any pieces from their recordings, but that kind of things are anyways secondary when witnessing an Aural Assault. After the concert I met a 20-odd year-old guy from Helsinki who told me how Archgoat was the band for him. He was following the band to their next concert, too, and told that his first tattoo would be an Archgoat one. I support the devotion.
Inquisition conquered the stage around midnight. I thought beforehand that the wait for the headliner would turn out to be strenuous, but the time passed effortlessly. The sound was clear enough and the duo played a good mix of old and new songs. Even one track from the dark nineties was played as an encore, but I cannot recall which. The stage's lighting work added a trippy effect to the already astral mood of the concert. Seldom do I feel after a show that I could easily have the same again tomorrow – or at least the next week. And this was already the third time I had the privilege to witness them play. Good times.
Chamber and Antlers
at Kastanienkeller, Berlin on Friday, January 30th
Kastanienkeller is a nice crammed cellar underneath a posh pseudo-leftist café in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg. Every time I have visited the place, they've been blasting quality stuff from Melvins to Bathory. The beer is cheap, too.
Chamber was a rather modern-sounding, slightly fuzzy, somewhat atmospheric black metal band. Actually they didn't stick to my backbone that well, but I'd dare to say they were influenced by swedish dsbm. The audience was really not much into it either, and I found the vocalist's learned, stiff stage mannerisms rather out of place. Him taking his shirt off, with the audience still standing around in slightly chilly room with their overcoats on, was a bit cringe-worthy. Cool hardcore tattoos, though. During the concert it occurred to me strongly that "that guy could be me." There was none of the otherworldliness many artists are able to create around themselves, but this might have been also due to the inadequate setting.
Antlers had a good dose of crust in their black metal, without being too punk instead of metal. At times they even had a very first wave sound to their songs. Even if I had no expectations for the evening, this kind of captivating, nicely repetitive, no-nonsense metal is exactly what I want to hear for my few euros spent when I decide to attend an event on Stressfaktor that mentions black metal. I found it a bit amusing that Antlers was once again one of those bands that have various shirt designs available before any records are out. Supposedly an album is coming out during summer. Or maybe I just remember wrong, I might have enjoyed some Friday air. I'll be looking forward to their future endeavours with interest.
Monowelt and Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat
at Urban Spree, Berlin on Friday, February 6th
Urban Spree is a club in southern Friedrichshain. I think most of the time it's more of a dance hall, and this night the parts apart of the concert room were off-limits. Outside, a couple of quirky specialist kind of guys were spilling gasoline recklessly without managing to properly set a fire in a barrel.
Monowelt was a young duo from Berlin, playing rather minimalistic type of post-punk and darkwave with an emphasis on the electronics. The resulting sound was fuzzy and loud, and the vocals and guitar were too silent in the background. Maybe this was done on purpose, but I would have liked to hear a bit more variation, both in sound and in material.
Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat had a quite lengthy, yet very enjoyable show. I dare to say their brand of psychedelic neofolk worked a lot better in live setting than on record. There was more air, feel and grit in the compositions. After the show, outside by the aforementioned barrel-fire I got harassed by a Russian girl whom I might or might not have said something inappropriate in my broken ру́сский язы́к. Eventually she tore off my Nasum's "recycled all-seeing eye" pin that had travelled with me in over ten countries. She did return it, but apparently on a whim I decided to give it to a goth maiden who managed to make an impression on me.
Sunshine & Lollipops, Backstab Legends and Dismembers
at Das Edelweiss, Berlin on Friday, February 20th
Just hearing of a concert taking place in the infamous Görlitzer Park raises some curious eyebrows. I've personally had my run-ins with the night (and day) life of the seedier parts of Kreuzberg, and therefore have learned to tread carefully in these parts of the German capital. I stumbled to the location slightly late, and listened to the first couple tracks by Sunshine & Lollipops from outside, quickly downing my regular travel beer. A young hip hop junkie tried to sell me heroin, which I actually found to be rather shocking in all his bluntness. Weed and speed dealers to whom I just give a polite "nein, danke" are a staple in this neighbourhood, but heroin? come on, I am not that desperate to kill the pain. The guy had the cheek to ask for a cigarette, and upon hearing me not having any, he lighted one behind my back. A gent, I tell you.
Sunshine & Lollipops was a self-confessed anarchist black metal duo from the very Hauptstadt. They had a proper raw black metal sound going on with a couple neatly slowed-down pieces that I enjoyed the most. It might have been because of the overflowing sex appeal of the band members, but I think I've never seen this many girls in bright lipstick and retro skirts in a black metal concert. After the show I took another step towards being a cautious adult, when I cracked open a pack of active carbon filters and a bag of Knaster herb mix. While doing this and chatting with the doorman, a fellow immigrant, we heard raging insults and shouting from the park. A moment after, a crazed-out lad charged towards us with a thick piece of a branch, but luckily he was enough in this world to notice that we were not the culprits he was after... soon enough the Polizei arrived to the scene and I headed back indoors for the next band.
Backstab Legends had the floor full of the aforementioned crowd with their brand of nihilistic hardcore punk. Their style is really difficult to pin-point for me, but let's just call it a merit of creativity. I think I spotted some leanings to nineties punk scene and noise rock. Oddly enough, some slower intros to songs reminded me of epic 70's metal bands. The Texan-led wolf pack did not let the audience to take the easy way by spewing forth insults between songs and poking out some tacky and/or well-placed middle fingers.
By the point the Dismembers duo hit the stage and started blasting their barbarian tunes of Venom-esque dis-punk'n'roll, a great deal of people had already left the venue. I think the herbs in liquor and in smokes I had consumed along the evening might have played a part, but their primitive aggression really hooked me in. A proper soundtrack for the apocalyptic hordes.
THE OMNIVERSAL EARKESTRA
at Abstand, Berlin on Monday, February 23rd
A proper classic jazz orchestra playing in a crusty squat on a Monday night? Count me in! I wanted to attend at least one of their weekly shows in February after seeing their poster on the street, but only managed to attend their last one in this venue. The following month of March they'll play a variety of places in Kreuzberg, and if my daily schedule allows I might attend another of their shows. Their music was, simply put, celestial. The orchestra, armed with drums, classic double bass and various blown instruments, played a variety of apparently well-known seventies tunes, including Sun Ra and such, with enthusiasm and vigor. The songs and the band was introduced by ragingly theatrical gentleman who shouted political polemics, joked around, and occasionally completely lost himself into dance. Excellent show with small entrance fee, and Astra beer served for one euro. This is what Mondays should be made of.
Nekyia Orchestra, Boden and Bait
at XB-Liebig, Berlin on Saturday, February 28th
Nekyia Orchestra played straightforward modern sludge with an uniform low death metal grunt. No big atmospheric interludes, no classic doom or southern rock influence, just a steady tread of negativity.
Boden blew me away with their unfortunately short assault of searing, drone-y sludge much in the vein of Burning Witch, but with otherworldly morbid, screeched female vocals and spacey interludes. Great band, have to look up their records sometime.
Bait was not the Deviated Instinct member's side-project I expected it to be, but a German modern mid-paced hardcore band with some occasional moments that reeked heavily of melodic black metal. Their dark and desolate tunes, not that far from Tragedy and their ilk, were a pain/pleasure for my ears.
The next day, Sunday, I went with my partner, son and mother-in-law to a political music event in Theater unten Dach, Prenzlauer Berg where old proles played their leftist folk/schlager ever-greens and reminisced on the turbulent times in the German Democratic Republic. In total it was rather lukewarm man-and-guitar music, but the final geezer had a pleasant pacing in his story-telling, and a nice nasal vibrato in his voice that he could have emphasised even more for maximum impact.
Cinema Cinema and Dead Sentries
at Schokoladen, Berlin on Monday, March 2nd
I agreed ex tempore to a friend's invite to check out what this joint in seldomly visited Mitte has to offer. Supposedly the place has been previously known as a smaller hive of local underground rock culture, but nowadays the place has a bit too commercial aura to it. I visited this place a year earlier, and would have gotten in for free(!/?), as a guest, to Islaja gig, but sadly she had already finished her show and I headed elsewhere.
Cinema Cinema were a seasoned two-piece noise rock band from Brooklyn (I think nobody in the room missed this fact) that reminded me of Clutch at times. A prime pastiche of nineties American rock'n'roll.
Dead Sentries played a more timeless form of American garage rock. Simple, loud and entertaining like a Kreuzberg metro tram around midnight.
Nekyia Orchestra, Chambers and Whorls
at XB-Liebig, Berlin on Saturday, March 7th
I caught the final death grunts and instrumental fadeout of the familiar Nekyia Orchestra. It seems to me they're becoming somewhat of a house band for XB, and any house could do a lot worse than that.
Chambers and Whorls played hardcore-fused atmospheric black metal (or the other way around, your choice), very much in the vein of the bands that played the week before. Albeit relentless, captivating and emotional, I might have had by now a bit too much of this style and crave for something else.
Ravencult and Drowned
at Cortina Bob, Berlin on Sunday, March 15th
I was invited by a friend to check this gig out. I was planning to go to Cortina Bob already earlier for a High Spirits show, but eventually decided otherwise. C-Bob is a crammed metal pub near the aforementioned Görlitzer Park with moderate price beer, house-made liquorice shots and stellar King Diamond blasting loud from the speakers. Outside the lot I struck a lively conversation with a couple of southern German businessmen, and garnered attention from a reporter who was immensely curious of these gentlemen's craft. I am yet unsure if we ended up on tape or not.
Ravencult played their morbid metal with an utmost regard to the dark forefathers of the first wave. Oftentimes their uniform d-beat pummeling was more punk in the strictest sense of the term, than some of the recent shows I've witnessed at the local house projects.
Drowned continued the spirit of purity in tradition and poured forth the most rancid old school death metal I have heard in time that seems like ages. I particularly enjoyed their occasional, yet brief, descent into slower dirges, but in general the hammering remained very much mid-paced.
NOSK, Schürhaken Körner and Convulsif
at XB-Liebig, Berlin on Wednesday, March 18th
An event on a grey Wednesday evening titled 17th Irreversible Brain Distortion Night is a sure go-go. The first band, NOSK, I believe, played what I'd call free jazz with drums, contrabass mistreatment, and blown instruments. Occasional distorted, inhuman screams in the vein of Xasthur were layered on top of the loud experimentation. First time in a while when one needed earplugs, which a fellow Finn at the bar counter was kind enough to provide.
Schürhaken Körner was a quirky keyboard-laden rock band with enthusiastic, rather high-pitched singer. They label themselves as noise rock and no wave, but according to what I heard I'd also add that they might've been the closest thing to deutschrock I have heard live in this country.
If an artist doesn't define themselves with a genre, but mentions a band as their genre, especially when the band in question is the mighty Darkthrone, my interest has been awakened. The masked hoodlums of Convulsif, however, didn't sound even remotely of Darkthrone, even if their occasional, more metal-oriented moments in-between the droning free jazz were those of the blacker kind. Once again I might add that drone is a difficult craft, and requires proper build-up of atmosphere to endure longer dirges. While this band might've not developed their sound to that extent, in total their show was positively interesting. Probably due to the theme of the night, after the concert I had some of the more memorable bar-counter encounters and conversations in the recent while with some travellin'-ramblin' freemen.
Ära Krâ, Downfall of Gaia and Der Weg einer Freiheit
at Bi Nuu, Berlin on Thursday, March 19th
Finally, a new flyer-tossing shift that I caught on less than a day's notice. The early evening hours passed surprisingly well, greeting people in the brisk wind while dodging dealers and bottle-collectors, and smoothening my slight hangover with a flask of Weinbrandt. I caught a bit of Ära Krâ's show from the door. They sounded like decent dark metalcore with some post-rock interludes. It would be actually cool to see some small-time band play in the vein of Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage, but I quess that style is not so hip anymore...
The place was super-crowded when Downfall of Gaia, the only band in the evening I knew beforehand, played. I went in too late and wasn't enthuasiastic enough to elbow myself rudely to the front like I normally do, so eventually I just chilled in the bar-lounge. They sounded cool and bass-heavy, but for some reason I wasn't in the zone at that moment.
Der Weg einer Freiheit took me by surprise. I had never even heard the name, but apparently people in the front of the stage even knew some of their lyrics and basically everyone I spoke to before the show gave a lot of hype on them. Der Weg played modern, atmospheric dark metal with nuance, beauty and contrasts. The very first song with eerie clean vocals, along the lines of Urfaust at their more sane moments, stuck to my head the most. While this band is rather far from something to slam dance to, there was a guy next to me air-punching his imaginary foe with extreme intensity, occasionally beating him/her in the floor on his knees. I tried to steer clear of him, since even one elbowful of that ferocity in the face would end me up with broken teeth. Kids/jocks living their extended puberty: leave the meth out of my metal shows.
Malthusian and Altar of Plagues
at Tommy-Weisbecker-Haus, Berlin on Thursday, March 26th
On a dingy, drizzly Thursday evening I decided to embark on checking out this joint, located in the deep bowels of Kreuzberg. Tommyhaus is a modest place with a big hall for a larger audience and a neat front yard to spend the down time. No Sternburg served, but cheap and hoppy Wicküler as a nice alternative. Surprisingly, the evening was sold out, but I managed to purchase a ticket outside (on a lower price, even) from a seasoned gent and offered the remainder of the price to him in beer while he vividly reminisced on the times past.
Malthusian played a very fuzzy and trance-inducing form of blackened death metal which reminded me of Portal and their ilk. Really cool unknown band with a huge sound, but apparently just one demo out. After the show I unintentionally managed to piss off a bunch of local urban breed populating the bar counter. Probably I was being too casual and in a too preppy mood for such gloomy fellows, but by luck I only ended up with verbal threats in slurred Berlinisch, topped with a couple of poignant fuck off's. Luckily rest of the people I encountered that night were in higher spirits.
By the point Altar of Plagues started and I stumbled back indoors, the air was extra-damp with perspiration and moisture, and one could almost see the abundantly lingering herbal smoke fall flat on the floor from the weight of the air. Since the place was crowded full, there was no room to mosh – and since the statue-like Germans tend to be shy on moshing, I didn't want to end up in another battle that evening. The band sounded very much to the point, and I would have definitely enjoyed a slightly longer set. Afterwards I ended up talking about British doom metal with a lad from Wreck of the Hesperus, whose album has one Albert Witchfinder in vocals that I ought to check out. I might have also learned some Italian along the span of the evening but the knowledge seems to exist only on a more subliminal level now. Clandestine, subliminal, occult Italian to top off my previously known curses and culinary items.
at Abstand, Berlin on Sunday, April 5th
I was inspired by the old records by Discharge, Poison Idea, and their ilk to go and witness some no-nonse, back to the core values -d-beat. I missed the first band, aptly titled "Shitcharge", by a hair. The Swedish band, Crutches, was very much what one could expected. I enjoyed the show. Balding, bearded punks in heavily studded vests paying their homage to the dis-forefathers and shouting incomprehensible lyrics in Swedish. Good soundtrack for celebrating the eve of one's own aging, and exhausting one's stash with a Texan buddy in the early morning hours.
Rhythmic Ceremonial Ritual and Ania
at XB-Liebig, Berlin on Thursday, April 9th
Two post-metal bands, out of which Ania blew the bank. The first one was once again more black metal -influenced act, this time from Glauchau. Ania was from Leipzig and managed to inspire a pit of elbowing, crazed-out disco girls.
Ich Bin N!ntendo and Margaret Unknown vs BEEATSZ
at XB-Liebig, Berlin on Sunday, April 12th
We wanted to go for a couple beers with a fellow dragonaut after coming down from a meandering day trip, and decided to stop by at my favourite house project. Two noise rock bands played there, other being norwegian(!), and while I found them to be merely decent, my friend was in flames with the shows they pulled.
Treedeon and Eyehategod
at Cassiopeia, Berlin on Monday, April 13th
Treedeon opened the show with their brand of utterly mediocre stoner rock. Their sound consisted of groovy fuzz topped with a raspy female singer that probably satisfies the die-hard stoners, but personally I seldom venture beyond the compulsory nods to Kyuss and the doomier side of fuzz, such as Acid King. That's the thing, they were too upbeat for me, totally out of my zone. I almost regretted rushing to the spot from my voluntary work duties, but better early than Too Late. I went to the venue sober and wanted to stay so, firstly because the last time I saw EHG play in Ghent, Belgium I indulged in excess, and secondly because I was still enjoying the afterglow from the day before. However, I left the opener to finish their set, and treated myself to a ritualistic Southern (dis)Comfort, a drink previously known to me only through this band. Surprising, a bit too sweet, sunny, smooth. As if someone distilled a stronger drink from Club Mate.
I conquered a spot in the very front of the modest stage with my bourbon and chatted with fellow devotees until the band members appeared. Mike stumbled to the scene last, throwing his backpack and other belongings around and started the show. The pit started immediately behind my back on the first song, and remained active, yet relatively under control the entire duration of the jam. Jam, indeed, since while the noise these fine lads pour forth is violent, raw, and uncompromising, it is the laid-back groove that keeps everything together and makes this band a living legend. The stage patter and odd jokes, mostly by Mike and Jimmy, added to the weirdly positive mood of the evening. I definitely felt that I was among my kind of people, for good and bad. The band played a lo)))ng set with a good mixture of songs spanning their entire career, including Sister Fucker parts one and two played back to back. It was especially nice to hear some tracks from the less-popular(?) Confederacy of Ruined Lives LP, like 30$ Bag and Revolution/Revelation.
Hell Nation Army and Poison Idea
at Wild at Heart, Berlin on Friday, April 24th
I went to check out this legendary band after, once again, a night of proper debauchery. While downing my hormone-equalizing, prescriptionary loippari/smoothener I checked Hell Nation Army for a short while before retiring to the side aisle to chat with Russian travellers. The place was already crowded full, and apparently people like this kind of mediocre waste of breath and effort. Wild at Heart itself is a rather regular punk rock oriented club – painfully upper-class, but very much in the vein of earlier mentioned Cortina Bob that is situated right next door.
Poison Idea has had its share of changes in the crew, but the band sounded like an unit and very much like it was the furious eighties all over again. Their punk attitude had not dropped along the mileage and with some sarcastic stage patter it was pointed out that supposedly people don't buy their new albums at all, only the classics, and because of this they wouldn't know their newer songs. I checked the final couple songs in the front row, when the pit had mellowed down, and encountered one brat hailing from Portland who was supposed to get me in to this concert on the guest list... I guess this geezer is just hot air altogether – albeit an intriguing character, nonetheless. He disappeared to the shadows upon our encounter after a couple of friendly words, as expected.
Sunshine & Lollipops and Blast Injury
at Café Köpenick, Berlin on Saturday, April 25th
Pandas statt Braunbären was the name of this evening extravaganza, that included two live bands and a couple of lectures about nsbm, racism, misogyny and homophobia in extreme metal. I only listened the second lecture with my staggering German skills, but according to what I heard the person in charge seemed to know what she was talking about. Outside the lecture I got some direct feedback about my Inquisition shirt, from a guy who seemed to be knowledgeable of metal trivia, but sadly had problems expressing himself in English. Later on I also heard how Judas Iscariot is such a horrible band to be a fan of because of Akhenaten's affiliations with the Polish scene. I do appreciate that some people pay attention to these things, the ideological backgrounds of artists – unlike all the pathetically "apolitical" metalheads out there.
Sunshine & Lollipops, the Simon & Garfunkel of anarcho black metal, were as cool as the previous time. Their sound was a bit clearer this time around and I managed to recognise more than just a couple of songs from the previous concert. I regretted the decision of not taking my son out to see these guys play, since hearing this kind of bands play must be essential for the growth of an infant.
Blast Injury was a ferocious thrashcore band formed by enthusiastic local youngsters. While the audience was modest in size, a great deal of them seemed to be familiar with the band, and formed a hectic pit early on. I recall someone even attempted on some sort of stage diving antics, but shyed out eventually.
Punx 'n' Parasites: Antibastard and The Gash
at Wagendorf Wuhlheide, Berlin on Thursday, April 30th
Wagendorf Wuhlheide is an extensive trailer park village in the outskirts of the capitol, neatly hidden in the midst of the woods. They celebrated the first of May with a two-day punk festival which I visited on the firs day. I was unsure of my direction when arriving to the train station, but by luck I spotted a bunch of post card punks and inquired their direction in German, only to find out their lingua franca was UK82 and that their direction was indeed the same as mine.
After a ten-minute trek on meandering footpaths we reached the turf, and amongst semi-feral dogs and Woodstock-esque mud spillage I was welcomed by a fellow dragonaut and a couple shots of rancid moonshine. The earlier bands had a rather amateurish and/or light-weight approach to their punk, but when Antibastard took the reins, the shit hit the man. Their solid and effective working class hardcore street punk rose to the head and set the things inside afire – just like the aforementioned moonshine.
I saw The Gash slay the year before in the putrid candle-lit cellar of my regular pub, Sama-Café, and they were the main reason I dragged my sordid bones into this forest where moisture in air and pants started to exceed sub-tropical levels. Their excessively headbang-inducing thrash metal ranged from classic metal punk to full-blown 90's norsecore blackness. When the drummer and vocalist changed duties for the last songs, they took a classic heavy metal direction with utterly high-pitched vocalisations.
Sunshine & Lollipops and Der Feind
at K19, Berlin on Saturday, May 9th
Earlier this day I went with my family to celebrate the Victory Day at Treptower Park where, apart from hearing some modern reggae and schlager tunes, I witnessed one stellar group playing Russian folk and leftist songs. The group was dressed in beautiful folk attires, and the singer, who did parts of the international songs in impeccable French and German, struck me especially with her voice and ladylike grace.
When the dusk started to descent, I headed to good old Friedrichshain for the Der Feind record release party. I missed the first artist because of the faulty map in the Facebook event, that showed the location of the electro-club R19 (this city and its endless amount of locales with abbreviations as names!), but the girl at the door assured me that they were just an uninteresting modern rock band. Comforting words indeed.
Sunshine & Lollipops had a significantly more norsecore sound this time around, increasing gradually towards the end of the show to trance-inducing heights. The venue was a crammed cellar with supporting pillars sort-of forming a square inside which the bands played in.
Finally, the main treat of the evening, Der Feind, was a thrashing, gritty, pissed-off hardcore punk band that pulled an energetic show. I decided to stumble homewards at the point when some local "punks" started to manifest their xenophobic sensibilities, only to end up chatting a while with an ex-con Jewish Yugoslavian-war veteran on the steps of the Rathaus. Out of the frying pan, into the fire they say, but the latter one's violent tendencies I can at least try to comprehend.
Motorama and Delusive Utopia
at Magnet Club, Berlin and Abstand, Berlin on Friday, May 14th
After a rather long break I did a flyering shift to see this Russian post-punk band. I was unaware that they are so ragingly popular – the queue was rather long the hour plus that I tossed about by the door, and the club was packed full when the concert started. I neatly dodged the main crowd and situated myself by the side passage, to a somewhat secluded VIP position where I still had a clear view to the entire stage. The show itself was neat, but for me their music was missing the utter peaks and dirges – especially the apathetic monotony of the singer started to be a bit of a trifle towards the end. Overall their sound was good, but it seemed a bit that they had the same bitter-sweet synth melody and drum beat repeated with slight variations – eventually sounding like they'd be playing the same song over and over again.
Afterwards I decided to find myself some more affordable beer and to see what's what at good ol' Rigaer Straße, and while there I eventually decided to step into Abstand, where Delusive Utopia were about to start their blasting. The band is a common sight on Stressfaktor (or Stressi) concert announcements and enjoys a strong following amongst the local grassroots punks, so it's a wonder that I haven't managed to see them any time earlier. Their popularity is not all hype, and I found their slower-mid-tempo crust with a heavy stoner metal influence very pleasing. Extra mad props for the lead singer's blonde ankle-length dreads and big The Legend of Zelda belt buckle that created an image of a video game heroine gone crust.
Subhumans, Doom, Weak and Meth Drinker
at Carnival of Subculture, Berlin and Kastanienkeller, Berlin on Saturday, May 23rd
My brother and his girlfriend came over to visit my family unit, and what better initiation to the Berlin air than a street fest outside the most notorious squat in the city? We strolled about a while and checked only a couple songs by the anarcho-punk stalwarts Subhumans, since the hungry travellers demanded me to locate themselves some grub. Eventually, after some affordable Mexicanesque food and cherry schnapps we were back to hear the final beats of the crust legends Doom. Such is life.
Since I missed my required dose of noise, I suggested we'd head northwards to Prenzlauer Berg to witness some proper sludge doom metal. Weak from Denmark was definitely not a weak act with their brand of pessimistic pummeling, but Meth Drinker was the main treat of the evening. Old school sludge metal from New Zealand – no stoner or psychedelic tendencies served. A guy in front of me took out his glass pipe on the first drum beats and spread the indescribable chemical fumes in the already smoked-out room – something one doesn't see in public bars that often. It did suit the name of the band, though.
The next day we went out to the actual Carnival of Culture, for which the Carnival of Subculture is a reaction to, where I saw a middle-eastern folk orchestra inside the church. The music was splendid, melodic, beautifully melancholic folk played with a kantele-like instrument, synth, and simple drums very similar to the ones Sámi witches of the north use – echoes of mutual cultural origins, perhaps? There were also appropriately dressed traditional dervishes spinning forth at the foreground their trance-inducing dances, and I would have stayed for the entire concert if my companions wouldn't have had such a short attention span...
Lucifer, The Order of Israfel and Pentagram
at SO36, Berlin on Thursday, May 28th
This was my second time witnessing the glorious traditional doom metal forefathers Pentagram – last time was the long-awaited European tour four or so years ago, and then they ruled. SO36 is far from being a favourite venue for me – service there is unfriendly and the overall mood of the place is a bit cranky.
Lucifer was a Berlin-based occult rock band with a wicked female singer and decent tunes to boot. Good vibes, but nothing new under the sun. The Order of Israfel sparked my interest a bit more with their epic folk-tinged doom rock, and it came to me as no surprise when I heard these guys were from the motherload of the best modern doom rock – Sweden.
Finally Pentagram took the stage and cranked out a long set of mostly classic material that has stood the test of time. So has Bobby Liebling: although, when I saw him last time he already looked ancient – now he looked almost mummified, but his sleazy mannerisms and rabid energy hadn't mellowed out the slightest bit. Also, I was so sure that it wasn't Victor Griffin on guitar this time – I've seen him once with Pentagram and once with Place of Skulls – but apparently the younger-looking fellow at the axe was him. Perhaps it was his new hair detergent and cross-fit trainer that made the difference? Go figure.
Weedruid, Dis Disaster, Meat, Krautstomper and Düb
at Bunte Kuh, Berlin on Saturday, May 30th
Bunte Kuh is a cool house project complex near Weißensee, just a stone's throw from my place. I've been bringing food donations and downing some beers there a couple of times, but never for a concert.
When I got around to the back room of a crammed cellar, Weedruid was chugging an instrumental stoner doom jam with a few old audio clips thrown into the mix. Dis Disaster was apparently a Polish-German-Israeli d-beat alliance. Very faithful to the originators of the style, and fun as hell. Meat was an unpolished old school death metal act with crust and death-doom influences that heated up the room to even greater heights than the previous band. Definitely worth checking the next time they're around. Krautstomper played an instrumental psych-krautrock jam that slowed things down a bit too much after the high-energy madness, and after checking a few funk-infused hardcore songs by Düb I finally decided to call it a day.
Torkel T, Boykott-Der neue Norden, Jennifer Gegenläufer, Meesu, Yansn, Mpnz and Antinational Embassy
at K9, Berlin on Saturday, June 5th
I had school-friends staying over and they wanted to see some underground action, so I took them down to K9 in Friedrichshain. K9 (not K17, K19 nor R19, mind you!) is a basement complex behind/under the bar Revolucion, and rather difficult to locate for the first time. Torkel T had his record release party there, an energetic lad that I was surprised to find out to be a familiar face from political circles, but he was in the end the only performer who we didn't see at all since my friends lack the endurance that the Berlin lifestyle requires...
The style throughout the evening was zeckenrap. For the uninitiated, it's the label used in Berlin and roundabouts for leftist anti-racist underground hip hop. I won't get into evaluating the performances separately, due to my lack of knowledge of the scene and staggering understanding of rapped German (or Berlinisch), but I can say they ranged from really good to rather forgettable. Yansn was a local female rapper that I've seen once rapping in a park the summer before, and she was my definite highlight of the evening. In a park she was more reserved and seemed to rap mostly for herself, but in a club environment she was in flames, and so was the audience.
MOTOR and Speedtrap
at Bei Ruth, Berlin on Saturday, June 6th
Bei Ruth is a bar in a grey industrial hall, in a grey industrial neighbourhood in Neukölln. When I arrived to the spot I waited a while at the main street because a bunch of muslims were having their evening prayers in the middle of the pathway... soon they finished and I headed onwards with a pack of familiar die-hards to see MOTOR play. They were a Venom-esque thrash metal outfit of sloppy, drunken fun.
I've lost count of how many times I've seen Speedtrap play. Something close to ten times – let's say eight then. They've always ruled the night with their turbo-packed, over-the-top speed metal, and this time was not an exception. Two new lads have joined their ranks along the way, and the original bassist Markus is nowadays behind the drum kit. The show was sweaty moshing madness through and through. The first times I saw them live, they covered the classic anthem "Moottorilinnut" by Kimmo Kuusniemi Band, and I've been ever since been looking forward (and demanded!) them to play it again. Maybe one day.
After the show I raced to Abstand to see if I'd manage to see Stolen Kidneys play, but the guys were already packing their van for an all-night ride to Rostock. The lads were not so amused that I preferred heavy metal over their brand of sludgy punk, but it was nice to catch up with the fellow northerners nonetheless.
Since I head for an extended holiday in the north, this is a good point to conclude this journal and continue in an another entry once I see something worthwhile. Not sure if I'll see any bands play while away – it pains me that St. Vitus with Reagers will be playing in Helsinki, but I am elsewhere in that wretched country. So ist Leben.