Beyond the shiny Christmas market of Birmingham there is a place called The Flapper where the first station of Winter Campaign Tour 2013 was placed. Within this mini tour three unholy bands joined their forces to subdue England.
The kick off band was Primitive Graven Image. Since they formed in 2006 the band evolve well constantly. Nothing proves this better then three full albums ’Traversing the Awesome Night’ (2007), ’Celebrating Impending Chaos’ (2010), ’Psychedelic Episodes – Observations on Death and Deathlessness’ (2012) in five years and the conspicuous progression from raw black metal to psychedelic black metal over these releases. This four-men band combines technical riffs with sort of very basic black ’n roll elements coloured with catchy solos and punky drum beats. The frontman and guitarist Ljosalfur and second guitarist Dokkalfur shared the vocals and didn’t spare their throats while shrieking through the songs. Ljosalfur merely sometimes took a rest with using his clear voice and it gave a bit of a heavy metal feeling to the performance. It was the first time when I faced a black metal band influenced by the music of Pink Floyd. That influence is very apparent on albums but unfortunately the psychedelic elements didn’t work well in this environment as the speakers tried to cope with the merciless volume level. Anyway, Primitive Graven Image is a rather good BM horde and the their ’dirty’ outfit just perfectly fitted to my visual taste.
The second performer was the symphonic black metal band called Ethereal. This year the band has gone through some changes as new musicians took the place of the bassist, drummer and vocalist. I didn’t see them with the previous members but I believe this line-up modification pumped some fresh blood into the veins of the band for sure and made them more confident and hard-hitting.
The first half of their six track-long set was from the latest EP titled ’Revelation Beast’ (2010) and the rest of the repertoire consisted of yet unreleased songs. Ethereal is so to speak already walking on the path will to absolute professionalism. They successfully managed to win me over so I am looking forward to hearing their first full-length album which will come out in the near future.
The closing attraction was a military demonstration performed by Eastern Front, the main invaders of the Winter Campaign Tour. Back in 2006 Eastern Front sort of invented a new type of black metal and labelled their music as war-torn black metal. The response of their debut album ’Blood on Snow’(2010) was extremely positive and nailed their name stably on the palette of the black metal scene in the UK.
Within this tour they also established a new line-up which will hopefuly last long enough to be able to release new material. Tonight they played well known march songs from the first album as well as new tracks reflected the same attitude as the previous ones.
All the members dressed in dusty old military suits giving the impressions as if they had just come back from the frontline. Nagant cruelly screamed the messages of the fallen soldiers, the drums under of Blitz sounded like hundreds of artilleries rumbling and all that was accompanied with the ice cold guitar riffs by the hands of the other war criminals Holocaust, Zeichen and Destroyer.
Destruction was complete. Mission accomplished.
The only thing I didn’t quite like tonight was the crowd or rather the lack of it. There are two components of a live gig: the performers and the crowd. In our case the previous one perfectly complied with their duties, however the latter one, the crowd meant to support the bands with its presence. Probably the crowd had something better to do instead of coming to see the bands. Respect for the very few who were there tonight.
Birmingham is supposed to be the home of metal, right? Well, it most certainly didn’t look like so tonight.
For more shots and the gallery head here.