It seems black metal is still a very stable part of every nation, although it is as diverse as the people working on and cultivating it over and over. Now this time I won an insight into the heart of the Swiss scene, which is a very close circle within an unsociable genre. I suppose this was one of the main reasons why Helvete Underground was held. To show the world it is well worth to turn our heads and ears towards Switzerland.
As it is widely known Switzerland is divided into French and German speaking areas, and although these cultures might be distinctive but during the first weekend of October in Geneva all gathered were united with the common language of the most extreme musical genre ever.
After the mandatory sightseeing in Geneva the artistic influence of France was conspicuous where ever I went. It is not surprising after all as the French border is just a few miles away right outside of Geneva. Theaters and museums on every corner and the whole city was wrapped in flyers of different events. As I was getting closer to the venue La Gravière scattered flyers of the festival led the way to hell.
La Gravière (The Gravel) has two stages or two concert halls if you like and a lobby where an exclusive black metal exhibition was installed. Black and red walls and candles just added extras to the already cool and stylish atmosphere.
There wasn’t a lot on tonight’s agenda as only three bands were responsible to open the gates of the lower realm. Maybe three performers didn’t seem too much to make us go apeshit but by the end of the night they kinda managed to do so.
First of all a local band called Nansis switched the amps on. The yet short lived group led us out of reality and tuned our mind to their dark personal visions and well built up black works. No doubt their set was a good kick-off even if they are armed up with their one and only demo. Hopefully after releasing their first full-lenght Nansis will smash harder and leave a bigger wound on the face of this sub-genre.
The first guest performer, Helslakt from Neuchâtel continued disturbing our souls and eardrums with threatening harsh riffs. To follow the Helslakt Protokol (referring to the first track of their latest release) seemed quite simple, but just went so well together with the dissonant harmonies. Despite their ordinary outfit, Helslakt’s violent music is definitely recommended for those who are looking for the pure and not over complicated version of black metal.
To put the crown on tonight’s horned head, the four-men destroyer machine called Supayniyux invited us for their inhuman feast. The stench of blood, booze and sweat that filled the room perfectly matched to the barbarian horde. If the previous two bands weren’t enough to turn us on, Supaniyux drove us to complete madness. After counting three ’one last song’ it seemed a neverending set to me. When they left the stage and the lights were turned back on we realized the whole room was soaked in blood. It was a very stylish closure of the first day but probably the organizers would disagree with me.
Today as the festival increased a smaller room was also opened and the merch stand was moved outside. Nevertheless, tonight’s line up seemed the most conscious for me in term of the band’s musical approach. Not long after doors Euclidean forged ahead in the small room to carry on where last night ended. The long-drawn experimental, nearly doomed themes hypnotized the human brain. Despite their talent, Euclidean still needs to find their unique style and sound but they are heading to the right direction. The last riff they unleashed echoed in my mind for long.
Cendres De Haine (Ashes of Hate) had a very mystical entry and the name of the band pretty much describes its music. The hooded figures with make up had a bizarre presence on the foggy stage. From the first riff till the very last some northern influence was recognizable. Even if their music isn’t really close to the atmospheric genre, the show was rather about out of this world than the frantic mass mosh. Cendres De Haine are slow killers.
Putting candles on the edge of the stage was a good idea from Stortregn. It served as an invisible shield and kept away the over excited metal fans from band. With two full albums Stortregn, the epic black-death monster as I would summerise it after seeing them live, worthily makes the Swiss metal scene stronger.
Borgne was tonight’s headliner or if you prefer, the first big headliner of the weekend. Storm fast riffing and incredibly strong blast beats and pure destruction ruled their performance. The full black body-war paint looked amazing under the spot lights and made their presence more ‘colourful’ on the stage. By the way they were the first who used incenses to create a more spiritual atmosphere to support their show. I think its essential as the genre has also a spiritual nature and adds a lot to the music.
It was massive two days so to say. It is very likely that not many visitors left ‘compos mentis’ after the above detailed devilish experiences, although as I looked around I only saw content faces. Two-thirds of Swiss black metal was injected into our veins but the last and greatest dose still yet to come.