I suppose everyone associates the term ‘black metal’ with Norway and the Scandinavian area, not to mention the phrase ‘True Norwegian Black Metal’ became a byword of the genre. It is unequivocal if we take a look on the origin of the blackest genre ever. So much for history. More than likely not even a dedicated fan could wish for a better line-up than the one that Old Empire confirmed to The Underworld. To be specific, four bands represented the force of darkness from the frozen land of Europe, literally being delivered by the northern wind.
Dominanz (Bergen) with their heavily industrialized atmosphere and Orkan (Bergen) a bit slower paced black-trash formation were responsible for warming up and desecrating the stage for the headliners. Both bands carried the traces of black metal, even if it was expressed merely with the musical tools and technical solutions, but the atmosphere didn’t reflect that. Although the Northern grimness was present even on a subliminal level and the performances were far from the original black metal aura. These two bands definitely weren’t formed for the sake of the orthodox followers, nonetheless the skills of the musicians and the passion for the genre cannot be questioned.
Tonight’s most exciting attraction was a new horde, risen up from the long time dormant Carpathian Forest. The band was formed last year by two former Carpathian Forest member, Tchort and Blood Pervertor accompanied their forces with the drummer of Den Saakaldte and with a less-known Spanish demon behind the mic as the freshest blood in the vein of this medium called The 3rd Attempt (Kristiansand). Since the frontman put his feet on the stage he was literally in your face. Healthy amount of aggression provoked the crowd to bang their heads. The carnage they caused was even more reinforced by the architectural design of The Underworld. The underground arena turned into an infernal pit and there was no escape from the madness and the deadly vortex of Northern riffs.
The new metal assemble could manage to keep alive the essence of the ancestor band’s black and roll feeling and flawlessly summon the original attitude. One is for sure. Few more performances and they will step out from the shadow of Carpathian Forest and start to build their own reputation.
For those who were still standing on their feet there was one more band to get us completely weary. Taake (Bergen) is always reliable in terms of creating a cold and genuine Scandinavian atmosphere. In the last exactly 20 years Hoest (the only permanent and founder member) worked out a relatively perfect combination of traditional raw black metal and Norwegian folk elements. Nonetheless he is also the most extreme figure of the current scene with hyperactive behaviour and weird ghoulish look.
As usual first the musicians took their place during the intro and shortly kicked off with Nordbundet, which is an ideal pick from their discography to start with. Suddenly Hoest joined and began to scream like a tortured soul from out of this world. I’m always amazed what he can do with his voice cords. Perfect prelude of an intense and evil show. The secret behind Taake’s great live performances is the balance between the fast paced parts and the slow rhythms. These sections are smartly alternate each other to give sufficient time for either moshing or taking a bit of rest. This was also valid for the members as they also need to catch their breath during the exhausting rampage.
The set was closed with their most devastating and eagerly waited track Ummeneske. Smell of incense drifted in the air from an unseen force and it made the gig more ritualistic and cosy. Even if you had to fight for your life, you did it at least with a bit relaxed and calm state of mind. Although the experienced Underworld visitors always find the most comfortable spots (including myself) to enjoy the performances as much as possible but when the hordes of Norway are unleashed there is no guarantee for safety and comfort as such.
To track the following events of Old Empire please head here.
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A live report by LGH – MMXV.