You are certainly familiarised with the city of Speyer, in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany. At least you’ve heard about it, right? If you haven’t it means that you’ve been passing far away from some of the best European black metal. As for us, we returned to that historic city six months after the SPEYER GREY MASS dark event, this time to whiteness another strong black metal line-up, that promised some performances to be written in future compendiums of the genre.
Italian band DEATHROW opened the ceremonies at 13:00, facing a room still half empty, even if that fact didn’t seem to stop them from delivering a very precise show. With Gionata Potenti (here with the name of “Thorns”) accompanied by some Fides Inversa’s and Borgne’s members, this Italian collective mixed two songs from their 2014 full length with some older ones as “When Trumpets of Death Sound Triumphant” or “The Silent Stranger”, in a show where hate and death feelings led a competent performance, marked also by the presence of “One by One” track, showing a more thrashy vein of Deathrow. It was a good first live contact, before the return of DARKMOON WARRIOR fucks. Two months after their UTBS presence, the Germans came back with a concert where the sound was more accurate than the mentioned one, even if with a volume close to the maximum.
Their stage artefacts are always a must in a live presentation, and the FOAD attitude was there again. “Satanification” and the final “Blazing Satan Mastercult” were their major moments.
Swiss black metalers BORGNE returned to German lands still with a perfectly oiled collective, where only the absence of the live drum could harm their well cared stage presentation. With the vocals dealing only with the voice work and leaving the guitar behind, Borgne’s misanthropic feelings were again splattered through a room that, by that time, was already concentrating a significant number of dark followers. Still with “Royaume des Ombres” on their back, “The Last Things You Will See” was again their strongest anthem.
The first Portuguese attack came by the form of MORTE INCANDESCENTE, delivering their “Black Skull Crushing Metal”, always with the usual fast posture on stage. “Fuga Constante” was a nice surprise to catch live, among some classics as “Necromaníaco” or “Necroculto”, in a very competent performance. Now with guitar player J as a confirmed live member, they knew that they were not the headliners of the festival. But what we do know is that their name will also be remembered after that fine gig.
The first set of bands ended with Greeks KAWIR, celebrating the beginning of their third decade as Hellenic pagan ambassadors. It’s been more than six years since the last time we saw them, and the best thing we can say is that their mystic feeling seems stronger than before. Now, the only member totally dressed in black is the frontman, but the dark mysticism of the band spreads through all the musicians, including some invited Borgne’s members. We have been balanced during 40 minutes by the pagan anthems of Kawir, where “Ophiolatreia” and “Poseidon” made us travel to a timeless epoch in which we were the conquers of tough realities. Let us take back our weapons!
Portuguese black metal maniacs CORPUS CHRISTII went on stage facing an already full venue (even if not a sold out one as in the March convention). And we believe that nobody left during those 45 minutes, once it was one top five performance of this event. Even if we think they should by now change their intro, the setlist was carved by dark convictions since the first “The Owl Resurrection”, delivering anger and despair to an audience that would eventually become inebriate, following the roll of intense songs performed by the Lusitanian collective. N.H. convicted presence was the reflexion of a dark and profound set of songs that showed Corpus Christii’s darker side. Counting with Angel-O returning to live events, “Evasive Contempt” and “In the Rivers of Red” were two of the major journeys, before the final anthem “All Hail (Master Satan)”.
THRONE OF KATHARSIS is by now one of the leaders of a somewhat new Norwegian black metal movement and that status was proven by the audience’s attention in their Sinister Howling performance. The sound, however, was too damn low, and we could listen to everyone talking around us during the songs. But the chat didn’t last long once the Norwegians delivered a totally dark doom concert. Without any lights on stage, and with an underground presence through tough the concert, Throne of Katharsis opted for a surprising approach to their music. We have our doubts about the positive outcome for the majority of the audience. But one thing is certain: they carved their mark in Speyer, even if in a totally different way.
And so “the big four” were coming, first with BAPTISM finally coming to our eyes live. And we couldn’t expect for a better first live contact with the Finnish horde. Led by the charismatic presence of Lord Sargofagian, their concert evolved in an increasing rhythm since the first “A Dream of War and Illumination”, benefiting from a fine sound, that raised “Chalice of Death” to a place where only the illuminated ones have access. Counting with Spellgoth on the guitars, “Eliterian Legion” and “Morbid Wings of Sathanas” ended a show to remember, where the band left their dark soul on stage, fulfilling our egos with black convictions.
But Horna’s vocalist didn’t had that much time to enjoy Baptism’s achievement, once Finnish leading band HORNA was starting their most epic concert in recent years. From the vast list of epic songs available, we don’t think we could chose a better setlist to that glorious performance. Since the doomish “Raiskattu Saastaisessa Valossa”, to the enchainted melody of “Juuret” or the tottally epic “Kurjuus”, Horna delivered a less direct show, but an even more intense one. It was a pitty that the sound quality could not accompanied them all the way, but, even so, “Kuoleva Lupaus” or the final “Baphometin Siunaus” made us raising our horns with pride. The pride that they deserve.
And so NARGAROTH’s “Black Metal ist Krieg” show was coming. The strong and well cared stage presentation had the fire spitting show as one the its major marks, putting all the audience in respect for Ash & company performance. In that historic black metal moment, the band delivered some of the icons of one of the most marking black metal albums ever, such as “Erik, May you Rape the Angles” or “Possessed by Black Fucking Metal”, even if with some other songs from different works, including the ode “Mother North”, in a moment where we felt more into the concert. In fact, the whole concept of that performance was more German oriented, even if with the band presented Dutch Obscura as new live guitar player. “Seven Tears are Flowing to the River” ended a concert that will certainly be remembered as a mark for German black metal fans.
But the darker moment of all was still to come, when ACHERONTAS invaded the stage to play some of the most memorable hymns of their first years. Back then, still under the sign of STUTTHOF, darkness seemed to have covered Athens for several years, and as a result, this Greek collective produced some of the deepest black metal hymns in recent decades. And that dark atmosphere was transported to Speyer for one night, leaving no spare room for the outside light. In total communion with darkness, Acherontas proved once again to be each time more committed with the occult arts, presenting us with such mystic moments as “The Horned Moon”, “Kerasforos Selene” or even the more recent “Legacy of Tiamat”, in a very deep and dark concert, where they praised some of the darkest feelings of mankind. Among several anthems, “Wampyric Metamophorsis” was off course the final chapter of a performance to be remembered for several years.
The intensity of the day, combined to the high consumption during this event forced us to leave thus loosing BLOOD FIRE DEATH show. But we left satiated, considering the high level of the performances that, once again, Speyer and Drohende Schatten offered us.