On a nice warm Indian summer afternoon like this one it’s almost tempting fate to go to a funeral doom festival. However, your fearless reporter wouldn’t let a bit of sun get in the ways of some excellent, sloooow heaviness.
The first to take the stage on this Sunday afternoon was Naga. A new threesome from Italy that took a positively post rock stance on doom metal.
The first heavyweight of the day, however, was reserved for another Italian band, namely Assumption. Their take on doom took its roots from that tree of life and death of Disembowelment. Even their logo is an explicit nod to the crushing doom death of that pioneering band. With a cavernous growl and riffs slowly crawling their way up from the deepest abyss, their performance was for sure the first highlight of the day and a promise of more blissful misery still to come.
Icelandic troupe, Katla, took the tempo up a little bit and as well as the mood. While still melancholic in itself, compared to its predecessor, their music was in truth quite uplifting almost joyful sounding. They are a relatively new band, essentially formed from Solstafir’s erstwhile drummer and you can still feel the ghost of his former gang hanging over this band.
Italy was really well represented tonight as the next act was about to prove: EchO. Theirs was a more modern sound that took as much cues from the melodic doom as more shoegazy bands like Alcest. This gig also functioned as the release party of their third album which they pretty much played in its entirety.
Marche Funebre (****)
The 11th edition of this festival would not have been complete with one of our soil’s most proliferated doom bands, Marche Funebre. The troupe from Mechelen delivered another excellent performance and showed all attendants once more that especially in a live context they are a force to be reckoned with.
The real eye-catcher of tonight was of course Skepticism , these Finnish pioneers of funeral doom are nothing less than legendary and deservedly so. They don’t exactly tour a lot, so this was one performance that you really didn’t want to miss out on. On a basis of organ sounds, a single guitar and slowly pounding drums, they lead you on a hypnotizing funeral march.
Even though the band members themselves don’t particularly do much on stage, their performance is never the less remarkably expressive and full of drama. And if you were one of the girls standing in the front, you might even have been handed a white rose by the ever sympathetic vocalist.
This show would in itself have already been a perfect climax to a very successful, funereal evening, but tonight De Casino was not home to just one but two living doom legends.
Evoken got the honour to headline the festival. As one of the oldest still active doom bands from the US they have a veritable treasure trove of fantastic songs to choose from. The set reflected that. Not only did they play three songs from their latest album, Hypnogogia, they also went back as far as their first EP Shades of Night Descending or the title track from their magnum opus Antithesis of Light, taking you right to the edge of the bleakest despair.
I don’t know how there are going to top that this year because tonight was as close to doom heaven as you’re likely to get.