Still weary after the Fall of Summer festival, I dragged myself to Antwerp on the fifth of September to see some of the most enthralling bands in modern day’s black metalscene. Ondergronds is becoming known for organising concerts in Antwerp, so it wasn’t a surprise to see the Dimensional Nomads Tour stop by. Consisting of four solid acts playing a great venue (really, Het Bos is suited for this kind of gigs) and a huge merchandise stand from World Terror Committee made sure this was an evening of destruction I was looking forward to since the announcement. Also, with this kind of lineup, it’s hard to be disappointed.
First up were Shrine of Insanabilis, a German outfit who dropped a little bomb in 2015 by releasing their debut album Disciples Of The Void. This being their first full tour, I was quite curious to hear their material live. Here the best aspect of Het Bos comes to mind: the sound was very clear, which allowed the melodic yet furious riffs to stand out. What really took me by surprise was the quality of the vocals, since they were clear yet filthy. The combination of higher shrieks and deep growls worked out perfectly. All in all you could see that the band doesn’t have the biggest amount of live experience yet but they do make for a solid gig, playing some furious music. Next to that, they were the only band to bring some banners on stage, which provided an extra visual element. Due to the sound and especially the vocalists, songs like Ruina and Acausal Paths were highlights of the set.
After that, Ireland’s Slidhr took the stage and tried to drown the audience in their misanthropy, playing somewhat dissonant but above all, dark and agressive black metal. Slidhr had no interaction with the audience, just a big smoke screen and their wall of sound. They were able to evoke some reaction from the crowd and played a tight set, although it couldn’t entirely convince me. Their set consisted mostly of some songs from the Spit of the Apostate material, combined with songs from their debut full length, Deluge. They also just put out a split album with tonight’s headliners, Acherontas, via W.T.C Productions, which can be listened below.
The third band was the reason why I went to this gig: the relentless Sinmara. With the same drummer as Slidhr and a shared guitarist with Svartidauði you know you can expect some high quality dissonant black metal, which has been the trademark of the Icelandic metalscene for some years now. Ever since I heard their debut album, Aphotic Womb from 2014, I’ve been wanting to see them live. This was my first opportunity since I wasn’t able to attend the Nidrosian Black Mass in Brussels. They opened their set with a song from the new album, which is yet to come out. The rest of the setlist came straight from Aphotic Womb, including songs as Verminous, Terratoid Crossbreed and Shattered Pillars. Sinmara was vicious and overruled the two bands that played before them – by far. The only point of criticism I can make was that for the only time this evening, the sound was a bit blurry. Especially the lead guitar wasn’t really present in the mix, which is a pity since Sinmara is all about atmospheres and dissonant riffs. But all of those doubts were thrown into the abyss when I heard the opening tunes of one of their masterpieces, Mountains of Quivering Bones. This 10-minute long opus showed the true talent of these musicians and made sure this band stood out, neck and shoulders, above all other acts of this evening.
For the second time now I’ve witnessed the Greek occult masters of Acherontas. Last time they played a good show at the Aurora Infernalis festival, but they performed too early. This made me look forward to their set as a headliner. Acherontas has always been a no-nonsense collective. What you see is what you get, and what we witnessed was not a concert, but a ritual. The four men with bald heads and veiled faces have no need for theatrical gimmicks to create a dense atmosphere. The sound was clean and well-polished, although this time, they didn’t have a bass player. Just two guitarists and their drummer assisted vocalist Acherontas V. Priest to play their chants. The band didn’t focus on one album but presented us a wide range of their discography: some songs from the albums Theosis, Amenti, Vamachara and of course their latest offering, Ma-Ion (Formulas of Reptilian Unification) were played, only to be followed by two songs from Stutthof, namely The Horned Moon and the evil, yet the ever-capturing Wampyric Metamorphosis to mark the end of the set. Acherontas did what was expected: they put up a very solid ritual and managed to captivate the audience. All in all a great tour package, not to be seen again anytime soon.