Darken The Moon XII (03/09/21 @ Asgaard)

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Oh man , concerts again without face masks. No more having to sit still and bang your head in the comfort of your chair. None of that. Just a normal gig, in the old normal that is. That is what we offered at our very own bar and venue Asgaard this evening with Darken the Moon. This small festival has been regular spot on the agenda for all lovers of doom for quite a few years now and has seen some absolute highlights with Evoken, Bellwitch, Mournful Congregation and Skepticism.  At the heart of each edition is our very own Marche Funèbre. A steady mainstay in the melodic death doom genre.

Even though this year’s edition had to be slimmed down a bit from two days to one with the unfortunate cancellation of Clouds amongst others, they still managed to put together a collection of excellent doom bands with Marche Funèbre headlining this year.

Cult of Scarecrow (****)

First up was local band Cult of Scarecrow who are just about to release their debut ‘Tales of the Sacrosanct Man’ (for the review of that album, click here). The band was in an excellent mood and despite a few technical hiccups, they delivered a pretty good show where they got to show off some of their new tracks like the catchy ‘Robotized’. Compared to the other bands on stage tonight, their grungy grooves might have been a bit of an odd choice for a doomfest, but with everyone present giddy about finally having some degree of normalcy again, I didn’t mind their cheerfulness at all.

Pilgrimage (****)

Pilgrimage was a complete surprise to me and a very pleasant one at that. Their album is to come out in early November on Sleazy Rider Records and based on tonight’s performance I would recommend everyone into death doom to go check it out.

‘Calliophis’ (****)

With Calliophis we are staying in the same raw death doom style. As the venue was getting filled with the scent of incense, our ears were being filled with some solid death doom. The performance of these Germans reminded me a bit of their fellow Teutons Ophis with whom they’ll be touring in the autumn by the way.

Et Moriemur (*****)

The weirdest band on tonight’s roster was the Czech collective Et Moriemur, which translates from Latin as “And we will die”.  Bathed in a total absence of lighting, they presented their unique take on melodic death doom.  The vocalist was a bit of a sight to behold. In a very uncharacteristically casual way, he pranced around the stage switching with the greatest ease between growls, screams and clean singing. While maybe not particularly doomy to look at, the sound, however was definitely there with most of their songs taken from their latest album ‘Epigrammata’. Their first record was in a much more classic doom vein, but the songs here were a lot wider in range with an almost sacral vibe.

Marche Funebre (*****)

Boy, were these guys eager to take the stage again. Flanders’ most prolific doom band are always a guarantee for a nice gloom filled evening. Anyone who’s ever been to a ‘Darken the Moon’ edition can attest to that and tonight was no exception. Quite the contrary. Marche Funebre‘s latest album ‘Einderlicht’ came out late last year, so they didn’t have a lot of opportunities to promote it yet before the pandemic hit. Incidentally, tonight was also the vocalist’s birthday. How’s that for a birthday party! Cheers!

As a restart for going to gigs in all of their former glory again, what better way to celebrate this  than on an evening filled with doom and gloom. May there be many, many more.

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