A while back we were invited once more at De Verlichte Geest in Roeselare where the Saatanan Riehuvat Liekit tour struck. The lineup consisted of bands from all over Europe: Finland, Greece and Norway. All of these nations have an excellent black metal scene with each their own characteristic sound. The first thing to befall our eyes as we entered what’s probably one of the best venues in West-Flanders, was that the venue was redesigned. The bar was no longer at the center, which gave the audience a much bigger space. De Verlichte Geest is no longer seperated in 2 sides. Well done, since this improves the experience a lot.
Shaarimoth (***1/2) kicked off the evening. When I previously said that the vocalist of Panzerfaust might well be the very reincarnation of the giants that, according to the tales, once dwelled on this earth, I was grievously mistaken. Shaarimoth‘s vocalist R. is, if at all possible, even more impressive to behold. With their orthodox take on black/death metal the band created a thick atmosphere while displaying how technical this type of music can be. R.’s vocals are nothing less than overwhelmingly heavy – sounding much deeper and gurgling than was the case on their latest album, Temple of Adversarial Fire. Towards the end of their set my attention faded a bit due to a lack of variety throughout the songs – something that bothered me a bit on the album as well. Nevertheless, Shaarimoth played a tight and qualitative set overall.
Thy Darkened Shade
After a short changeover came Greek occult masters Thy Darkened Shade (*****) who easily gave the best performance of the night, and probably one of the best from the last few months. Sharing a guitarist with Shaarimoth, the collective gave us a taste of how orthodox black metal should be performed. Most of the setlist came from their 2014 opus Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet, next to 2 songs of their first album and Cascade of Nun, taken from the split with Chaos Invocation. In the meantime, Semjaza and The A are working on a follow-up full length, called Liber Lvcifer II-Mahapralaya, which I’m eagerly looking forward to.
After a short intro the band started their 50-minute ritual. With only frontman The A‘s face visible (since other members wore beak-like masks like the plague doctors from the Dark Ages) they immediately convinced from the moment Elixir of Azazel commenced. Technicality went through the roof and the PA guy provided an excellent sound – making the splendid vocals stand out. This was one of those rare occasions where a vocalist sounded almost exactly like on the album, and his stage performance made it all the more convincing. Thy Darkened Shade is an entity that makes no compromises, gesturing angrily towards anyone who mocked their art. That was made painfully clear by a girl who started dancing the ‘Macarena’ and got spat in the face by Semjaza. The show was a furious and ritualistic concert, keeping the flame of real underground black metal alive.
If you’ve seen Horna (****) once, you’ve seen all Horna has to offer as a live band. For me this was the third time I’ve experienced their live performance, and the second time in Roeselare. Two and a half years ago they immediately convinced me of their live abilities, and the two following shows I saw were not different. Having a huge discography the band can dwell around in it endlessly, although I’ve noticed that more or less the same songs always resurface in live sets. Horna came on stage and blasted their way through 60 minutes of Finnish black metal with notable punk-influences – even using d-beat drum patterns at times. Sound was great again: a bit more raw and murky than it had been during the previous bands. Yet that is a compliment, since Horna has to sound filthy and smudgy. Their liveshows are always alike to each-other, although without compromising on quality. Spellgoth still rages through the songs, at times giving up some quality of his vocals but making up for that in intensity of his performance, whereas Shatraug remains undisturbed and finishes his set with precision. Horna does not innovate, yet never disappoints.