You won’t often get me to go to church, but when Officium Triste, one of Holland’s finest and oldest doom cults, is presenting their newest album The Death of Gaia there for the first time, even I will risk entering this holy place. Luckily enough, the holy water did not start to boil spontaneously, nor did any of the depicted saints start to bleed from their eye sockets.
In fact, it is a fantastic and unique setting that gels extremely well with a melancholic and darkly romantic genre like doom. The idea was to do a seated event so no head banging in front of the stage, but instead quietly absorbing the music to its fullest.
First up was the American group of Isenordal, who played an exclusive acoustic set of their usually more electrified funereal black metal. In such a magical place, their music got an almost fairy tale-like quality.
Our very own Pantheist got to play in their hometown basically. Kostas has been a prominent figure in the European doom scene with a dramatic voice and a keyboard style that is instantly recognizable as theirs. The guitar tone was also spot on. The drummer was replaced at the last moment by a seventeen year old skin basher, who should definitely get some applause for filling in so adequately. The Romanian multi-instrumentalist Andrei also stepped in for a few songs which added a folky aspect.
Officium Triste (*****)
Tonights’s real treat, of course, came from Officium Triste. Pim Blankenstein and co have been holding the doomed flame in the Netherlands for 25 years. Even through times when almost nobody gave a dime about the genre, they soldiered on with fantastic records to their name like their debut Ne Vivam or one of my personal favorites Reason.
This evening’s attention went primarily to their new album The Death of Gaia from which they played most of the songs. Especially Shackles, a song written by their drummer Niels stood out, as well as the closing song, the epic Losing Ground.
“Buy our album and make us all rich”, Pim joked at the end. I doubt anyone will ever make a fortune playing doom, but for those gathered here that day, we can all consider ourselves to be a little bit richer in a different way.