After the raw and filthy Alkerdeel concert at Charlatan (review here!) that was curated by the omnipresent Consouling Sounds, label owner Mike Keirsbilck didn’t seem satisfied… So what does one do when one concert is not enough? Right, one organizes a second one, only within weeks after the last distorted notes have faded… Once again this made for an interesting lineup. Just like last time we were presented with two Belgian bands (Witch Trail and Soul Grip) and one foreign project, this time under the moniker of Throane from France. After witnessing this concert, I sincerely hope that Consouling Sounds doesn’t stop organising this kind of events…
Around 8.30 pm the lights in the concert hall in the back of Café Charlatan dimmed, and Witch Trail (***) entered the stage. Being a regular visitor of concerts in Gent, I’ve seen these guys multiple times already – sometimes they can’t hold my attention, sometimes they blow me away. Witch Trail plays an eccentric and eclectic style of music, combining (post-)black metal, kraut, sludge, doom and everything in between. It’s a daring mix to say the least, and an equally daring task to bring it to the stage in a convincing manner. Leaving their older black thrash material behind, Witch Trail focussed on material from their more experimental releases such as Nithera and Thole. Switching styles constantly, however, at times got in the way of the flow of the concert – the almost 2 minute ambient track in the middle of the set achieved the same effect. At the same time, it’s great to see these friendly guys improved their stage performance drastically – even Hendrik has learned how not to stand still on stage! All in all Witch Trail put on a decent set, but at times lacked some coherence.
From hardcore roots to post black metal is an easy way of defining the trajectory that Soul Grip (****) walked. This show marked the release of their split with VVOVNDS (which we liked pretty much as you can read here!), the follow-up to the more hardcore-infused debut album Avadon, and a small teaser for the new full length that’s coming our way this fall. Opening with an acoustic intro, Soul Grip lets the calm before the storm do the talking. Afterwards, we’re in for 40 minutes of post-black metal with blistering intensity. Drummer Gert Stals is known for his ferocious blastbeats ever since his time with Zygoma, and hasn’t forgotten what precision drumming sounds like. Melodic and somewhat cathartic, Soul Grip ravages through their set that is at times reminiscent of the sheer intensity of a band like Deafheaven, without being just another shameless rip off band. In my book, this is one of the more interesting bands that Belgium has to offer.
We enjoyed a beer and the very last sunshine of the day before the oppressive madness that is Throane (****1/2) would take the stage. Falling only a little bit behind schedule, mastermind Dehn Sora emerges from the shadows with his live musicians (which apparently were the guys from OVTRENOIR). What he brought to the stage was abyssic madness, floating on vibes that emanate a feel similar to that of Blut Aus Nord. Sounding even darker than on the album, the fuzzy guitars created an impermeable wall of sound through which Sora‘s screams were heard: sometimes faintly, sometimes omnipresent in the mix whenever appropriate.
For those unfamiliar with Throane (which oddly sounds like the West-Flemish word for ‘tear’), main composer Dehn Sora is also an integral part of the infamous Church of Ra with his ambient/drone project Treha Sektori. Since Ghent is the undisputed cradle of the Church of Ra collective and the separate projects are known for ‘incestual’ collaborations, it came as no surprise (at least I had anticipated it) that CHVE would join the stage during the last song Plus une main à mordre, on which he also performed guest vocals on the album version. Colin‘s somehow mechanically sounding clean vocals, as well as his typical Amenra-esque screams, were utterly hypnotizing in combination with the slow-paced riff, which could’ve been a ‘blackened’ version of an Amenra song. This proved to be an extremely fitting, breath-taking closing for an already intense show. Throane didn’t come back for an encore and neither should they have: our collective minds were puzzled enough already after the pitch dark, repetitive and extremely haunting exorcism that this concert proved to be.