Gorgoroth, Vader, Valkyrja, Eufobia
Eightball Club, Thessaloniki, Greece
On a Saturday night where the weather finally started getting a bit colder, reminding us that we are on winter indeed, a great multi-national package of four bands from different countries. The typical headliners were Gorgoroth from Norway, we also had the death metal pioneers Vader, from Poland, the blacksters Valkyrja from Sweden and the other death metallers of the package, Eufobia from Bulgaria. The promoters made sure that the schedule would be followed thoroughly and not only they did it, but also the bands started their performances 5-10 minutes earlier. A sample of great organization by Dosera Arts once more, like the last example we had on Crimson Glory. The ones thinking that it would get late or simply wanted to attend later, surely missed Eufobia and some people managed to see Vader right on the moment they entered the stage. Next time be more careful guys.
Eufobia entered the stage a little before half past seven and for about half an hour they proved that they really deserved a place on this tour, among the other experienced bands. They are a band that released their first album last year called ”Insemination” and this year they released their second album entitled ”Cup Of Mud”. Two albums in two years and it seems that they are a band of good ideas, technical but not less brutal playing, with skilled guitar players, a good rhythm section and double vocal attack by the bassist and the one of the two guitarists. For about half an hour they filled the stage with their presence, without hesitating to bang their heads while playing their difficult and blasting compositions. The little crowd that had already attended the show cheered them up and they left the stage smiling, knowing they did the best they could.
Valkyrja are the definition of a great black metal band. Coming from Stockholm, the mother of European death metal, they showed that when it comes to Swedish black metal, it sometimes gets not only better than the Norwegian one, but also more expressive and full of point. Playing songs from both their albums, ”The Invocation Of Demise” (2007) and ”Contamination” (2010), they had a majestic presence on stage, headbanging constantly until the end without losing a note, and especially the frontman A.L. didn’t stop expressing himself in any possible way. The crowd started warming up for good and when they started playing their faster tunes towards the end, they dominated the whole club, making the fans applausing them for their great performance, which lasted about 45 minutes. It is certain that once they go on like this, they can achive great recognition in the future. One of the best bands of the genre I have witnessed, for sure.
Vader visited us once again after 22 months. With one of the best albums of 2011, ”Welcome To The Morbid Reich” they started with ”Return To The Morbid Reich” and quickly before it ends, ”Sothis” comes to take heads, hearts and souls. It shows from the very beginning that the band is in perfect shape, and especially the new drummer James Stewart kicks serious ass, only 21 years old in age. ”Devilizer” and ”Never Say My Name” from ”Necropolis” follow and I can tell that the new guitarist Spider and the new bassist Hal are a perfect match to Peter, the undoubted leader of the Polish death metal machine. Two new ones follow, ”Come And See My Sacrifice” and ”Black Velvet And Skulls Of Steel”, right before the big outburst with ”Wings” and shortly before it ends, ”Carnal”, which sets the place afire. Tremendous performance, sometimes on triple speed, with riffs, solos and blastbeats following one another. The tension is rising and ”I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul” only prepares the ground for two oldies from the first album ”The Ultimate Incantation”, with ”The Wrath” (something from the old Vader days as Peter said) and ”Decapitated Saints” (played like the re-recording on the last album=faster x5) which lead some people inside the club to pure frenzy.
”Kingdom” establishes Vader as kings in the death metal scene and proving that they can either be obsessive in mid-tempo tracks as well. Actually, there’s not much room for thought about that, because when ”Silent Empire” hits the club, everyone goes ten metres beside the place he was before, a great mosh pit is created and with joy I see youngsters loving them, despite they don’t really know how to mosh and they just push each other. The amazing thing is that ”Cold Demons” comes without breath from the speakers and it feels like tanks are marching inside the club. I didn’t expect that one to be played to be honest, that’s why I kinda lost my mind. ”Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead)” takes the last energy from us and as soon as they leave, they return to close their set with ”This Is The War”. It was the fifth time for me to see them and I can only compare this performance to their first with Krisiun and Decapitated in 2002, with the mighty Doc behind the drums. The band is in unbelievable condition, with the new line-up very promising (as soon as it doesn’t change again) and Vader proving in their third decade of life that they know no limits and nothing can stand as obstacle in their way. In about two years, I think we’re going to see them again. Until then… Fire, forwards!!!
After a short period of waiting, Gorgoroth came on stage. It took many years to come back to Greece and this time came with many changes in their line up (Gaahl is off the band for the known reasons, King has left the band, too) and generally Gorgoroth had new live musicians in their show. But it was still a very explosive Black Metal live show, although it lasted around 45 minutes. Gorgoroth presented many songs of their past albums (few from Gaahl’s era, but we all know the reason why). To be honest I was expecting a mediocre show, but their stage presence and their set list refuted me from the first song.The Norwegians came out with “Begtrollets Hevn” and that’s how Gorgoroth crushed my doubts. I don’t know how often they play this song, but I feel myself lucky that I have seen them playing this song with very good presence. And from that song the crowd begun to be a part in the grim atmosphere. Second song of the night was “Aneuthanasia” from their latest album. More people were headbanging and also, some mosh pits were created, maybe many people have learned the band from “Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt”. That’s why the following song, “Prayer” didn’t surprise me. Gorgoroth quickly returned to the occult Black Metal albums from the past with ” Katharinas Bortgang”. At this time I was sure that I was the mist lucky person. I watched one of the songs that are included in an album that put me in Black Metal when I was a teenager.
The crowd (to be honest the people who know this song, the other ones were looking with a puzzled expression in their faces and they were mostly youngsters) did also headbang during the song and once again brutal mosh pits took place in the club. The blaspheme atmosphere was maintained with the highlight songs “Revelation of Doom” and “Forces of Satan’s Storm” just to be prepared for unholy x-mass. Another song from “Under the Sign of Hell” was presented and somehow, Gorgoroth gave too much attention in that album. “The Rite of Infernal Invocation” was next and there Gorgoroth touched perfection with their massive stage appearance. Pest never stopped headbanging and some blood effects made the show more grim and hellish. Gorgoroth stayed in this album, so the following song was “Blood Stains the Circle”. Another highlight song was “Satan-Prometheus”. The presence of Pest had reach to its limit, with the clean vocals mostly and with the grim expression every time. Also the presence of Infernus and the other members were equally malevolent in a point where we were asking for more songs. But, even they gave the 100% of their power, even they closed with “Destroyer” and “Incipit Satan”, the show didn’t last that long. The fact that they didn’t come back for the encore and the short live show annoyed the audience and it was quite unprofessionally if you add the high price of the ticket. Still the promoters did their best and it’s about time asking what else they want in order to attend a live show. We may never learn…
Report: Aggelos ”Redneck” Katsouras , Stathis “Sethianus” Ntailianas.
Photos: Louis Konstantinou.