It may have taken thirteen years to follow-up their sole release, but with a cast that includes Misery Index, Cattle Decapitation and Scour alumni, the trials of time can be forgiven with Cast The Stone, and new EP release Empyrean Atrophy (Agonia) shows that this band has a lot more worth than simply being a side dabbling for them.Continue reading
So, we’re the Ghost Cult, and they’re a cvlt festival in Bergen ‘The Cradle Of Black Metal’, Norway. It’s a match made in heaven. It’s a solid swipe to the right, and it brings the promise of a romantic walk down that left hand path. OK, enough now. I mean, according to a pilot study conducted by famous Vilayanur Ramachandran there’s potential readers out there suffering from what is known as ‘metaphor blindness’. Keeping it simple: we found ourselves at one of Norway’s hottest underground metal festivals at the very last weekend of August, for four days of a full à la carte metal menu.
Celebrating their 5th anniversary this weekend in Bergen NO, the Beyond The Gates Festival brings the best in underground Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom, Thrash, Occult and Heavy Metal. Headliners include Venom Inc, featuring Abbadon and Mantas from the legendary Venom, Deströyer 666, and Gaahl’s (Gorgoroth, Wardruna) new band, Gaahls WYRD. Consisting of Trelldom material only, the Gaahl has commented “Many of these songs, from frontman Gaahl’s first ever black metal band, have never been played live before, so this will be a unique and unforgettable event.”
You can get tickets for the weekend at this link:
Beyond The Gates Festival -Full Line-up:
Venom Inc (UK)
Deströyer 666 (AU)
Gaahls WYRD performing Trelldom (N)
Infernal War (PL)
Secrets of the Moon (D)
Magister Templi (N)
Black Anvil (US)
Spirit Cabinet (NL)
Saturnalia Temple (S)
Ritual Death (N)
Black Magic (N)
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A side project of Mourning Beloveth, Abaddon Incarnate and Altar of Plagues members, only a demo has previously emerged in the three years of Malthusian‘s existence. A support slot on the recent Primordial UK tour raised a few surprised heads in appreciation, and this downright dank, evil EP, Below the Hengiform (Invictus) enhances that growing reputation.
Coated in a production dripping with rotting tendrils and assorted filth, a crushing Doom-like weight yields to a more technical, less chaos-infested version of infernal Portland duo Aevangelist, and when a production is deliberately engineered to augment the sound I’m all for it,
The rasping screams of opener ‘The Gasless Billows’ lead into an eerie, Blackened-Doom corridor of fear before the blastbeats and subdued, skewed riffs emit increased energy, yet remain utterly devoid of hope. The fetid atmospheres of the dark, possessed ‘Slouching Equinox’, it’s crashing roars subterranean, are positively rancid and reek of decaying life; the cavernous roar near unintelligible yet the mid-paced bridges, whilst steeped in swampwater, display elements of Classic Metal and the disgusting filth the crashing coda washes the ears in is as delicious as it is diseased. The full cacophony is utterly monstrous and, while the Doomy mid-section does occasionally feel a little empty, the omen of horror remains and is borne out by a chilling, screaming coda.
The weight of those riffs and pounding drums in closer ‘Forms Become Vapor’ is nauseating, yet not enough to prevent a return to Aevangelist’s swerving riffs and harrowing choruses. It’s a finale that continues the blend of twisted horror and monolithic power this band, with all its experience, seems destined to purvey to perfection.
On an ever-poignant date for Manchester, and in a venue situated within a small area of the city known as ‘Little Ireland’, it seems apt for the morose, blackened death of Eireann quartet Malthusian to be laying waste. Through the bloody annoying strobe effects, impressive frontman Pauric Gallagher stood behind his bass like a colossus, his Lemmy-style stance and ferocious, deep scour complementing the blackened rasp of co-vocalist Andrew Cunningham. Brutally savage yet with added elements of crushing doom, this was a huge assault on the senses and a delicious aperitif.
Minor issues blighted the early Winterfylleth sound but old favourite ‘Ghosts of Heritage’ had the floor bouncing. Emotive new track ‘Careworn Heart’, from the band’s The Divination of Antiquity (Candlelight) opus, was led in by a beautifully taped acoustic intro; the more subtle yet crashing, almost mournful feel which displayed the new expansion and versatility of the band grasping the room in the palm of its hand. It’s this creative freedom, embodied by much of Dan Capp‘s delicate, post-style leadwork, which has propelled these local boys-next-door to hero status. Crowd favourite ‘Defending the Realm’ was greeted with unfettered joy, yet there was more an awed reverence rather than a pulsating throb for this adored outfit.
A stirring Irish lament played Primordial to the stage, whence the unmistakable figure of the painted, hooded Nemtheanga roared “Are you with us?”. Generating rapturous, impassioned crowd accompaniment, one of Metal’s truly great frontmen stared wildly and prowled like a possessed madman through the rousing ‘Where Greater Men Have Fallen’, sorely apt given tonight’s close proximity to the site of the 1819 Peterloo massacre. Fiercely expressive, yet allying the bitter anger to a dark humour, the spokesman for The Committed announced the outrageously powerful, emotive ‘Babel’s Tower’ as “my confession”; whilst the ‘skipping bullet’ guitar line of ‘As Rome Burns’ is introduced to ecstatic roars with the tagline “This is the United States of Europe – you have the right to hate who you want”. The constant wall of resonant riffs were part of the defining proof that this is no mere backing band, subtly and skilfully producing a thunderous swell of sound, the rhythm and drums a colossal thunder. Tolling bells blending with brutality, classics ‘The Coffin Ships’ and ‘Empire Falls’ were greeted like old friends and closed not merely a scintillating night, but the most passionate, moving, Herculean live performance I have ever seen.
Words by PAUL QUINN
Photos by LUKE DENHAM