Vader + Hypnos, Brutally Deceased & some Italian band we missed on both nights
|Czechs Brutally Deceased being highly Swedish.|
It was all about Vader. However, a Whatsapp conversation with a mate while in the hotel room in Plzen had me psyched for Hypnos too - allegedly, a band worth maiming and killing to see, returned pioneers, forgotten legends of death metal. A must for fans of Incantation. Before they were to go on, their fellow Czechs Brutally Deceased took the stage for an effective and remorseless old school death metal battering - their sound is Swedish to the bone, they worship the d-beat, they flirt with the blast, they suckle at the nipple of the vast and booming riff, they are, in fact, one of the best ways I can imagine to see olden days Swedeath these days. Not something I would have rotating on the old iPod very frequently, but the sheer energy and lustiness of their live show is a great way to get a fix. The lads in the band even look somewhat like the old line-up pictures of groups like Nihilist, Carnage and Dismember you see in Daniel Ekeroth's book. Good stuff. Managed to miss 'em on the second night though - like I say, the Czechs are not in the business of fucking about when it comes to starting live shows.
But Brutally Deceased were not a patch on the huge, huge experience that was Hypnos. Throughout the experience all I could think to myself was "God help us all". Then I remembered that there is no such thing, and it was all I could do not to fall to my knees and weep at the knowledge that no power in existence could protect me or anyone I hold dear from the merciless onslaught being meted out upon us. A combination of Behemoth and Incantation might well sum up, in the most immediate, vulgar way possible, the craft of these wizards of brutality. The drumming was some of the best I have heard live, and I've seen some fantastic drummers doing their thing; the guitars, aided by a terrific sound both nights, were nothing short of a massacre - I use so many adjectives in conjunction with tremolo riffing on this blog, words fail me; and the same goes for the occasional injections of tasteful chugging, such as in the appropriately named mammoth 'Journey Into Doom'. The night in Plzen I was nice and drunk by the time they came on, and it has been a very long time since I've been so cruel to my neck, directly in front of the stage as well (in most cases I prefer to avoid anything that might turn into a moshpit). In Praha, I decided to stand back and enjoy the songs for what they were - venerable death metal compositions at the absolute highest level. I cannot recommend this band highly enough, live or (I have since discovered) on CD.
|More Czechs known as Hypnos showing fuckers how its done.|
Almost as an epilogue to the excellent and most vile rant posted by m'colleague regarding despicable behaviour at gigs, I have to mention one subhuman swine that incurred my ire at this ho-down, by haunting my girlfriend in some bizarre attempt to chat her up in his broken English with me standing right there. I can understand that people will fancy her. She's the most delicious slice of femininity on the planet, and when she's stood there in an intolerably sexy leather jacket covered in Death and Darkthrone buttons, yes, its understandable any metalhead would cut off their feet for a chance with her. I would, but I don't have to. But to do this when you've already been politely shooed off once or twice, then explicitly told to go away, when you are a malnourished, ill-formed little reptile, when an unfriendly looking six-plus-foot skinhead is stood with an arm around her, is beyond foolishness. Having eventually had a hand in his face when his continued advances overrode my British tolerance and tapped into my ever-simmering loathing of humanity in general, this puny wretch spent the remainder of the gig cowering somewhere near the merch table. But ladies, I implore you, don't put up with this shit at gigs. Many blokes will take the hint and fuck off, but almost as many don't seem to understand that women should be actually listened to in these situations instead of just talked at. These pigs will only respond to large, masculine intervention, and as fucking desperately sad as that is, it is the way of things in a subculture blighted by under-developed male-chauvinist cunts. Get a mate or a boyfriend or whatever to intervene should this threaten to ruin your night, and hopefully one day our species will evolve to the point where the one gender will process the actions of the other as if it came from its own. Or maybe society will evolve to the point where violent crowd slaughter can be enacted upon such people without legal reprisal, negating the need for the mentioned evolution and bringing a lot more satisfaction with it.
ANYWAY. Vader was predictably excellent on both nights. Really tight, unleashing the majority of cuts from Sothis and Black to the Blind in addition to their "greatest hits" with admirable ferocity. I was also pretty glad I got down to two of these shows, since with somewhat remarkable gentility, the band adjusted their set slightly each night. Accompanied by a reminiscence of the band's first ever hike through Plzen back in something like '93, they tacked their cover of Black Sabbath's eponymous song onto that set. For Vanessa this was huge, this being the song that, as it did for many, turned metal from merely a pretty awesome genre of music a large and handsome gentleman perennially garbed in black t-shirts had introduced her to, into a way of life. Then for the Prague stop, the band wound things up with their more common closer 'Raining Blood' by this yankee thrash band. But more importantly, they found room to smash out the amazing 'This Is The War' from the nigh-flawless Art Of War EP. Actually this EP is the one they should be playing in full on a tour some time, given it has ended up as one of the biggest blockbusters by the band. I shall have to see this band again on a "normal" tour so I can see stuff like 'Decapitated Saints' and maybe 'Reign Carrion', not to mention I should like it if Impressions In Blood (an underrated and unusual Vader album) got more of a look in. However they did knock out 'Devilizer', which, having seen it live now, I must say is a bit like a death metal 'Painkiller' - just irresistible as soon as that killer drum fill starts up. At any rate, great sound, enthusiastic and genuinely heartfelt performance from a top-tier band that plays seemingly every night of the year, and a few rather amusing moments of between-song banter where Piotr sounded Scottish for some reason. I guess the English language screws everyone up differently.
Oh and one other interesting little encounter with the foul and reprehensible aspect of gigs (yes, my recent live reviews have been less band coverage than a litany of loathing and scorn, but I like to think our blog offers something extra to the usual metal journalism). During the Prague show, I started to notice that there was someone behind me letting out obnoxiously loud noises between songs. This is quite normal, yes. Many metalheads think that the quiet moments at the gigs of your favourite band are the best time to try out your best death growl or black metal vocal style, just in case there's a talent spotter from Season Of Mist attendant. But this sound I was hearing was a bizarre, rough, nasal kind of "nyaaarrghhh" being emitted at random points between and during songs. Very, very persistently and very loudly. What a tosser, I thought - but then, when I stole a glance at the source of this strange behaviour, it took on a whole new element of human interest. The culprit was a fairly normal looking, bald, rotund fellow - but his eyes, The Eyes, were tiny, beady. Not just that, they gleamed in the light of the venue with an intense enjoyment that spoke only of involvement in the moment, like those of a baby. This creature became even more fascinating when he moved forward during the Slayer cover - as he roiled and convulsed to the music, his arms seemed to shake at his sides as if he had no autonomy over them, his head jerked entirely out of tune with what was going on in the rhythm section, and the overall effect was of a puppet that has recently gained sentience. Combined with the noises he was making, this was all quite amazing to experience, and I even overcame my disdain to observe this entity with something bordering the desire to make a documentary. Two days of spellbinding stuff, all told.