Date: February 17th, 2016
Venue: The Voodoo Lounge, Dublin
Line-up: Kataklysm + Septicflesh + Aborted
It’s a rare treat when a concert line-up is announced and any of the bands would be considered worthy headliners but that’s exactly what happened with the announcement of the “Northern Hyperblast” Canadian’s Kataklysm. As part of a massive 44-date European tour they were joined by death/grind masters Aborted and symphonic death metal pioneer’s Septicflesh.
Normally the opening act is there for just that, to open the show and get people excited for the headlining act, but this wasn’t just any standard opener this was the mighty Aborted. The crowd didn’t need any of the usual prodding for a response, they were pumped up and rearing to go, headbanging and moshpits were already appearing at this early point in the night. With 20 years’ worth of material to choose from, much of the tracks played came from 2003’s Goremageddon and their latest E.P Termination Redux released just last month, sitting together nicely alongside each other. The music was aggressive and relentless, giving hardly any respite. The guitars were ridiculously heavy and the rhythm section was equally just as devastating. Vocalist Sven de Caluwe stuck to the front of the stage right in front of the crowd, partially because in his words “he had an inch to move” but it only served to emphasis his already devastating delivery.
Up next was Septicflesh (or Septic Flesh if you prefer), a band who’s performance was highly anticipated by many as it was the group’s first ever performance in Ireland. They stuck mainly to the post-reunion albums of Communion right up to 2014’s Titan, with a carefully chosen selection of heavy, melodic and bombastic cuts. From the aggressive torrent of “War in Heaven” and “Communion” to the more clean and melodic “Anubis” and “Prometheus”, Septicflesh’s performance impressed on all fronts. Frontman Spiros “Seth” Antoniou towered proud at the front of the stage giving the crowd every chance to scream along, particularly during the mammoth “Pyramid God”, and generally get involved. Drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner performance was another stand-out of their set, his equally heavy and highly technical playing was fascinating to watch. The band’s debut Irish performance went down a storm with many concert-goer’s (including this reviewer) hoping a headlining show in the near future.
The reception for headliner’s Kataklysm was a little tepid at the beginning playing a pair of new tracks “Breaching the Asylum”, from their latest album Of Ghosts and Gods, and “If I Was God… I’d Burn It All”. However, the crowd really started to liven up a little when the band went back to 2004’s Serenity in Fire for the crowd pleasing “As I Slither”. Following up with another new track “The Black Sheep” to equally high measure, the crowd were in motion with intense headbanging and the pit opening back up in the floor.
Jean-Francois Dagenais is the band’s sole guitarist but he managed to keep the momentum high delivering meaty riffs. Together with bassist Stephane Barbe, he was moving around the stage quite a bit showing no slowing down despite being on the road for more than a month. One of the most recognisable attributes of Kataklysm is, of course, their destructive drums and brutal blast beats. Drummer Olivier Beaudoin is a relative newcomer to the band, replacing longtime member Max Duhamel in 2014, but proves that is a more than capable of filling his predecessor’s shoes and then some by endlessly beating his kit solid for more than an hour. Maurizio Iacono stalked the stage, continuously engaging the crowd and getting them pumped. His vocals were a little on the quiet side at the beginning but were manageable for the rest of the set.
Plenty of older tracks were packed into their set, from “The Ambassador of Pain” and “Where the Enemy Sleeps” to “Open Scars”, a track which the band has never played live before this tour. Closing with the title track of their 20th anniversary compilation album Iron Will, the band left the stage triumphant in their performance pleasing their existing fans and gaining some new converts along the way.