Date: June 25th, 2016
Venue: Fibber Magees, Dublin
Line-up: Corr Mhóna + Skullthrone + Nonserviam + Horrenda
While summer in many countries is a time to go out soak up the sun, here in Ireland it’s generally a mixed bag with the rain taking charge for the majority of it. Nowhere else would this, the Black Midsummer Night, make more sense, so tonight we embrace the darkness with some of the finest black metal from here and the UK.
Opening tonight’s proceedings are Horrenda, a band whom I’m fairly familiar with their run of demoes but have yet to actually see them live up until now. The first thing that struck me when they started playing was the power behind it, something that is fairly lacking on their recorded material. Deeply rooted in the 90’s second wave of black metal, the music is harsh and cold but with that added touch of a political nature due to their frequent usage of pre-recorded speeches. I was surprised by vocalist Arron “Nomad” O’ Shaughnessy, his fairly young face deceived me when that venomous croak was spewed out. Needless to say I’m more intrigued to the bands future material now that I’ve seen their growth as a live band, watch this space.
Similarly to Horrenda, London-based Nonserviam take their main influence from second wave black metal. A rarity in the genre, the band were three-quarters female leaving their friend Demiurge Apzu to help them out behind the kit. The band recently lost their bass player but I don’t feel that hindered their live sound too much. Again they had a dark nihilistic sound, the sharp riffs from guitar pairing Dionne and Louisa blended in well with vocalist Nadia’s shrieked croak. Nadia looked a little nervous a couple of times, no doubt due to an over-excited stage invader but she didn’t let it deter her. The band hasn’t had too much live experience, playing their first show just a couple of months ago, but they’ve put on a good show tonight.
Edging even further into the darkness, we welcomed Skullthrone to the stage. While the previous bands also donned a form of corpse paint these guys took it once step further with their tattered attire and smudged faces. Their set was relentless, heavier than the other bands, with a death metal influence. Vocalist Khrul gaze pierced you when he caught you in his sights, and his vocals, especially when they were layered with one of the guitarist, was earth-shattering. Their drummer Anaal was absolutely on fire, the relentless speed and aggression made me think he could just collapse at any moment.
Corr Mhóna (Corr Ṁóna) are a little different than the other bands, instead of sticking to traditional black metal they play their own celtic-infused variety with some doom leanings. They had been the band whose performance I was the most eager to see after discovering them and their debut album Dair last year but unfortunately I had to miss half their set. Luckily enough I was still able to catch some of their performance and I was not disappointed. Their sound is balanced around their three vocalists balancing cleans and blackened shrieks, and live they were up to the task of faithfully recreating the atmosphere on record. The band is currently recording their second album and treated us to a new track which will be on it. It sounded like a good continuation of the sound of their debut but with a larger life about, I can’t wait to hear it when it’s released at some point down the line.