Date: November 8th, 2016
Venue: Voodoo Lounge, Dublin
Line-up: Inquisition + Rotting Christ + Mystifier + Schammasch
Tonight’s “Bloodshed Rituals” show is a dream for any fan of black metal. It’s co-headlined by two heavy weights of the genre with celestial black metal heavyweights Inquisition and some melodic black metal from the Greeks in Rotting Christ. Joining them on the long trek around Europe are cult act Mystifier and relative newcomers Schammasch.
The youngest of our acts tonight open the show, the blackened death metal quartet Schammasch from Switzerland. The band open start things up rather low key, with back turned to the crowd there is dissonant sounds filling the air. After setting the tone the band slowly turn around and drown us in thick dense distorted riffs. They’ve adopted the mythical and atmospheric tone of Blut aus Nord and Deathspell Omega with a touch of modern Behemoth. While this sounds like a good idea on paper in this live setting I found myself intrigued for the first minute or two of each of the songs they played but quickly lost interest when they were stretched out to the eight to ten minute mark. Forty minutes is a hefty amount of time for an opening band and perhaps shaving off those extra few minutes could have helped keep the crowd better engaged.
Mystifier have been terrorising people with their old school black metal for around 27 years now. Traveling all the way over from Brazil to embark on this tour it was no surprise to hear that this was the band’s debut Irish show. Every box on the hypothetical black metal checklist was ticked, corpse paint, massive spikes on their outfits and dripping head to toe in black clothing. It would have been easy to dismiss these guys as trying too hard but I think they surprised a lot of people with the energetic and over the top performance. Guitarist Beelzeebubth and vocalist/bassist Sorcerer Do’Urden looked like two of the happiest people I’ve ever seen once they hit that stage, they loved what they were doing and loved even more that the Irish crowd were enjoying their performance too. Although I wouldn’t believe a word they say about their chances of returning to our shores, anyone in that crowd (especially those who repeatedly shouted “hail satan!” throughout) enjoyed their set.
As this was a co-headline show I wasn’t too surprised when I was walking around to hear a mixture of people stating they were there for one or the other headline act. Being firmly in the Rotting Christ half of the crowd I was really looking forward to their set. Their latest albums haven’t been everyone’s cup of tea and even being a fan myself I was curious how the new material would sound live. As the opened with ‘Ze Nigmar’ my fears had been quelled, the simple ritualistic beats worked well in a live setting and had heads moving. ‘Elthe Kyrie’ and ‘Apage Satana’ were slightly stranger picks and while some people were somewhat confused at Sakis’ semi-prayer it sounded good. After some new material the band weren’t afraid to dive right back into their back catalogue for a more primitive sound. ‘The Sign of Evil Existence’ and ‘The Forest of N’Gai’ were more to some peoples tastes but it was their cover of Thou Art Lord’s ‘Societas Satanas’ which saw their first circle pit and shout alongs. Back to newer material ‘Grandis Spiritus Diavolos’ and ‘Noctis Era’ saw good sync between Sakis with guitarist George Emmanuel and bassist Van Ace joining in for the warrior like chants. I can safely say that all my waiting to see the band had paid off with a phenomenal set with my only gripe being that it was only an hour long, here’s hoping a full length set is in the cards in the near future.
Now that the Rotting Christ crowd had their fill it was the turn of camp Inquisition to have their fun. I wasn’t overly familiar with the bands material but I was shocked to see that, even after scouring the stage a few times, that the wall of black metal filling my ears was the work of just two men on stage. Drummer Incubus was beating his kit to give us some intense black beats to shake the floors while vocalist and guitarist Dagon was left to fill in the remaining void with heavy hypnotic riffs. Being just the two of them didn’t affect their sound in any way, an impressive feat in my eyes. While there was little in the way of any real crowd interaction, besides the introduction of a couple of tracks and Dagon moving between both microphones set up on stage, that wasn’t a negative for many who were simply content with taking in the music and swaying their heads back and forth to the ever-changing riffs and patterns. It was clear that a large majority of the crowd had been to see these guys, a quick glance around the room revealed many people entranced by the performance only ever breaking their gaze and head banging to applaud the band.