BEYOND THE GATES – Day 1 – Bergen, Garage
- by Thomas Moine
- Posted on 20-09-2012
Beyond the Gates is a new festival in Bergen. Not thought and wanted as an ersatz to Hole in The Sky, the festival focuses on underground bands and has not biggie, no headliner. As a result, it’s a festival to discover bands and finally see a few others in an intimate place without feeling like fishes in a tin box like it often was at HITS. Underground music is not moving masses, and being able to breathe in the Garage’s basement when it’s still a festival is a great bonus. Besides, the line up would make anybody’s underwear wet.
Bergen based band Tortorum got the task to open the festival, with a traditional Black Metal taking a lot from early Marduk, Gorgoroth or Behemoth releases, and the Norwegian Black Metal scene in general. The only problem is: the band is a newcomer. Re-doing what was already done and re-done over almost twenty years, on stage as well as on CD. If the sound was more than OK (for almost all the night), the drums do not follow and the only thing to remember of this concert is the performance on the vocals of Barghest from Spearhead. This reminded me of Donn: The Philosophy during the last Taake tour: a support band that people watches from the bar and forgets and soon as they go back home.
Tortorum @ Beyond the Gates 2012 (Photo: Jarle H. Moe)
Hetroertzen quickly made me want to take some fresh air and cross the street for a panini. I mean, the guys looked like a pope-ish version of Stargate, with altar, badass cup like in Indiana Jones and all, and they smocked out the place with incense. With the burner like in movies. Or Ghost concerts. Then they – at last – began playing and good news, the drums sound way better live than the bongo-bongo mud they are on CD. Sometimes groovy, with here and there, patterns lurking around the D-beat style and mid-tempoes here and there. Except the unnecessary mock-masses between the songs and a static position, the vocalist did manage to captivate the audience. It’s also always nice to see female musicians, we’re speaking here about a lady guitarist. The gig in general was musically not unstable nor too heterogen, overall a good surprise pushing upwards both offerings and expectations. Way to go. But please, cut the crap and the magical Star Wars masks.
Hetroertzen @ Beyond the Gates 2012 (Photo: Jarle H. Moe)
The first thing (some) people see and will remember with One Tail One Head, it’s a Black Metal version of Axl Rose sitting behing their drums. Then come the numerous T-shirts and patches bearing the band’s logo in the public. With no other releases than a bunch of demo’s and EP’s, and pit stops at HITS 2011 and Inferno 2012, OTOH has been on all mouths in the underground all around Europe. Overrated or underrated, good image strategy and what else I don’t know, but they already have their fanbase (maybe it’s just because of Axl Black). The gig itself was cleaner and better than last year at the same place and could have taught the guys in Tortorum that yes, you can play old school Black Metal and still putting your own twist in it. If OTOH sweats from every pore some Darkthrone and Celtic Frost, their (bloody) live shows let except only good for future releases. Good Black metal gig. Nothing more nothing less. Amateurs seemed satisfied.
TortorumOne Tail, One Head @ Beyond the Gates 2012 (Photo: Jarle H. Moe)
Svartidaudi was the band I was expecting myself, and what a disappointment ! If the demos lets us except and hope for raw Black Metal with atmospheric ambiences once they record something more studio-friendly, the concert at Beyond the Gates was more painful than anything else. Mashed guitars covered with way to loud vocals convinced me that the band should have played first and not after three ear-hammering other gigs. As for the aesthetics, give back her stockings to Grandma.
Svartidaudi @ Beyond the Gates 2012 (Photo: Jarle H. Moe)
One Tail One Head then came back on stage to play anoth… no. Some of the OTOH guys also play in Mare, including Axl Black – he actually has a monicker but it apparently can’t be written, so how am I suppose to call him? The singer however is unknown to me and looks like a Frankenstein that tried to put on a necklace to small for him, resulting in bearing a pentagram pendant on his forehead and looking around eyes all opened. Whatever. Mare plays a versatile Black Metal with intensive use of mid-tempoes and repetitive, hypnotic guitar themes. Despite a great scenic and musical presence I felt that their set was crippled by way to much effects on the vocals, giving an industrial voice-over unfitting totally the music and getting absolutely unbearable after a few songs. If that was done on purpose, not a good idea. However, i will definitely see them again when I can, and am looking forward any LP coming around.
Mare @ Beyond the Gates 2012 (Photo: Jarle H. Moe)
Keeping the pace with five Black metal bands in one night is quite a challenge even for aficionados of the genre, so it’s sweet dreams before the butchery coming the next day. Kudos to OTOH for the best set of the evening and thumbs up for Mare and Hetroertzen for having managed pretty well.