Belphegor embarked on a very extensive world tour with their latest studio album released in 2014, Conjuring the Dead. The line-up of this European tour was very impressive as Belphegor’s partners in crime were Vital Remains, Hate and a relatively newcomer to the scene, Ethereal. I caught them in Wolverhampton, one of their UK stops.
Ethereal is a symphonic black metal band from Liverpool. Opus Aethereum is a very promising first album of theirs and after having seen Ethereal several times on stage before I’m pretty sure if they keep up with this musical progression and impressive live shows, next time they will be the headliners. But for now Ethereal has the (un)fortunate opportunity to be show openers. As their set was right after doors, only a few people caught them. Nevertheless, they did their best, and the people who were there and appreciatively banged their heads surely agree with that.
Polish act Hate is from the blackened side of death metal and apart from the obvious in-your-face Behemoth influence, which is difficult to ignore, they have their own legacy and they weren’t afraid to show it. Despite having a short time to play, their music spoke for itself, however, I would have expected a little bit more stage presence from them.
Vital Remains is a band that has gone through a lot and seen a lot but still seem to have lost none of the passion they have. Let it be headlining a festival on the main stage or a small venue like this, their set will never be compromised. Vocalist, Brian Werner was first a bit disappointed with the crowd not participating too much: “This is not a Maroon 5 gig!” – he told us and also compared the place to a library rather than a death metal ritual. Nevertheless, slowly but surely the crowd got into the mood and by the time Brian made his way to the crowd by climbing over the barriers everyone was ready to tear the place apart. At the end of the song Brian went to the back to shout the last notes in the face of the merch guy before he made he returned to the stage for the grand finale, “Dechristanized”. With the brilliant intro, “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana, it was a majestic close to their set.
The stage got set quickly for Belphegor. Incense, skulls and other things you need to conjure the demons of the underworld. Helmut and co. played a very intense set, even the smoke alarm went off. Of course, it was mostly because of the excess incense smoke rather than the smoking stench of death. As you would expect their set consisted of mostly tracks from their latest, Conjuring the Dead. I don’t think anybody minded that as this album, for me, is one of th best Belphegor albums. Along with “Gasmask Terror”, “Conjuring the Dead”, “Black Winged Torment” and “Pactum in Aeternum” there were some old time favourites like “Bondage Goat Zombie” and “Lucifer Incestus”.
I really liked how they treated this very small club gig as any other big stage gig. I completely forgot about the fact that they were playing on a tiny stage but Belphegor made me feel that I am part of something special. And that’s what it is all about when you are on a tour.
Full photo gallery:
All live photography courtesy of Vivien Varga and MetalRecusants.com.