© Colin Patterson
Photos by Colin Patterson
Live Gig Review by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Over the years I have embraced many musical genres and styles-as illustrated by my extensive and varied personal music collection. One however I have chosen to give a wide berth to is dark-death metal. However adopting the philosophy of welcoming a challenge I decided quite literally to ride into the valley of the death. Location Belfast where three purveyors of a harsher and brutal tune age awaited in an attempt to win me over to the dark side. I had done just a basic reconnaissance into their musical history-as I decided to formulate my opinion in the live setting.
First on the bill were the sweetly termed Fleshgod Apocalypse from Italy. The band were formed in 2007 and describe themselves as “symphonic death metal” Unfortunately they represented most of what I dislike about this style of music. From the obligatory corpse paint, through to the token wailing banshee female vocalist. I was totally nonplussed by their live show. The main sticking point was the lack of any diversity in their vocals on each “track”While I understand that the music is driven by these I felt that the tunes were not distinguishable. Token Gothic horror element was provided by an Uncle Fester Munsters character on piano. The piano itself provided an unusual on-stage presence but served only to serve as a visual and not an effective musical accompaniment to the horror show. Audience reaction was largely muted in response apart from a few fans that were dressed in matching costume to that of their Fleshgod heroes. Largely unimpressed at this stage and there were still two bands to come. The omens were not looking great.
Brazilian three piece Krisiun were up next and they were the one band that I had heard most favorable reports of. They still contained the stereotypical attributes of the death metal style, but illustrated more diversity in the rhythm parts and guitar tones. Vocals were also clearer, and lyrics could even be clearly distinguishable, albeit for brief periods. Audience numbers had grown and it was clear that at least half of the attendees were fans. I actually found myself enjoying the vocal-less instrumental passages, which saw some quality musicianship and inter play. Audience reaction was positive and I felt more comfortable both visually and also sonically. These were musicians that didn’t need to rely on faux-cabaret shock horror theatrics and preferred to focus more on their music. Harnessing some elements of old school thrash in their sonic delivery I think was the element that successfully won me over to their cause. I would even go so far as to say that I would consider checking out their musical back catalogue at some point. Perhaps the dark side was beginning to take hold of me after all.
Prior to this show I had mixed feelings regarding headliners Katakylsm from Canada. Having had their latest release “Waiting for the End to Come”for several weeks it had some good and bad aspects for me personally. However on their live showing I came away feeling a general sense of satisfaction. They certainly raised the bar by several points as a crazy pit of bouncing bodies took over the floor front stage-this energy level continued throughout their set from both band and audience. The only thing missing for this old school metal and thrash fan was the stage diving that had characterized the gigs of my youth. Unfortunately in the modern gig-going age austere heavy handed elements of bureaucracy with regard to healthy and safety issues had removed this element from any live shows. Musically again as expected the typical genre elements were present in terms of style sound and stage presence. Like Krisiun before them however, their set had some features which were aurally pleasing to me.
In conclusion some pre-judged prejudices regarding death metal were borne out, however there were also other aspects that I did admit to finding surprisingly pleasing. While there wasn’t a full blown conversion to the dark and death metal side, I have certainly become a little more open-minded with regard to its appeal and merits.