If you’ve ever talked to me about music, you probaly know I’m a huge fan of Bölzer. I think they’re the most exciting band playing in extreme metal today, bar none, and their string of releases over the last few years as well as renowned live shows have cemented their place as one of the most talked about extreme metal bands around. I’ve also long been an admirer of Svartidauði’s music, particularly their album “Flesh Cathedral” which remains an all-time favourite, and whose fundamental importance in the growth and development of the Icelandic black metal scene cannot be understated. So imagine my joy when I heard the announcement of the Continental Crucifixion tour, which would bring both of these phenomenal bands along with black/death warlords Archgoat and the bruising blackened death metallers in Eggs of Gomorrh to a city very near where I live! Read on for more details of this incredible tour lineup!
Sound Control is a relatively small venue in Manchester, England, located basically beneath a bridge. There’s a small bar at the back of the room, a small area for the mixing desk etc., and an area for merch stands etc. on the ground floor below. I arrived in good time to catch the opening band, Eggs of Gomorrh. They’re a fairly new band from Geneva, Switzerland, who released their punishing and concise debut album Rot Prophet last year through Vault of Dried Bones. Now I’m not normally the biggest fan of this particularly primal, violent black/death metal, but Eggs of Gomorrh have stood out to me for a while now, particularly due to their more varied and interesting guitarwork. They put on an extremely solid set on Friday, with utterly frenzied black metal riffs galore while drummer “GOATPERV_” delivered some of the most inhumanly fast and intense drumming I think I’ve ever experienced. The nightmarish, frenzied howls and roars of their vocalist “B.N.G.V.” commands much of the attention, and the band clearly impressed a number of audience-members. If you’re into ferocious, bestial black metal you have to check these guys out.
After a short break came Icelandic hallucinogenic black metal dealers Svartidauði. Now, I’ve actually seen them before, as I was lucky enough to travel over to Reykjavik, Iceland for Oration Festival MMXVII in February of this year. Their set there was, unfortunately, mired by technical frustrations, though the band did an admirable job of soldiering on. No such problems afflicted their show in Manchester, however, and they put on one of the most enthralling live performances I’ve ever seen. Much of this is perhaps a function of the fact that I fucking love their noxious, demented style of twisted black metal and its capacity to induce a deep state of meditative transfixion. And transfixed I was: Svartidauði absolutely lived up to the high expectatiosn I had of a band of their calibre, and in fact exceeded them: the band tore through renditions of “Impotent Solar Phallus”, “Flesh Cathedral”, and – from the sounds of it – both of the new songs from their 7″ EP “Depleted Pathways” among others. Their set also included a song which I think is as-of-yet untitled, but there’s an excellent recording of it from the band’s performance in Iceland in 2015 here, and which was my favourite moment of the night (Christ my neck fucking kills after that one). The band’s angular, chaotic style of hallucinogenic black metal was captured perfectly, and I found myself utterly absorbed in the primal, disorienting heart of the music. I only wish their 45 minute set could have gone on even longer. Total fucking perfection.
Bölzer. Fucking, Bölzer. To get this out of the way, Bölzer are by far my favourite band, and finally saw them live on Friday at Sound Control in Manchester. Managed to get a decent picture of them which I posted here. They totally lived up to my expectations: the smell of burning incense saturated the room as they hurtled through their esoteric brand of black/death metal madness. It’s incredible that just two musicians can create such a huge, aggressive sound and command such an exhilarating stage presence. Black banners emblazoned with ‘BLZR’ mark out the stage, incense and smoke fill the room, the lights turn the stage a dark blue, and Bölzer kick off their set with one of the most aggressive songs in their discography, the punishing ‘Roman Acupuncture’, a performance that more than demonstrated the band have not remotely lost their edge. Their live show was as good – if not even better – than their records. The setlist included the furious ‘Zeus – Seducer of Hearts’, their “new” song Born Led God Death (off their C.H.A.O.S. split LP), as well as The Archer, Phosphor, I Am III, and Spiritual Athleticism (and I think Hero as well), of course coming to a close with their now-legendary masterpiece “Entranced by the Wolfshook” It’s really difficult to understate how much energy and presence this band bring to the stage, and the passion and skill with which they perform; seeing frontman Okoi Jones just rock the fuck out to Phosphor was amazing. The songs off the somewhat controversial “Hero” are also even better on stage, and I think helps the record make more sense when you have the context of their earlier material as well; the band’s performance of ‘The Archer’ was phenomenal, and totally reaffirmed my love for that song. Bölzer were total 100% intensity start to finish; a truly special and memorable night.
The final band of the night were Archgoat, whose brand of furiously primitive black/death metal has evidently won over some pretty loyal fans. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the set because I’m generally not a fan of this style of black/death metal (though I’ve enjoyed Archgoat’s material in the past), but I stuck around to see the night through. The band absolutely crushed it. They pulled out all of their best and most popular songs, including ‘Lord of the Void’, ‘Desecration’, ‘Blessed Vulva’ and ‘The Apocalyptic Triumphator’. It was an extremely confident set from a band who are clearly veterans. At one stage they played the highly NSFW intro to ‘Penetrator of the Second Temple’ in full while the vocalist smoked a cigarette on stage, before resuming their utterly relentless black metal assault. The crowd really got into it and the pit conjured up was ferocious. I came away really impressed, and wholeheartedly recommend seeing this ferocious band live if you get the chance, they know how to put on one hell of a show.