Beyond the Gates

And then it’s over, for this time at least. Hopefully, there will be a lot of more Beyond the Gates’ in the future to come, because this is what it’s all about: Great concerts, even greater people and a lot of good ol’ fun.

THURSDAY

MISÞYRMING

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The whole festival started out with the icelandic band Misþyrming. I reviewed this one for Metal Hammer Norway (in Norwegian), but the rest is presented here.

ONE TAIL, ONE HEAD

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I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this band live, but it doesn’t matter, because One Tail, One Head isn’t the kind of band that makes their gigs into a-regular-day-at-work-gig. Regardless of what genre these guys are playing (black metal with lots of rock’n’roll in it?) there’s no doubt that the music is well-suited to my ears. Seeing them in Oslo a couple a weeks ago, with Tribulation and Obliteration, I expected this concert to be better than the last one, because the energy level at the gig in Oslo was pretty low compared to other earlier seen performances by One Tail, One Head. And I was not mistaken.

One Tail, One Head simply crushed the entire small basement in Bergen, filling it with energy, brutality and intensity. In Golden Light opened the whole event, and from that moment on, vocalist Luctus had the audience’s full attention with his tremendous stage presence. Not many vocalists, or musicians/performers for that matter, have this kind of intense presence whenever they’re on a stage. It’s quite unique actually, and that’s what makes One Tail, One Head’s concerts interesting – besides the musical side of it, that is.

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One of the next songs is a new one, where some of the riffs reminds me a bit of Satyricon-Nemesis Divina. You might think that’s a bad thing, but even though I’m not too familiar with the newer Satyricon albums, the old stuff still kicks some serious ass. Really looking forward to the album – it sounds promising as far as I can tell.

The self-titled song One Tail, One Head is very welcomed by the audience, but it’s not until The Splendour of the Trident Tyger things gets real. The band is on fire, and finish it all up with the mighty Awaken (Being Beyond Form). I totally agree with what’s being stated during the performance: Death to False Devotion!

FRIDAY

MORBUS CHRON

Just read that these guys split up. What a shame. That leaves the gig at Beyond the gates their last one ever, and I’m glad to have been a part of it. I saw these guys earlier this summer at Sweden Rock Festival, and that’s when they really opened my ears, I hadn’t paid this band the attention it deserved until then.

Morbus Chron opened the second day at the festival, and Garage weren’t too crowdy at this point.Too bad for the people that weren’t there, because this gig was really something.

The band is often labeled as progressive death metal, but I’m not quite sure that covers it up. It’s definitely death metal, but there’s much more than that, I guess you can call it melancholic death metal or something? Well, enough with the genres, what was the concert like, you might ask? It was awesome. Simple as that. All the band members seem to play with some sort of ecstatic passion, which gives the music and performance an incredible nerve. Such greatness.

Like the Sweden Rock-gig, the band members left the stage one by one, and this simple gesture is definitely not a big deal, but it’s just so effectful. And come to think of it now, it’s even more of a effect since this was actually the last time.

TRIBULATION

I was looking forward to see Tribulation again, because the two other gigs they played in Norway this summer were great. As on the previous concerts, Strange Gateways Beckoning opened the set. Definitely a great opener, with its melodic, spellbounding intro.

I’m surprised that Garage wasn’t packed when these Swedes hit the stage, I would expected a lot more people to this gig. I guess that’s their loss, because Tribulation continued on with a extraordinary performance.

Since the beginning, Tribulation has changed a lot. The musical style, but also imagewise. The two first albums tended more to death metal, now it’s more melodic, melancholic and live it’s a lot more theatricality to it. Well, I don’t mind the vampirelike image thing, and I’m also a sucker for bands that have a strong visual presence on stage, so I was definitely in for a treat this night.

The set felt kind of short, and they mainly played from their newest album, The Children of the Night, represented by the two of the best songs on the record, In the Dreams of the Dead and The Motherhood of God. Sadly, and surprisingly, they didn’t play the best one, Holy Libations. Bummer, but that maybe had something to do with how much time they had left. To end this spectacular performance, they’ve chosen When the Sky is Black With Devils. Alongside One Tail, One Head and Morbus Chron, this was one of the best concerts at this years edition of Beyond the Gates.

SATURDAY

DREAD SOVEREIGN

DSC03589  This band worked out so much better live than on tape. I mean, I enjoy All Hell’s Martyrs, but live it’s clearly something completely different. And Nemtheanga is doing a really great job with the vocals as well as fronting the band with authority (and the quiz with some impressive skills!). Dread Sovereign has a quite different sound than Nemtheanga’s main band, Primordial, but this one works out pretty good too I think, with its doomy heavy metal tunes.

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In the middle of the set, they even did a cover song, and introducing it by stating “This is a fucking song about drinking whiskey”, and then pounded on with Venom’s Live Like an Angel (Die like a Devil). A lot faster than the original, but hell, the cover sounded great.

SPECTRAL HAZE

I’ve tried to get into Spectral Haze’s music, but it hasn’t done anything for me yet. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like I can’t get the hang of it. I decided to give them another chance at Beyond the Gates, but this was clearly not the best day to try to get under the skin of this band, starting out with some technical difficulties at the beginning of the gig. From where I was standing, I heard mostly drums and the vocal seemed a bit low.

And then there’s the music. I like some of the tunes, and I can understand why people are into it. The audience seemed satisfied, and the band gained a lot of applause during their performance. I do think it was more exciting live than on album, and some of the stuff were pretty cool, but I’m not totally convinced yet. I guess I’m just not the psychedelic spacerock-kind of person.

RANGER

Missed out on these speed metal maniacs at Til Dovre Faller last year, but this time I was ready for some skull splitting metal. Ranger attacked the audience at Garage with some fast and aggressive metal in the veins of speed metal masters as Exciter and Razor, and it sure did sound good. But I have to admit that it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Sure there was some really good energy going around there, and the songs turned out great live. The vocals too, because the vocals is the least interesting on their latest record, Where Evil Dwells. It’s not the vocals itself, but the way it’s mixed, with this dry sound without any depth to it. Anyhow, it sounded way better live, and the show was good, but I’m hoping for a more intense concert when they’re playing in Oslo in December. Or maybe I just have to lower my expectations this time.

During the festival, I also caught a glimpse of Zom, Marduk, Bölzer, Zemial, Archgoat and Grave Pleasures, but I don’t feel capable to give them fair reviews. And then there were some serious partying going on upstairs, so that’s my excuse to the rest of the bands I didn’t see. Thanks to Beyond the Gates for another fantastic time in Bergen!

All photos by: SabbatNoir

Note: I pay my own festival- and concert tickets, and that’s why I’m not reviewing whole festivals for example. I review what I personally feel is worth reviewing. Katarsis is something I do for my own sake and is hopefully interesting for others as well. It is by no means something I do to get free entrance to gigs.

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