On the 17th and 18th of November, the second edition of the underground metal festival Krater took place. And just like last year we were served some very fine acts.
The bands that took the stage these two nights were Black Viper, Reptilian, Execration, Antichrist, Kringa, Reveal, Whoredom Rife, Vorum, Dead Lord and Irkallian Oracle. All of which are from Norway and Sweden, except Austria-based Kringa. (Yes, I know Vorum is from Åland, but still, let’s call them Swedish today, or maybe Finnish?) Who needs to be looking for great bands far and wide when you’ve got them practically on your doorstep, right? At least when booking bands for a festival in Norway it must be a great feeling.
The first band to hit the stage was the speed metal machine Black Viper from Norway. They released a demo earlier this year and has been working hard on the debut record which has only minor details left before it’s finished and ready for the necks out there. These guys got great taste in music which was heavily confirmed as the epic song Megalomania by Russian heavy metal veterans Aria was used as intro before Black Viper themselves started to play. Big thumbs up!
The band was on fire from the first riff, and with most of Black Viper already being experienced through other bands except for the vocalist, there were no hesitation and everything was tight , thrashing and ripping, Agent Steel would be proud. We were served the killer songs from the demo as well as new material, like the born to be classic Hellions of Fire with a tremendous riff that opens and ends the song. Sounded like it came straight ouf of the guitar of Jake E. Lee in his prime in Ozzy. Classic 80’s heavy. Another killer from the new album was Suspiria, with a chorus that was humming in the back of my head long after the gig was finished.
The vocalist Salvador hit those high notes most of the time, but it did towards the end of the set seem like he was getting exhausted, and who can blame him. He seemed like a fairly young guy, so the future looks bright both for his lungs and vocalchords if he keeps this up. All in all a very cool opening gig to the festival. The Black Viper demo is good, but I can almost with 100% certainty say that the debut record will grind it to a hault when it’s released.
After getting refreshments at the bar and doing some chit-chat, the second band of the festival was ready for launch, Reptilian. This up and coming death metal band from the western coast of Norway has a split EP with Inculter, but it wasn’t until they released their debut LP Perennial Void Traverse earlier this year on Edged Circle Prod. that they really got some attention. And rightfully so.
I’ve heard people say that Reptilian might sound a bit too much like fellow countrymen Obliteration, and surely, I won’t disagree on that, but at least they are not another Swedish death metal-copy. And no, they don’t sound ‘too much’ like anything, they actually do got some uniqueness to them if you give the record some time to spin and let it grow on you. Anyway, when playing live there isn’t much to say, these guys knows what todays death metal is about and shows it with confidence, just like before when I’ve seen them on stage. And the crowd seemed to agree as well. Looking forward to future offerings! Well played!
Next up, heavy death metal darkness, formerly known as Execration. After the millennium, these guys can be seen as veterans of the new wave of norwegian death metal, being active since 2004. Execration live has always been a dark yet wonderful experience. Their songs reach the doomiest pits to the blackest deaths, which gives them a lot of variety to play on, and with two outstanding death metal vocalists on top of that, it just makes for one of the top bands in the genre of late. Who can not start to nod their head and tap their feet when Execration starts to play the titletrack of their 2014-album Morbid Dimensions? Exactly, noone.
The band is currently finishing up their highly sought after fourth album, which will be out on none other then Metal Blade Records next year. And when having that focus and comradeship within the band after recordings has ended, there is no surprise that this shows with tremendous force on stage. The band can simply do no wrong when they’re in that zone.
Execration served even a few new songs for the crowd this evening, and I’ve got to say, if this is representative, the fourth album cannot come soon enough. I think I even heard some thrash riffs being present as well, which might be the right thing to do after being drenched in only death and doom for quite a few years now. With Metal Blade Records pushing them, who knows how far this band can go. The tribulation shackles will for sure be broken, of that I have no doubt! Simply a splendid gig!
The fourth and last act of the night is hitting the stage, Swedish thrash metal legion Antichrist. These neckbreakers hit the scene in 2009 with their first official demo Crushing Metal Tape, after which they released a second demo, and a compilation which I haven’t got, I reckon it contains both of those demos. Pretty okay stuff, but when their debut LP Forbidden World was unleashed in 2011, that’s when they really put their name on the map with a big fucking marker. They made a name for themselves, and the next album is something people are really looking forward to.
Antichrist are fierce live, they always have been when I’ve seen them in the past. I might be alone on this though, but it can get a bit monotonous with this type of thrash throughout a whole concert. Play faster, play faster, play faster! Would be cool if Antichrist, on the new album, recorded some real midpaced grinders with amazing catchiness and hooks. They probably won’t, but it’s the only thing lacking in this blunt force trauma of a thrash metal band.
Anton on vocals didn’t seem to have the best of days. His vocals sounded strained and tired on quite a few songs, but besides that he was fully focused and ready for attack, just like the rest of them. I’m quite fond of clichès on stage, so when the band headbanged together in tune all four of them, I had a good laugh and my thumbs were high! A good thrash metal gig by Antichrist, and everyone I talked to after were full of praise, and well, that’s what counts!
The second day of Krater is at hand. Unfortunately I did not make it to the two first bands, namely Kringa and Reveal. Mind you, I am not getting paid or anything of the sort for writing this review, paid my own ticket for both days. Anyway, the people I talked to concerning the Kringa/Reveral-gigs were varied. Some had a lot of positive to say, some did not. Not going to elaborate on that any further.
The third band of the day, and one I had been anticipating quite a lot, was Whoredom Rife. Taking the underground by quite a storm when they hit pretty much out of nowhere with their selftitled MLP which was released through Terratur Possessions a few months back.
As the bells of doom rang across the speakers, the band was getting ready, five in all.
As they started to fill the room with their music, it was evident that this band, even if they have just formed, have great live experience from other bands. Mare, Aptorian Demon, Keep Of Kalessin, Black Majesty, Kaosritual and so forth, a live band to be reckoned with.
Their whole attitude and presense on stage was impeccable. Whoredom Rife are firmly rooted in black metal, and their riffs are reminiscent of the early 90’s black metal at times, with epic, harmonic and ‘proud’ riffs with elegance, even adding some synth here and there for enhanced atmospheres.
Vocalist K.R. did a supreme jobb, spewing forth his lyrics like there was no tomorrow, with a deep and roaring voice. Perfect for Whoredom Rifes’ music. Some said after the gig that it sounded a bit monotonous, but I asked if they had heard Rifes’ release, and they hadn’t. If they had, everything would have sounded much clearer and logical. But that’s pretty much what happens with a lot of extreme bands you hear for the first time live without having heard them on record.
Highlight of the concert was the immense Gitt Til Odin from the mini LP. A great opus with riffs that really stick to you, and as expected, the band performed it flawlessly. This unit is to be reckoned with in the years to come, both on record and stage.
Even though the prices at the bar were quite expensive, fortunately the drinks were fresh and many, so things were shaping up for Vorum. Vorum started up as Haudankaivaja in 2006, but fortunately (!) changed their name to Vorum after a couple of years. We are talking ugly death metal madness, with filth and disgust running down each riff thriving through the speakers. The crowd seemed pleased and tried their best to keep up with the intensity coming from the stage. Luckily Vorum did incorporate some of the songs which actually has some catchiness to them as well, and that made for some variation. Some.
Vorum might just be the ones that will take over for the now abandoned crown which was once worn by Repugnant. Vorum seem to have that drive, passion and similarity to make it far, hopefully even further than Repugnant managed to without loosing their vision and craft.
As a whole, this was a solid example on how to summon horrid death metal live. Pure, devoted and extreme. I glanced over at the bartender while Vorum was playing Current Death and she was yawning. This music just isn’t for pretty little blond girls and I’ll take it as sign of a successful performance!
Like a breath of fresh air Dead Lord takes centre stage and smacks everyone over the head with their supremely catchy hard rock. After almost being butchered sonically by Whoredom Rife and Vorum, it was nice to have some pure rock’n’roll filling the venue. And as the vocalist Mr. Krim shouted; “Okay you ‘yellow goat’ worshippers, it’s time for some rock!” it felt only natural to have this band on the bill.
Dead Lord is firmly rooted in 70’s rock and obviously very inspired by Thin Lizzy. I’ve personally never been the biggest Lizzy fan, but I’m quite a big fan of Dead Lord. They manage to perform those catchy licks and hooks to the point, making it pretty much impossible to do some headbanging and fistpumping.
Dead Lord ploughed through quality tune after quality tune, with the first segment of the gig having a lot focus on the first (and for now, best) album, Goodbye Repentance. Songs like Hank, Hammer To The Heart, Because of Spite and the ridiculously catchy Onkalo were all part of a very solid setlist we were served this night. After playing a ton of dates in 2016, and pretty much all of October and November, it was no surprise that the band was tight as hell and everything we were presented oozed of professionalism. I was quite stunned that the vocals of Krim was still as good as ever after so many dates in a row, his vocals were spot on and is always filled with an immense feeling.
A band like Dead Lord is just pure heavy rock fun, in other words, quite the opposite of what was to emerge and close the festival. A big cheer to Dead Lord!
The final band to enter Krater was the enshrouded ritual darkness known as Irkallian Oracle. The contrasts have never been bigger than that of Dead Lord and this band.
This entity resides in the Gothenburg-area of Sweden, and summons unholy black death metal with a very ritualistic aura around it exclusively. It is not a band that takes playing live lightly. There is an altar present which fills the venue with death and decay. There is a dead rat placed in front of the stage, and all members are cloaked in black robes which covers their body and faces. In a way the image is a cross between that of Mgla (masked), Necros Christos (bone necklaces) and Dødsengel (cloaked) in a way. A lot of bands of late has jumped on the the whole cloaked and being anonymous-thing on stage, fortunately this image works well for Irkallian Oracle opposed to certain other bands.
The robe of the possessed vocalist is left open during their performance, and indeed there is no other garments left underneath, leaving the naked flesh for all innocent eyes to see. Yes, it is quite unusual, but when the attention to his phallos has died, it somewhat makes sense with the fact that this truly is a (naked) ritual for the individuals involved on stage.
The wall of darkness that spews forth as the band gets things started is impressive, it’s depraved, mighty and warm. Some of the riffage reminds me from that of Gateways To Annihiliation by Morbid Angel, and it works very well.
As the last incantation is finished, the band leaves the stage quickly and is gone. These sorts of gigs can leave one thinking that the band is full of pathetic religious freaks, but I actually got the feeling that these people are not out to play games, but really mean what they preach and stands fully behind its message. And as long as you are convinced of something, like it seems this band is, there stirs a flame in their hearts I’m sure a lot of people would envy them.
Thus ends Krater anno 2016. I’m sure the organisers aren’t too happy with the ticketsales, but I sincerely hope they will go at it again next year. Maybe with an even more varied line-up genrewise than this edition. This is a great festival, and hopefully it will grow in the coming years.
I have not mentioned the actual sound on each band in this review, but that’s because I will end it with saying that absoluetly all bands I witnessed had incrediblly impressive sound. Some of the best I’ve heard on a festival to be honest. It was one successfulsounding concert after another. So one big cheer of the highest approval goes to the sound engineer Loiuse L.L., incredible work!
Until next time,
Words by U.