Date: July 12 & 13, 2013

Location: Futurum Music Bar, Prague – Czech Republic

Prague Death Mass, vol. II

Should one ask me (before this summer), which two bands would I want to watch the most, the duet of MGŁA and NEGATIVE PLANE would be the definite answer. Thus, their coexistence in this year’s Death Mass festival in beautiful Prague made the excursion to look like a necessity. With 14 bands and enough Nidrosian aura surrounding us, we begin the two-day trip on out way to the underworld.

Friday, July 12th:

After a somewhat disturbing (although not prolonged) stay in the queue before entering Futurum, we get lucky enough to miss only less than half of splendid CULT OF FIRE’s set. With a great work titled “Triumvirat” in their baggage, the Czechs, perform a blackmetal act of Central European heritage with the correct amount of compatriots MASTER’S HAMMER influence. The sound was more dry than majestic (compared to the vinyl) but this would not spoil any fun at all for me. They are followed by Fins OBSCURE BURIAL –a new addition to the Invictus club–, who, although playing in old school death metal fields, do not hesitate to incorporate enough technique in their menu. It ain’t exactly my cup of tea, yet I watch them with contentment, because they are devoted and this is what matters after all. Unfortunately, the next –also Finnish- participation, AZAZEL, disappoint me. It’s not so much the typical approach to blackmetal, widely found in their homeland scene, as the fact they seem desultory and lacking any rehearsing. Thus, they fail to gain my attention.

Having become a little loose, it was the roaring entrance as well as the whole image of awesome SVARTIDAUÐI that caught me almost out of the blue. It wasn’t of course their music’s value that came as a surprise, as “Flesh Cathedral” has frequently found its way into my stereo, but the suffocating atmosphere that pours from the live performance of their maniacal blackmetal. The most impressive of all, was the fact that some technical problems regarding sound quality on stage as well as an accident with the bass guitar could not reduce a single bit of their dynamics and the Icelanders proved to be amongst the top –if not the best- descendants of the DEATHSPELL OMEGA school. We take off from Iceland and head a little east now; Norway that is, where the two next guests come from. Initially we have ONE TAIL, ONE HEAD, members of the Nidrosian Movement, who travel back to the roots of Norse blackmetal and by that I mean primeval BATHORY references, as in parts they almost thrashed our asses up. Yet we expect even more from them in near future and we can continue with the headliners of the festival’s first night…

…Who, somewhat unexpectedly when the lineup was announced, was HADES, namely the first edition of HADES ALMIGHTY that wandered mostly in Viking metal paths. Their appearance flowed effortlessly, with the metal element prominent, as well as solid bonds between the trio and a massive sound volume. However, what I really waited for was to watch for the first time outside Hellenic borders, ACHERONTAS, one of my homeland’s top blackmetal acts. The fact that despite any technical problems encountered with sound monitors, they gave everything they had in order to drift the audience into their magick vortex (given the time was past 01.00 am and another six bands had preceded them) shows what great levels this band has achieved but even more depicts the faith and devotion to the goals they have set through their musical aspirations. The tracks from “Amenti” were perfectly rendered, “Legacy Of Tiamat” was, is and will be an eternal thrill and the STUTTHOF moments will always provide the climax of their live performances. With their magick Aura accompanying us, we surmount tiredness and return to our basis until next night’s holocaust.

Saturday, July 13th:

A bad management of my tourism time, led to losing KRINGA, so the afternoon began with Canadians SORTILEGIA, who simply handed us our brains on a plate. The duet sounded as if it were at least five people were on stage and its noisy, occult and eccentric blackmetal, given in lengthy –yet not at all blatant– tracks, proved to be a highlight of the event. KADOTUS, on the other hand, meandered between known Finnish motifs and I can’t say they managed to impress me, despite their generous and sometimes successful efforts to create an appropriate dark atmosphere.

So there was a certain lack of tension surrounding me, when huge MGŁA entered the stage and their storm came as a wakening call. It would only take seconds before the whole Futurum club descended down to their bigoted, Polish Darkness in order to coordinate with their frequencies. These exquisite individuals perform their songs with unthinkable accuracy and even more unthinkable passion and faith but, above all, they provide magnificent live shows because they have found the secret formula of applying lethal doses of heavy metal vibrations upon blackened coldness. It was a mythical appearance and “…from the midst of cold ash, comes the voice of the living god…” would haunt us eternally from now on. Therefore, VEMOD had the difficult task of maintaining the intensity that conquered the audience and for a short amount of time they seem to sway, partly because of the murky sound. However, the band that gave us the fine art of “Venter På Stormene could not do anything less but stand proud and worthy to it and thus, their dark ethereal metal flooded the atmosphere with the company of stars in the background.

It was now time for one of the best blackmetal acts having emerged in the last few years. NEGATIVE PLANE have such a unique style, with all these psychedelic lead parts, the out-of-synch vocals and the twisted riffs, that one could reasonably doubt whether even 50% percent can be presented in the circumstances of a live performance. Well, I’ll be damned, but these freaks do it 100% (and even more than that) and they can nail even those who are most familiar with their music! Somewhere around the end of their set I had collapsed, mentally and physically (with two days of underground black metal madness on my shoulders). This was a very negative fact regarding the growth of my relationship with HETROERTZEN, who were almost inexcusably late to begin their set (time was past 02.00 am if I remember well). Thus, I managed to attend only the first two tracks, during which if I say was shocked it would be a lie, and I took the (not so long) way back home.

As an epilogue, I have to give sincere congratulations to those that struggled to organize this festival, as it was a very serious event with a successful choice of bands. And I will always remember what a total “catastrophe” of having beer costing only one euro at the club’s bar would prove to be…

~ by antifleshnimbus on September 29, 2013.

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