NCS Introduction: Kaptain Carbon returns to NCS with a review of the second Blood of the Wolf Fest , which took place in Lexington, Kentucky, on March 26-27, 2016. He also took all of the photos that accompany the review — most of which you will find at the end. Kaptain Carbon operates Tape Wyrm, a blog dedicated to current and lesser known heavy metal. He also writes Dungeon Synth reviews over at Hollywood Metal as well as moderating Reddit’s r/metal community.
“He is Risen!”, they shouted in an authentic southern accent with mocking glee. This was Easter Sunday in the thick of Kentucky during one lull between songs at the second Blood of the Wolf festival. The crowd celebrated the fact that it was, in fact, Easter sunday and the whole weekend was centered around macabre imagery of rising dead. What I am surprised about in this anecdote was not the fact that it happened but how little it happened over the course of Good Friday to the holiest of Sundays. In fact, the whole festival, which drew bands and fans from the midwest and eastern coast of the US, appeared to be more grateful than blasphemous. How can you really be spiteful when you have three days of gorgeous weather, a craft beer garden, and a host of raw, unyielding death metal bands?
(Andy Synn reports on a show he witnessed earlier this week in Manchester, England, with performances by Gorguts, Psycroptic, Dysrhythmia, and Nero Di Marte. And Andy also shares with us some videos he shot during the show.)
When it comes to running gigs (and I speak from experience not only of booking shows, but running them, and playing them… sometimes all three in the same evening) there’s a wide variety of things that can go wrong. Some of them can be fixed with only a minimum of hassle. Others… cause larger problems. For example, and this is just off the top of my head here, a six-hour ferry delay…
Yes, that’s what happened on Monday, meaning that I arrived at the venue for 6 o’clock (when my ticket stated doors were set) only to find that they’d now been pushed back until 7. Fortunately, I eventually bumped into a couple of mates (Hi Jon! Hi Chris!), which certainly made the whole experience a lot more palatable. UN-fortunately the stated door time came and went, with nary a whisper of anyone being let into the building. Something strange was afoot.
It was gone half 7 when, out of nowhere, the tour bus and trailer suddenly pulled round the corner, unleashing a flurry of activity as band and crew members scrambled to unload the necessary gear and merch and rush it into the venue to set up, with only a quick mention in passing that – with a little luck – the first band was going to be onstage within the hour.
At this point Chris and I retired to a nearby pub to join his Spires bandmates in playing the waiting game in slightly more comfortable surroundings, crossing our fingers that at least some of the lost time would be made up and that none of the bands were going to be dropped from the bill…
(Our guest from the Midwest, Ben Smasher, was fortunate enough to attend the Ostarablot festival organized by HammerHeart Brewing Co. (the brewery and tap house located in Lino Lakes, Minnesota, that’s co-owned by Austin Lunn of Panopticon) and hosted on March 18-19, 2016, at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. Here’s Ben’s review of the festival, along with some photos and videos the editor has scrounged from the internet.)
Hammerheart Brewing Company and the amazing people that comprise it consistently put themselves second to their intentions. Austin once said to me, “I want to make beer that brings people together.” So, as it would turn out, if you bring the world’s best beer and music under one roof, the best people in North America will join in a two-day celebration of the vernal equinox.
Though 2014’s Winterblot was a pretty remarkable event for bringing UK’s Wodensthrone to the US shores alongside some of America’s finest bands, Ostarablot brought artists from even further reaches to Minnesota. Vemod traversed all the way from Norway and Germany’s Waldgeflüster came a long way as well.
(We present Andy Synn’s review of the performances in London on March 12 by Der Weg Einer Freiheit, Harakiri For the Sky, and The Great Old Ones — with videos recorded by Mr. Synn himself.)
Look at that line-up. Just look at it. That is one hell of a triple-header, if I do say so myself.
As a matter of fact, two of those bands, Der Weg Einer Freiheit and The Great Old Ones, were (separately) responsible for two of the best gigs I went to last year, whilst Harakiri For The Sky are one of those bands I’ve been itching to see live for years now, though the timing has just never quite worked out. So to say I was a little excited when this show was announced would be something of an understatement.
On Saturday I hastily scribbled a few thoughts about the first night of Famine Fest, which took place at Panic Room in Portland, Oregon, on February 19-20. You may remember that I was having so much fun getting fortified for the festival with my old friend Joseph Schafer and my new friend Cat Jones that I missed a rather large section of the fest’s first-night festivities. This didn’t trouble me too much because I’ve learned that, at least for me, half the fun of going to metal fests is enjoying good conversation with good people over good cocktails. Still, I thought I’d make an effort to arrive at the second night of Famine closer to the starting gun.
Well, that didn’t really happen, but for the very same excellent reasons. The three of us, this time joined by yet another great new friend (Invisible Oranges writer Greg Majewski), were again having such a good time that I don’t think any of us felt any crippling anxiety about not showing up punctually.
And speaking of good cocktails, this had something to do with the lack of punctuality on the second night of Famine:
I drove from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, yesterday with my friend Joseph Schafer (Invisible Oranges) for the purpose of attending the 2016 edition of Famine Fest. The festival began last night and resumes again tonight. I’m going to quickly mention two bands I saw last night that made big impressions, and then toss some new music your way.
The chance to see this band from Victoria, British Columbia, was one of the main draws of Famine Fest for me. I really liked their 2015 album Ruins, and I had missed out on other chances to see them in the past.
(KevinP reviews two Florida shows this week by Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris as part of their in-progress U.S. tour.)
I always bemoan the fact that Florida gets the shaft when it comes to tours, whether it’s from US bands or groups from the rest of the world. So when Ne Obliviscaris announced they were coming to Florida, for not 1 but 2 shows, I was tickled pink (to say the least).
Anyone who has known me for more than 5 seconds is aware I have no interest in Butcher Babies or Cradle of Filth, but hey, you can’t really expect a new band on their first US tour flying over from Australia to do a headline jaunt right off the bat.
Upon further inspection of the tour dates, there was a gap in the schedule, conveniently due to the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise leaving out of Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, February 4th, and returning on Monday, February 8th.
(Austin Weber provides this review of performances by Defeated Sanity, Iniquitous Savagery, and Iniquitous Deeds in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 1.)
Seeing as this was the first metal show I was able to attend in 2016, I figured I should cover it. While I didn’t have my usual NCS photographer pal Nik Vechery with me, or a borrowed camera as I’ve used before, the photos my friend and I got of a few bands at least gives you something to look at. I mainly just wanted to discuss my impressions and thoughts about my two favorite bands of the night.
I had to pick up a friend on the way, so we ended up missing Abominant and most of Cryptic Hymn. I know NCS contributor Grant Skelton is really into Cryptic Hymn, and I thought they sounded pretty good live! But I didn’t get a picture of them either. So the review will sort of start with the third band to go on, Iniquitous Deeds.
(Andy Synn reviews the performances of The Black Dahlia Murder and Benighted in Nottingham, England, on January 17, 2016.)
Sunday night did not quite go as planned for me this week. As I’m still a bit under the weather after my recent travels and travails in Central America, my original intention was just to have a quiet night in to rest and recharge my batteries. However, out of the blue I received an invite from my good friend Gary (of Bite Radius Designs fame) to come out and see his boys in Benighted supporting The Black Dahlia Murder. Originally I was going to demur, but after I received a message saying “you’re on the guest list”… well, it would have been rude not to go!
To be fair, although I’m a bigger fan of TBDM than I am of Benighted, I definitely enjoy both bands a hell of a lot and, in hindsight, I would probably have severely regretted not going if I’d wussed out and stayed home.
So this review goes out to Gary and Julien for getting me off my ass and out to the show. Much appreciated guys!
(Wil Cifer reviews the Atlanta stop of the “Chaos Raids Tour”, featuring performances by 1349 and Tombs.)
Cvlt Nation’s “Chaos Raids” tour is the darkest metal line-up on the road so far this year. Featuring two bands I have wanted to see for some time, Tombs and 1349, served as enough of a motivating factor to force me out of the house, since this fell on the day David Bowie died. It served as catharsis, as all good metal shows should.
We got to the Basement in the hipster-infested East Atlanta Village a little late, so we missed the local opener, blackened death metallers Vimur, and Full of Hell, who I had already seen with Mutilation Rites.