On a saturday night it’s a good moment to head to the Little Devil in Tilburg for a drink and some pitch black metal, because it’s time for the second edition of Little Devil Black Ritual.
The festival took place last year as well and it is a two day event, but it’s well worth checking out some of the bands hailing from the deep underground of the Dutch black metal scene. Opener today was Asgrauw, who I missed. Luckily I entered in time to catch the best named band ever: Dood.
Little Devil Black Ritual is not a creamy, popular black metal bands festival, but manages to dig our gems from the underground that are hard to catch live or sometimes just barely known. It’s not for those who ‘listened to Mayhem…once’, but for people who love the darker sound. Though rather conservative in outlook, I’ve enjoyed my stay here and would recommend it to any who are into this music.
Dood means death in Dutch and the band is remarkably young with only having existed for a good 5 years. They did release two albums and embrace every element we have come to ascribe to the black metal style. Though their sound is not something to brag about, their masked vocalist does add a certain je ne sais quoi to the performance. There are some technical issues with the keys, but they’re buried deep in the walls of guitar work.
Though I can enjoy their performance, there’s something about them that is just too easy. Like their name, the choices the band makes for their whole expression are somewhat predictable and middle of the road as far as black metal goes. It’s not very exciting for those who like to push further. That’s alright though, the foundation of any genre is the dedicated few holding the fort. It gives credence to the existence.
Orewoet seems to deviate a little from that. Named after a dutch romantic novel by the writer Emy Koopman (it seems, I have no conclusive evidence), the group has only just released their first offering titled ‘Afrodisiacum Der Vroomheid’ on Heidens Hart Records. The group has plenty of experience on the stage, having played in bands like Ehtraid Engrin, Gestalte and Weltschmerz. The controlled and measured way in which the performance is delivered and the great delivery are witnesses of the experience this band brings.
Their overall sound is rather oldschool, without much pretense or progressive elements to it. That mentality they also bring to the stage, no bullshit with this group! Orewoet delivers their furious music as it should be done. Musically they fit in with the more conservative Finnish sound methinks. Great band, who I’d like to hear more of.
Though I have to admit to liking their name, the band Hekel is not something that really attracts me. Though I can submerge myself in their hypnotic, ritualistic sound in album form, it can be rather dull live. There’s the act, the mystery and the performance, all in place, but after the energy of Orewoet it simply does not hold up much for me. Good material, also their EP on Heidens Hart was enjoyable, but live a rather static affair.
You have to appreciate the amount of ambiance they bring with the looks and items gathered. This band has been active for 23 years and truly does have that oldschool sound to them and a dispassionate delivery that shows contempt the way black metal used to for performance conventions. In that static delivery emerges a ritual, a seance of sorts that you as a listener are part of.
The Belgian black masters of LVTHN have been very productive in recent times, which explains their rapid rise in the scene and headliner spot. The direct impact of their name equals their sound, which is confrontational, direct and fierce. De vocals of their frontman are delivered with a frantic urgency. It’s the righteous headliner for tonight.
Improvised altars adorn the stage, but there’s little in the way of show to the fierce act of this group. Blistering black metal with an almost claustrofobic feel to it at times. The delivery is great, a tight show and a whole lot of energy. The eerie passages of dissonant guitars break the surge of sound at the right times. Apart from their frontman, the band appears to focus on delivering the sound more than anything. Truth be told, head and shoulders above the rest this evening. The closing act for a great night of Dutch black metal.
Next year again!
Foto’s: Justina Lukosiute