Winter has finally hit the UK and as temperatures freeze over, it makes for the perfect back drop for a black metal tour. With both INQUISITION and ROTTING CHRIST both releasing records this year, the co-headline tour made for perfect billing for fans in the UK. That and two supporting bands, this was billed as a tour that captures the essence of what black metal is all about.
Opening the night’s proceedings was SCHAMMASCH. The Swiss black metallers had an awe of mystery to their live performance, with frontman Christopher Ruf donning robes and covering his face. That, and a plethora of smoke used throughout the band’s set made for an atmosphere that perfectly suited SCHAMMASCH‘s style. The drumming was utterly monstrous, the guitar work from both Ruf and Marc screamed the black metal style in grand fashion with the former’s dabbling of atmospheric intricacy working a treat. The vocal deliveries were colossal which only complimented the band’s destructive sound, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable opening performance.
Whilst SCHAMMASCH‘s thought provoking and intricate approach to black metal made for interesting viewing, Brazilian trio MYSTIFIER relied on pure unadulterated speed. Oozing thrash influence in their delivery of riffs, MYSTIFIER whipped up chaos consistently throughout their set. The vocal deliveries from bassist Diego Araújo were utterly vicious, matching the band’s destructive output to great effect, Jhoni Rodrigues‘ drumming was consistently rapid but the real star of the show was guitarist Beelzeebubth. The guitarist’s enthusiasm was utterly infectious as he swaggered the stage and displayed gratitude at any given opportunity. This only complimented the band’s relentless sound as each track was performed to pin-point precision, the inclusion of Nightmare by SACROFAGO rounded off a set that felt like it was over in an instant. MYSTIFIER whipped up a storm from start to finish, whose blackened thrash onslaught ignited the fire in the audience.
ROTTING CHRIST aren’t your standard black metal band. Since 1987 the Greek outfit have shackled the foundations of the style through constant experimentation in their musical output. The result of this only benefited in the band’s live performance as the band’s lengthy set was packed with a variety of tempo, pace and atmosphere. With Rituals being released this year, it made sense that a large portion of the band’s set was comprised of new material. Opening with Ze Nigmar, instantly the crowd were enchanted through the band’s ritualistic approach to vocal deliveries. Things only became more monumental from there. Apage Satana‘s heavy use of drumming and chanting vocals worked wonders on the crowd, the slick riffing from George Emmanuel on Athanati Este was performed to absolute precision and In Yumen-Xibalba sounded absolutely colossal in the live environment. Frontman Sakis Tolis gave absolutely everything in both his guitar work and vocal deliveries. Hitting every note, on both his instrument and his vocals, to absolute ferocity, ROTTING CHRIST‘s power on stage was utterly earth-shattering. The band have been going for nearly three decades now but their performance showcased raw and utterly monstrous energy that made for a performance of absolute quality.
INQUISITION have forged a respectable career in black metal since 1988. Never compromising their morals or bowing to new movements in music, the black metal duo have a fierce reputation. With their latest record, Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith, being released earlier this year, INQUISITION are still relevant in black metal. From the haunting backing track and a plethora of smoke, the stage set was the band and the duo performed a set of sheer black metal mayhem. From the slow and enticing riffs on Desolate Funeral Chant to the up-tempo ferocity of Dark Mutilation Rites, INQUISITION‘s black metal mayhem was a spectacle to behold. New material such as A Magnificent Crypt of Stars and Vortex From the Celestial Flying Throne of Storms held their own compared to the band’s ‘classic’ material which proved testament to the band’s ability to consistently write solid black metal tracks. The drumming of Incubus was absolutely enormous, with copious amounts of blast beats being executed to absolute precision, and Dagon executed his riffs and signature frog-like vocals to great effect. Only slightly was the Satanic immersion broken when Dagon took a rare moment to address the crowd, but other than that INQUISITION let their music do the talking. The effect of this? A performance of utterly monstrous black metal, one that continues to demonstrate the grip INQUISITION have on the world of black metal.
Check out our extensive photo gallery of the night’s action in Manchester from photographer Becky Callaghan: