Austrian extreme metallers BELPHEGOR have been pushing their savage sound for years now. Since their formation back in the 90s the band have been consistently strong, both in their studio output and live performances, largely due to the consistency of original and last remaining founding member Helmuth Lehner. 2017 saw the arrival of the band’s eleventh studio record, Totenritual, and now, the band are hitting the road to bring their sonic chaos to the masses. We caught their show at The Dome in London, with a supporting arsenal of DESTROYER 666, ENTHRONED and NERVOCHAOS, to see how they fared.
Kicking off the night’s proceedings, Brazilian metallers NERVOCHAOS intended to whip up a storm and the band gave a performance that packed adrenaline and energy. Despite their limited time on stage, NERVOCHAOS ploughed through a set that boasted hard-hitting riffing, rapid-fire drumming and rumbling growls that soared above the musical chaos. Guitarist and vocalist Lauro Nightrealm showcased enthusiasm in absolute abundance, and whilst his overly upbeat attitude became slightly grating towards their conclusion, NERVOCHAOS gave a good performance that served as a solid opening act to the main focus of the night.
ENTHRONED have been around since black metal’s infamous glory days in the early 90s and whilst the Belgium outfit haven’t received quite the same notoriety as their Norwegian peers, there is no disputing that their sound is utterly solid. Despite no original members in the current iteration of ENTHRONED, the band gave a performance in London that ticked all the boxes of what to expect from a black metal live performance. Thunderous blastbeats were continuously deployed thanks to the skill of drummer Menthor, riffs laced in ice and bite kept the tone of the band’s sound menacing and vocalist Nornagest displayed enough charisma in his presence and vocal lines to keep the crowd fixated on the stage. Whilst nothing was particularly new, fresh or original, ENTHRONED‘s sound was solid to the second wave of black metal, and that was more than enough to give an enjoyable performance to witness.
Aussie black thrashers DESTRÖYER 666 have crafted a fierce live reputation since first roaring onto the scene in 1994. Now, decades later and a repertoire of excellent studio albums under their belts, the band were able to deliver a performance of sheer quality. Keeping the adrenaline pumping thanks to a high-octane rhythm through the dual guitar assault from KK Warslut and R.C whilst the drumming of Perracide was utterly bombastic, DESTRÖYER 666 powered through a set that never ceased to let up. Leading the line in the vocal department, KK Warslut did a formidable job of executing blistering vocal lines with razor-sharp precision and the supporting vocal roles from R.C and Felipe Kutzbach in their choruses gave DESTRÖYER 666 an extra dimension of aggression in their sonic assault. From Traitor sounding absolutely enormous in the live environment, the blistering speed of Satanic Speed Metal and a MOTÖRHEAD cover thrown in for good measure, DESTRÖYER 666‘s set was the gift that kept on giving for those who craved speed and power. It was a thoroughly enjoyable performance to witness, once which injected a massive amount of energy to those in attendance, one which more than showcased the quality at their disposal.
BELPHEGOR‘s brand of blackened death metal has been consistently solid now and their headlining performance in London reflect a band who take their sound in their stride. Through a plethora of thundering blasts from Bloodhammer on the drums and visually striking aesthetics (inverted crosses and blood galore), BELPHEGOR created an imposing atmosphere throughout the duration of their headlining set. The pace of their set was fine-tuned in excellent balance, from the blistering speed of The Devil’s Son to the anthemic chug of Conjuring The Dead, BELPHEGOR were firing on all cylinders. Slick and imposing riffing from Impaler and Helmuth packed bite and venom, whilst Helmuth‘s lead vocal gutturals and snarls were exceptionally strong. With the tour coming off the back of their recently released new record Totenritual, a majority of their set was comprised of new material and whilst it was disappointing that a portion of their back catalogue didn’t make the cut, the strength in their new material was profoundly evident and held their own against the more distinguished fan favourites. From start to finish BELPHEGOR showcased their professionalism and musical quality to give a performance that rocked the foundations of The Dome. A quality performance from a band that have more than cemented their place in extreme music.