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17/03/2012 : DER BLUTHARSCH - Concert at Magasin4 in Brussels on 15th March 2012

DER BLUTHARSCH

Concert at Magasin4 in Brussels on 15th March 2012

Concert
Dark AmbientKrautrockLo-fiMartialNeofolkPsychedelicSpacerock

[80/100]   
17/03/2012, Philippe BLACKMARQUIS

An apocalyptic dream: that's how I would describe this small festival masterly organised by Michel Kirby, owner of the Elektrocution Record Shop in Brussels. On the bill, the legendary Austrian band Der Blutharsch together with bands from their collective: Varunna, Bain Wolfkind, Deutsch Nepal and Aluk Todolo.

The program started very early, at 6pm, due to the very strict curfew regulation imposed on Magasin4 by a few insane neighbors (a shame if you think that the owners spent thousands of euros to isolate the concert hall).

The first band, Varunna, from Italy, proposes a 'classic' military neo-folk. Unfortunately, the concert had to stop after 7 minutes because the singer, Alessio B., had problems with his voice. Too bad. Bain Wolfkind took the stage a few minutes later. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Bain Wolfkind is like a sleazy, drug-induced Nick Cave playing a very dark psychobilly, surf, blues swamp music with electronic overtones. Alone on the stage, he looks like a drunken red light district punk hero, stumblin' to grasp his beer. The lyrics are in the Pulp Fiction imagery with crime fiction and B grade Americana. In the background, video's of Betty Page strengthen this stifling porno atmosphere. Bain played songs from his CD's "Music For Lovers And Gangsters" and "Swamp Angels" and one brand new song: "In The Shadow Of The Slaughterhouse", off his brand new MCD "Lone Wolf". As a whole, the show lacked a bit of tension and presence. Bain confided after the show that he "wasn't in a good mood". Anyway: it was a fascinating performance by an artist to follow!

Here is a live video of the concert, when he played one of his best known song, "Pimp Stick", off the CD "Music For Lovers And Gangsters".

Deutsch Nepal was next on the bill. Lina Baby Doll, or Der General (real name Peter Andersson), produces a strange music, a bit dark ambient, industrial, tribal or ritualistic but always interesting, layered and blackly humorous. On the stage, Der General seemed to be a little drunk, to say the least. His vocals were dislocated and he was continuously drinking beer. The music was a deep and fascinating industrial ambient sound, enriched by hypnotic rhythms, voice samples and repetitive structures. The video's presented abstract frames and images alternating with the moving picture of a dog's frightening face. The general atmosphere in the hall was apocalyptic and the audience seemed to be hypnotized by the show, even though Andersson's attitude and vocals gave us a feeling of "could do better".

Watch the video as Deutsch Nepal played the track "Heartbomb".

Even though they played before Aluk Todolo, probably because of logistic reasons, Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand, were clearly the act everybody was eagerly waiting for. Der Blutharsch (“snow drenched in blood”, “dried blood” or “scab” — but really a reference to a Swiss mercenary company circa 1600 AD) is the musical project of Albin Julius. In the beginning, the band played a neoclassical martial music, a genre Albin contributed to found with his previous project, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud. But later, his music evolved towards a dark, lo-fi, psychedelic-industrial "neo-krautrock", with influences like Amon Düül. This European tour was set up to promote their brand new CD: "The Story About The Digging Of The Hole And The Hearing Of The Sound Of Hell". After dates in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, the band is stopping by in Brussels before going to Paris and Milan.

The band starts the concert with one of title tracks of the new CD. On stage, they create an incredible "wall of sound", which gives a totally new dimension to the songs in comparison with the CD's. Albin stands behind his vintage Hammond organ and samplers, accompanied by his wife Marthynna on vocals and Korg synthesizer. On the Rickenbacker bass, Alessio B (from Varunna), has a huge, saturated sound that fills the soundscape. Bain Wolfkind plays the drums and on guitar, we discover Niko, from Seven That Spells, the substitute for Jorg B., who could not come as he has just become a father. All through the show, we are treated with mesmerizing rhythms and vocals, captivating songs, immersive bass-lines and sublime guitars. The ritual atmosphere with the candles and the beautiful figure of Marthynna, with her long dark hair, is reminiscent of Rosa Crvx. No dull moments as the band played songs from their entire career, with a focus on the more recenbt "krautrock" LP's. Heavenly noise from Hell, enticing, enchanting, absorbing your attention … Only negative points: the vocals could have been more prominent in the mix and, in my opinion, the band should have played much longer... Watch out for their upcoming CD, due in summer, which Albin described as "dance music in a very kinky way". Hum...

Check this video as the band plays in the encore the track "Birds Of Prey", from their last CD.

The following video features a track from the forthcoming album. The video is a bit somber but you get to hear the incredible "wall of sound" of that band on stage!

Difficult to get on stage after such a perfect moment. The French band Aluk Todolo brought a radical change in style with their instrumental black metal. With one guitarist, one bassist and one drummer, they create obsessive rhythms, minimal bass lines and abyssal disharmonic lead guitars, constantly on the edge of strident feedback noises. After a few 'songs', we realize the link with Albin's music as the hypnotic, trance-oriented sounds draw us in a psychedelic, lo-fi nightmare with stabbing vibrations and a heavy, subliminal tension.

Watch an excerpt from the performance here!


Note that Aluk Todolo will be opening for SUNN O))), the cult band from the Drone scene, on 15th June in Hoboken.

Philippe BLACKMARQUIS
17/03/2012


 

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