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ERLANGEN:

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL

by Butch Clough and Marten Sahlen

Butch Clough speaking:

E-Werk itself is a cool club. The main concert room was a good size with a large stage in the front, a raised area in the back where music vendors tables were set up, and a cool pub off to one side. Downstairs there was a nice cafe that lead off into an outdoor courtyard that was a nice hang out between sets. I spent a good part of my between sets time in the vendor area, which was jammed with people from beginning to end.

Saturday, July 20th.

Puissance

Performing completely to a dat tape of their music, the Puissance performance was often silly, a bit slow after a while, but was still entertaining and a decent warmup to the show. On stage most of the time was F. Soderlund who handled vocals and "crazy" eye and face gestures, and a female accomplice who sang along and added an occasional insane screaming out just for fun. H Moller joined them during key parts of some of the tracks wrapped in bandages and carrying a raw skinned pig's head. At first he moved around the stage holding the pig head, a couple of songs later he took to chewing on it, and before the show ended he dropped it to the stage so he could hack it up with a large blade. Even F. Soderlund smirked more then a few times.

Ordo Equilibrio

Performing to a dat of their work, with many new tracks included, Ordo Equilibrio's performance was very entrancing and stirring. Both Chelsea and Tomas stood in the darkness handling the vocals to their music, while behind them ran a film of fetish, s&m, and pornographic scenes that fit perfectly with the atmosphere their music creates. The set was a mixture of known and incredible new material, leaving me looking forward even more to their next release. The most "unusual" part of the performance was during "Safe Sane and Consensual", when Tomas was subjected to hot wax and whipping by Chelsea, kneeling below her as she sang. Still entranced...

Morthound

Benny's performance was incredible. He and another performer did an entire set of dark, intense, moving material seemingly scored to the Japanese film "Tensuo, The Iron Man. The music began as the film opened, soon after the smell of burning incense filled the room (it was passed out through the audience by Benny's helper), and music continued to shift with dark intensity through the film to the bloody "love" scene in the middle of the film. Truly one of the best performances of the festival.

In Slaughter Natives

ISN pounded through a set of their heaviest, most known material for well over an hour. On stage Jouni was joined by who I believe was Lina from Deutsch Nepal, and an unknown person who was incredibly good at handling the vocals. The performance, as I had always heard it would be, was great!

Mortiis

The Mortiis show consisted of a super long dat tape that was a mix of many of his recordings, a Mortiis video that ran on screen behind the stage, two monk like guys holding candles and remaining almost completely still through the show, and Mortiis walking around doing various poses in the thick smoke on stage. Different then I expected, but then again...

Sunday, July 21.

Sanctum

If you have a chance to catch Sanctum as they tour, definitely do! Their material is great live, and their performance was one of the best. They played most of the tracks from the CD to perfection. An incredible band!

Raison d'etre

Peter Andersson's set seemed to be mostly newly composed material, much darker and heavier than the usual Raison d'etre material but still with the choral elements found in most of his work. The background film was composed of shifting shapes and colors that went well with the music. Great performance!

Mental Destruction

The set by MD was thunderous! They played many of their known tracks, but threw in a ton of great new material. The brothers were joined on stage by a girl on bass who played along to the heavy pounding industrial mayhem. Another "one of the best" performers.

Brighter Death Now

Roger performed alone in the dense smoke and strobe lights on stage. The set started with just his voice, moans rising and falling, each time more intense and distorted. Suddenly he brought hell into the room with a turn of a switch, and hell remained throughout his hour long set. His set seemed to end too soon, but for a great fan of BDN it could only feel that way. Simply incredible.

After Roger finished the festival was over.

The festival was more then I could have hoped it would be, every moment memorable! Do hope that a show like this happens again, for it would be great to go through it all over again.

Many thanks to Stephan Martin and crew, Helmet, Marten, Karl and Esperanza, all that is CMI, and the other kind folks I met at E-Werk!

butch clough


Marten Sahlen speaking:

Well, now that I'm back again after my vacation, what can I say in addition to Butch's fine resume of the two days in Erlangen? I agree whole-heartedly on most accounts. Most of the bands really rose with the occation, and delivered unforgettable sets.

I didn't expect too much of either Raison d'Etre, whose albums I don't really like, and Morthound, after reading DarkBlue's assessment from the Danish show. But lo and behold, both bands were amazing. Raison being much darker than I've ever heard before, and Morthound being totally massive. Though trying to do music for "Tetsuo" is asking for trouble, since Chu Ishikawa's original score is so genial - but Benny got away with it (he told me using Tetsuo as backdrop was an emergency solution since other plans didn't work out).

As for "rookies" Puissance and Sanctum, they both performed solid sets, though the former's rendering of St. George and the Dragon, with a sword and a pig's head, was somewhat cheesy. When I went to London after the festival, I met Fredrik Soderlund of Puissance on the plane, and he told me they had to scrap their initial plans of putting rotting meat into E-Werk's air condition system... Apparently he has a new noise project on the way too, in addition to the plethora of black metal bands he's a member of. Sanctum is the closest to a convential rock band you'll find on CMI, both in line up and music-wise. Many thought their show was among the best which I don't agree with, but they're still interesting. I saw lots of people buying their album at the vendor stables.

Ordo Equilibrio worked really well live, and played many new songs that were definitely on par with the material from "Reaping the Fallen...". Makes me look forward to their fortcoming new release. As Butch mentioned, Tomas subjected to waxing and whipping during their set, which was totally cool.

A lot of people (with Emperor t-shirts) probably came only for Mortiis, and you could notice the decrease in attendance the second day. I don't own any Mortiis' albums, and seeing him strutting on stage, posing and making gestures to a DAT with a medley of his material, didn't convince me to buy any. You got to give Havard credits for doing his thing, but it's only too theatrical for my tastes.

I've saved the best parts... In Slaughter Natives definitely being the highlight of the first day. Jouni, teamed up with Lina of Deutsch Nepal and a guy called Jan on song/grunts, did the set from the "Mort Aux Vaches" album (minus the 15 minutes of initial unstructured noise) and some more songs I don't recall now. Loud, riveting, and impressive. As the penultimate act the second day Mental

Destruction went on. Through smoke and strobe light they blasted out songs like "Be Crushed" and "Streams Of Time" and it just couldn't go wrong after that. The only drawback being that Samuel's vocals was mixed way too low, sometimes you just barely could hear it. I was seriously wondering if Brighter Death Now could top MD's performance, but somehow Roger pulled it off... don't ask me what happened, I was in a state of shock or trance or delirium during this ultimately catatonic set, but I honestly believe this is as far as you can take things before it transcends the notion of "music" and degenerates into uncontrolled power/jap-noise. There was no way you could have taken in anything more after this, completely exhausted as one were.

Thus ended two action packed days, that probably noone present will ever forget. Can't really say much bad about the arrangements, except for that the stage was too low which led to the view being obscured if you where standing at the back. OK, the sound wasn't the best during the first shows the first day, but it improved subsequently.

Marten Sahlen

The festival-pics gallery could be reached on http://home3.swipnet.se/~w-30681/erlangen.html


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Last modified: 31, 1998