Carach Angren, Wolfheart, Thy Antichrist and Nevalra live in Bristol 2019

The 4th week of the monstrous 6-week “Pitch Black Summer Tour” saw the four groups stop at the Fleece in Bristol. Carach Angren were the big dogs here tonight, supported by Wolfheart, Thy Antichrist and Nevalra. Each band has a unique sound to it, ranging from Carach Angren’s horror black metal, Wolfheart’s icy cold winter metal to Thy Antichrist’s ‘existential’ black metal and Nevalra’s gnarly mix of black and death metal. The line-up is truly not one to be missed if you are into the dark heavy stuff, especially as each of the bands has something different to give. This tour is swarming Europe with gloom found within the deepest, darkest corners.
Carach Angren, Wolfheart, Thy Antichrist and Nevalra Bristol show 2019 poster
The first band of the evening was the brutal trio Nevalra, who came all the way from Missouri, USA. This tour is in support of their debut full-length album, “Conjure the Storm”, which was released on June 7th this year. Vocalist and only guitarist in the band, Scott Eames, came on stage wearing a t-shirt and corpse paint due to the fact he is playing two back to back sets every single night on this tour, one with Nevalra and the second with Thy Antichrist, so he has no other way but to prepare in advance. This is not how he typically looks at a Nevalra gig, as he has personally stated on his Facebook page, so we were treated to something rare that may or may not happen again:
 
“The back to back sets will force my stage appearance to be an anomaly for this special tour only”, comments Scott Eames.
 
Eames gave nothing short of a fantastic show, in aid of his two band members; bassist Cody Sprock and drummer Adrian Galindo. Unfortunately, as this was a Sunday night, the crowds were not as big as one would hope for this killer line up. On the upside, there were some very dedicated fans, maintaining the chaotic energy given off by the band. The first song on the list was “Terror Throne”, which was the only song played during this set that was not from the new album. The rest of the set list was solely new material; “…Of Ruination”, “Amidst the Ivory Towers”, “It Dies in Vain” and “Conjure the Storm”. The technical playing from each member was completely mind blowing and Eames is capable of producing some raw emotional, hard-to-recreate vocals, which you have to experience live to fully understand. “Prophet for Profit” was the last song, specifically introduced by Eames, who trembled the entire room from screaming the title.
 
There was a 15-minute change over, during which it is important to get an obligatory beer. Thy Antichrist were next on the bill, coming from the far away Dallas, Texas. One of the many interesting things about this band is that the vocalist and founder, Andrés Vargas (aka Antichrist 666), is originally from Colombia, which is a very religious country, so experiencing the band while knowing this makes the whole encounter crazier. The second the 5-piece stepped on stage, everything went silent. The audience was hit with the intimidating presence of the band, who were wearing corpse paint and dressed up in typical maniacal black metal wear; spikes, leather, chains, everything that comes to mind. Thy Antichrist do not hold back when it comes to their image, Vargas himself spends at least 2 hours putting on his corpse paint before every show, because of how important it is to him to give the audience the full experience. Rather than just painting his entire face, he makes sure his body and arms are also covered.
 
After an intense moment of silence, the first song began. “Between God and the Devil” filled the room, and the audience who were new to this band quickly learnt of the influence early 90’s black metal has had on this group. Andrés was holding a halfway decomposed, severed goats head on a stick, while growling the words. Thy Antichrist do what they do for the pure love of the art, as Andrés had pointed out in an interview. There is absolutely no ego present anywhere within this band and their passion truly comes through the moment they step on stage, when you realise the lengths they had gone, especially preparing the visual aspects. These efforts leave an impression that lingers for quite some time even after the show ends. Next songs were “The Great Beast” and “Where is Your God”, where Vargas started spitting out blood from his mouth. As mentioned earlier, Scott Eames (Wicked One in Thy Antichrist) was back up on stage again. This time he had a different energy radiating from him, which was well suited with the rest of his band members. His exceptional guitar skills carried on and he showed no sign of fatigue.
 
It is very sad that the crowd was not bigger as these guys deserve so much more, there were about two and a half rows of people at the front and others scattered across the room. However, for the most part, the ones who were there were not afraid to let their inner beast loose. The rest of the set consisted of: “Destruction Times””, Metal to the Bone” and “Desolation”.
 
From pure black metal, jumping into icy cold winter metal from Myrskylä, Finland, many people have travelled specifically to see Wolfheart, and no wonder why. This 4-piece treated Bristol to a firm mix of songs from their new album “Constellation of the Black Light”, which was released September last year, as well as some of their older material from the previous albums. They have been hard at work touring America and Europe since the new release. Joined on stage by Vagelis Karzis (ex-Rotting Christ), after their original guitarist Mika Lammassaari found himself in the difficult position of needing to quit the band at the end of May due to personal reasons. Vagelis was a brilliant choice for this because not only does he have an exceptional stage presence, his skills and style of playing also complement the unique style of the band.
 
The crowd grew by at least double for this act, and many of those people already knew the words to the new songs, as well as the old. Starting the set off with “Everlasting Fall”, which is a whopping 10 minute song but a very good one to begin the set with, as it is also the first song off the new album. This song really helped set the right kind of atmosphere and mood, which was then followed by “Aeon of Cold” from the album “Shadow World”. “Strength and Valour”, “Breakwater”, “Abyss” and “Zero Gravity” came next, and although Wolfheart don’t have any theatrical aspects to them, such as the corpse paint and props, like the other bands of the night did, it did not at all mean anything was lacking or that something did not add up. The sheer love for the music was evident with the facial expressions of all the band members, especially of Tuomas Saukkonen’s, who is the vocalist and founder. You can truly tell the devotion he has to creating music, and he, along with all the other members, seemed like they gave everything they had to make this show personal to every single individual in the audience. The final songs were “The Hunt” and “Ghost of Karelia”.
 
The headliners on this tour are the Dutch, horror inspired, Carach Angren. After a 20 minute changeover, the stage was set, and a creepy dark figure which resembled the woman in black was standing very still in the corner of the stage. The intro was played, and corpse painted, dressed up members walked on. Bastiaan Boh, aka the Butcher, is the session guitarist once again, filling in on guitar duties, allowing Seregor, the vocalist, to perform to his fullest abilities. The lights were dimmed, creating an appropriate setting and the first song on the list was “The Sighting is a Portent of Doom”, followed by “General Nightmare”. The thing which really stands out when Carach Angren play is the seemingly effortless acting Seregor does during every song; the lyric isn’t just sung, it is performed with some colossal energy and passion behind it, making everybody else want to jump and move around to the music with him like it is infectious. “Carriage Wheel Murder”, “Spectral Infantry Battalions” and “In De Naam Van De Duivel” were the following songs, all taken from different albums, but the way the songs were performed made it all string together perfectly.
 
The mix of symphony with black metal and a touch of horror creates this very unique band, who find their inspiration from real life historical events as well as fictional tales. Their live performance will lure you into a world of horror and revolt, but you will refuse to leave. Next, the creepy cloaked figure mentioned above has been revealed, and if you haven’t seen Carach Angren before it will definitely make you step back and look twice. A mannequin with a ripped-out face, an entire lower abdomen missing, and words carved all over her body are just a few of the things decorating it. Seregor slices her neck with a knife and she bleeds, everywhere. He collects the blood with his mouth and picks the “Blood Queen” from the audience, which was also the song that was played next. Carach Angren have faced minor issues using this mannequin in the past regarding people calling it “controversial”, however it is not there to offend anyone, and it is just a part of an artistic performance which, like any art, may be used as an outlet for emotion. The remaining songs on the list were: “Charlie”, “Pitch Black Box”, “Heretic Poltergeist Phenomena” and “The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist”. “Blood Stains on the Captain’s Log” was the really well-chosen final song of the night, with a mix of fast punchy metal and slow-paced orchestral harmonies to close off the night.
 
The entire evening was deafened by four fantastic bands, all of which have slightly different genres from the other. However, somebody has done an exceptionally good job for putting these bands on a tour together, because their differences in sound make this the ultimate line up that you should not miss.