It’s Saturday night and what a better thing to do than go to a metal show in the center of Athens, especially if one of the oldest and most important Greek metal bands is playing. Nordor were formed in 1989 and quickly became a staple of the Greek underground scene. Many years later they are still very much alive and kicking. In all honesty, I didn’t know any of the other bands playing that night, but as always (when it comes to music) I was eager to learn.
The show kicked off by Killing With A Smile. A relatively new band that started out in 2009, Killing With A Smile came on stage with great excitement ready to blow us all away. They play a kind of melodic death metal with some hints of progressive rock. Their songs are complicated, multi-layered and long. It would have been perfect if they could perform them live immaculately, but a few mistakes here and there didn’t get them any points. All in all, they were not at all bad. The one thing that stuck with me after their set was over (apart from the bass player’s mask of course) was the notion that they’re not in it for the fame. Early on the singer asked photographers to take a few steps back so that the crowd could come closer to the stage. I thought that was really cool.
On the other hand Conquest Method, the second band appearing that night, did something that was not that cool in my book, but I’ll get to that later. Another newly founded band, Conquest Method play a sort of dark metalcore. With a fun-loving singer, who managed (for the most part anyway) to make the audience laugh with him and not at him, their show started out promising. It was the totally arbitrary appearance of the barely dressed blond lady on their second song (if my memory serves me right) that made me say “WHAT THE F**K?”. I mean it; I literally said those words out loud. However pretty that lady was I felt that she and her strip-club inspired dance were totally out of place compared to the band’s music. In my opinion, the whole thing was a cheap trick absolutely beneath any self-respecting band. To be honest, they kinda lost me after that, but I tried to put it out of my mind and focus on the music. I have to admit that their music was fun and loud. In other words, ideal to be played live. The combination of the brutal vocals by the lead singer with the somewhat melodic vocals of the guitar player really hit the spot.
I had to ask what the next band was called because it could be one of those who apparently think that they’re not metal enough if their logo is somewhat readable. Turns out that smudge on the event’s poster read Vigour. Anyway, this band with the hard to read but so easy to say name provided the audience with what a heavy metal show in a small club should look, sound and feel like. Their death/black metal riffs got everyone there to head-bang at some point in their set. Who cares what the hell that bald dude holding the mic was talking about? We had fun. Somewhere in the second half of their show they played a Behemoth cover. That really did the trick for the audience who warmed up even more after that point.
After Vigour it was time for the headliners to start their show. Hard as nails and with a hellish sound Nordor gave the people what they came to listen to. Heavy, progressive death metal straight out of the serpent’s pit. That Saturday was the first time that the band appeared live with two bass players. As I suspected the whole double bass thing wasn’t a gimmick to get people talking; Nordor are too old and old-school for that kind of publicity stunts. In some songs the two base players made a real difference, providing a dark, gut-wrenching sound that I’ve rarely ever experienced. On the other hand, to be perfectly honest, there were other songs where I couldn’t tell the difference. A funny thing I noticed: The piece of paper with the setlist the guitar player had in front of him also instructed when the breaks for organ running would be. That’s beyond being just professional.
It was around midnight when I took my eyes off the stage and noticed that almost half of the people who were there when the show began were gone. I guess that just seeing their friends playing is enough for some people. That’s a shame because they missed out on an excellent performance. Sometime after midnight Nordor pretended their show was over, I guess so that they’d find out if the crowd would ask for more. Which they did, and Nordor gladly obliged them. They even took requests from the fans. Saying that the audience would not let them leave wouldn’t be an exaggeration. People would be shouting laughingly “Play some more you sons of bitches”! And they did. It was 00:20 when their second encore began. Finally, at some point (I lost track of time by then) the guitar player said “thanks a lot, we gotta go eat now” and the show was over. Nordor proved yet again why they are considered to be one of the most important Greek underground extreme metal bands.