Black Flames Of Blasphemy. Black/Death Festival November 14-15th Helsinki, Finland

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The Black Flames Of Blasphemy festival held in the darkest period of the year, has excellent timing and is a way to unleash the most barbaric and nihilistic black/death metal bands sent to spread the blasphemous hymns. The Nosturi club was totally packed when both the nights were totally sold-out. It was overwhelming to witness a large legion of foreign extreme metal worshippers. The line-up was beyond expectation, and the organizers of the festival have topped themselves again. Here is the brief article of the black/death metal madness…

Article by Arto Lehtinen and Timo Hanhirova


FRIDAY

DEMONIC CHRIST

Demonic Christ ‘s first European gig ever was a unique way to start the Black Flames of Blasphemy 2014 and one of the most eagerly awaited for some. Unfortunately half of the audience was still outside enjoying wintry Helsinki and waiting to get inside, so probably doors should have been opened a bit more earlier than 30 minutes before the first show. This was probably the biggest minus of the whole weekend. For those lucky to be already inside Dana Duffey proved to be a commanding lead lady. Surely band is mostly known because of it’s leader but also music is solid US-style black metal with European hints. There were some familiar faces in the lineup as Horna’s Shatraug handled the second guitar. Demonic Christ also released split with Horna so there’s some nice cooperation going on. (TH)

MALTHUSIAN

Malthusian is moderately exciting new blackened death group from Ireland and they showcased plenty of potential in Helsinki. There’s nothing extra nor bullshit in their show or music, it’s just dark and deadly but not in a moronic way. That said, I still expect more out of them in the future, music-wise. It’s interesting that you even have gigs abroad with just one demo under your belt. There’s pretty much going on in this muddy, über-dark death metal and you already need some exceptional stuff to have any lasting impressions. I give points to their show with no gimmicks, but still sinister, live presence.(TH)

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BEHEXEN

The long time Finnish black metal squad has spread blasphemic hymns and incantations for twenty years. Therefore the band has been booked to celebrate the 20th anniversary. The show started with the long praying moment and was followed by the massive crushing blasphemous hymns. Behexen has gained the real cult status and following in the black metal. That could be witnessed as the venue was totally packed to worship with Behexen. The stage had been decorated with the special setup reminded some kind of the altar turned upside down. (AL)

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BÖLZER

Bölzer… is Bölzer. This underground darling is everywhere nowadays and I’m feeling a bit tired already. I know they are descending to their own niché deeper and deeper but for me every EP has been a bit less good than previous. They have yet to match demo’s insane energy and that specific aura of genuine danger. I appreciate their raw, back to basics live act but even that seems to be bit one trick pony and Helsinki show didn’t bring much new to the table after few shows earlier this year. At least you can enjoy the usually very audible guitar riffs as band plays as duo. That’s also a band’s achilles heel as aguitarist/vocalits KzR is pretty anal about this tone and likes to show his displeasure easily, also in Helsinki. (TH)

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TAAKE

Taake did a real unforgettable gig last spring when an unexpected visitor got on the stage spilling the blood all around and even over the photographer of Metal-Rules.Com (Tack Så Mycket). The Norwegians returned with the vengeance even though some people weren’t that pleased with the Taake performance whereas some of the older ladies were totally possessed by the shirtless frontman. Taake with Hoest as the main blackening force turned out to be a real possessed maniac raging on the stage from the side to the side. Hoest with the backup forces were definitely on fire thru the whole show. (AL)

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NARGAROTH

At last, Nargaroth! How many times this band should have been played in Finland but didn’t, too damn many. This German band is already quite a mythical beast, and the myth is not totally positive as main guy Ash/Kanwulf is as controversial figure as it gets. But let’s focus on their music and how they present it on the stage. First of all, it was minimal, to the point. Only drummer could have kept things more simple but otherwise they nailed it. Nargaroth’s material is not probably the most adventurous around but their traditional but melodic black metal tunes work in live settings. Great performance. (TH)

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MGLA

To end the first evening we had familiar visitors from Poland, Mgła. I don’t get as much kicks from their show anymore but they still know what they are doing. I can bitch all that I want that they don’t play anything from (for me, superior) Presence EP but apparently they just don’t so maybe I should just suck it up. Until the end it was very standard Mgła fare but then Mikko Aspa himself came to stage and the band played couple Clandestine Blaze songs. That was a treat to remember. CB stuff worked so well that you feel sorry as this is probably the closest thing to witness Clandestine Blaze live ever. (TH)

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SATURDAY

BAPTISM

For starters it was Baptism time on Saturday. Instead of getting wet from holy water, the  audience was treated by the assault from the Finnish black metal traditionalists. Baptism’s set was compiled from their early days and the gig was a reminder for me that Baptism was pretty good band back then. This was actually one of the best Baptism gigs I’ve seen, if not the best. It’s great to hear some really basic Finnish-style black metal once in a while and Baptism did provide. Nothing more was needed to get the second day going.

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BLACK WITCHERY

The US black metal squad were not appearing at the Black Flames festival for the first time, but they still unleashed a brutal and barbaric set of the most blistering chaotic black metal onslaught. The three piece didn’t manage to reach the ultimate brutality in terms of the sound quality. The sounds were tremendously out of balance, having the more distorted sounds. Black Witchery is known for the extreme barbaric performance as the band has proved on previous gigs in Finland, but obviously the band was kind of lost. (AL)

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ARCHGOAT

Archgoat has been spreading the darkness, chaos and blasphemic hymns over twenty years, and not slowing down. Despite the hiatus years, Archgoat have managed to create the true cult fanbase, having increased tremendously. The three piece hasn’t lost any inch what comes being brutal and sounding raw and animalistic in the vein of the barbaric Blasphemy style. Archgoat needs no make any gimmicks when playing the raw black metal and being on the stage. The three piece is nothing a raw deal ! (AL)

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COUNTNESS

I could have bet that dutch Countess would divide the audience into polar opposites and I was right. Some will love, some will hate. I’m firmly in the love camp. Countess’ material is hard to describe other than it’s heavy metal-influenced black metal with some corny melodies and very basic riffs. They own lot to Venom, Bathory, Tormentor et cetera of course, but they are still unique. Grey-headed Orlok has some weird charisma even he is not that black metal looking guy. For us loving weirdos Countess’ Finnish debut was very entertaining gig and one of the weekends highlights. (TH)

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ONE TAIL ONE HEAD

One Tail-One Head performed at the Black Flames Of Blasphemy festival a couple of years ago, by doing a real raw, barbaric show. The return of One Tail-One Head to the Black Flames Of Blasphemy festival was truly expected. The frontman’s hysterical and chaotic show with the chains pierced thru the skin of his back proved the Norwegians is about to rip the audience apart. The band’s raw black metal is what black metal is meant to be and sound. (AL)

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MORBOSIDAD

Originally hailing from Mexico, but thru years and line-up changes, the main man of Morbosidad currently resides in Oakland. Therefore the whole line-up behind Tomas Stench has got the entire new bestial players. Morbosidad is merciless, uncompromising, barbaric and truly bestial death metal squad with a total grip on the lethal and cruel riff of real death metal. This is the way how the grotesque, barbaric death metal is supposed to sound, no wimpy weak poser stuff allowed !!!! (AL)

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ABSU

Originally the legendary Italian Death SS was supposed to be a headliner of the second day, but for some unknown reason they bailed out. Instead the Texas occult metallers Absu were recruited to fill the empty slot. Absu have visited Finland a couple of times before and have gained the loyal following. There knowing already in advance Absu is a serious ass kicking live band for sure. The band’s prime motivator and soul, Proscriptor Mcgovern’s intense and passionate drumming has become the trademark of the Absu sound. Proscriptor’s drums had been placed in the central of the stage to give the more connected feeling and atmosphere between the band and the audience.  Proscriptor’s character behind the drum sand way of communicating is so dominating. The occult three piece occult metallers unleashed a pure magical and occult-oriented metal storm with the sword and the leather. The band delivered a damn brutal strike even though they travelled all the way from Texas to Finland for this gig. (AL)

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