All or nearly all gigs of The Overture of War tour by Bolt Thrower were sold out entire. I recently saw them at the Baroeg Open Air festival, but that gig wasn’t all that on par with the usual Bolt Thrower experience. Although that wasn’t all their fault really. Anyway, I much prefer club gigs over festivals and considering that the support package consisted of Morgoth and Vallenfyre, that would be a really good bonus too. So as there weren’t any Dutch dates (what happened to the traditional Atak gig?!), I went to the little Belgian town of Hasselt. At first, I considered going to Essen, but that was sold out far in advance, relocated to a bigger venue, and then sold that out as well really fast too, as nearly all the German dates. Hasselt had tickets available till a week in advance or so. Anyway, on a lousy Sunday in early autumn and I drove to Hasselt for the final gig of this tour.
So opening at 19.45 sharp after some odd classical music intro, was the British Vallenfyre, a side project of Gregor Mackintosh primary band Paradise Lost. Not that they sound much like it tho. This is mostly old school death metal (think HM-2 sound of Dismember) mixed with a bunch of odd styles. There is quite some doom (like real early Paradise Lost), grindcore (early Napalm Death) in their songs. And they just know how to write a bunch of really good songs. They barely played live before this (apart from the Bolt Fest and a couple of one off gigs, like on Neurotic Death Fest last year). Greg chats briefly in between songs, but laces it with some typical British humour. The set is split 50/50 between both their albums, and even though the later album is generally faster and more varied stylewise, the two mix quite well. They play quite tight, the sound is good. After this tour, they play a few live dates as headliner.
The second band is a really old German death metal band Morgoth that reunited a few years back, although with some changes to the lineup. I really like the debut album Cursed, and the EPs that preceed it are very good too. Over the PA the intro of Cursed was played, and they followed that up by Body Count, and Exit to Temptation, just like on the album. Musically this was really good. But Marc voice wasn’t as powerful as it as on their first couple of albums, and is more hoarse and deeper now. Never the less as a frontman he is doing great anyway. There was a lot more from Cursed and the old EPs got a few songs too (Burnt Identity, White Gallery, Pits of Utumno), as did Odium with two songs, plus the two news songs of their new EP, which sounded okay, pretty much in line with Cursed and Odium stylewise. Pretty good gig really.
Then there Bolt Thrower. The intro did play as it should be this time, and they dropped into War and Remembrance. And right after Mercenary, they started the intro of World Eater. But wait, it takes longer than usual, where they drop into Cenotaph quickly after the first few times the melody line of the intro is played. This time they continue and drop right into the fast mid section. Awesome, the whole World Eater! Well and then continue straight with Cenotaph. It’s a bit odd to here the same lyrical parts (“You Stand alone, the final parody”), twice tho. The band plays rock solid is ever. The sound is good, there is lots of stagediving and moshing (although some of them stay on the stage too long and nobody kicks them off. The set list is great, with an awesome cross section of their repetoire, including War Master, The IVth Crusade, …. For Victory – yea a whole lot of title tracks indeed – This Time it’s War, Where Next To Conquer, The Killchain, Powder Burns. For the encore they played the first and final tracks of their last album: At First Light, and When Cannon’s Fade. Then they disappear. The roadies throw some stuff in to the audience, and I caught a drum stick. Fits nicely with my collection of picks. So really a great gig, the whole package was really good and well worth the long drive to Belgium – and you can never see too many Bolt Thrower gigs.