Dead Congregation, Soulburn @ Baroeg, 28 December 2014

It is a great idea to organise a couple of gigs during the days between Yule and new year. The Greek Dead congregation was touring in Europe and Baroeg made it a quite bit more interesting by adding a few bands on this metal matinee. So I scraped a thick layer of ice off my car and drove to Rotterdam.

The Dutch Impalement were playing already as I entered the venue, I think only one song finished. This is pretty decent albeit quite standard death metal without any guitar solos. Good warm up for the rest of the day.

Curiously the drumkit had to be replaced for ZOM who were on tour with Dead Congregation. These three Irish lads play some form of very noisy death metal with some black metal influences. I couldn’t make heads or tails of these songs and they all seemed to blend together apart from some weird guitar solo’s. And the band made no announcements at all in between songs, just a very short break and onto the next song. I could make much of it really.

Then the band that I actually wanted to see most. I had missed Soulburn in the 90s as they cancelled the gig I was going to on very short notice. And then they vanished, and some how Asphyx respawned. Now some 15 years later, Bob and Eric got back together again with a new vocalist and recorded a new album, did a few gigs with Bolt Thrower in Germany and now played their first Dutch gig in many years in the Baroeg. After the intro they opened with Hellish Entrapment off the first album. I liked the vocals much more actually than on the new album, as they were a bit lower and less screechy and in fact much closer to Wannes vocals. They played a lot of new songs but ended with the title track of the debut which apart from the typical Eric Daniels riffs has an awesome melody line right in the middle. Great show! Hopefully it won’t take another 15 years for a new album and more gigs.

Then there was Dead Congregation who I didn’t know too well. I listened to their albums on Spotify a few times, but it only appealled marginally to me, so I didn’t have any high expectations. Stylistically it thrives heavily on Incantation. They generally play on two paces, one is fast with lots of blasting and tremelo picking which sounded okay, but not really interesting and frankly quite generic. The blasts sounded very weak in the mix and generally the whole snare drum was hard to hear. And the second pace is slow, which mostly seems to plod on and on. On top of all that the vocals were very monotonous and low grunts. Although the music is rather furious, it wasn’t as overwhelming as it should be.

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