Ceremony, Officium Triste, Kurb Saatus @ Get Rhythm, Ridderkerk, 23 January 2016

After some 20 years the cult Dutch death metal act Ceremony have resurfaced. This was the first time they played live again, as a sort of try-out. Coincidently, they shared a gig with the two supporting bands as well. Too bad the band Profane wasn’t added as well to complete the line-up of 1995.

Kurb Saatus was still doing their soundcheck as I entered the venue. I hadn’t heard of them before, even though they had been around since 1994. They never managed to get an album out it seems, but only a couple of demos and promos. They started half an hour after the sound check. Stylistically a band that is very hard to classify. There are definite doom metal vibes here, but also death metal and black metal, but very melodic overall. Nevertheless the main drawback of this band is that they lack memorable riffs. Als they could use some punch. Decent to hear once, but I can see why it never led to any releases.

The second band of the evening was Officium Triste. They had added guitarist a while ago, and more recently a new bass player. And this gig was the first in the new line-up. Well it seemed to turn out quite good. Musically this was quite on par with earlier gigs. The only weakness in this band are the clean vocals, and they sounded horrendous this night. The set focussed mostly on the newer albums; a song like Lonesome or Fading Like a Dying Candle would be awesome. All in all a very solid gig.

Finally, then Ceremony. They are one of the many Dutch death metal bands from the 1990s that were actually quite good, but never really made it. Their only album – Tyranny From Above – is a cult classic. They quit in 1995 and I never managed to see them live. Now in 2016, they played their first gig since 20 years. Unfortunately the lineup is not entirely the old 95 lineup, but the singer and both guitarists are there, with a new drummer and a bass player that looks remarkably like Kirk Hammett. They played a couple of old songs including the album highlight When Tears Are Falling, as well as a couple of new songs. The old songs sound remarkably fresh, but the newer material seems to need some work still. Overall the gig was messy however, due to singer Micha who seemed to prefer drinking beer on stage than engaging the crowd, the disappearance of the bass player during one song and improvised guest singer. Oh and they played a Bolt Thrower cover: Cenotaph. No one seems to be able to play a Bolt Thrower song like Bolt Thrower. At least I never heard a band play a Bolt Thrower song that has the same power as the original, despite the ostensible simplicity. All though the drums sounded quite good, a lot of the riffs were off. After they ended their set, they returnd twice for an encore, playing a couple of songs for the second time. Not a bad gig, awesome to see these old songs in a live setting, but they might rehearse just a bit more and compile a tighter act altogether.

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