Ceremony, Musicon, The Hague, 15 March 2019

A long time ago, Ceremony released their debut album, which is a small gem in the Dutch underground death metal scene. And now more than 25 years later they returned with a follow-up titled Retribution. The release party was held in Musicon in The Hague, on the day of the release. And it even started at a more normal time than most gigs nowadays. 21.00 is just fine to start a gig.

The opening act was the Dutch doom metal band Faal who also had just recently released a new album. They opened with a song of the previous album, My Body Glows red. The bassist uses a bow to play his bass during the intro. The basis for this band is rooted in slow doom metal but they mix it with some postrock influences. Lots of tremolo picked melodies. They played a few newer songs but ended their show with the title track of their previous album. Although a bit of an odd one out on this evening.

The second band was Mouflon. The band I missed last week at the In the Grip of Winter fest. They are a Dutch death metal band who play old school death metal, that I find reminiscent of early Obituary with its threatening riffs. However, I think they really lack some double bass drumming. The drums are really straightforward and seem to be more suitable to a hardcore band. Don’t expect any frills or originality.

Ceremony dressed up to look more like a black metal band with black capes and corpse paint. Yet musically they still are in the realm of death metal but a few black metal influences have crept in with some of the melodies on the new material. The set consisted of all the songs of the album, in a different order. Only two older songs were played, including the highlight of the debut When Tears are Falling. However the new material is strong enough to be interesting. The bass is inaudible during the entire gig. All in all they sound a lot tighter than when I saw them a few years ago. Pretty good gig really.

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