August 29, 2021

'Fires Of Destiny Over Europe' memories

Time for another trip down memory lane . . . Orlok looks back on our shows with Blackdeath and Barathrum in 2017.

"In February 2017, we did a short tour with Blackdeath and Barathrum. What made this especially cool was that it took place almost exactly twenty years after our shows with Barathrum and Sabbat. Herjann, who was our keyboard player in 2014-2015, put a lot of work in putting the shows together. In addition to being the tour manager, he would also join Blackdeath on stage as live guitarist.

In the morning of February 23, we set off for Paris, where the first show would take place. After a drive of about six hours, we reached Paris where we would play our first-ever show in France. The club, Le Klub, turned out to be located in the heart of the city, practically next to the Notre-Dame. 

Arriving in Paris.

We walked around the venue a bit and found the show would take place at a small but really cool place, sort of a dungeon-like cellar. We had been the first to arrive, but before long both Blackdeath and Barathrum arrived as well. It was cool to meet Blackdeath and see Barathrum again, almost two years since we had last played together at the Veneration Of The Dead festival in Rotterdam. We all did our soundchecks and then it was time for dinner. As anyone who has ever been in a band knows, you never know what food you're going to get on the road and, more importantly, if it will be any good. Le Klub had organised this well, though. 

Soundcheck in Paris.

We were sent to Black Dog, a metal bar and restaurant down the street where we were served surprisingly good food. After dinner, we went back to the club and around 19:00 hours Blackdeath took the stage, as there was no local opener on this day. I had never seen Blackdeath before, but was quite impressed by their show. They were very tight and ripped through their set with utter conviction. It was immediately clear that this was a band that is very serious about their art. I was a bit surprised, though, that they only played new songs that hadn't even been released at the time (they would be released on 'Phantasmhassgorie' in 2019). After Blackdeath, we were up. We opened with 'Hymn To The Gods Of Yore' and played a really good set. The sound was good, the atmosphere was great, the place was packed and the audience responded really well. We had put together different set lists for each show, focusing more on older songs for places where we had never been before, like Paris, and more on newer songs for places where we had been before, like Oberhausen. After our set, we talked to a lot of fans who were all very enthusiastic. I remember there was a Chinese guy who had brought all of his CD booklets (he had a complete collection) to get them signed, which we were happy to do of course. I also caught a bit of Barathrum's impressive show, which was intense as usual, even though it wasn't easy for them with six band members on what really was a very small stage. You can watch a couple of their songs here. If I remember correctly, Demonos left the stage before the end of their set and just let the rest of the band finish the set on their own . . . by that time, we discovered the beer backstage had run out, which didn't really please us. Since there was no more beer anway, we duly packed all our stuff in our cars and the van Herjann had rented for the tour and drove to our hotel somewhere on the outskirts of Paris.

Having a smoke outside our hotel in Paris at 10:00 hours in the morning.

After a few hours of sleep, we had some breakfast and then we had to drive north again, to Antwerp in Flanders. This would be our first-ever show in Flanders, though we had played in Belgium the year before, but in Wallonia. The show would take place at Het Bos. After unloading our stuff, we went backstage and discovered the fridge was filled with some kind of weird biological beer. It was surprisingly good, though. The name of the club translates to 'the forest'. Behind the backstage was a small courtyard with some grass and shrubs that we assumed to be the forest. Then, when we were looking at a schedule on the wall with all kinds of activities that took place at the club, we saw that on Monday nights they had 'bosneuken' (forest fucking). This sent us into a bout of laughter, since we could just image middle-aged Flemish swinger couples getting together in this small courtyard every Monday night to do their business among the shrubs . . . when the laughter had died down, we discovered that the actual activity was 'boskeuken' (forest kitchen) and some anonymous joker had altered the text. By then, time had come to do our soundchecks. I remember the soundchecks took a really long time and there were some problems with the sound. When the soundchecks were finally done, we were fed. Unlike the day before, the food wasn't very good. It was some kind of vegan stuff that apparently was supposed to be some kind of curry but didn't taste like curry. In fact it didn't really taste like anything at all. I'm not blaming this on the fact it was vegan because elsewhere I've had vegan curry that was really good. After dinner, it was time for the show to start. 

Time schedule in Antwerp.

There was a local opener on this day, Ars Veneficium, who played some typical modern black metal that didn't really leave a lasting impression on me. Up next were Blackdeath, who were excellent as they had been the day before. You can watch their full show here (it was filmed by Ramtyr, who also filmed our shows). We were next and though we played a good set, it wasn't as great as it had been the day before. There weren't that many people in the audience and the sound, as we had already feared after the issues during the soundcheck, wasn't that good. Especially the bass drums were EQ'd in a way that didn't let them cut through the mix but instead reduced them to some muffled rumble. Nevertheless, the fans we talked to after the show were pretty positive. After watching Barathrum and having a few beers, it was time to drive to our hotel.

The next morning after breakfast we went to pick up Barathrum at the place where they were staying. True to their reputation, they were having beer for breakfast. We set off for Oberhausen, located in Germany not that far from the Dutch border. The show would take place at Helvete, where we had also played in 2015. We soon found that not much had changed since then. Like in 2015, the soundchecks took ages because the sound people apparently had no idea what they were doing. And like in 2015, there was hardly any food. There were some buns that were so hard they were probably days old and at some point we were presented with one small tray of some kind of potato dish. For four bands . . . the beer supply was also rather limited, which was worsened by the fact anybody could just walk in and out of the backstage, even people who obviously had absolutely no business there. Since we had experienced all this before we had more or less been expecting this and decided to just get on with things. 

Backstage in Oberhausen.

Just like in 2015, there were problems adhering to the time schedule and the first band started way too late. This was a local opener called Pestnebel, who were quite similar to the previous day's opener. Blackdeath were next and again impressed. When we got on stage, we noticed some problems with the monitors. After some communication with the sound people, this was largely fixed, but I still could hardly hear myself on stage. Nevertheless, in the club the sound was surprisingly good and we played a really good set. The audience was really into the music, so the atmosphere was great. Especially during the latter part of our show, when we played songs like 'Ritual Of The 7 Priests' and 'Chapel Of Doom' that are favourites among hardcore fans, the crowd really went berserk. When we went backstage after our show, we discovered there was hardly any beer left. After Barathrum had finished their set, which was as good as it had been the previous days, it was time call it a day and we left for our place to sleep.

When we went back to where we had parked our cars the day before, near the club, we were in for a really unpleasant suprise. Our cars were gone. We had parked them where we had parked in 2015 as well and where Herjann told us he always parks in Oberhausen. However, it turned out this day was the one day in the year when parking there wasn't allowed because of some carnival procession that was taking place. So our cars had been towed. After a lot of phone calls, we managed to get a hold of the people we needed to talk to in order to get our cars back. The drivers went to pick up the cars, but we had to pay fines of €156,15 per car. We were extremely pissed about this, especially because it was completely unnecessary. While it is true we could have paid more attention ourselves, it would have been nice if someone at the club would have told us that on this particular day we couldn't park in the usual spot . . . after this ordeal, we drove across the border to Arnhem. Thankfully a relatively short drive, considering the time we had lost getting the cars back and the fact that the show at Willemeen would be an afternoon show, scheduled to start at 15:00 hours. When we arrived at the club, we discovered the beer supply was not a problem here. After having a few drinks, we did our soundchecks and before long, the show started. I actually quite like afternoon shows because you don't have to wait for hours and hours before you get to play. 

Everybody together at the final show.

The opener was something special on this day: Herjann's band Cultus, for the occasion complemented by the Blackdeath members. Sadly, the sound was not very good and this prevented the often subtle guitar melodies from coming across well. Strangely enough, when I was backstage I could hear the music better than when I was standing in front of the stage. Nevertheless, it was cool to witness Cultus live. After Cultus, Blackdeath were up. It was a bit weird that these were the exact same people, just with a different person handling the vocals. Nevertheless, Blackdeath were great again and then it was time for us to go on stage. We played a good set, even though I had some issues handling the vocals. Because of the monitor issues the previous day, I had kind of stretched my voice too far and that gave me some problems on this day. The sound also wasn't all that good. Like in Antwerp, the bass drums were EQ'd really badly. Nevertheless, we were quite satisfied with our set. Next, Barathrum took the stage and we were given food. They served us some kind of shawarma dish that was pretty good, thankfully, and there was enough beer to wash it down with, just the way we like it.

That brought 'Fires Of Destiny Over Europe' to an end. It was a short tour (Demonos called it a 'tourette' if I remember correctly) but, despite some setbacks, it was a lot of fun. I also think the Blackdeath-Countess-Barathrum package was a really strong one, presenting audiences with three bands that all have been active for decades and, more importantly, have always done things their own way, oblivous to fashions and trends. Below is a special playlist with songs that were played during these shows (note that the Barathrum song listed as 'The Force Of Evil' is actually 'Necromantical Ritual'. The tracklist is wrong on Spotify, just like on the CD). Enjoy!"

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