Last Saturday, on the 23rd of November, 14 metalheads from 4 bands in league with Satan attacked and desecrated the little Supersonic Blue Hell Club in Budapest’s 3rd district. No bodies were discovered at the venue, but those who managed to get home on their feet are still marked by what happened that night.
But what really happened? I’ll tell you briefly: 4 bands from 2 different countries (Ireland and Slovakia) joined forces and swept certain parts of Eastern Europe under the moniker Unleashed on the East – Witchcraft, Warlocks and Werewolves Tour. The package for this Eastern European mini tour (4 dates in Poland, Czech Rep, Hungary and Slovakia) consisted of Slovakia’s Goatcraft and Malokarpatan and Ireland’s Sacrilegia and Vircolac.
The Budapest show was organized by the local Insane Hellride Entertainment and as I already mentioned, took place in Supersonic Blue Hell, the perfect place for such an underground concert.
Announced for 8 o’clock sharp, the shows started a bit late, due to the late arrival of the bands. But hey, it was Saturday night, so there was no rush at all. Also, worth mentioning were the pretty low prices at the bar, so drinking was for some a really good means of socializing.
The first band of the night was Goatcraft, a band I did not listen to until last Saturday. After lighting up their 13 candles and the incense which adorned the altar of skulls, the band stepped on stage and delivered a fierce and very enjoyable set of metal of death.
Even if not very original, the music was not bad at all and the quartet put a lot of passion in their playing, despite a low number of people in the audience. I really like bands who are taking their shit seriously, regardless the number of people in front of the stage. Goatcraft made no exception and, even if not very famous, they delivered a strong and passionate set of pure death metal in an incense-filled venue. This band is definitely on my to-check list and my eyes (and ears) will remain open when it comes to releasing any new materials. Definitely a very pleasant surprise, exactly the way I like it.
The next band on the bill was Ireland’s Sacrilegia, who earlier this year have released their debut album The Triclavian Advent on Invictus Productions. The album came out in April and I absolutely loved it so when I heard the band will stop in Budapest, I realized I had to be there no matter what. Fortunately the guys brought a lot of good merch with them on this tour, so I instantly bought the LP before the shows started.
The energy these 3 guys had was fucking contagious and finally the people started to move a bit, pushed from behind by DRdrgs‘s maniacal drumming. You’d think that with only one guitar the band might loose some of its force, but I can assure you that it was exactly the opposite. JK tortured his guitar and spewed forth his unlimited hate, seconded by Ciaran‘s crunchy bass guitar, making their show an extremely powerful one.
Sacrilegia music is a brilliant mix of South American demented black metal, Australian booze induced outlaw thrash and some tiny infused bits of proto Teutonic black/thrash metal. Quite a description, ain’t it? But that’s absolutely true and what these guys delivered was a straight in your face double bass riffing assault, with great solos and lots of headbanging. It is a fucking pleasure to see bands like this one giving it all and taking a real pleasure out of it. In the end, that’s what metal is all about, playing with passion, as a fan, for the fans.
After Sacrilegia’s powerful performance and the required change over/soundcheck, Vircolac took the stage and started their set with Titan, the first track off their debut album Masque. The guys in Sacrilegia also performed in Vircolac, together with Brendan McConnell on lead guitar and Darragh O’Laoghaire on vocals. The quintet delivers a mix of death and black metal, with not so many blast beats but with lots of atmosphere. The music is very dark and haunting, which kinda puts you in a certain mood and the songs have a very old school Samael feeling, especially on the slower parts. I was delighted to hear tracks like The Cursed Travails of the Demeter, The Long Wail and So I Hang From a Wretched Tree. To my surprise, the last song of Vircolac‘s set was the amazingly beautiful Betwixt the Devil and the Withches, a 9 minute crushing beast which also closes The Cursed…EP.
Watching from the distant shadows of the venue these 5 guys delivering their dark music with such a passion, made me realize (for how many times now) why I love this type of music so much. It is music made not for the masses but for the hearts, and the crowd felt the same way too, cheering the band frantically hoping for an encore which unfortunately never happened.
Once the Irish werewolves transformed once again into humans and left the stage, preparations quickly started for the last band of the night, the warlocks of Malokarpatan. Having emerged from the dark woods of Slovakia with the debut album Stridzie Dni in 2015, the band has since then conquered hearts and stages all over Europe with their appearances and records releases. I had to be there to check them out, even if some of their songs do not appeal to me in THAT particular way.
The brief soundcheck was over and after midnight the band took us on a drunk and mystic journey through the dense Carpathian woods, were strange creatures and foul beasts meet in a moonlit clearing. The stage presence of the band is almost non existent, but that does not prevent the 5 guys to deliver their extreme heavy metal in a very catchy way. Reminding sometimes of some alcohol/drug induced dances, the riffs and the rhythms made people mosh like crazy in some weird trance-like state.
With almost no interaction with the crowd, except for the mandatory, in between songs drink cheering, Malokarpatan proved why they have become so popular in such a short time. I was quite surprised to see in front of me in the audience the crazy Irish lads from Sacrilegia and Vircolac doing air guitars, jumping in the mosh pit and headbanging like crazy with beers in their hands. I haven’t seen this for a very long time and I really thought those times were over, but then these guys reminded me that this is exactly what metal is all about.
The set list contained 3 songs from each of their full lengths released so far, Stridzie Dni and Nordenkarpatenland, together with what seems to be 2 new tracks, Striga and Filipojakubska Noc.
I cannot end this review without mentioning the good sound and the whole atmosphere that such an underground event had. I felt like going back for 20 years, when musicians drank beers and mingled with the audience without any shades of superiority, banging their heads to their favorite music and just living the moment. Another aspect worth mentioning is the good prices the bands had for their (varied) merchandise, something which sometimes is deliberately ignored by many bands.
Overall this was a perfect night and thanks to Etrurian Legions and Insane Hellride Entertainment, some of us were able to see play some of the very good bands underground has to offer at this point.