Diluvium Europa Tour: Obscura, God Dethroned, Fractal Universe & Thulcandra
Belgrade, Dom omladine, February 22, 2020
Review and photos by Ivona Bogner
My history with God Dethroned starts back in 2009. What supposed to be a Storming the Balkans Tour, turned out to be calm summer night on the bench. Yes, you are reading well. It was June, concert was late for couple of hours and somehow I fell asleep in the park, on the bench, two hours after midnight. And that concert never happend for me.
On April 4, 2019, Belphegor and Suffocation kicked off co/headlining Europe Tour Under Black Metal. Plus God Dethroned as a special guests on selected shows. April 26, 2019. Who dares wins, right? I packed my bags, took a bus and six hours later I am in Budapest. Quick shower, sneak peak to FB and bingo! God Dethroned will play only for 20 minutes, but it was worth every minute of the 400km long trip. 45 minutes walk to Dürer Kert (I forgot to change money so I could not buy public transportation ticket) and support bands already started to play. One by one, and majestic God Dethroned blew us away. In a blink of an eye gus left us in the dust (better to say sweat) and left. After the show was over, time to go home. Again 45 minutes walk back to the apartment, but adrenalin level was that high that I could fly not just back to Budapest apartment, but back to Belgrade.
Wait a second… Do I see well? Dave Meester and Jaroen Pomper right beside the bar?
″Excuse me, guys, just to tell you that was hell of a show, we came just to see you.″
″Wow, where are you from?″ ″Serbia? Serbia? Are you f****** kidding me? Come here!″
Everyone who know me also know how I hate hugs, but how could I fight with brother bear (read Jaroen)? One more hug and promisse we will see soon. And that soon came almost ten months later, if I know to count.
Present day… February 22, 2020, Belgrade… Diluvium Europa Tour. Our metal family, as usual, started ″preparations″ in nearbuy tavern (to use a nice word). Some drinking beer, some drinking juice, some drinking coffee… Time to go!
Fractal Universe. Now we are talking about really young band, formed in 2015. Those guys were lucky enough to sign with Metal Blade, which tells us to pay attention, right? Since their second album ″Rhizomes of Insanity″ was released in 2019, it was a great opportunity to present not just the album, but the band to fans all over Europe. When I came to the venue, Fractal Universe already started their set. Photo pit was never that crowded so… Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can… Few jumps here and there and I am in the game! From what I saw, Serbian fans liked what they have heard. Perfect band for warming up, so viva la France!
Thulcandra, yet unknown band to me. They are Germans. German band have never disappointed me. Almost never, so fingers crossed. The band has over than 15 years of experience, so it really can′t be bad. Besides, Steffen Kummerer, who we all know as Obscura′s mastermind, is also a chief here. Just, Thulcandra delivers Melodic Black Metal, and any Melodic Metal perfectly suits me, so I really enjoyed their set. If you ever loved Swedish Black Metal, bands like Dissection, for example, than you will love Thulcandra too. The impression I have got, that energy from the stage, was absolute opposite to what we expect from Black Metal bands. Steffen was smiling all the time. The guy really enjoys in his music, and if you ever thought in Black Metal everything is about corpse paint, bullet belts, combat boots, inverted crosses and pentagrams, Thulcandra will reassure you. Black Metal bands, Black Metal musicians can be happy whether you like it or not.
After perfect supporting acts, everyone was ready for, let′s say, headliners.
I wont lie, and from what I already wrote, the moment I was waiting for, of course is God Dethroned′s set. My time to be wicked. Now or never! From the moment Thulcandra finished their set, I occupied photo pit entrance. Dare to pass me over! When security gave us the sign we can come in to photo pit, where else should I stand if not in a front of Hanry Sattler for the start? Luckily, I am short, so fans did not complain on my acrobatic skills trying to catch the best photo I could. And to tell you the truth, I was so excited, that I really didn′t care if I will have any photo of the band. I just wanted to forget damn camera and enjoy the show! The band promoted their last album ″Illuminati″ and it was obvious they will mostly play new songs. I was just hoping during the first three songs while we are allowed to be in photo pit they will not play favorite of all favorites, ″Villa Vampiria″. The show was opened with ″Illuminati″. From the very first riff, God Dethroned promissed hell of a show. ″Book of Lies″ and ″World Ablaze″ and finally leaving photo pit. Do not get me wrong, I love being it that damn pit, but when in front of you is one of your favorite bands, it is really hard to be professional and focus on your job, instead of jumping on the stage and grabbing mic (which I did once on Pungent Stench show, and now I know why they never came back to Belgrade).
Do I hear ″Villa Vampiria″? Perfect timing! No I can relax and enjoy the show! I have no idea why, but when you are listening the band you would kill for, somehow their set seems to be faster and shorter than you expected. Five more songs and they are gone. There will always be some songs you would like to hear and you didn′t. But that is how it goes. Overall, I am happy with set list God Dethroned delivered us. From the last album I would wote for ″Gabriel″ as my favorite.
Despite desperate roaring from the crowd: ″We want more!″, there was no more.
″Ok, now I can go home!″ Fan in me speaking. But professional in me is screaming: ″One more band to go!″ And one more question that somehow I forgot to ask guys from God Dethroned: when the hell are you planning a headine tour? It is about time.
Last time I saw Obscura was somewhere back in… 2009? Again 2009? Am I really that old? That time they supported Cannibal Corpse. I also remember, as Alzheimer allows me, they played with Death DTA in 2016. But due family issues, I passed that show. You know, music is my life, but you can′t just leave your family when they need you. And at that moment my family counted, besides me, four members. One of them is no longer with us.
We are talking here about Technical Death Metal. Obscura released their fifth album, ″Diluvium″, in 2018. To promote the album, Obscura first went to North America, than the rest of the world. The time has come for not just Serbia, but 20 or 21 other cities. Who counts?
Rafael Trujillo came out first and from the opening riff he promised nothing more but perfection. Here comes the rest of the band and chaotic, cathartic travel through their opus begun. After the third song it seems some fans were leaving. And coming back. And leaving… What the hell is happening? ″Man, this is too much, I can′t!″, I heard from the guy behind me. Yes, Technical Death Metal is not just for everyone. Virtuosity of skilled musicians brought to perfection can’t hold everyone′s attention, so I can understand those who were leaving and coming back. Not because they heard something bad, but something really, really god their brains and ears cannot process. Working with one Technical Death Metal band in the past, I remember their guitarist once told me at band′s rehearsal: ″Damn, even I can’t play the music I wrote! It’s too complicated!″
And that is the whole philosophy behind Technical Death Metal that mostly people don’t understand. You have to be a special kind to create and listen this subgenre cause it is all about competing, challenging and experimenting with yourself the whole time. Obscura, whoever we are talking about: Steffen, Rafael, Linus or Sebastian showed us they really stand face to face with the best musicians in the genre. Twelve regular songs and two on encore were more than a proof those guys could teach Technical Death Metal as highest ranked professors.
Steffen at some point said: ″This is a great tour, and the fact we didn′t kill each other tell you something.″
Now, what is the most important for me besides the bands: organization. One word: perfect. Schedule as planned. Bands were on/off the stage in a second as planned. Whole crew, those who came with bands and those who were hired in Belgrade worked as a well trained team. Bands were happy, fans were happy, everyone was happy.
Friendly advice: next time pay more attention on lights! Seriously, someone can get epileptic seizure.
Merch… The Holy Grail! You just could not decide what to grab first. I want it all and I want it now!
Interaction with bands: beyond reality!
All the bands were hanging out with fans after the show. And I have to go back to the beginning of this story. My reunion with God Dethroned. Few words about last year’s concert in Budapest, signing new album, taking few pics, god damn shaking like a leaf and note to the band that now they can feel as superstars. Jeroen tried to relax me with: ″No, we are just trying to act like humans, and you must be hungry.″ Yes, I was, but I was still shaking as a child who meets her idols. Just, when I see the age of those guys, hardly I can be a kid because somehow I am older than a half of a band. Wait… Than a third of the band. Damn!
This time I have met the whole band, and I have to admit, Henri Sattler, reincarnation of Anton LaVey, is not scary at all. At the end, what else than a brother bear hug again? After I make a comment I am shaking like an idiot, a friend of mine said he somehow always forget English. I guess we are even.
Impression of all impressions: shall I say God Dethroned?