Kings of Black Metal Festival 2014

Alsfeld, DE, April 5, 2014 by Chérie

_FAL2860Burning Stage Concerts had once more created a Black Metal event that attracted fans from all over Europe, to the charming medieval city of Alsfeld. Nobody else than BM legends Mayhem were headlining this 2-day festival. But many more illustrious bands, from all over the world, were on stage that were just as exciting to see and hear.

Where in the world can one leisurely hang out in the city center, enjoying great music by famous underground bands, zipping beer with one’s peers in the public parking lot, smoking, getting drunk and stoned, fall asleep on the pavement, under the guidance of caring paramedics and in the security of private guards and kind policemen in surveillance vehicles?

No, this is not a fairy tale … this is Alsfeld in 2014. Check out the full photo report of Kings of Black Metal!
I was there and enjoyed the German hospitality for the so maniest time in a row and it never ceises to amaze me what a great society we live in, over here in W. Europe, the freedom that we have and how our metal nation has become accepted and even respected, over the years. Most of you who were there take these things for granted, but there are so many places on earth (and times in recent history), where people are not so lucky.

The annual German festival Kings of Black Metal in the county of Hessen, always takes place in the beginning of April. This year for the first time it was held on two consequent days. Having to travel from far, we only visited on the main day, Saturday. Judging from the more than half empty hall at the start of the afternoon, and the sleepy eyes of our German friends, the night before, with headliners Endstille and Nargaroth, had been a great succes.
The first band we saw was Velnias, a rather unknown band, who had come all the way from Boulder, Colorado (USA). They had a hard time warming up for the other bands to come. The sound engineer seemingly had not arrived yet. Which was a pity because this bands sounds very well on recordings.

Svartidaudi (Iceland)
Svartidaudi (Iceland)
With Svartidaudi on stage, next, the sound was good. Musically speaking we really love this Icelandic quartet. However their stage appearance is, despite their half facemasks, too static to our liking.

Impiety from Singapore, with the energetic frontman Shyaithan, brought more live into the venue with their blackened trash.

Impiety (Singapore)
Shyaithan, Impiety (Singapore)

The liveliness was gradually increased by the bands Khold from Norway and Seth from France. Organizer Olli (Burning Stage Concerts) surely knows how to build up a Black Metal program. The running order was excellent in this respect. Both bands already have a long tradition in their own countries but only the last few years, they have gained more attraction abroad. As for Seth, this is undoubtedly, at least partly,due to their charismatic singer Black Messiah.

After all this noise it was time for contemplation. This was brought to us from Praque (Cz) by Cult of Fire, who performed a Satanic, occult ritual. Which was indeed very atmospheric, I must say.

Cult of Fire
Cult of Fire (CZ)

At 7:30 p.m. sharp, exactly according to schedule, Behexen entered the stage; the Finnish band that we had especially come to this festival for. Founded by guitarist Shatraug (known from Horna – the previous year on KoBM, Sargeist and several BM projects). _FAL2335With Sargeist the band shares the vocalist (Hoath Torog) and drummer. Wraath of One Tail One Head (ex Celestial Bloodshed) plays the other guitar. With such an illustrious company one can expect fireworks, and this is what we got, musically speaking. They gave an extraordinary good performance.

I talked to Behexen’s Shartraug before and after the show. These men are only devoted to music and, pleasantly, appeared to be a very modest kind. Although they have decades of experience in the music business, they simply remain a close group of friends, travelling to shows together, working and playing as a team. A sympathetic bunch, that makes an indelible impression, on those who care to take a closer look.
We skipped the co-headliner show of Kampfar (sorry, Dolk) to go to dinner in the beautiful medieval city center of Alsfeld and returned for the headliner show of their fellow Norwegians Mayhem. The true Mayhem, as they call themselves, has been around for almost 30 years. As foreseen, the venue was packed for this band. Their intro was accompanied by a pyro show.


Which was nice, but not spectacular, as was to be expected at an indoors event. The band played both old and newer material. Both have their own multitude of fans. Mayhem has evolved over the decades, something that not all listeners can appreciate, while others do. Still, this band is big and with reason. The great vocalist Attila Csihar gave an excellent stage performance, holding and emotionally interacting with a skull.
Unfairly, the hall ran empty after Mayhem and only a few die hards remained to see Baptism. Personally, I preferred their music over Mayhem’s. But then again, by now you should have noticed that I am a great fan of Finnish Black Metal (and French, for that matter). The relatively young singer Ossi has gathered a fine group of Finnish musicians around him and it’s deservedly that this Finnish band is invited all over the world to perform.
Lord Sargofagian,  Baptism (Finland)
Lord Sargofagian, Baptism (Finland)

Already after midnight, we skipped Merrimack (we saw them in 2011 at Hammer O.A. so check out these pix if you like) and refrained from the after party with the Polish Death metalists Hate. Even without all that, Kings of Black Metal 2014 was an overwhelmingly succesful event.