Emeperor / Limbonic Art / Peccatum

Bradford Rios

April 15 1999

Hail metal brother. Er yeah. Ok, so for my very first ever foray into the live world of black metal, I set forth in the trusty chariot Murc, (so called apparently due to it's number plate and not having any other name for it at the moment) to the climes of Bradford, expecting to see plenty of corpse paint wearing metal muthers. Well, I got to Bradford anyway. Very little corpse paint to be seen, though plenty of hair, lots of black and quite a bit of leather. And that was just me. See, the point is, as this is my first dip into this particular cesspit of music, I don't know what to expect. So I'll run with the cliches. Remember, you can and should take the piss out of just about everything.

And it can be very easy to do with this sort of music. Don't expect titles. I don't know them. It does all sound very similar, but that's true of any music until you immerse yourself within it and gain some real knowledge and understanding. So anyway, as I got in, the first band, Peccatum (I think), were drawing to an end. Female operatic vocals mixed with male grunts and symphonic sounds. It strikes as a bit over the top, but then, I only managed to catch about 5 minutes of it, so I can't really judge.

But I did catch all of Limbonic Art. Well no I didn't, cos they didn't jump from the stage into my arms. You know what I mean. Three people, two guitarists and a keyboard / sample operator. The drum machine set on kill was a a star. Don't know how it managed to play so fast. Yeah. Uh, it was kinda strange. This sort of music is supposed to be extreme, yet it didn't seem it. The perhaps over use of keyboards meant it was almost like having a movie soundtrack going on, mixed with guitars that weren't overly heavy sounding on the riffage, and backed by twin grunt vocals, which occassionally also went for that deep singing thing. I actually quite enjoyed it, as did a lot of people judging by the response, but not sure I'll be investing. The best sight though of the evening, were the three plastic swords being held aloft in the middle of the crowd, in homage. Hail, and indeed, woaaaaarggggghhhhhhhhh.

And so Emperor. Well, it has to be said, Rio's was pretty much packed. And the band receive a welcome of conquering heroes as they walk on stage. And of course, there's no corpse paint. Which meant that Limbonic Art are the only ones that actually took part in that ritual. Here endeth the myth perhaps? They open with material from the new album IX Equilibrium, which is the only thing I partly know by them. The first thing that strikes me is the 6 string bass being used. Overkill mate, overkill. Next is the technical style of the music. A name that ran through my head for some reason was Megadeth. I guess because in my early days of listening to thrash all those years ago, Megadeth had the reputation of being technical stuff with a certain lack of stage presence. And there was a similar feeling here. Expertly played but ... But then of course, there's the crowd. And tonight a wave of divers take to the stage. And they get up and off. None of that trying to shake the bands hands, or have a conversation or "cooeee, look at me" stuff. Just done as it should be. Even some hardcore shows could learn from that.

The spectacle then is relatively minimal, the music atmospheric and bordering on the out of control fast at thimes. Vocally it goes from shrill to deep operatic, but you can still make out some of the stuff. You can sort of understand how this may be able to make a minor breakthrough into bigger leagues. From the words being spoken, and the reaction around me, there's a fair mixture of old as well as the new, which seems to make most devotees pretty happy. And there's even on introduction where the guard is dropped just for an instance and a normal speaking voice is used. Pah, the sellouts goes the cry.

In all it takes about 70 minutes. 70 minutes to change my attitude, to make me get rid of all the piss taking and cliches. You must be having a laugh. The more I listen to something, the more I'll take the piss. But it was kinda different to what I expected. In some cases for better, in some for worse. But lo, the chariot Murc did get me home safely once more. Kinda handy when you get up the next morning to see that some roads at least in the general area of where I was were blocked by snow.