Live shows are definitely something I can’t get enough of, but unfortunately, black metal is not the most often done live in these parts. This is probably relative to the fact that I live in the Netherlands, where ‘rare’ has a much different meaning. Anyways, Barshasketh dropped by at the Little Devil and that is definitely not one I’m going to skip.
Pictures by Herman Stehouwer (with kind permission)
Barshasketh is a project of Andrew Campbell, also known as Krigeist. I’m a fan of his work, particularly the project Bròn hugely appealed to me. Campbell originally is from New Zealand but has relocated to Scotland since. He’s been taking Barshasketh on the road now and it’s something I am very excited about. Little Devil is one of my favorite venues for shows like this. I do enjoy the fact that it is simply less crowded there. The new DJ booth does make the space even smaller though.
Opening act for tonight on this Little Devil Black Ritual night is the Finnish group Devouring Star, who are signed to Terratur Possessions. Like many of the bands on that label, their sound is dense, layered and complex. The performance, therefore, feels slightly static, with very little movement on the stage. They make it feel like the air is reverberating with ever so tiny movements and complexities. Their music is a tapestry, rich and thick with slight changes to immerse yourself in. The band did lack the meticulousness that they display on the album in a live setting, but there’s a limit to what three members can do. A great warm-up for the evening. Not too many visitors seem to show up, but the tiny venue feels full and appreciative of the bands. Something any big venue seems to lack these days.
Dysangelium is a different beast, with much more dynamics in their show. The band plays fiercely and seems to create a turbulence in the small venue. The group from Germany released one album three years ago, but by this live standard, a next one is wanted. They tap into a specific, vibrant branch of that occult black metal sound, with a lot of intensity and a lot of shifts in tempo and sound. I particularly liked these guys after the performance of Devouring Star for their more direct and raw approach. Highly enjoyable, these guys from Kiel!
But what I came for was definitely the final act of tonight. Barshasketh has a particular sound of violence to it. There’s a particular intensity to the delivery of Campbell himself, who really seems to drag up his vocals from his toes in a visceral, venomous bursts. Twisting and turning as if in agony he spits defiance at the onlooking crowd. Barshasketh sounds urgent and intense in a way that captivates as if you’re being grabbed by the throat and dragged along to hell. For me the whole center of that force is Campbell who as a frontman appears to be possessed. The band around him functions as part of a funnel around him and the group really gave it their best, making this a memorable night.
This show is over way too soon and I luckily did manage to show my Bròn shirt (ever the fanboy) and pick up some vinyl from the band. Awesome stuff.