Tag Archives: 013

Batushka, Schammasch, Trepaneringsritualen @013

On a rainy wednesday night I headed to 013 in Tilburg. Originally I scheduled  an interview singer and composer Chris S.R. from Schammasch for a chat about their music. Thee insanity of modern day touring made an interview simply too much for the Swiss artist. Still, I went to check it out, because Batushka is always a charm and I’ve never seen Trepaneringsritualen before.


Opener is that act from Göteborg, which uses beat driven industrial to bark defiance at the gods over. It’s a strange act in this line-up, but thanks to the dark, gloomy atmosphere it just works. The sole member on stage generates a sense of magic with a performance that is as much a ritualistic experience as a commander barking words at you. Yeah, that works together actually.


Then we await the mighty Swiss band, who have just released their latest record ‘The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite’. The EP format puzzles me since it seems to simply be a value judgment these days, more than a length indication. Regardless, a great listening experience after the opus magnus that is ‘Triangle’, with its 100 minutes of music over three records.

Schammasch starts of with drumming, setting the atmosphere of bombastic, grand music that combines black and doom elements with ambient and simple spoken word. Frontman Chris is adorned in a ritual garb and has his face painted black with gold. Call it an act if you will, it is more part of the message of spiritualism and art the band offers. Within the void of doom driven, rhythmic frames, the singer proclaims the words of Maldoror, with wide open eyes. The music stimulates your imagination, engages your body with the poetry of the Comte de Leautremont. The music simply immerses the listener, like a warm bath. As a frontman, the presence of Chris S.R. radiates conviction and strength, but also a remarkable absence of ego.

The set leaves you with an altered state of mind.


Then we head for the traditional orthodox mass, but turned onto its head. Batushka seems to struggle with some parts of the set-up but almost on time the band gets on the stage. Unfortunately, a draft blows out candles on one side of the stage, which the nameless priest tries to light anew a couple of times with no success. A guitarist gets stuck in the banner but once the band is settled, all that evaporates like snow in the burning fires of hell.

The sound of Batushka seems to have become more harmonious through the constant touring and the chanting has merged more and more with the black metal. That is good news because it makes the show even more captivating and removes the feeling that some moments are mere gimmicks. As a listener you simply allow the flow of the mass to carry you, with the bulky frontman as your impressive and confident guide.

In a haze of torrentous, though melodic black metal, Gregorian chanting and the smell of incense, one can truly experience the music of this Polish group of mystery man. The experience is good and complete, even with half the candles out.

Attaining the absolute: Dillinger Escape Plan Live

I think that yesterday, watching Dillinger Escape Plan, something happened. This is one of the last shows ever of the experimental hardcore… progcore, I don’t know what to call it… ever will play in the Netherlands. This will be in 013 in Tilburg. It was amazing and somewhere in between I feel like Dillinger Escape Plan gives the concert goer a glimpse of the absolute. I’m telling you.

So maybe that’s the fever that was running through my body, which almost made me sell my tickets. I felt that it would not do to stay at home, while this band has sustained so many injuries. A little fever, they must shrug that off like a little bruise. Anyways. Musically this band is supreme, I’ve seen them play a bunch of times, but the first time was 11 or 12 years ago and I think that was a moment when my way of perceiving music changed forever.

It was a gig in the old Effenaar in Eindhoven, when it was still that cool old factory hall with the shitty toilets and crappy… well, it was just a rundown place, which gave it such a cool vibe. Dillinger completely blew me away that night and that is exactly what happened again yesterday.  If there is a band compatible to the level of attention and ferocity of Dillinger, it must be Meshuggah. Apart from that they have no peer.

Through the years the band moved to a more  artistic, more accesible and even wildly jazzy sound. On ‘Black Bubblegum’ and ‘One Of Us Is The Killer’ you hear that softer sound. The feeling of being hunted is even on more tempered songs a constant present, like on ‘Happiness is a smile’ (which they played for the first time this night). These are all worthy endeavours, good songs that show the musicianship of these gents has vastly expanded over the years. I mean, the track ‘Farewell, Monla Lisa’ is a completely crushing, incinerating track with dirge-like passages lamenting the meaninglessness of our existence in one of the most powerful ways ever. Just wow!

Dillinger shines truly, when they play those classics. The all-destroying, aural assaults from the early days, like ‘Panasonic Youth’. Songs like this are destructive in essense, it’s the musical equivalent of scorched earth tactics. What is left after being completely battered and bruised by these frantic notes? Not without reason the set closes with ‘Sunshine The Werewolf’ from Miss Machine and ‘43% Burnt’  from Calculating Infinity. This is exactly because these songs are some of the purest expressions of rabid fury ever. The most violent music I’ve ever heard, but also delivered in a way that leaves no room for anything. An expression that is absolute, unmistakable and overwhelming.

Again, might have been the fever, but for me hearing Dillinger Escape Plan play again was cathartic. Destroying everything, playing on  a stage completely bare of any decoration. This is one of the most pure live experiences you can get.  Shame they’re throwing in the towel, but I won’t forget this night.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor makes it worth to wait

I’ve been looking forward to seeing the band GY!BE for pretty much years. Ever since my class mate Geertjan introduced me to them in my first year at uni. I was pretty much hooked on the band instantly and their label Constellation Records. I wouldn’t say I’m a devout fan, but I was a bit nervous in 013, while waiting for the band to start.

It was the ‘Dead Flag Blues’ that got me into this band. A song with the most harrowing spoken part I’ve ever heard.

We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
And the machine is bleeding to death..

Then the band fell apart, but like any group that has so much to say, these guys didn’t stick to their hiatus forever and took a break of about 8 years only to return completely reinvented and reinvigorated with ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’ The sound is now much heavier and bass driven, but still pretty much the best band in whatever you want to call the genre out there.

So standing rather close to the stage I enjoyed the opening tunes of K/G/D, a noise musician, normally active with his act Total Life or Growing. The warm drones feel very natural and organic, only slightly deviating when the musician twits and turns some knobs. It’s a performance of only half an hour, but a very welcome start for a show filled with similar sounds. You don’t need to much appetizer before a band like GY!BE.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor-2

In a circle or semi-circle in a way, the band slowly emerges and starts on their opening tune ‘Hope Drone’, which swells with every addition to a full orchestration. This is Godspeed You! Black Emperor at their best, creating music that keeps you tense and excited throughout the listening experience. Obviously there’s no rock’n’roll banter, there’s just the music and the audience. Without skipping a note, the band continues on with ‘Mladic’, the opener of their return album with strange eastern elements woven into it. The band doesn’t even break their stride and continues ever onward.

The set is a mixture of songs from the last two records, which are just way more heavy and driven, leaving the postrock staples behind a bit. Sure, the repetition is still an essential element to the music of the Canadian group, but it’s changed with its time and that’s the best thing in this case. New song ‘Buildings’ specially dragged me along with its majestic visuals of towering sky scrapers and mild build-ups with warm tones.

As a desert a bit of the old back catalogue is played with ‘Blaise Bailey Finnegan III’, which stands apart on every level from the rest of the set. It shows the huge difference in sound between the band then and now. But still, they tower over anyone else in this genre.

Photo’s by Paul Verhagen | Website