[Review] Vreid, Kampfar, Necronomicon, Ceremonial Castings and Divinorum

By: Shi

Sep 07 2011

Category: Uncategorized

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Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 28mm
ISO: 400
Shutter: 1/125 sec

Simply put, this was a show I had been waiting for around 10 years. No, not Vreid, but Kampfar.

Two years ago when I missed Inferno 2009 I was crushed to find out that Kampfar was playing the festival. I thought I had missed my only chance to see and photograph a band that has ranked in my Top 5 of all Black Metal Bands EVER list. Sure, maybe I could find a way to get overseas to see them on some tour, but the opportunity to photograph them as well, that was hurting me the most.

Then in May this tour was announced. I was ecstatic. Epic proportions of fangirl glee was emanating from me for days. I was finally going to see them live, and at a venue in Seattle that was not the El Corazon. And then I began my hunt to find a booking or PR contact to obtain a photopass. I couldn’t find one, or if I emailed, I wasn’t getting a reply. The fun of being freelance boys and girls, they don’t take us as seriously.

Then I got a lovely piece of PR from EarSplitPR about the tour, specifically for Vreid. So I emailed, and Liz being the most awesome of awesome that she is, hooked me up. Queue another round of energetic happiness and realizing more things will be crossed off that ever growing bucket list. I will see and photograph Kampfar. And Vreid too, of course.

Vreid is a great band, I do love their music and in fact, they were the very first metal band that I photographed. This was back in 2006 in Oslo during their CD release show for Pitch Black Brigade. And no, you will never ever see those photos. I was a n00b and they look horrid. But of course I’m going to completely blame the limits of my camera and the bad lighting.

Now let us fast forward to last night. I had just spent the weekend running around with my boyfriend at an anime convention in Vancouver, WA and had come down with a horrid cold on Saturday. I was exhausted from travel, not enough sleep and I was coughing my lungs out, but I still went to the show. I was not going to miss this chance for it may never ever come again. Life is short, live while you can, seriously.

The first band was Divinorum. They have members of local bands Funeral Age and Scorched Earth in their ranks. They sounded pretty tight for being a newer Seattle band playing their second show, and I’m definitely hoping to see them again soon.

Next up was Ceremonial Castings. They are my favorite local black metal band, and yes, I have to specify black metal in this (sorry guys, Skelator win as my all time favorite local band). They put on a great set as you come to expect from them. It was unfortunate they couldn’t grace the crowd with ‘Immortal Black Art’ but hopefully they can when they’re up this way again in October. (Ceremonial Castings will be playing a CD release show at the 2 Bit Saloon on October 28th with Scorched Earth who are kicking off a tour)

Then there was Necronomicon. They were okay, but to these ears, they sounded like they were trying to be Behemoth. Obviously that’s not necessarily a bad thing as I love Behemoth, but it was still there. However, what did set them apart was the Native American chanting they had as part of a song and they hailed their Native brethren. That’s not something you see too much and being Native myself, it was very well received on my part. I might check into them a bit more to see what else they have to offer.

What can be said about Kampfar? They’re amazing. I’ve been following them for little over 10 years now. I stuck with them during the long wait before Kvass came out. I was elated when Heimgang was released, pre-ordered it, and then listened to it on repeat at work every single day for at least 6 months. It’s still in top rotation. And now Mare. I can’t hail them enough for their superb musicianship; how they evolve and yet manage to keep the same consistent level of standards I/we’ve come to expect from them.

Kampfar’s performance was nothing short of magical for me. Another spiritual experience in musical form. Dolk was tearing up the stage as only he knows how; he had the crowd at a roar for most of the set. When they broke into Ravenheart at the end it was a mix of people bouncing, headbanging and moshing. I was of the headbanging variety. Okay, maybe I bounced a little. It was hard to concentrate and remember I was there to shoot not just get my metal on, but I think I did alright. In the end I got about 20 shots of Kampfar that I’m happy with, including the one up above. (Links to the full sets of photos for both Kampfar and Vreid will be at the end)

Kampfar’s setlist for the night was (transcribed from the actual setlist from the stage):
Homeless in Seattle
Troll, Død Og Trolldom

Now it’s time to move on to Vreid. Admittedly, I was down front long enough to get the shots I needed, then I kicked back with friends for a bit and then I left toward the end of their set. I was simply exhausted. But that is not to say they weren’t putting on a great show, they were, I simply felt like I was about to pass out.

As soon as Vreid  hit their first chord the crowd was going nuts for them. They sounded solid and tight and while I hear a few complaints about not enough of their older stuff, I thought it was a grand performance. This was my third (fourth?) time seeing them, and by far this was the best of them all.

Overall, this was a great evening out. I might have been under the weather, but it was certainly worth burning sick time today. This was also the first metal show for me in a couple of months and it was definitely needed.

I’ll be shooting Chthonic at the Showbox Sodo on September 23rd so expect another update around then (apologies for the lack of posts over the last few months, but I had nothing to write about).

Full sets of photos…

Kampfar: http://portfolio.midnyte.net/main.php?g2_itemId=734

Vreid: http://portfolio.midnyte.net/main.php?g2_itemId=714