[Frequent, intrepid, and ferrivorous RM contributor Aaron Von Lupton once again put his eardrums and speckled, oversized liver at risk to bring the macabre metal-eaters among you a complete account of the Toronto stop of Negura Bunget's 15th anniversary tour...]
with Wolven Ancestry, Eclipse Eternal and Din Brad
April 27th, 2012
Hard Luck Bar – Toronto
I have few complaints, if any, about the quality of metal shows we get here in Toronto, but I must say it isn’t often that we are treated to a complete lineup of true black metal practitioners. So, on a dark and unseasonably cold Friday night, I gathered up some work-related colleagues and headed down to the Hard Luck Bar – now in a new, much larger location – for a rare appearance by long-running Romanian act Negura Bunget and a host of obscure and intriguing opening bands. We left our corpsepaint at home.
After going through the usual “You’re on the guest list? We don’t have a guest list”-chicanery, my colleague and I grabbed some $6 – yes, six Canadian dollars – Pabst Blue Ribbons and got ready for the festivities to begin. First up was Din Brad, essentially a side project of former Negura Bunget drummer and current keyboardist Negru and a female vocalist named Inia Dinia, who played what can only be described as “Transylvanian soundscapes.” The music is not in any way metal, with a focus on female vocals, keyboards and a light rhythm section creating an ethereal, traditional-sounding atmosphere. It conjured a nice, mellow aura for the blackened blasphemy that was to come, a calm before the dark storm if you will. Despite offering no headbanging soundtrack, the crowd was receptive to the experimental bunch, though quietly we were all appreciative of their short set.
Now it was time to get bloody. But first, an admission: Torontonians are not the greatest when it comes to supporting our local scene. And so, none of us had ever heard of the Toronto-based misanthropes up next, Eclipse Eternal, despite existing in one form or another since 1999. Sporting some of the most impressively disturbing corpsepaint this side of King Diamond, Eclipse Eternal brought a blizzard of cacophonous guitar needling and torn-throat vocals, all held together by ice cold, depressive atmospheres. I would say that they were reminiscent of Mayhem and Immortal, except that this band was actually superior to what most of the “big name” orthodox black metal bands are producing these days. Eclipse Eternal held no tongue in cheek, selling their chaotic sermon of murder, suicide and hate in convincing fashion. In one particularly blood-chilling moment, they dedicated an instrumental to a recently departed friend, raising a fucking horn in the process! As the band tore through the number, vocalist Voldamares solemnly stared down in utter stillness.
Then we got some beers. At the bar, I met a lovely young lady wearing a Macabre T-shirt. We hit it off great until she mentioned she was married to Lord Defiler, the lead singer of Wolven Ancestry, who were about to go on. Er…bye. However, through our conversation, I did learn that the band was actually from my hometown, Sudbury! Who knew? There certainly weren’t any black metal bands around when I was growing up in that shithole town. No good ones anyway.
You probably don’t want to fuck around with Wolven Ancestry. Not only are they from the absolutely frigid tundra of my old stomping grounds, the lead singer wears a fucking wolf-skin hunting trophy on his head. The band is all about marrying man with his bestial qualities. Their black metal blasphemy was just as vicious and intimidating as that of Eclipse Eternal, only more epic in scope. And more about wolves. I’m happy I didn’t have to fight that lead singer. [Perhaps you could've tangled him up with those two pipe cleaners you call arms? - Ed.]
After two absolutely searing performances, and a hell of a lot more tall boys, it was time for the main event. Negura Bunget came out and delivered a solid, albeit surprisingly short, set of dark and melodic blackened metal. While Wolven Ancestry and Eclipse Eternal brought the aggression, imperfect musicianship, and chaos of the genre, Negura Bunget are all about instrumentation and experimentation; unafraid to mix traditional, folksy vocals with blast beats and sonic violence. The performance was actually a lot stronger than the band is on disc, probably because heavy music tends to bend naturally toward adrenaline-fuelled aggression when played live. All in all a solid performance, even if purists would likely have preferred the openers over the headliners.
With the gig ending relatively early, we stumbled down the long staircase below and were greeted by a strange fog outside, befitting of the pagan metal ritual we had just witnessed. Then again, maybe it just all the mead we’d consumed.
Next up: German thrash vets Destruction’s 30th Anniversary tour this weekend. Stay tombed…