When the “Ghosts Of The North” unite their forces for a co-headline tour across Europe, it doesn’t come an as big surprise that many weeks before the show in Weinheim, the cosy Café Central was able to put a ‘sold out’ sign on their door in the evening of March 9th, 2019.
Already at 7pm, shortly after opening the doors, the venue was packed and once the Americans from Idle Hands entered the stage, the temperature was rising to a maximum. Although the mix of heavy metal and goth rock in the style of The Cure was surely not what the black metal audience had expected, the quartet from Oregon quickly cast their spell over the headbangers and managed to get more than just polite applause. Especially the punk rock driven, almost Misfits-ish “Give Me To The Night” showed that although the band is set to release their debut album in May, they already know how to move the German audience and not blink an eye while playing their melodic tracks to a crowd that could barely wait to open the moshpit for Uada.
Incense floated over the first 3 rows and then it was finally time to welcome the hooded men that some sharp tongues describe as “American copycats of Mgla” – however with the four haunting silhouettes on stages and Jake Superchi‘s otherworldy screams, the band immediately prove that they are more than just that. Without the help of facial expressions or a special light show, Uada unleashed their mixture of the modern black metal with melodic guitar leads that made the songs catchy even to those who might not have to know the band yet. Especially the genuine 9-minute-hymn “Snakes And Vultures” showed that the slowly rising hype around those four masked Americans is more than earned.
With the ‘Northern Ghosts Tour’ being a co-headline invasion, some were surprised to see Gaahls Wyrd show up next, but both bands switched their order of appearance almost every night. Comparing the legendary ex-Gorgoroth frontier with the young high risers from Tribulation wouldn’t make sense, as both come from completely different background and with his majestic and calm expression, the Norwegian entered the stage to the hypnotic shredding of “Steg” – with all band members standing completely still and only piercing the front rows with their eyes. Watching Gaahl dominate this stage is unlike any other metal concert you might have seen before – no headbanging, no speeches, no ‘Let me see your hands, Weinheim’. Gaahl‘s captivating presence simply floated around the stage, every now and then he stopped, pointed at a fan or grabbed the hand of one of his listeners. And while this might sound boring if you read it, watching this notorious pioneer scream his lungs out while eradiating pure icy coldness and guiding his fans into a different world, was simply unreal. And no matter if you followed the singer since the dark 90s or just got to know him through his latest project Gaahls Wyrd that will release a debut album in May: With songs from Gorgoroth, Godseed and Trelldom, but also the brand new “Ghosts Invited” on the setlist, literally everyone was left satisfied after the 70 minute show.
With an almost tropical temperature inside the Café Central, the shouts for Tribulation grew louder and at 10.45pm, the Swedes cast their spell over the sold out venue. No matter if you love them or don’t understand the magically bizarre world behind their demonic elven dance and melodic death metal, it’s undeniable how unique the quartet has become within the scene. After a very short set as support of Arch Enemy in 2018, the fans finally got the chance to hear more of the new songs from the latest offering ‘Down Below’ and although the stage completely disappeared in fog, Tribulation breathed and exhaled every haunting note of their set. The stage left only very few spaces for the demonic dance of Jonathan Hultén, who dressed up as a dramatic black widow, however, that couldn’t stop him from his spiderlike contortions to “The Motherhood Of God”, the hypnotic “The World” or the fans’ favourite “Nightbound”. The sweat almost dripped from the ceiling and the tons of fog were not being able to escape the packed venue, but who cares: Tribulation delivered yet another legendary show.
Thus, both the old school black metallers and the open-minded fellas of the younger generation got their money’s worth on this “Northern Ghosts Tour” with each band of the evening being different but of such good quality, that you simply regret not having seen five shows of this tour run.