Next door to The Palm House, Christmas party-goers were in full swing, merrily singing along to “Fairytale of New York”, oblivious to the horrendous weather. And also oblivious to what was about to take place in the club next door, as Norway’s dungeon dwelling goblin was bringing his Era 1 tour to Belfast.
The support bands for tonight were all local and a bit of a mixed bill. Thankfully it was not long before Spirit Ruiner took to the stage, drowning out the residual warbling from said bar. Spirit Ruiner are a three-piece sludge / doom band that have only been performing as a full line-up since the spring of this year. Having started as one of Jordy Thompson’s many side projects I have watched the band develop over the past few months and always enjoy them live.
Next up are 2018 Metal 2 the Masses winners Oracle, who I haven’t seen since their performance at this year’s Bloodstock. They definitely liven things up in The Palm House with an energetic and powerful performance, possibly the best I have seen them.
The custom bloodied skull mic stand signified that Drakonis were next and that was really all the warning there was. The black metal 5-piece started ferociously and maintained that pace for the next 30 minutes. Finishing with my personal favourite “Fear of the Wretched”, they had succeeded in darkening the atmosphere in time for Mortiis.
The entire stage was quickly cleared to make way for Mortiis. His set up consisted of a keyboard centre stage flanked by his two banners. The venue darkened as the haunting intro started and Mortiis arrived in front of the crowd in the midst of a sea of fog and swirling blue lights.
I found myself in a daydream like state, that is until some moron shouted out “play an actual song now”. I don’t know if this person knew what material Mortiis would be playing tonight but there is no need to ruin it for everyone else.
Whilst the music created an amazing atmosphere and told its enchanting tale, the same cannot be said for the visuals. For the majority of the show it was impossible to see anything on stage and the projections that have been at other shows were not there in Belfast. However after a while I simply closed my eyes and focused solely on the sound of the dark ambient fairytale.
This is Ånden Som Gjorde Opprør revisited, it is not exactly as it was recorded 14 years ago. It is, for me anyway, the telling of a story that has changed over the years. The details are the same but time, experience and memory have changed elements of it. It is not better, it is not worse, it is just different. The perfect soundtrack to the cold blustery night.
Photos by Exposing Shadows Photography