Keep of Kalessin, Vreid & Vredehammer @ The Cavern, Exeter

8th November 2015
Review by: Joanna Wilson

keep of kalessin

Tonight’s show is one of only three UK dates on this 10th Indie Recordings Anniversary tour, consisting of some of their most well-known bands. All hailing from Norway, Keep of Kalessin, Vreid (who were some of the labels first bands) and Vredehammer, are here to show us some black metal in its many forms (support band Verdelet cancelled). The Exeter Cavern is located in a small cobblestoned back alley, the crowd is outside waiting patiently on this cold Sunday evening. For what will be an intimate show with some Norway’s finest black metal.

Vredehammer‘s [3.5/5] New album “Violator” is due for release in February next year; the first taster from it is “Spawn Tyrant”. A blistering track, spitting with venom as Valla roars at the crowd. The trio head bang and whirlwind away constantly throughout their short set, showing that they are giving it their all. Their attempt to get the crowd going does fall on deaf ears unfortunately, as they never really give the band any enthusiasm. Both Stone the bassist and Felix on the drums perform a good set, with songs like “Cthulhu” belting out. It’s just too early on in the evening on a Sunday in Exeter for this crowd, who are still buying drinks at the bar. Valla thanks the crowd and says cheers in Norwegian; it was a real shame that the crowd was not with them today.

After a few more people arrive and some more beers are consumed the crowd gather for Vreid [5/5] I do feel most people came just to see them as there are a lot of Vreid tees in the crowd. Having played Damnation festival yesterday; Vreid are in good spirits. Opening with “Når Byane Brenn” Sture’s screams fill the Cavern, as his intense eyes stare and burn through the crowd. Who are into it, with the front row throwing themselves at the stage with hair flying everywhere.

Vreid’s sound is described as “black and roll”; with their mix of Norwegian black metal and old skool 70’s/80’s metal. The tinny sound of stein rims drums blast out of the Cavern, their sound tonight is phenomenal. “Haust” from 2015’s “Sólverv” is another blistering track, which shows how powerful and intense their music is, with the bass and drum beats booming through the floor. The sound in the Cavern is good, as this little southwest venue shows why more bands should come here. With a few more tracks from “Sólverv” including the title track, the set is varied with some old and new tunes. Finishing with “Pitch Black”, we get one more moment to take in how awesome Vreid’s live show is.

Tonight’s headliners are Keep of Kalessin [4.5/5] they also are fresh from Damnation Festival, so are ready to go as soon as the lights go down. After a brief sound check they take to the stage, the melodic harmonies of Keep of Kalessin have always grabbed my attention and I was intrigued to see if they could recreate this live. I was not disappointed Obsidian C .and Wizziac vocals worked perfectly together, creating a beautiful range of harmonies. They start with “Dark Divinity” from their 2015 album “Epostemology”, followed straight after by “The Grand Design”. The band are enjoying the show, eben though saddly a lot of the crowd left after Vreid.

The mid set is started with “The Awakening” followed by “Judgement”, Vyl’s drumming thunders out of the back with Wizziac’s bass accompanying him. Obsidian C. asks if anyone likes thrash metal and a small roar comes from the crowd, as he talks about how thrash has influenced them. He has some banter with a member of the audience then continues with the show, with the song “The Divide Land”. The blast beats of the drums do drown out the vocal harmonies at times, however it does not take from how strong their performance was. Ending with “Ascendant”; Wizziac grins and plays his bass like it was a wild beast that needs to be tamed. As they leave play their final chords the crowd shouts and screams for more (which they should have done earlier) which they do not get.

As the bands gather at the side of the stage with their merchandise, you get a sense that they were disappointed in the size of the tonight’s crowd. Given that tomorrow night’s show is London, I’m sure Exeter will pale in comparison. However the fans that did come enjoyed themselves as they got to enjoy the music, plus also meet the bands as they stood drinking at the bar. The Caverns hasn’t hosted such a black metal night before, and hopefully this will not be the last.