AGRYPNIE - TODTGELICHTER - FARSOT
Gaswerks - Winterthur - Schweiz 17/03/12
Story online since: 28.03.2012 / 21:40:12
I faced a total of 15 hours journey to get to enjoy this Wondrous Triple Teutonic Treat, leaving behind a trail of deep under-eye bags, massive carbon-footprints and a hefty hole in the wallet: well it was so damn worth it! As soon as the event was announced, it immediately shaped up as a great meeting occasion for some of us AGM aficionados: although our lord Chryst himself was unfortunately absent, his other half Katja Honeywine graced us with her glowing beauty and lively enthusiasm; contributor-extraordinaire Tentakel was of course part of the featured bands with Todtgelichter; three of our 2010 Readers’ Poll winners Blutmond were also attending (watch out for their upcoming album: a total KILLER!); and of course, Agrypnie and Farsot, regularly and lovingly appearing on our mag. To make everything perfect, our last Poll winner, Dornenreich’s Eviga should have been there too… but we thought of him – I certainly did!
Meh-Suff has made a very good name for itself, bringing to Switzerland the best of what’s on offer in extreme metal, so I was glad to finally witness one of their events @ Gaswerks. The club is located near Zurich, and has apparently two stages. Tonight the bands were playing the smaller room, still a very good capacity with a large, tall stage: perfect for atmosphere and comfortable for the bands. Swiss black metallers Moonfrost were opening for the German guests, promoting the recently released album "Starfall”. The veteran band played a tight and professional set, gripping my attention throughout with their traditional yet inspirational atmospheric BM, thoughtfully crafted and entirely believable.
It was soon time for Farsot, who arrived late after a grueling journey of their own, to briefly sound-check and kick off their set. This band was one of my personal reasons to attend this evening, as their short opening performance at Aurora Infernalis had left me wanting/needing more, being their brilliant "Insects” one of my most played recent albums. Loudly cheered by the crowd, they proceeded in delivering a scintillating, intense and brooding set, fulfilling my high expectations. As soon as he attached himself to the mike, holding onto the stand for dear life, as if he were suspended over a bottomless hell pit, singer Jürgen - a.k.a. 10.XIXt - belted out his angst. Doubled over himself, hair covering the face and eyes piercing trough the high ceilings, he did look as if he was facing a painful journey for both body and mind. The depth and darkness of this apparently unassuming (all Farsot wear plain clothes, no trendy touches or cool band T-shirts in sight) but mesmerizing front man contrasted wonderfully with the full-bodied performance of his musicians, whom he routinely leaves alone on stage during the customary instrumental track: a nice gesture which invites to shift the attention fully onto the music itself. This is a captivating band that, in spite of having only two full-lengths out, has been around a while but has still massive potential for creative growth. As they stand on their own unique ground, you can easily envisage them to embrace an even wider range of expression within their already broad parameters, facilitated by an above-average standard of musicianship. The nice touch after this brilliant performance was to see the complete transformation of Jürgen, from tortured misanthrope who does not interact with the crowd to a friendly and good-humored guy equipped with the greatest of smiles and brightest pair of dark eyes I have seen in a while…
Hamburg’s Todtgelichter stunned me - and many others - with their latest album "Angst”, which showed a charming brand of atmospheric/progressive/doomy BM-rooted metal, enhanced by the gorgeous voice of Tentakel’s wife Marta. Finally my desire to see The White Ones on stage came true tonight. This is a band that every metal festival should have in their bill, as they provide the proverbial breath of fresh air with their invigorating and delightful sound, perfect for breaking up genre patters, even within an avant-garde-ish context. Clad in all-white attire, faces smeared in white powder and hair soaked in their own white secret mixture, this band looked the part as well as sounding it. Of course Marta, in her beautiful, tight, long white-leather coat looked stunning: the proverbial angel! Her natural clean singing was very enjoyable and she had a lovely presence on stage, reminding everybody what she was actually made of during the powerful growled parts. "Café of Lost Dreams” was the perfect opener, immediately captivating the audience, and when personal favorite "Neon” rolled in, it brought a big smile on my face. The band was cohesive and played effortlessly to a great standard, in spite of the tender age of some of its members. Mr Tentakel, true to his moniker, was a treat to watch behind the drum kit, feet and hands machine-like during the blast beats, while Frederic impressed me with the gorgeous sound of his guitar, reminding me at times of a smaller version of Enslaved’s Ivar for his demeanor and Viking looks. The show flew past really quickly, and it was a pity we were not treated to any new track preview, but my first live Todtgelichter experience amply confirmed the worth of the band on all accounts, from its originality down to the human side of things: a great bunch of people, and I recommend them heartily to any promoter who loves his doom or black metal to be out of the box and thoroughly modern.
Now: Agrypnie. Obviously I am not the only one to think that there is something very special about this band, so I have been on a quest to discover what it is that makes them so loved and appreciated, aside the very obvious: great songs and a great frontman. Is it really just that simple?... Yes and no. In my opinion Agrypnie, much like Dornenreich for example, is one of those bands where the power of human passion is openly displayed in an entirely natural and personal way. It is quite clear that their studio songs are deeply gripping, stirring, moving and even uplifting, but it is during the live dimension where one can perceive a wholesomeness and honesty that lifts everything onto a different dimension: this is rare to witness in metal today, and those who remember the sincere brotherhood of the early death metal scene might get what I mean. So behind those (more Carl McCoy than Marilyn Manson) white contact lenses Torsten Hirsch wears to demonize his apprehension (his hands were trembling when he walked on stage to a massive roar of the crowd) there is a deep shade of blue that speaks of sincerity and integrity; behind that chest upon which the clenched fist pounds every now and then, there is a kind heart which only desire is to share. Luckily many artists are nice people in real life, but in my long career I have found very few who show it so naturally both on and off stage, and that is heart-warming to see. I am not saying we are in front of some kind of a guru, but rather of a young man with natural charisma aplenty: this is why all he needs to make the show fulfilling for everyone is to be there - what a gift!... But of course there is a band alongside Torsten too (new guitarist Dave from Heretoir fits in like a glove), and they work on collective chemistry, bouncing off the energy that comes from the crowd. Agrypnie were greeted onstage with a huge cheer and throughout the 60 minute-long set the fans’ enthusiasm stayed cloud-high. Collective hair windmills and banter ensued, culminating in a loud and insistent request for an encore at the end of the concert, which was granted with apparent delight in spite of the not so ample material at disposal. A final toast ended a truly great set of performances, and kicked off the backstage celebrations which went on until the following morning. Do make sure to catch Agrypnie at one of this summer festivals, and if you haven’t yet heard their latest EP "Ashe” do not hesitate to put an order in, as it is a gripping prelude for very exciting things to come!