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Beyond The Gates IV

Live Review

Venue: Garage, Bergen

Bergen’s cult gathering undergoes a change of wardrobe

THURSDAY

More because of its small size than in spite of it, Beyond The Gates has become one of the underground’s most revealing bellwethers. Combining established, if still cult-minded acts with the more exotic strains flourishing in the shadows, every year has offered a sharply focused snapshot of where the scene is headed that’s not possible with larger-scale festivals. But where previous years have shone light on the more ceremonial realms, it’s telling that BTG’s fourth incarnation offers not a single shrine, goblet, candle, incense stick, cowl or mask, and festival openers MISÞYRMING [8] are a good indicator of the gnarlier aesthetic that’s taken its place. 

One of the most talked-about black metal bands to have emerged in recent years, the Icelanders might have borrowed some of Deathspell Omega’s mottled guitar tone, but rather than seek out esoteric territories, theirs is a charged, personal crusade that heads out into unmapped psychological terrain, the kohl-streaked figure of frontman DG straining with the surge. Ireland’s ZOM [6], for all their reverbed vocals and tempestuous death metal frenzy, also mark a shift away from more occult territories, but it also leaves the band no more than the sum of its parts. Sonically akin to a cartoon dust cloud with rabid dog snouts appearing randomly out of the melée, they turn up the heat in the subterranean cellar, but the cavernous atmosphere you’d normally associate with such unruly antics is noticeably absent.

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