Anyone living in The Netherlands with the habit of going to extreme music shows is surely familiar with the Little Devil, as are quite a few of the international attendees of festivals such as Roadburn, Netherlands Deathfest and the unfortunately defunct Incubate. It’s essentially a small bar with a pretty interesting beer selection and a back room with a short stage. There, bands such as Eyehategod, Inquisition, Crowbar, Toxic Holocaust, Omen, Weekend Nachos, King Dude, Wormrot, or Poison Idea, have played over the years, creating some memorable evenings, in great part due to the intimate, close-quarters setting, perfect for aggressive and heavy endeavours. One such night occurred on Sempteber 8 2017 when Black Decades and Alkerdeel took to the stage.
Black Decades started the night off with their first performance with new vocalist Johan, known for his bass playing in black metal mavericks Terzij de Horde and booking activities with Footprints In The Void. Under a hellish red light, surrounded by smoke and with the new singer just outside of the stage, the band embarked on a set fully comprising of new, still unreleased material, which as we later came to understand was already written by the current formation. With the blackened hardcore character of the debut LP «Hideous Life» unchanged, the biggest take-home idea was the infusion of punctual death metal leanings, anti-fascist remarks in between two songs (and that’s how far my Dutch knowledge allows me to decipher) and some interesting microphone-less screaming, perfectly suited to the intimate setting. It further helped gear the proceedings towards higher notes that Black Decades built confidently upon a perhaps nervous beginning, ending the set in a much more cohesive tone than they started.
One of the last times Alkerdeel played in The Netherlands was in the much bigger Doornroosje, as guests of Church of Ra in a showcase of the Belgium collective. They were extremely good then (theirs was, comfortably, the best set of the day) and were so again in the completely different atmosphere of the Little Devil. A friendly reminder that QW has some of the best bass playing in the game. The thing is, the whole band is rather proficient and no individual performance disappointed. As a whole, they were intense, mesmerising, heavy as fuck, and dirty, somehow always in the right proportions and based upon some of the most creative fusion of black metal, drone, punk and general weirdness. Absolutely relentless on their attack, the Belgians drew upon the more recent «Lede» as well as from their explosive 2012 release «Morinde». Their “only live is real” mentality on the studio gives them an impressive live tightness; moreover, the raw, somewhat lo-fi, vibe of the records doesn’t tell the full story of their sound, which can either become much more detailed and nuanced in larger venues, or overwhelmingly asphyxiating in a place like Little Devil. At the end of the day, I can’t think of many performances that I witnessed this year that can claim to be anywhere near the level displayed by Alkerdeel that night.
Photos by JvH013Photo, used with permission.