The Smell of Napalm in the Dark
Cradle of Filth, Napalm Death and Borknagar at the Paradise Garage, Lisbon, Portugal
November 18, 1998

by: Pedro Azevedo
After spending the whole afternoon traveling on the highway that connects Porto to Lisbon, and having had dinner, there was still more waiting to be endured before the concert started. Visiting Lisbon's Paradise Garage for the first time, I was ready to compare it to Porto's (or should I say Gaia's) Hard Club; however, there really is nothing to be compared, as the Hard Club is superior in every way that I can think of. Initially, I couldn't see much of the stage in the crowded room, but it was clear that Borknagar's vocalist was also taking care of bass duties; I also heard that it wasn't Borknagar's drummer who was playing. Since I enjoyed their _The Olden Domain_ and _The Archaic Course_ a lot, Borknagar were by far the number one reason why I traveled all the way to Lisbon in order to watch this concert. Nevertheless, I was prepared for some disappointment, as I expected that Borknagar would have trouble reproducing all the technical details that make their CDs so good. And that's precisely what happened: they just played the basics of each song. The new vocalist did his job, although I doubt that his bass playing was anywhere near perfect. If I remember their set list correctly, Borknagar opened their 30 minutes long performance with "Universal" and "Oceans Rise" from their new album _The Archaic Course_, then played a track from their first, self-titled album, followed by "A Tale of Pagan Tongue" and "The Dawn of the End" from _The Olden Domain_ and finally a keyboard-less "Ad Noctum", again from _TAC_. The set list choices weren't, in my opinion, the best possible, but they were acceptable, and the sound quality was average. Quite a shame that they were very far from perfect, instrumentally.

Napalm Death followed, opening with "Unchallenged Hate", from their second album _From Enslavement to Obliteration_, followed by "I Abstain" (_Utopia Banished_) and my favorite of their set, "Greed Killing" (_Diatribes_). They also played "Suffer the Children" (_Harmony Corruption_), "Breed to Breathe" (_Inside the Torn Apart_), "Next of Kin to Chaos", "The Infiltraitor" and "Cleanse Impure" (from their new album _Words From the Exit Wound_) and also "Control" and "Scum" (from their debut _Scum_). In the middle of "Scum", there was a complete blackout, which lasted for about 50 minutes -- not an incredibly fun hour spent in the heat and obscurity. When the lights and sound returned, ND played "Scum" from the beginning and finished what ended up being a 40 minute set with their Dead Kennedys cover "Nazi Punks Fuck Off". Most likely due to the blackout, they didn't play anything from _Fear, Emptiness, Despair_ and only one song from _Diatribes_. The sound was good, Napalm Death performed very well, as one would expect from them, and they had plenty of crowd support. Overall, they turned out to be the best band of the night, although their studio sound is much easier to reproduce live than Borknagar's or CoF's. [Many thanks to Nuno Almeida for the Napalm Death set list.]

As for Cradle of Filth, who definitely didn't have sound quality on their side, their major fault was the same as Borknagar's: lack of technical detail, especially in the keyboards and guitars, and not even the two girls they brought for their performance managed to hide it. Their set lasted for about one hour and 35 minutes and, besides practically all the songs one would expect from all their albums (which I see no need to name one by one here), included "A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil's Whore)" from _Dusk... and Her Embrace_ and "Queen of Winter, Throned" from _Vempire_, which were two nice surprises for me. The best songs in this live environment turned out to be "The Twisted Nails of Faith" (_Cruelty and the Beast_) and the always emotional "The Black Goddess Rises" (from their debut _The Principle of Evil Made Flesh_), which must have caused some tears to be shed in the audience, as usual. I expected a better performance from Cradle of Filth, although, as I mentioned before, the sound quality definitely didn't help them. Not a complete loss, but not the concert it could have been, either.

(article submitted 16/1/1999)


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