Twlight of the (Black Metal) Idols
Gorgoroth and 1349 @ The Underworld, London, 30 November 2005
by: Jackie Smit
Opeth are in town tonight.

Both Akercocke and Burst are supporting.

Gorgoroth and 1349 have completely sold out The Underworld.

In a turn of events that can only be described as utterly surreal, two of Norway's grimmest exports have achieved what stellar acts like Krisiun, Marduk and Behemoth failed to do in 2005. True to their typically incompetent form, the Underworld staff take more than an hour to cram the last of the punters into the venue, with queues having snaked around the adjacent World's End pub for the better part of the afternoon. Whether you ascribe this outpouring to the headliners' notoriety or not, it has to be said that the Underworld has hosted many bands who are no strangers to controversy -- and never to this kind of reception.

As a support act, 1349 most definitely meet all the criteria to be the perfect choice to set the tone for an event like this. In reality, the intensity that they bring to the diminutive stage this evening catapults them far beyond being simply an agreeable appetizer before the main course and into bona fide show stealers. Announcing their arrival with a spirited burst of flame-spitting, they charge through crowd-pleasers like "Chasing Dragons" and "Celestial Deconstruction" with the tenet and energy of consummate performers. The audience respond ferociously and the Norse quintet are only too happy to fuel the fires of their exuberance by answering the cat-calls for "I Am Abomination" and "Satanic Propaganda" with fervor.

The same can't be said of Gorgoroth, unfortunately. Where 1349 are aggressive and exciting, Gorgoroth choose instead to lumber on stage like extras out of a George Romero movie. Front man Gaul -- presumably on probation after his legal woes back home -- doesn't stalk as much as stroll across the stage, and even though the opening salvo of "Procreating Satan" and "Possessed by Satan" is delivered with crisp, brutal precision and sounds technically superb, the faux-evil schlock soon wears very thin. Notwithstanding the impressive stage set up that includes several flickering torches, and an assortment of inverted crosses and the like, Gorgoroth for the most part are just plain boring. Songs like "Destroyer" sound lifeless and limp in comparison to their recorded counterparts, while the band's general reluctance to exert any manner of physical effort means that even when the music does its job, one may as well be listening to _Twilight of the Idols_ at home with the lights down. God knows it would have been a less claustrophobic experience!

(article submitted 7/12/2005)


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