AURA NOIR Exude Wild Energy and Putrid Hate At Eindhoven Metal Meeting 2016
Eindhoven Metal Meeting was a fantastic experience, and Aura Noir destroyed it.
by Stefan Raduta
Twenty two years, don’t they go by in a blink of an eye?
Eindhoven Metal Meeting was the last major European festival I attended last year, and it was a total blast. Drawn to the impeccable curation, I followed closely this event for a few years. I had heard nothing but great things but never been able to attend until this past December, when the bill was simply irresistible.
Mayhem performed their magnum opus De Misteriis Dom Sathanas, Watain played Casus Luciferi in full, bands like Moonspell, Tiamat, Destruction, Pro Pain and many others played special sets covering their entire careers, many focusing on classics. So many killer acts on the bill: Memoriam (Benediction’s Dave Ingram even joined Karl Willets on stage covering Bolt Thrower’s Inside The Wire), Hell, General Surgery, Archgoat, Illdisposed, Endstille, Bölzer, Benighted, Soulburn, and many others. Every single band delivered excellent sets, some being very memorable in fact. Lots of bands I was very curious about seeing live: Schammasch, Seth, Batushka, Wederganger, Emptiness. Not a single bad performance, some actually were incredible.
The one band that really tore down the roof of Effenaar was Norway’s Aura Noir though. Goddamn, what a spectacular return to form. The world’s ugliest band (not sure why they call themselves that, always found them quite easy on the eye…) has returned at the end of 2016 to their classic trio formula: Aggressor, Blasphemer and Apollyon. And let me tell you, they are on fire more than ever. All jaws on the floor, laughter gone and nothing but angry fists in the air from the crowd. I’ve never seen Aura Noir so vicious, so focused and sharp and just so hungry. And I’ve seen them quite a few times.
Everything about their performance at EMM was absolutely perfect and utterly delightful, the crowd’s reaction reflecting the wild energy and putrid hate coming from the stage. “There isn't a better fitting knuckle sandwich buffet band than this” says my friend Marteen Brugman from Dutch black metal sensation Wederganger, who also had a spectacular performance. He couldn’t be more right. Aura Noir has always been of those very special names that once it pops on a festival bill, just raises its quality and your adrenaline instantly. You just gotta go. These guys are as legendary as there are unique,and always play with a raw consistency that’s hard to parallel.
I had heard Apollyon had been wanting to get behind the drum kit for a while now. Well, it happened. And he’s killing it. Tank (Obliteration, Spectral Haze) has been their live drummer since their 2011 live return at Inferno Festival, and it seems the departure is very amicable. “I’ve known Ole since Queen Mary the 1st broke her left thumb” says Aggressor in a recent interview I’ve done with him mostly focusing on his band Virus, but also on his life and career as a musician. “It seems I’ve known him many centuries, at least one whole life”, he continues. “I don’t even remember how we met. We were just around each other all the time, this was before we were allowed in at Elm Street. We hung out at a place called Møllers and gradually we got to know each other. We’ve been partners in crime ever since.“
The band was in a very good mood and cracking jokes in between, much to the crowd’s delight. “We’re back as a trio as you can see… Aggressor is playing bass. He’s never played bass before” says Apollyon at one point. “That’s right you know. Only tennis” replies Aggressor. Back in the day, Apollyon and Aggressor used to switch during every gig. That stopped of course after Carl-Michael Eide’s accident. “We switched between playing bass/vocals and drums almost every second song. We’d play the first half of the set with Apollyon behind the kit and me on bass/vocals, then we’d switch. While we were switching and changing the drum-set to my specs Blasphemer had to entertain the audience by playing a guitar-solo, which he hated!”
Back to the roots as a trio, Aura Noir is on Fire and as already proved, set to return in 2017 with a vengeance on the live scene. A new record will also be released. I couldn’t resist chatting up Blasphemer a bit : “The new album progress has been ongoing for quite a while, sporadically and when the mood was right. We started off renting a house, for a weeks time, in Southern Portugal a year ago just for the purpose in getting the new material started. We did quite some work, and made most of the skeletons for the songs on the album down there. But since we all live in different places, most notably me, things got dragged out a bit and just recently we started digging up the skeletons again with the aim to complete them. Note though that we also had quite a few shows in between, especially in the beginning of the year including a South American tour + we also have our other bands to deal with so it was always something happening that kept us busy.
However, in November this year (2016) we decided to finalize the material once and for all and went to a studio in Bucharest, Romania (Studio 148) with technician Marius Costache. Stayed there for about 9 days and wrote the rest of it….Apollyon and Aggressor had also worked on 2 songs by themselves in Oslo prior to this, so the session was to tie the loose ends and compose the lacking riffs + create a few extra tunes. Mission accomplished, and as of now we are tracking the drums just outside of Oslo, together with the guy who helped us during the The Merciless sessions (Sverre Daehli).
Musically, Id say its a broad mix of inputs as all of us are contributing with ideas and riffs. I hear traces to Deep Tracts Of Hell, The Merciless as well as more recent vibes. More Venom and Motörhead in places, but also distinctively Aura Noir, in all its weirdness! Truly confident in the material, and hope to be doing quite a bit of touring in support of it. Release should be late 2nd quarter of 2017"
Set list from EMM:
Sons of Hades
The one who Smite
Deep Tracts of Hell
Fed to the Flames
Black Metal Jaw
Heavens on Fire
Black Thrash Attack
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