There is a bit of a history to both this group and this release. Firstly this is a super-group of sorts put together by conceptual artist Nader Sadek who provides some vocals and samples as well as the ideas behind it all. He is joined by the likes of drummer Flo Mounier, guitarists Rune Erikson and Sean Frey, Novy Nowak on bass, Flo Mouunier on drums and Steve Tucker on main vocals. I am not going to list their respective past and present bands here but as I am sure you are aware this contains many household names in extreme music. Firstly they released studio album ‘In The Flesh’ via Season Of Mist in 2011which I reviewed and really enjoyed. I ended up swapping a couple of mails with Nader after this and he was not entirely happy with the way that promotion of the album had been handled so it came as no surprise that when they followed up the CD with a live representation of it played at a one off show in New York that it came out as self-released. We actually reviewed that as well but purely based on the CD side of it having not got access to the actual visual parts which I believe were issued in limited quantities. Now however Wienerworld have picked the CD and DVD release up and issued it in a nicely packaged dual disc version so we can get the full experience.
My first introduction here was sitting down and listening to the audio side of things and thinking that it was a good solid sounding performance of the material from the original album. Naturally when actually putting the DVD on things were bound to open up. I guess this really is a bit of a one off performance due to locations of the band members being pretty spread out, so if you were there you are no doubt immortalised as far as it is concerned. Pitch blackness gives way to an illuminated Carmen Simões of Ava Inferi (RIP) masked and operatically warbling. You could hear a pin drop and her part is enchanting before the rest of the musicians take her place It is not surprising due to the conceptual artistry of Nader that the stage is dressed in interesting ways. There’s barbed spiky branches on the front of it and at the back, whilst yelling away, something ritualistic involving what looks like blood or maybe petrol in theme with the concept, being splattered in bowls is going down. The song is called ‘Nigredo In Necromance’ so the arcane magick no doubt represents this as the band furiously play away. ‘Sulfer’ sees the morbid tones of Steve Tucker joining the melee and his beastly vocals hit the spot with the music getting more ferocious and deathly. I suddenly realise that something is completely not as it should be as Flo is thumping away at the drum kit in front of and facing the band, between them and the audience! It’s a strange set up but seems to work and leaves Nader free at the back to practice his nefarious rites.
I guess rehearsal opportunities cannot be that frequent for the band but the performance is tight and punishing in equal measures, mind you the players are all top of their class. Strobes flash, vocals roar and a barraging force is evoked that must have been quite heady to experience in the errr flesh! Somehow Flo gets away with a long and massive drum solo following Rusted Skin. I say gets away with as this sort of display would normally smack of pretentiousness but it is mesmerising to both watch and hear. Rags soaked in whatever it is are flung into the crowd as everything piles in again for ‘Of The Flesh’ complete with the opposing vocal forces of Tucker and Simões. Naturally being a rendition of the album played live (although in different order) don’t go expecting anything else like covers or anything at the end of the set. It is short sharp and brutal and everything that it needs to be and an interesting and unique experience with it. What I thought was a video clip was just a short plug for a special edition disc and that’s all you have but it is everything the band have to date recorded. The question obviously is, is that it or will the project be back with new stuff soon? Guess time will tell!
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)