29-02-2020 Saturnalia Temple

Co-headliners: Wolvennest, Dread Sovereign
Special guests: The Ruins of Beverast
Location: Ancienne Belgique, Brussels (BE)

Text & Photos by: Basak Günel & Heavy Harlequin

The ultimate doom was upon Brussels as the central venue Ancienne Belgique hosted WOLVENNEST and their ‘nest’ featuring the co-headliners SATURNALIA TEMPLE and DREAD SOVEREIGN on this gray day. This show was special as this day was the last one of the tour. But the icing on the cake was the special guests THE RUINS OF BEVERAST, as they were announced exclusively for this show… so this was indeed going to be one hell of a night!

Dread Sovereign was the first act that opened this early evening (or late afternoon). They are familiar to to this crowd for many reasons, since the frontman Alan Averill is a known name in the scene. They were formed in 2013 and have released three releases so far, with the latest full-length “For Doom The Bell Tolls” out three years ago. I was pretty sure that many saw this act a few times already, and as for me; it was gonna be my first time seeing these guys live.

Even though the crowd needed some warming up in the beginning, these guys delivered an impressive performance with their interpretation of that fine mix of doom and heavy metal. As it’s been a while since the latest release is out, the band did not focus on one particular release but played a few songs from the previous releases, with my highlights being Thirteen Clergy to the Flames and This World is Doomed.

A nice highlight was the movie Häxan (originally released in 1922) rotating in the background, which added a nice dimension and a bit of spirit to the overall performance. Only thing that caught my attention was the sound as I could only hear the guitars but this was maybe because I was at the front row or the choice of the band. Either way, this did not disturb the spirit of the performance for me. Overall, this show was quite the nice start to this evening!

Saturnalia Temple was the band I was looking forward to see the most as I have been following them for a while; I was supposed to see them live last year in Leipzig but since that tour has been cancelled, the chaos brought me to Brussels this day to experience this black magic metal. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect since the latest release “Gravity”, out recently, has been simply mindblowing and on my heavy rotation.

 Saturnalia Temple
Saturnalia Temple

Despite some sound problems in the beginning, the whole show was a spiritual psychedelic spectacle that is hard to describe in words. The hypnotizing music combined with the themes consisting of nature, eroticism, occult elements and fire in the background captivated the audience right from the start! There was no interaction as many gave in to the atmosphere and bliss. As for the band, there was a serious but calm atmosphere; it was clear that these guys are doing this with pure passion and dedication.

Surely with “Gravity” being a fresh release, the band focused on this one and played some new songs such as Saturnalia Temple, Gravity and Between The Worlds, but some older gems like (one of my favorites) To The Other were also not forgotten. It was quite fascinating how the live songs sounded and felt different than the studio versions, adding a nice twist. One highlight that was missing was the lit candles in front of the stage though as I remember having seen this as part of the stage decoration from the earlier shows of this tour but this was just a pure observation and did not break the magic of the show.

Saturnalia Temple

With long, intense and sinister songs but too little time, the band conquered the stage and left the audience wanting more of this psychedelia and doom! One thing is certain, the next Saturnalia Temple gigs will be quite different and full of twists.

It was time for a bit more atmosphere with The Ruins of Beverast. They were the surprise for this last show of the tour since they joined as special guests for this day, which surely fit perfectly to this already amazing line-up. Formed in 2003, the band is a known name in this scene and their latest full-length “Exuvia” was released in 2017. The first time I saw them live was last year as they played in Cologne together with Urfaust which was quite a remarkable performance and so it was time refresh my memory.

The ones who are familiar with this act know that their music is all about that dark and atmospheric black/doom metal that is oddly enchanting. They don’t have any fancy stage antiques – except the incense sticks which obviously belonged to and reserved for Wolvennest’s show on this day- as they create this atmosphere through their stage presence. As a matter of fact, all that is needed is that mixture of harsh vocals and clean choirs but also the riffs delivering that essential black/doom metal are essential elements of the band’s sound and live show. Since they deliver quite long songs, their show was short but golden as they played a few songs including my favorite I Raised This Stone As A Ghastly Memorial.

One thing I observed was the loss of some elements in songs compared to the studio albums; even though the sound was good overall, I gotta admit that the band’s songs are tough to play live (especially considering they have many elements going on at once). So it’s quite the challenge to create this magic live as well.

Setlist: Daemon, Surtur Barbaar Maritime, The Clockhand’s Groaning Circles, I Raised This Stone As A Ghastly Memorial

When it was time for Wolvennest to take over the stage, the incense sticks were burned, and the venue got even more crowded than before that it got tight all of a sudden! Surprisingly I heard this name many times but this was going to be my first time seeing them live! However, I was part of the minority as the crowd at AB was already familiar with this Belgian act, as it was obvious from the excitement in the air and a bit of the competition to be at the front row!

Even while writing this report, I find it hard to put into words how dark, magical and psychedelic the performance was from the first moment to the last. I could feel the synergy between the audience and the band around; the crowd singing along and applauding, the smell of patchouli in the air, and the magic of the music. This was Wolvennest and they needed nothing else as these elements were more than enough.

With a crowded line-up, the band had the perfect dynamics not only with the audience but also on stage as each bandmember brought their own highlights with the frontwoman Shazzula stealing the spotlight with her captivating voice and stage presence! But even at other times, I found myself enjoying the background or the guitar solos. In this sense, the performance contained many elements to be devoured, which made the songs whole!

One highlight that fascinated me was the Middle Eastern influences in their music, thanks to Michel Kirby and his interest in the Arabic culture. Now this might seem like a cliche especially when this genre is considered but the band integrates this aspect so well in their music that it becomes a huge factor in the live shows, making the show quite a spectacle.

With the latest release “VOID” out last year, the band focused on this one and played some latest songs such as Ritual Lovers and Void as well as the two beautiful gems Partir and Unreal from Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand ‎– WLVNNST, released back in 2016. As my first time, it was great to hear the rather old and the new songs and get introduced to the ultimate live experience. However, I want to think of this performance as a whole rather than a song-by-song basis. The setlist didn’t matter that much as the show was one huge masterpiece and one the audience won’t forget!

From psychedelic doom to atmospheric black metal, each band delivered different kinds of magical performances and brought this tour to a perfect end… Kudos to all of the acts and the organizers as well as the Saturnalia Temple audience for this amazing night!

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The Ruins of Beverast Facebook
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Dread Sovereign Facebook
A Thousand Lost Civilizations