On Saturday, March 12th, 2022, Polish blackened death metal veterans HATE (with the supporting bands VIRGIN SNATCH, THY DISEASE, LILLA VENEDA, and HORDA) hit Klub Studio in Krakow as part of their Infernalis Resurgentis Tour. The show was organized by local booking agency Creative Music Productions and was set to start at 19:00.
HORDA was the first band to kick off the show, a black metal act from Tarnów, Poland. They described their music as a “description of thoughts, emotions, and disgust about today’s world.” They are fresh on the scene with one EP and a full-length album, “Obsession,” released in 2020. Their music is an interesting mix of the classic Polish blackened death metal sound (BEHEMOTH, HATE) and Nordic svart metal, with a sip of melodic guitar riffs and excruciating screams. The band was in full body paint and vocalist Forest was very artistic, engaging his whole body into his vocal routine.
LILLA VENEDA is a band from Wroclaw that at first sight looked like a black metal band, but their lyrical themes leaned towards philosophy, romance, and misanthropy, while their art direction alluded to obscurity and sadness. They were on the scene in 2010 with two full-length albums “Diagnosis” and “Lilla Veneda” since then. What caught my attention was that they were talented musicians, the structure of their compositions was complex and well thought out, guitar riffs were diverse and powerful, the bass line was solid, drums were creative, and the vocals melancholic and deep. The guitarist especially shined, offering a great collection of heavy riffs and extreme moments.
THY DISEASE is an industrial death metal act from Krakow formed in 1999. They offered the crowd something different: a cyber metal aesthetic with groove and prog influences, with complex drumming and nasty riffs, coated in transhumanistic themes. The deep tone of the growls belted over the audience and fit perfectly with the oppressive atmosphere the band created. Vocalist Marcin Parandyk, who joined the band in 2018, wasn’t present at the show and the set was sung by former singer Sebastian “Syrus” Syroczyński (2011-2018). They represented works from their older albums, but the focus was on new material. The track that stood out the most was “Inhuman Form” from the latest album, “Transhumanism.” Some tracks were reminiscent of SHADE EMPIRE, while others went to groove/death metal territory, giving the audience space for circle pits and the much-needed shake after the previous melancholic set.
VIRGIN SNATCH specializes in high-octane thrash metal, formed in 2001 and focusing on politics and society as themes. They brought a slight change of pace after the technical frenzy of the previous band. It was not a generic thrash affair and I was extremely surprised by the vocal variety and melody on offer. Firstly, the vocals by Łukasz “Zielony” Zieliński… for the most part, they were intense, dry growls, but then – influenced by the dynamics of nu-metal – came in the clear raspy melody. The instruments had real aggression, particularly in the drums and riffs, throwing back to such bands as ANTHRAX. They were straightforward, yet well-thought-out… it’s thrash metal that wasn’t afraid to experiment with variety and technicality. They played a selection of tracks from the album, “In the Name of Blood”, “Act of Grace,” and “Vote is a Bullet.” Interestingly, the frontman wore a t-shirt with a print reflecting the current political situation.
The headliner, HATE, was up next. They need no introduction, as they are blackened death metal veterans that have been around since 1990. Due to the large stage, props like skulls with horns on pedestals and deer horns on mic stands could be seen, all soaked in menacing red light. The degree of excitement in the venue rose by the minute. As the lights went dark, Nar-Sil entered the stage, accompanied by ovations. Under the rhythmic beasts of the drums, the mighty Poles in HATE attacked the audience with “The Wolf Queen” – the opening track from their latest album, “Rugia.” Led by founder and guitarist Adam Buszko, aka ATF Sinner, they gave the audience what they came for: a violent 1-hour set of pure Polish blackened death metal. The setlist consisted of tracks from their albums released in the past 20 years (“Erebos,” “Morphosis,” “Auric Gates of Veles,” etc). Guitarist Domin and bassist Tiermes were actively entertaining the crowd and photographers alike with expressive body language, impressive back vocals, and gritty riffs. HATE are experts when it comes to mixing death with black metal and giving the product to the listener, and this show was no exception. It was all about its ruthless conceptual message, delivered with monstrous death metal violence. The crowd went berserk! They closed the show with two encore songs: “Rugia” from their latest album and the classic, “Immolate the Pope.”
Overall the show felt like a mini-festival with five bands, all with their unique style and look. The sound was crisp, the light technician deserves a medal, but the real heroes were the organizers from Creative Music, who saved the show from the second cancellation, because the first venue, unexpectedly, shut down the day before.
Photos by Alexandra Aim