Tsjuder, live in London

Support: Eastern Front, Necro Ritual, Premature Birth

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Scheduling Tsjuder’s first ever appearance in our fair capital on Valentine’s Day probably isn’t the worst idea in the world – black metal fans aren’t exactly known for their romanticism – but it’s surprising that the venue isn’t completely packed out tonight considering their long career.

Arriving early to catch Premature Birth [6] – a fine start to the evening with their enthusiasm painted plainly across their faces – entails a huge amount of free floor space and nary a wait at the bar. Curious for a scene so rabid to consume new music but it doesn’t faze the band and they play with obvious passion. Unfortunately though, their songs tend to meander aimlessly through the middle sections and while there are solid riffs to be heard, their brand of epic, symphonic black metal needs to be honed. A decent stab at Satyricon’s Mother North closes out their time before Necro Ritual [7] bring the kvlt back with lashings of corpse paint and a mic stand replete with antlers. The London-based band play chaotic, fiery black metal and while they aren’t the tightest band out there, their thirst is clear and it translates into their songs and out across the audience which is slowly, finally, building up.

Next are Eastern Front [6] who, while technically proficient, are a band that are incredibly frustrating to witness. The occasional gorgeous guitar line that should stir something within, often falls flat due to no-one on stage looking as though they really mean it. It’s difficult to connect to Eastern Front – whether that’s because of the unbearable vocals, the unnecessary posturing and props or the fact that their music just isn’t that interesting – and they’ll need to work hard to overcome that.

Tsjuder [9] though, now they are a band that evoke black metal. Their career hasn’t had the dizzying highs that their fellow Norwegians have experienced but their music has always spoken for them. Desert Northern Hell is a seminal record and the tracks still sound fresh and exciting today, over ten years later. Arriving on stage and proclaiming themselves True Norwegian Black Metal is enough to push the audience forward and the floor opens up to violence while Kill For Satan (The King’s Birth) single-handedly induces hysteria. Tsjuder are outrageously good tonight and the long, long wait for them to play here is entirely worth it with Sacrifice proving their worth over and over. Let’s hope it’s not another twenty years before we see them again.