Byfrost - LIVE: The Underworld, London 2011

Supporting Taake
October 19 (20:30-21:05)
Capacity 500

For Norwegians Byfrost, visits to the UK are semi-regular, but always fleeting and tend to be low-billing festival appearances or support slots. For a band whose take on black metal is so accessibly to non-black metal fans, it can only be so long before that gets converted into regular headlining shows.

Consistently strong albums and choosing the right festival and support spots will be the key to achieving that, and opening for bona fide underground black metal legends like Taake is definitely the right choice. The problem they might have in terms of crossing the metal genre boundaries and opening themselves up to larger audiences is their static performances. Lead guitarist and vocalist Kenneth "Heavy" Harms tries to add some kind of kinetic energy to the band's stage presence, but really all they've got on their side is a genuinely ominous, intangible energy under the obligatory low lighting.

Their delivery of their material is perfect, and for a purely black metal crowd they'll always be fine. Their songs are engaging and being too energetic on stage is considered a negative point in the eyes of black metal traditionalists anyway. But Byfrost's most likely route to a higher profile is crossing over in terms of appeal, much like bands along the lines of Satyricon. On record they're already a non-black-metal-fans'-black-metal-band and there's a chance to convert that for the live setting too.

If they don't want that, or their most ardent fans don't want that for them, then they need not do anything at all. They're already a perfectly formed black metal band with a decent arsenal of songs from their two records and are ably demonstrating the capacity to play them well. But there's more to be had if they want it.

“ genuinely ominous, intangible energy ”

Setlist: May The Dead Rise / Eye For An Eye / Shadow of Fear / Buried Alive / Of Death / Full Force Rage / ? / Horns To The Sky

Photo(s): Andy Lye

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2011, Black Metal, Gigs,

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