God Seed

Copenhell - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

God Seed was the real heavy-weight name of the black metal style at this years’ Copenhell, and thus they had the honourable charge of closing Hades on the final day.
The stage that is, not the mythological land of the dead, although that would have been fitting as well I suppose…

The time was 23:00 o’clock, and the sun had just set enough to have the sky turn a darker shade of blue. True darkness is not to be found in the sky at this time of year, but I figured we would soon see it manifest on stage.
Admittedly, I haven’t much followed the goings on of this band. We saw them a couple of times when they still called themselves Gorgoroth, and I knew they changed name to God Seed after that and that they split up shortly after that again. That’s about it.
Come 2012 Kristian Eivind ‘Ghaal’ Espedal and Tom Cato ‘King ov Hell’ Visnes apparently reunited under their evil banner, put out their debut album, I Begin, a single from it and a live album, Live At Wacken. Come 2013, and they were now ready to lay Copenhell under their wicked spell…

As the late Gorgoroth shows were all I knew of this band, I of course figured their show would be something in that style, with naked people on crosses and animal skulls on iron bars, all out leather and spikes, that sort of thing. Thus, I was quite surprised to see the band enter a barren stage, save for a backdrop, wearing mostly normal clothes and Ghaal being the only one in the band sporting the classical corpse-paint.
It wasn’t only the appearance of the band that had changed in the last few years though, the entire attitude seemed to have shifted from the über-kvlt’ish black metal agenda of past to a more laid back rock ‘n’ roll attitude, which in turn had the band deliver a much livelier performance than they did back in the day!
When I finally had the sense to pick my jaw up off the ground, I could enjoy watching guitarist Stian ‘Sir’ Kårstad (also of Djerv) engage the crowd in a loud "hey" chant; Ole ‘Lust Kilman’ Walaunet on the other guitar joined in and soon there were arms and devil horns reaching for the darkening sky all around me. Without knowing exactly what I had expected God Seed to be, I can safely say that this wasn’t it!

The crowd got it though and seemed to enjoy the Norwegian outlet of evil. There had been some talk leading up to the festival that the black metal genre was under-represented this year, and maybe that’s why God Seed was given such praise from the audience. That, or maybe they simple just liked it that much.
Liked or not, God Seed’s concert wasn’t without fault. Their biggest problem came with the sound; apparently the technician had no idea what a true black metal mix is all about, and had thus put almost all the emphasis on the bass and drums, something that pretty much killed the icy, evil feel that this music normally goes for where the thin, screechy guitars lead the way. As with several shows, the sound was at its worst in the front-line, and got better the farther back one got, without ever really hitting close to a sweet spot though.
Other than that, the main problem lay with my own lack of interest and subsequent lack of knowledge about the band; I was led to believe that the set was a mix of old Gorgoroth tunes and their own material, but I have really now way of knowing if this is true or not as it all sounded pretty much the same to me. The songs themselves was the only part of the show which hadn’t had the rock ‘n’ roll overhaul; had that been the case, like with latter years Satyricon as a good example, the whole thing would probably have appealed more to me. On the other hand, I’m sure that the black fans of the audience were happy that things were exactly the way they were...

I’m a bit torn as to what to think of this new direction the band seems to be going for.
On the one hand, I feel more at home with the rock ‘n’ roll stuff than I do with the kvlt black metal, but on the other hand, without the extravagance from their former incarnation, there really wasn’t much interesting with the show this evening.
If they progress further in the direction they have started on I think it will reach a very good place at some point, but we are far from there yet.

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