Double The Metal – Triple The Fun
Early spring 2022 Nervosa and Burning Witches are on the road with their European Double The Metal tour and the paths also lead them to Frankfurt Rock City, the well-known cellar club Nachtleben in the middle of the city. The club belongs to the even more legendary Batschkapp. It is surrounded by lots of food stores so if you want to feed your hunger for food before you follow your appetite for metal, here you are. It is the very same day the local football club Eintracht Frankfurt will play FC Barcelona in the Football Europa League, so the area is even more crowded than usual.
India’s Force of Metal
Support of the evening is Systemhouse33 from Bombay, India.They describe their sound themselves as groove thrash metal, let’s see how far we agree after their slot. They start at 19:00 which is the announced time for opening the gates, so the incomers are surprised that the first band is not still rehearsing but already playing. Their sound is fresh, brutal, and rightbetween the eyes where it belongs. Systemhouse33 simply delivers what a metal head expects. It is a pity they are not better known because they are on the road for nearly 20 years now. Systemhouse33 certainly deserve more than just a second sighting and listening. So yes, we agree.
Spontaneity and Socializing
Between the slots I start talking with my front row neighbour to the left, a young metal head who is courteous enough to avoid standing in front of the people who want to take a pic or two from our angle. I tell her, the other way round photographers should also take care not to block the view of the audience. It turns out that she’s been a metal head since she was twelve and listens to most of the bands I listen to as well. She read about the show only a day before and decided to go there on the spot.
Let’s now come to the first of the two headliners tonight. Both bands suffered in the past from an exchange of members. As the Phoenix from the ashes, they both rose again. They are better, faster and what else more than before? We will have to see after the evening. Firstly we will judge Nervosa, side note: they change time slots with Burning Witches every evening instead of deciding for each country.
Dominating the Audience
First Eleni Nota joins the stage and takes a seat behind her double bass dominated drum kit. Remember the tiny lady sitting in front of the entrance? You are right, it is her. You would never expect she is the thrash metal drummer in a band like Nervosa but wait, see, and listen… Mia Wallace on four string bass and Prika Amaral on guitar follow her soon. Time to start the show with the first chords of “King of Domination”. And time for vocalist Rocío Vázquez. Rocío Vázquez? Well, better call her Diva, Diva Satánica and nomen is only halfway omen because she certainly is satanic but no diva.
How Will the Old Songs Sound?
The set of Nervosa is rough, tough and thrash heavy hard, but a load of good fun. The energy of the band seizes the audience, even a German audience which often prefers to sit back, relax, and silently enjoy the show, but not today. Old songs follow new songs like one lightning strike after the other on a “Genocidal Command”. It is impressive how even the old songs turn out, they already are songs dedicated to Eleni, Mia and Diva as if nobody else ever played them. Very refreshing indeed to listen to “People of the Abyss”, “Death!” or “Masked Betrayer” in a new make-up. They do not “Kill the Silence” but raise the mood.
Even one of the ultimate highlights of each Nervosa-show “Into Moshpit” doesn’t lose any of its energy. “Hold my bag” and my neighbour to the left, maybe 5.5 foot tall, dives into it. I can do nothing but obey her command… Diva conducts the choreography from the stage. It is unbelievable that such a mosh pit is possible in this cozy venue. At least I am happy and my nice neighbor returns without any injuries but a smiling face.
A legend on bass
It is wonderful to see Mia Wallace ruling the left side of the stage with her brutal bass lines. It seems like five strings are not enough. She really is what I would call a metal predator. Mia’s stage persona is so strong, nearly unbearable, lesser co-musicians would disappear and fade away beside her like dust in the wind.
The Tiniest Drummer in the World
But her co-musicians are not lesser, they are just as big. Maybe not physically, as Eleni Nota proves. She might be the tiniest drummer in the world, but she is an animal behind her snares, bass drums, cymbals and all the other toys which make a thunderous noise. Eleni is full of constant energy, precise to the limit and doesn’t even sweat. It seems like she shakes everything casually out of the sleeve. Outstanding and impressive.
The Voice of the Perpetual Chaos
Miss Vázquez aka Diva Satánica rules the center, left and right of the stage, rules the audience, rules the new and old songs with her remarkable voice and energy. Her satanic smile is undoubtably something to fear if, if only it wasn’t sweet all at once. But you never know, does Diva want to play or eat you alive with this smile of a Blood Eagle? She fulfills her role as vocalist in a brilliant manner, turning every single song into her own song.
The Six String Beast
One the right side of the stage we find Prika Amaral, the remaining original member and guitar player of Nervosa. Her playing is precise, concentrated, and fast. Light, almost warp speed fast. I would break all my fingers at once if I tried to catch up. Although a more retrained stage persona, Prika turns out to be very expressive after the show, having an open ear and endless patience for everybody who wants to talk to her. She will tell me later: “I don’t like to play solos too much. But now I got the job so I play them. And of course, I play them precise and try to make no mistakes” You won’t notice on stage that Prika doesn’t like to play solos since they are just perfect, and I had enough time to watch her perfect finger play so I should have noticed.
Guided by Evil we will rest Under Ruins
Too soon we come to the end of Nervosa’s set. “Too soon” means 14 incredible songs, and as Mia already confessed before “Into Moshpit” a lot of sweat from both sides “I’m sweating like a pig”. Well, so do we. We celebrate the inner “Rebel Soul” of all of us together as one with Nervosa. And “Guided by Evil” we will rest “Under Ruins” after Nervosa finish their show, exhausted and with a big smile on their faces. Even Diva forgets to be satanic for a moment. What remains is the satisfying good vibe and mood of the show and the uprising appetite for more metal music tonight.
Some Burning Witches canvas are brought in front of the stage, time for some dramatic changes on the drum kit and for the light show. It seems traditional Heavy Metal requires different thunder tools than Thrash Metal. Nothing but the double bass remains and Lala Frischknecht herself starts to build up her kit. Time to continue my conversation with my young neighbor. We pick up where we stopped when Nervosa started their fireworks.
It turns out that she will leave Germany at the end of April for a year to visit Thailand and work there as a kind of teacher. She is curious about a Thai metal scene if one exists at all. Seeing Systemhouse33 tonight seems to be a first step and she would ask them about the scene later the evening. So today is her last, if not only chance to experience some metal before leaving Germany. She seems to enjoy it a lot, already caught Nervosa’s set list to hopefully get it signed later.
Fog over Nachtleben
We suddenly must stop the interesting conversation, fog is covering the whole stage. Lala enters the seat behind the drums, it might mean something… Indeed, Larissa Ernst on guitar, Janine “Jay” Grob on bass and Romana Kalkuhl on guitar follow soon after under the opening sound of “Winter’s Wrath”. We still wait for vocalist Laura Guldemond, who jumps on the stage with a loud scream as soon as the riffs of “Executed” chime.
Hello, Hello is There Anybody Out There?
Laura jumps from left to right as if she has “Wings of Steel” before she has the time to welcome the audience of the crowded Nachtleben. Larissa, Jay and Romana constantly exchange the positions, Laura is the bouncy ball of steel and is everywhere at once. Only Lala is the steady point in the back, quite difficult to jump around with a drum kit in front of you.
Ready for a Flight?
Nevertheless, the energetic show continues with a “Sea of Lies” accompanied by a “Flight of the Valkyries”. It is a slow song, more of a gliding in peace than rushing through the storms of metal. It is…. for a bit more than a minute. Thunder, speed, lightning flashes take over. This flight is wild and rough. Hair twirls through the air as if there is no tomorrow. Certainly one of the highlights of the set.
Time for even more traditional and typical heavy metal lyrics? Here they are, “We Stand as One” delivers what the crowd expects. Indeed, band and audience stand together as one, united under one language, one flag, one nation. Metal rules. So does the “Lucid Nightmare” as next and sixth song of the set. Burning Witches command, the crowd obeys, everybody is on fire.
Rough and Clean
In between the songs Laura speaks to the audience, which is a nice moment to take a breath, relax, smoke a cigarette, and drink a glass of beer… Hey never, ever! We are talking about “The Witch of the North!” What else do you expect besides screaming guitars and cutting vocals? By the way, it is amazing how Laura further developed her already great vocal skills. She sounds rougher though still cleaner than ever, or at least since I last saw them in summer 2019.
We come to another highlight, yes of course the “Hexenhammer”! It more or less is the unofficial hymn of Burning Witches. If I remember right, it was during this song that Laura stage dived twice in two minutes. Everybody who knows how low the ceiling of Nachtleben is realizes that it is not completely harmless even if you trust your audience. You could easily crash your head or bump against a spotlight. But Laura proves to not only survive but continue singing while she dives through the ocean of helping hands.
Marvel Stuff oder Spider Stuff?
Do you remember the Avengers, Scarlett Johansen or have you ever been bitten by the same named spider? Burning Witches are the better “Black Widow”. Larissa, Romana, Laura, Lala and Jay bite like no other! They pump their metal poison into our veins, in our brains, we are blessed!
Encore because it is Tradition
Once again on his evening we come to the final song, Burning Witches leave the stage for a short moment so everybody can have a chance to shout for an encore. Half the band simply waits at the side to return for “Burning Witches”. I am not quite sure about an encore when it is already clear another song will follow, and it certainly was a bit of a strange moment. Well, some things must be done for the good of metal tradition. Shouting out for another song from the band is one of them.
Not so Final Goodbye
Burning Witches now finally leave the stage for tonight just to come a few minutes later and meet the fans and Prika of Nervosa, who is already there at the merch stand. It is nice to talk with them for a moment. The show was impressive, and they got a lot of compliments for their skills and evolution. Of course, signing vinyls, shirts, tickets, whatever is their major job now. Jay reports “We still have a few shows here, and in the UK, but afterwards we’re on tour in North America together with The Iron Maidens”
What Remains Untold?
We have seen an interesting support band, Systemhouse33 which deserves more attention. Don’t watch those Bollywood musicals, they are the better deal. We have seen Nervosa with a completely new line-up and they awed us with skills. Nobody really missed the former members. Eleni, Mia, Diva together with Prika are one force, not purely Brazilian anymore but coming from Italy, Spain and Greece to conquer the world with their Thrash Metal. They will continue to tour in North America as well, together with Destruction. Prika tells me “The way the band is now is perfect, we have one goal, we want to be perfect and have a lot of fun.” She continues “The tour is great, we have a lot of fun together and with the other bands too. The backstage area really is loads of fun”. It is lovely to see her happy facing speaking it out. She deserves it more than anybody else tonight. Burning Witches delivered pure heavy metal in the best traditions of some well-known metal super stars. They played much harder, slightly faster, more aggressively, and rougher than ever before. And none missed their former members too.
A Bit of a Downfall of Mankind
Though it was a great evening with three excellent bands, there was one irritation I didn’t speak about so far. It was quite annoying to watch some parts of the audience behaving strangely. There is no space for male domination and power games in the disguise of love for music as soon as only one member of a band is a woman. It is the stupid sugar daddy behavior of white old men, who hopefully disappear once and for all one day. It is additionally painful when you know about Nervosa’s lyrics which often speak out against discrimination, social misbehavior, racism, abuse of women. Please guys, yes you are meant to STOP this attitude and reflect on yourself to become a better human.
I don’t want to end my report with a negative reflection so here is something for the soul. It was lovely to talk to my neighbor to the left between the slots. Afterwards when we were chasing for some signatures of the band members, we both ended up with set lists signed by Nervosa, (hers) or Burning Witches, (mine). Even if the concert turned out to be a disappointment, meeting her would have saved my evening. Well it wasn’t, it was a great concert instead, but I guess you know what I mean. Socializing with other people makes us metal heads a true family. Young metal heads like her will keep our lifestyle alive for the decades to come. If she is the future, I am not afraid of it. I wish her all the luck for her year in Thailand, a lot of new experiences, new metal bands and everything else she is hoping to achieve. Meanwhile I learned her name is Alicia , as Alicia Vigil from Vigil Of War, what a nice surprise. Good luck Alicia!
Burning Witches: https://www.burningwitches.ch/
Please buy physical music or download it from the bands official sources and don’t stream it for free because it steals your artists’ income
All photos taken by Friend X aka Mr. Deep at the show in Frankfurt/Germany April 7th, 2022 and edited by Mummi-Katja. Video-excerpt by Alicia