The Black Metal scene is well known for the number of bands from Scandinavia which are considered precursors to the genre – Bathory, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum, Immortal or Emperor to name only a few. It’s also characterized by the personalities and events which have littered its history; murders, suicides and burned churches. The violence of the music and the culture that surrounds it gave it authenticity and huge visibility.
Before those events, black metal music was rooted in another country, between mountains and lakes, in Switzerland. Hellhammer (1982), Celtic Frost since 1984 and Samael (1987), a trio that will be called the precursors of Hellvete black metal, whose influence has been internationally acknowledged.
This is the beginning of Swiss black metal that is recognizable, but doesn’t let itself be described too easily.
Helvete Underground Festival - October 2, 3 & 4 – Geneva, Switzerland
Only death is real
On what grounds does its specificity lay? If the music differs from one band to another, similarities are to be found somewhere else. Apart from being considered a root of black metal music, and one of the reasons why the audience highly values it, the Swiss black metal scene remains active and still flourishes with many bands, venues and shows. Moreover, many bands from abroad enjoy playing in Switzerland.
From Celtic Frost to Samael, from Mordor to Darkspace, a clear resemblance to one another is hard to find. Musicians themselves don’t feel the need to identify with the first pioneers, and this may be one of the peculiarities of Swiss black metal. But it also encourages a form of individualism in the music, as well as a need to express oneself outside the frame of a very civic-minded and regulated society. For this reason, there is a need to exteriorize all the negative aspects of post-modern culture. However, the theme of anti-Christianism remains relatively absent. In opposition to what happened in Scandinavia, Swiss history hasn’t been highly marked by Christian acculturation.
That explains why black metal from Switzerland isn’t influenced by its traditional music, but it is characterized by an extreme darkness. Despite this tendency to develop their own specificities, Swiss bands are all drawn together by this communal blackness. In the particulary active bands, we can mention the highly dehumanized art of Borgne and Darkspace, the doom-black of Rorcal or the death-black of Bölzer.
With the next riff you’re dead
In 2014, the Swiss black metal scene is stronger than ever! Although bands go on stressing their individual characteristics, they all still share the aspects we’ve mentioned earlier. The calm, respectful and punctual Swiss people became masters of aggression on stage, as they express their exact and strong reaction toward their living conditions.
All these sides that reflect the unity of the Swiss black metal scene will be represented at the Helvete Underground Festival in Geneva, which will be grounded in its own identity.
The atmosphere of Darkspace, Rorcal’s doom-black-drone, Borgne’s industrial, Bölzer’s black-death and Cendres de Haine’s dirty-black-trash-punk, Euclidean’s post-black, Helslakt, Stortregn, Nansis, Supayniyux, Schammasch, Tardigrada and Eggs of Gomorrh.
All these bands will be sharing the stage of a festival that shouldn’t be missed.
Written by: <Q> (Astral Silence). With the collaboration of: Bornyhake (Borgne, Kawir, Pure, Enoid), Lady Kaos (Borgne), Malphas (Cendres de Haine) and T.Nadiarduk.G.
Doors 20:30 / Showss 21:00 / 10 CHF
NANSIS- 21:00 – 21:40
HELSLAKT- 22:00 – 22:40
SUPAYNIYUX – 23:00 – 00:00
Doors 20:30 / Shows 21:00 / 20 CHF
EUCLIDEAN – 21:00 – 21:45 [small room]
CENDRES DE HAINE – 22:00 – 22:45 [main room]
STORTREGN – 23:00 – 23:45 [small room]
BORGNE – 00:00 – 01:00 [main room]
Techno Afterparty: 01:00 – 05:00
Doors 18:00 / Shows 19:00 / 30 CHF
EGGS OF GOMORRH – 19:00 – 19:30 [small room]
SCHAMMASCH – 19:45 – 20:30 [main room]
TARDIGRADA – 20:45 – 21:30 [small room]
RORCAL – 21:45 – 22:30 [main room]
BÖLZER – 22:45 – 23:45 [small room]
DARKSPACE – 00:00 – 01:30 [main room]
Rock DJs Afterparty: 01:30 – 05:00