A bustling Saturday night at Klub Močvara, just the way we like them! The season started out heavy, this was the first of the two most awaited concerts in March, the other being Vader in a couple of days. Tonight confirmed the metal scene in Zagreb is alive and well. Half the crowd was here to party with Suffocation, the other half follow Belphegor. Everyone went home happy – except the people who came to see Grimaze.
Their gig was unfortunately canceled due to logistics issues. A terrible shame, as this particularly heavy and groovy young outfit inspired by bands like Gojira, Igorrr and Acid Bath would’ve been a fantastic, unusual addition to this already assorted line-up. Let’s hope we catch them in some other instance soon, many people were highly excited to see Grimaze and the disappointment that followed definitely increased drink sales for the night.
The drinks would be flowing anyway as everyone was having just so much fun! I have no other words to describe the general atmosphere of the whole evening, fun, fun in the sun! There wasn’t any sun but the full moon worked just as well and Carnifliate opened the fun part around eight, as scheduled. ‘Slovenian screeching in shorts’, I dubbed them. They delivered an energetic deathgrind warm-up and attracted some of the crowd inside. The front of Močvara was busy too, the benches were lined with metal fans downing their whiskey and wine, someone brought a speaker and blasted death metal so loud it could be heard all the way to the Sava bridge. There was no room for softness, this was no ordinary occasion.
Hate was the first act to truly fill up the venue. Musically entertaining, but lacking depth when it comes to the performance itself. When I started writing this report, I actually forgot to include them in the title. Oops. Their music really is enjoyable, no doubts, but up there on stage they were almost completely static, dressed in Napalm-esque costumes, looking a bit cartoony. Luckily, nobody else seemed to mind and the metal flock banged away. You can’t see them if you’re headbanging! And Hate’s threatening blast beats pull you in immediately.
Belphegor’s merch stand taking up the entire Močvara back was bigger than the one inside, belonging to all other bands. There was an array of things, all at festival prices, and a wild assortment of prints that send messages like “I’m really into black metal” and “I’ve never had sex in my entire life”. We were checking out Suffocation and Hate’s shirt exhibition while the stand was being packed up and my friend wished for a Suffocation tour poster. At that point, we’d drank all our money and it turned out she was just short for the poster. ‘Take it anyway!’- the merch lady was lovely and gave it to her for free.
When Suffocation was about to take the stage, I was jumpy and ready to fight someone. So was everyone else, fists were flying in less than five minutes. Močvara erupted, stagediving commenced immediately and the band encouraged it. This concert sold just enough tickets to leave space for brilliant, perpetual and violent moshing that leaves you equally breathless whether you participate or watch from afar. Suffocation’s roaring and slamming united us in the spirit of ‘this is metal, anything goes’ as people jumped from the stage headfirst, not caring if anyone will catch them. Drinks were spilled, shirts were ripped, the new singer does a more than adequate job filling in for Frank, who we still have a chance to see at this year’s Brutal Assault festival. This is how you replace a singer! (I’m looking at you, Nile.)
For reasons unknown, the slots have been switched and Suffocation played before Belphegor, leaving them for last and making them sound like a lullaby to calm down the primal rage Suffocation awoke in us drunken beasts. It definitely should’ve been the other way around but oh, well. Belphegor’s performance was unsurprisingly mediocre. It wasn’t bad, but it ever so slightly reminded of dramatic, somewhat tacky commercial black metal. The band left the stage rather abruptly and instead of a few picks being thrown by the members themselves, handfuls of picks were given to everyone in the first rows as souvenirs. Now, I know this can be seen as a nice gesture but you have to admit the pick is especially invaluable when it’s your catch.
The evening didn’t die out quickly, Močvara was still full of merry people even past one. Thanks to Hangtime Agency and Subsonic Events, we had a marvelous time and the bar is set high for Vader. This city offers something for everyone and there are no excuses not to see a great concert every once in a while. Preferably, every two weeks.