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MERZBOW
Death Trip

Already since summer, when Merzbow’s visit to further darken our pitch-black autumn evenings, I anticipated this evening to become one of the benchmarks for this year.
The announcing of Finnish cult legends Death Trip was also for me a welcome notion due to the vicious reputation of their live performances.
The weather was as typical as it can be in October, on the beautifully damp and light absorbing streets of Helsinki. This would be a night to remember.

Death Trip
As already stated Death Trip enjoys a somewhat cult following and is (apparently) titled the country’s most violent band. As the music started playing the three instrumentalists stood head high on the stage with an aura of majestic grace around their stance. There was nothing remotely violent about this setup.
The music showcased a semi noisy take on stoner rock with a heavy doom undertone to it.
The band housed a killer groove as the rhythm section and guitarist played the riffs over and over, again and again. I applauded the band for the fact that the music itself was very tight and had a nice groove to it, only the occasional feedback gave a violently noisy feel to the laid back riffing carnage.
When the vocalist, wearing a stocking over his head, leaped on stage we finally got a taste of the violence. He was a personification of insanity.
To distinguish anything of the vocals was an impossible mission, but the voice projected a very clear and focused rage.
Death Trip managed to get the crowd to move along a bit with their stage presence, but mostly I felt confused over the different languages the music and the vocals stood for.
Overall Death Trip was a bit of a disappointment or maybe more a case of misjudged expectations.

The intermission was a sort of limbo time in between performances and Merzbow had taken the stage in a silent solitude.
The gig started much in secrecy from the crowd and slowly picked up momentum as the people flocked in front of the stage to see what was happening.

Merzbow
What can I say about an performance without any structure? A single song without a melody? A presence of something larger than life?
The sounds were a never ending trip of pointless, the ear piercing noise draws quite a few likeness' to real life as you can take this concert experience to notice the inevitable hopelessness in life.
As I absorbed the sound waves and took a look around me I saw what would make the biggest impact on me: The array of serious faces around me, some trying to fathom what is happening, others just locals (Finnish) with a straight face. Some people were trying to enjoy what they heard and others, just like me, absorbing the sounds in exchange for insight.
The, at many places monotonous, noise lent the listeners a vessel for an pilgrimage of understanding and suffering but there was an omnipresent nihilistic quality flowing in the air, so thick you could touch it. The horrid expressions of pain and dislike fed me even more pleasure towards the deep growling distortion and the piercing highs that served as inspirational elements throughout the performance.
It was deeply impressive to see what a single man can cast together and how this iconic figure managed to take the space with the force of a troupe.
There was definitely no pauses for breathing, but a continuous, merciless, attack upon the sheepish listeners craving more.