Show Review: Dark Funeral & Belphegor @ Baltimore Soundstage on June 4, 2019.
Swedish Black Metal legends, Dark Funeral along with Austria’s Belphegor arrived to Maryland’s Baltimore Soundstage this past June 4, 2019 for Devastation On The Nation and Metal Insider was there!
This was actually my first time seeing this band. For some reason, my schedule never seemed to match up with this band’s tours. What I witnessed were true masters of blackened death! Just incredible stage presence from these guys and now, after experiencing their live show, I fully understand why there were a number of people in the crowd who incessantly chanted “Bel-phe-gor! Bel-phe-gor!” for most of the evening leading up to their performance.
Lead vocalist and guitarist, Helmuth Lehner, is both masterful at connecting with the crowd and delivering incredibly accurate guitar leads. Performing since 1991, he is a true metal veteran with full command of his performance. Similarly, bassist, Serpenth, delivers with explosiveness and extreme energy from start to finish. He just doesn’t let up.
The Baltimore crowd couldn’t get enough of Belphegor and they just absolutely crushed the venue. Very interesting and somewhat esoteric stagecraft helped elevate the performance and the intimacy of the Soundstage really made this a special night for all involved – even those in the way back (who still weren’t really far away from the action).
Belphegor did a number of classic songs from their extremely deep catalog as well as a bunch from the Totenritual record, which pleased me a great deal. Totenritual, in my eyes, is actually their strongest record to date.
I had seen Dark Funeral before, but only in Scandinavia and not in the US – and also only with former lead vocalist Emperor Magus Caligula. I wasn’t a huge fan of Caligula live, and to be honest, I felt Dark Funeral’s performance in Maryland, with current vocalist, Heljarmadr, was much better than anything I’ve seen from them in the recent past.
Heljarmadr puts a tremendous amount of soul in his performance and works really hard on his vocal delivery. This works well for a band like Dark Funeral who are very much black metal, but also rather complex at times. There is no doubt that Heljarmadr brings this band to the next level and he seems extremely comfortable and commanding at the vocal helm. Long standing guitarists Chaq Mol and Lord Ahriman, were of course, magnificent at both ends of the stage and I thought the relatively new rhythm section of Adra-Melek and Jalomaah was completely on point.
The setlist was very heavy on the band’s most recent original release, Where Shadows Forever Reign, with five songs from it, including the title track and the mesmerizingly good, “Unchain My Soul.” Of course, they played some classics as well including “My Funeral,” “King Antichrist,” and “My Dark Desires.”
All in all, two killer bands that I can’t wait to see again!