THE SINISTER FEAST was indeed an underground dark and melancholic feast for all those who attended. On November 4th , another manifest of black metal culture took place within...

THE SINISTER FEAST was indeed an underground dark and melancholic feast for all those who attended. On November 4th , another manifest of black metal culture took place within the walls of Wels’s Alter Schl8hof (Dragonerstraße 22, Wels, Austria).

The old slaughterhouse in this Austrian little town was yet again the perfect location for an evening wrapped in depression, dark atmosphere and melancholy, with its old facades painted in black, worn wooden floors, black pillars and dim lights.

Pain and pleasure engulfed our sorrows, while raw, atmospheric and depressive black metal was delivered by 7 carefully selected top tier acts: Psychonaut 4, Totalselfhatred, Germ, Happy Days, Ultha, Sunken and Sterbenswille.

The festival has become for some of us sort of a personal, introspective and sincere pursuit, as the feeling once you get there is one of pure emotional surrender.

This year was nothing less than perfection, every act was unique and powerful and the professionalism of the organizers and crew made every set flawless.

The fact that the festival was sold out months before taking place shows the level of dedication and support it has at the moment, and for a good reason!

First on stage were Sterbenswille (GER). The name of the band is derived from a traumatic experience of the founder, who now wants to help with his musical mixture of melancholy and hope those who have to suffer the same. Musically between Post Black Metal and Blackgaze, the band took the audience in a depressive introspective trip of darkness, sorrow and despair, just how their full length Dunkelheit does.

Next was Sunken (DEN), a band that blends genres, a little hard to define (because they combine so many different elements), a great mix of black, atmospheric black and DSBM. We were lucky enough to experience firsthand this plethora of intense emotions being expressed in multiple different forms in front of us. While we loved the studio album, seeing Sunken live was something else completely. I want to put some emphasis on the vocals in particular, because to me they seemed so beautifully tortured, depressed, grasping for hope and purpose…

We also had the great privilege to attend one of the very first Happy Days (USA) live performances. Morbid’s music is raw and elusive, dark and depressive, the proper representation of this musician’s mind. The performance seemed to us a little off, as we had great expectations. It was probably my least favorite act at Sinister Feast, but only because the others were so mind blowing.

Known for their intense live performances, Ultha (GER) thematically deal with man’s desperate pursuit of happiness and the failure of it. And this was actually emblematic to their show at Sinister Feast – [You exist for nothing] – as their merch clearly states. Ultha’s performance was one of our favorites at the festival, the depressive atmosphere created walked us into a state of complete abandonment of hope and pursue of illusion. Thick bass undertones, guitar tones of mostly repetitive strong riffing, thick and raw drum sound and soo much variation, accompanied by such amazing desperate and organic vocals… such a feast! Ultha’s performance at Sinister Feast simply reminded me how music is such a personal thing, and how Black metal is so glorious.

The melancholy that Germ (AUS) unleashed on stage next was alluring and mesmerizing. It was  the band’s first live performance in over five years. The incredibly intense and multi-layered black metal solo project of Tim Yatras from Austere (AUS) – accompanied by live musicians such as Paolo Bruno (Thy Light), was a great addition to the festival roster. I remember seeing Germ back in 2018 at the amazing Dark Bombastic Evening Festival, hearing “Escape” live was something else..

At Sinister Feast, Germ seemed to us such a perfect fit, depressive and introspective as it should be! The long and repetitive tracks created a powerful and sinister atmosphere, as we got immersed into the band’s expressive set. They chose to close the set with the song Broken by Grey Waters, and it was the first time this song has ever been performed live!

Totalselfhatred (FIN) – celebrated its 15th anniversary by playing their complete, self-titled debut album at this year’s Sinister Feast. Their performance has brought melancholic and desperate soundscapes into our minds, as well as great memories from past times when listening to Totalselfhatred’s album on repeat. The set explored a multitude of emotional states and in a larger scale, hanged in a limbo between extreme negativity and hopefulness. Melodious guitars, vibrant bass lines, resounding drums and vocal melding to all. I must admit tho that I miss the Corvus (Horna) era, as I got attached to the particularities of this musician’s voice on Totalselfhatred’s first album, but the show was indeed great so can’t really complain here.

Headlining the festival were Psychonaut 4 (GEO). Focusing on exploring human psyche and subconscious, primarily using mind-expanding techniques or substances, P4’s music can be regarded as a landscape of dark obsessions and misanthropic beliefs.

The highlight of their show was the first time ever performance of “Eyes of a Homeless Dog” from Dipsomania, an album of immense meaning and value to some of us DSBMers.

Raw and depressive, the recurrent theme of the Tbilisian act is one of pure hopelessness, abandonment an surrender, the emotions conveyed almost gave us shivers.

For us, Psychonaut 4’s performance was nothing less than devastating…purely devastating! At the end of the set we were left in a bleak state of awe, happiness and melancholy. It was indeed one of those life changing musical experiences that only happen so rarely.

To conclude with, The Sinister Feast was once again an amazing experience, we got the chance to hang with old friends, meet some new ones, enjoy a lot of drinks and freezed to the bones in this beautiful, yet fulfilling atmosphere.

Until next year!

The Sinister Feast will take place on November 2nd  2024! Keep an eye on this event and wait for the band confirmations, as this might happen soon enough!

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