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Dimmu Borgir, Amon Amarth, Engel - The Invaluable Darkness Tour
After a weekend full of multimedia at Tilburg's ZXZW Festival, Sledgehammer Messiah and I returned to Tilburg on Monday for a club gig in the 013. Dimmu Borgir's Invaluable Darkness Tour commenced the day before in Amsterdam and was now hitting its second city in Holland. At first, Hatesphere should be the opening act on this tour, but due the department of vocalist Jacob Bredahl they cancelled all their upcoming dates. They were replaced by Engel.

The dudes from Engel must have been pretty happy being all of a sudden added to a big tour, being able to play for big crowds. I already knew this band - that features (ex-)members of In Flames, Passenger, The Haunted, The Crown, Incapacity, The Project Hate and won Rock Hard Germany's 'Demo Contest 2006' and 'Best Unsigned Bands 2006' by Hammer readers - from MySpace and I thought it was a cool act. Unfortunately live they were a disappointment for me. Engel sounded a lot like modern In Flames combined with heavily triggered double bass drums to make it sound even more catchy. Together with the emo vocals now and then they sounded too poppy for me. Nonetheless they entertained a big part of the audience, who participated well in clapping and headbanging with frontman Klavborn. Of course not bad for an unknown band in a big venue. For those who are interested in more Engel; their debut album Absolute Design will be released soon, and after this tour they'll tour Europe again, warming up for Atreyu.

After Engel
's performance it was time for the Viking metal of Amon Amarth. I saw these Sweden's a few months ago at the Fields of Rock festival, when they were a bit disappointing. This time they were better, but they still didn't satisfy me completely. Singer Johan Hegg did a great job with his great voice, being very enthusiastic to keep the crowd going (which worked out perfectly). Hegg even said that this show was better than their gig in Amsterdam the previous day. My problem with Amon Amarth playing live is just that their sound is so extremely grooving and without any peaks that it just goes on and on and becomes boring. 'Runes To My Memory', 'Death In Fire' and 'Asator', all great songs that were played live, but due to the groove and the guitars not being optimally mixed I lost my 'connection' with the live act, it's just too dreary.

Now then, Dimmu Borgir live. I was looking forward to this one for a long time, having in mind that it could become one of my best concerts ever. The stage looked great with a big pair of drums on a platform on the right and the keyboards on a platform on the left, furthermore decorated with pentagrams, (fake) flames, visuals on a screen in the back and two men dressed as white monks before the stairs on which singer Shagrath made his entrance. After a long intro Dimmu commenced with
'Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse' which turned out in some kind of medley together with 'Vredesbyrd' and 'Puritania'. And when the sound was improved after the first few songs (it sounded a bit messy in the beginning) Dimmu started doing some new songs - 'The Serpentine Offering', 'The Chosen Legacy' and 'The Sinister Awakeing' - as well, all from their latest record In Sorte Diaboli. After a small break halfway the show it became even better when they played some old, faster black metal songs which truly created a violent pit. Ending with 'The Fallen Arise' we saw 80 minutes of the worlds most populair black metal band, and I think I can conclude that they entertained most of the people here tonight. For me it didn't turn out as one of my best concerts ever as I expected an even more sinister atmosphere and/or even faster songs, but it sure was a great experience.