Atom Smasher ventured to a sold out show at Rebellion in Manchester to watch three international cult acts, with Batushka headlining. A much anticipated show that was originally going to take place in the fall of last year, but had to be postponed. People were queuing all the way down the street before the doors opened, so it was fantastic to see such a huge turnout for the support acts.


DSC_Trepaneringsritualen_005Photo Credit: Rich Smith // Digital Bath

Really, the worst thing about Trepaneringsritualen is trying to remember his name (or even pronounce it correctly). This one man Industrial act shouldn’t be forgotten though. His opening set combined stark, pounding beats with monstrous blackened vocals. Imagine an even colder, bleaker version of Godflesh, minus the guitars. All of his tracks were interwoven without breaks, beginning and ending with the heavier and more visceral cuts. But the middle section of his set was equally as investing, weaving into much more ominous, drawn out Dark Ambient sections. His vocals became less harsh and more ritualistic and hypnotic. Trepaneringsritualen’s live setup wasn’t quite as visually inspiring as the two following acts. For some of the set he wore a mask, which made him look sinister among the muted lights. With just vocals, a drum machine and some pedals, the performance was minimal, but it was so refreshing to see a more Electronic based act on this bill. The dark atmospheres of his music more than fit the vibe of the evening. 7/10.



DSC_Schammasch_003Photo Credit: Rich Smith // Digital Bath

Hailing from Switzerland, Black Metallers Schammasch took the stage dressed in robes. The cult act have risen in popularity after a string of acclaimed releases on Prosthetic Records. Their frontman switched between tribal floor toms and additional guitar throughout the set. Not only were Schammasch visually striking, but their take on black metal is very much their own. They like to revel in slower tempo black metal, whilst still conjuring a bleak atmosphere. The guitars added much dissonance to their sonic pallet, creating an eeriness slightly reminiscent of Deathspell Omega. Schammasch used blastbeats sparingly, but when their songs did escalate to such tempos, it sounded so majestic. The band leader performed a diverse array of vocals, from screams to gothic chants. Throughout the set, their songs twisted and turned through complex narratives, resulting in a performance that was musically and visually fascinating, with a stage decorated with sheep skulls and candlesticks. Schammasch’s take on black metal is unique and eccentric, and they really threatened to steal the show tonight. 8/10.



DSC_Batushka_001Photo Credit: Rich Smith // Digital Bath

Even before Poland’s Batushka had played a note, tonight’s sold out crowd was in awe of their stage spectacle. Eight band members squashed tightly onto the Rebellion stage, all dressed in robes, faces obscured to keep their anonymity. The stage show looked more like a demonic ritual, with their lead vocalist perched on a podium. On the side of the stage, guitars and additional vocalists thickened their hymnal chants. Batushka performed with a wide pallet of sound, filling the room with something so grand and majestic. Over 50 minutes, they performed cuts from their sole album ‘Litourgiya’. The meaty guitars (by black metal standards) and blasting drums were glorious, but it was really the diverse range of vocal stylings and the overall visual presentation that made them memorable. For the entire time they played, there was nothing that could advert your gaze. 8/10.


This was certainly one of the most unique bills in Extreme Metal that Manchester has witnessed in a while. Each act not only delivered experimental and abstract music, but matched that strangeness with stunning stage sets and dress codes. As for Rebellion, it is fantastic to see how this venue has risen in popularity to become the leading spot to catch Metal music in Manchester. They are successfully attracting bigger and more diverse acts (not just in rock and metal) and sold out shows here are becoming a more frequent thing. However it was obvious that the venue was perhaps a bit overcrowded. A slightly lessened capacity would have been preferable, as during Batushka it was genuinely hard to concentrate. It was unbearably hot and people found it difficult to move to the bar and toilets as it was so packed, and it was a similar case at Wolves In the Throne Room back in December. But other than that, Rebellion has proven itself to be THE place for Metal bands to play in Manchester, with a fantastic sound and lighting setup, and an overall cool vibe full of character.

All Photographs by Rich Smith // Digital Bath



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s