Live in Amsterdam presents an interesting view in Belgium’s finest black metal outfit Lugubrum. Expect a well-practised band, in the shape of its life.

Vocals remain one of the most distinguishing feature of black metal, and this is also true for Lugubrum. When Barditus‘ vocals sounds the best, Lugubrum reminds us of the Norwegian black metal outfit Forgotten Woods, still one of our favorites. The unexpected hooks and twists refer to Fleurety‘s ‘Min tid skall Komme’, another milestone in Norwegian metal. But don’t you fear, Lugubrum remains as Belgian as waffles and communautarian feuds.

Does the refering to these ’90s BM bands mean that Lugubrum hasn’t moved on? Well, in one way, they still play the music of that age, and actually, there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as there’s enough fresh ideas in it and the atmosphere rays their unique ‘boersk’ qualities, we won’t say anything nasty. On top of that, the integration of saxophone in the band, makes for a fitting new element, but here, we also meet the band’s limits.

The problem Lugubrum didn’t convince us of, is the compatibility of improvisation and black metal. I’m not sure the two were ever used in one sentence and up untill today, and Lugubrum’s effort remains renewing. Yet, the knowledge of ones own limitations is crucial and we fear that the band has burned its fingers here. We don’t say the combination doesn’t work here, but – and maybe this has to do with Barditus’ well-place footstep, on the saxophone, nicely crushing some essential parts of it – to me it sounds the sax doesn’t get the musical space it needs. If it just wouldn’t be there, the music would still make sense, and that’s not a very good thing.

But, enough about that. Highlights of the album are the magistral opening track ‘Hunted ordure’, that first appeared on the 2001 ‘Al Ghemist’ LP (you remember the nice Bosch-interpretation on the cover!). The track has a historical openingsequence, perfectly fitting the concert’s atmosphere. Another great moment is the ‘Fliegenpilz’ version. The track, from the Winterstones-album (1995) has the right feel, with a great vocal performance, reflecting both disgust and despair.

All in all, Live in Amsterdam is a great rendition of a great concert. It shows how a metalconcert can successfully be reproduced. Next year, Lugubrum will celebrate their 15 year in bussiness. We better start kissing their as for tickets to the party!

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