Tonight, I am taking you to a shadowy part of music, and as shadowy a part of France. Three metal bands played in Auxerre on Thursday 13th May: Erazer, AqME and Loudblast. Auxerre is a 35-000 inhabitant city in the center of France, in Burgundy. The region Burgundy is well known for its wine all over the world. But from time to time, out of these lonely juicy meadows, come very good metal bands. Erazer is one of them. They do death metal, which is the extreme side of heavy metal. It is characterized by guttural vocals and complex rythmic patterns. A few years ago, they played first parts for Lofofora or Mass Hysteria, some pillars of the death metal. On Thursday, they were followed by two other famous French death and thrash metal bands: AqME and Loudblast. The concert can be divided into three acts, with different moods.
Erazer: the warm-up gig
9 pm. The doors of the venue, called the Silex (“the Flint”) opened up. The concert hall got crowded little by little, while the first notes of Erazer could be heard. All in all, about 250 people came to listen to Erazer, about half of the hall’s capacity. The group played their songs from their latest album, L’Océan des Ames (The Souls’ Ocean), released last autumn. This album received critical acclaim. “L’Océan des Ames is a masterly pure piece, its cold beauty is incredible,” wrote a music critic on SoilChronicles. And during the concert, people seemed to enjoy it. Even though Peter, the singer, complained the public lacked energy. Indeed, the listeners barely moved or danced until the last two songs. At some point, Peter even came out with: “God, that’s hard to make you move!” The gig was nice to listen to all the same. It definitely prepared the ground for AqME.
AqME: the storm
AqME faced a huge challenge in 2012 with the departure of Thomas, their lead singer. But they came back all the same in 2014 with a new record and a new singer, Vincent. And on stage, he was uncontrollable, running from one end to the other, and interacting with the audience very often: “When we were told we’re gonna play in Auxerre, we did not know how it would go. But now we can say that Auxerre sounds really fucking good!” The energy was palpable and the listeners were on fire. They pogoed, jumped, screamed on and on. If Vincent’s voice sounds similar to the former singer’s, his stage acting is fundamentally different. Etienne, the drummer, confessed backstage after the show: “Having Vincent with us changed a lot of things on stage for us. He moves all the time.”
Loudblast: the sound of the trolls
Last, but not least. For the record, Loudblast brought death metal to France – along with other bands. The group was created in 1985 in Lilles (North of France) and recorded 7 albums. Their agressive and gloomy music is their trademark, even though it evolved throughout the years. Thursday night, the audience was not as crowded as it was for AqME – but despite a few sparse places, the room was full. The metal fans looked appreciative, even though calmer. Technically speaking, the gig was stainless.
The concert finished at 12:30 am. An early time for the Auxerre residents. They all continued talking outside the concert hall, debating about which group was the best. Paul was certain of it, :Aqme was the best because the most energetic. A few people agreed. Pierre was not so sure however, he argued: “Come on guys, Loudblast were the best, they know what they are doing. When I entered the hall, I felt vibrations in my jacket and all the way down my body. I loved it!”