BATUSHKA, MALEVOLENT CREATION, KONKHRA – live at Bambi Galore, Hamburg, Germany, Feb 29th, 2020.

Our north German correspondent M.B. takes the night off from his medieval history notes to get some well organised noise action in the big smoke of Hamburg, and to see a band so authentically Orthodox, they’ve already had their own Great Schism…

Batushka – specifically the guitarist’s Batushka, I think….


Well, what might be considered a strange tour package, somehow did work out in the end, at least for yours truly. For the bands, I’m not quite sure though. An evening beginning with two old school and brutal Death Metal bands and closing with a Black Metal band celebrating their gig like an Orthodox church service, I guess the crowd either came for the first two, or the latter. For me it was definitely BATHUSHKA (we’re talking about the BATUSHKA around the original guitar player here), but, boy, did MALEVOLENT CREATION deliver one hell of a show. But let’s start at the beginning.

Never having heard the name KONKHRA before, I wasn’t too sad when we arrived a little late and the foursome had already entered the stage and started their 45 minute show (everything is neatly planned and organised at the Bambi Galore – typically German one might say). What could be seen on stage was a band with almost 30 years up their back and thus a very tight and joyful performance of their, alas, mediocre and generic 90’s Death Metal. Sometimes, when moving into the direction of mid-90’s HYPOCRISY, things got interesting, but those moments were few and far between. The bass player also did his best to cheer on the audience, but to (almost) no avail. Yet, bless him for trying.

After a very short (and well organized) break, MALEVOLENT CREATION hit the stage and get straight to it, no palaver, nothing, only the fiercest Death Metal performance I have seen in donkey’s years. Hats off to the old men who deliver such a tight performance at such a high level of musicianship, simply incredible! What definitely helped was the new drummer, probably 20 years the other bandmates’ junior. I’ve rarely witnessed something that tight and brutal at the same time.

This time the break took a bit longer because BATUSHKA transformed the stage into a very eerie scenario. In the back a greyish/see-through backdrop showing outlines of trees and a church steeple set the scene, completed by a coffin, Orthodox icons and candles. Then the band made their entrance. Entering the stage in single file, all dressed in priest-like robes, faces hidden they take their places while incense is being burnt and candles lit. What follows then is a complete play-through of the new album “Panihida” with one final song take from the band’s first album. During the performance there is no visible interaction with the audience, nor any stage-acting except the few gestures made by the singer as if preaching from the pulpit. Sound and lights are extremely well done and so the one hour gig flies by and the band leaves the stage in the same way they entered it.

To put it in a nutshell: Two outstanding performances by MALEVOLENT CREATION and BATUSHKA. If you ever get the chance to see either live – do it!

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