Sunday 10th April 2005
Cafe Procope

Although Blood Axis ranks amongst the household names of the industrial-neofolk scene, their live appearances are rare events and are usually limited to a single shows in far-away Portugal. For the first time since 1998, Blood Axis were back in Italy and the Heimdallr staff just could not miss the concert in Torino, the last stop of a three date tour through Germany and Italy.

Considering it was a Sunday night, I was quite surprised at the important turn out for this concert that had been vilified in the local press as a satanist gathering. In reality, the audience was composed in its majority of middle-aged industrial fans, well aware of what they were waiting to see.
Eventually, the doors of the Cafe Procope opened and everyone filed downstairs, picked up a chair, and sat down in front of the stage. All eager to witness the coming performances...

The first to play was the experimental solo act Mariae Nascenti. The first part of the performance consisted in a huge, bald, bearded, pierced and tattooed guy playing quasi-religious soundscapes with his laptop and a few metallic percussions whilst a strange homoerotic beard fetish film was projected in the background. For the second part of the performance, he was joined on stage by Mr Deathtripper himself (another huge, bald, bearded, pierced and tattooed guy) who added sparse vocals in Italian and a few, almost neofolk sounding, guitar notes that gradually built up into swathes of post-rock noise. A rather arty but nonetheless interesting performance that left me with a positive impression.

Blood Axis started to set up the stage while an ambient ritual soundtrack started in the background. Those expecting an industrial concert were in for a surprise as no flags or banners, nor any of the other usual trappings of an industrial concert adorned the stage. Nowadays, Blood Axis present themselves as a no-frills folk rock act with a line up combining traditional and electric instruments. But, if anyone was anticipating a fey, beard scratching folk performance their doubts were soon dissipated...

A gong resounded; the concert everyone had been waiting for had begun. Michael Moynihan started to draw the first notes of 'Herjafather' from his accordion soon followed by the first heavy drumbeats and Annabel Lee on violin to build up a dramatic, ritualistic atmosphere ending in a chaos of heavy riffs from Big Bad Bob (Ferbrache). Followed a thundering interpretation of 'Eternal Soul' and a tense version of 'Life'. If Blood Axis have now adopted a more folkish approach to their music, none of these songs lacked in power or intensity.

For more than an hour the band played a selection of old classics and new songs, for the most part taken from the traditional celtic repertoire; a superb 'Wir Rufen deine Wölfe', excellent versions of 'The Hangman and the Papist' and 'The March of Brian Boru'... Followed by 'Twa Corbies' that Michael played alone with just his bodhran as an accompaniment, an intense interpretation of 'The Seeker' and 'Mandragora' (initially the Alraune contribution to the "Infernal Proteus" compilation) that was dedicated to Mariae Nascenti. They also dedicated 'Song of the Comrade' to "everyone who was in Genoa all those years ago"; a new song, based around Michael's vocals and bodhran, Annabel on accordion and Big Bad Bob playing mandolin sounds on his faithful old Gretsch, that is already a potential neofolk classic.

The concert closed on 'Lord of the Ages' dedicated, amongst much applause, to all those present that keep alive the legacy of the Roman Empire in Italy and a tense and dramatic 'Reign I Forever' announced as the last song. A fitting finale to an outstanding performance from a band totally in control of their music, played, as Michael pointed out, in front of the best audience of the European tour and with the help of the best soundman.

No doubt touched by such a warm welcome, Michael and Annabel decided to stay on stage to play an unplanned set of traditional Scottish marches, jigs and reels; explaining the origin of each song as they went along. A nice way of thanking the audience.
After Michael thanked everyone, once more, for such a great night, the band launched into the final encore. A blistering version of 'We walked in line' that drove the audience absolutely crazy.

After the concert, unlike some artists who prefer to remain backstage, the members of Blood Axis mixed freely with the audience. All took time to talk, sign autographs and to be taken in photo with fans and it was with much regret that everyone had to leave the Cafe Procope when it closed.

Text : Ian C. - Photos : Nathalie F.
Spring 2005

Blood Axis : -
Mariae Nascenti :
Deathtripper / URGH :

This flyer was available on the Blood Axis merchandise stand. Some people should take good note...