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The Best of Prophecy Fest: Bohren & Der Club of Gore

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Now in its second year, Prophecy Fest — hosted by German melting pot label Prophecy Productions — takes place INSIDE OF A FUCKING CAVE.

If images flood your head of dust and mildew floating through the air amidst questionable body odors, bat shit, a poorly lit stage and cacophonous sound, you’re way off the mark: Prophecy Fest — located in the tiny, fairytale-like town of Balve in western Germany — was one of the most civilized metal gatherings I’ve ever attended. The cave, Balver Höhle, from which the remains of both proto-humans and wooly mammoths have been exhumed, is the immaculate metal venue; plenty of room for a full stage, merch, a bar and roughly 2,000 concertgoers, with moody lighting and immaculate sound. Combine that with Prophecy’s diverse roster of artists — flown in from as far away as Australia and Canada, and driven from right down the road — and a die-hard audience with an appreciation for eclectic music, and they’ve struck a winning tone for a festival that’s unlike any other.

I’ll be featuring five of my favorite bands from the festival in this space in the coming days. Read my brief thoughts, check out a tune, and get hip to what Prophecy Productions is doing; after 20 years they’re only just now hitting their stride with big things on the horizon.

View my full coverage of Prophecy Fest 2016 here.

Bohren & Der Club of Gore

Bohren & Der Club of Gore describe their music as “detective jazz,” which is completely accurate — even if you’re not already familiar with the band you can probably hear some approximation of it in your head already. You wouldn’t know it, but the band’s original inspiration, according to their Facebook bio — they’ve been making music together since the late ’80s — was grindcore, doom and death metal. Kinda odd for a trio consisting of a stand-up bass player, two multi-instrumentalists rotating between saxophone, various organs, keyboards and percussion, and a robotic drummer.

But the audience didn’t seem to give a fuck that the band’s tie to metal was scant — indeed, they were the only band on this year’s Prophecy Fest lineup not on the label — because everyone in the room ate up every bit of their live show. And with good reason: it was fantastic! Every single light in the venue was turned off for their set, each person and/or item on stage illuminated by a sole, dim spot (see photo above — not from Prophecy, but same idea). The band’s vibe is undoubtedly dark, so it’s not too surprising to find them at a metal festival; this is the kind of detective jazz you’d expect as accompaniment in a dark, scary, Depression-era alley with dirty rats slithering over a passed out drunkard, not some high-fallutin, city slicker, modern day sleuth.

Oh, and those robotic drums: I was transfixed. I still can’t figure out how they were being controlled, although it seemed like all three men on stage had some part in it.

Below, check out some live footage of Bohren & Der Club of Gore shot a few years back.

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