Only a couple of weeks ago Incertain managed to deliver a powerful full length debut album ( ‘Rats in Palaces‘ ) that reached 9 devils with Power of Metal, and also managed to achieve the pole position, aka the “album of the month” status. However, Metal is live music which is also what rose our curiosity when we learned that Incertain was going to play a gig that would allow us to take a closer look at how this band has developed its live potential. We already knew that they are a good live act, but their debut album definitely rose the bar quite a bit.
The first thing to notice was that the band was short of one guitarist. Incertain already had a replacement, but the band had still decided to play at least this gig without him, because they felt that he was not sufficiently acquainted with their material just yet. One should think that this would have made the band feel uncomfortable (and maybe it did), but only after a few moments it was obvious that Incertain did not allow for this to drag them down. Particularly their vocalist Liane Walter moved and jumped around on stage while growling into her microphone. In this she showed a self-confidence that is nice to see in a musician at such an early stage of her career. Anger, aggression, but also the occasional nice smile. Everything was there. So no, if she had to deal with ‘stage fright’ then this did not show. Not even remotely. Also, one has to be honest here, it is nice to see a female fronted Death Metal band that is even more extreme than Arch Enemy. Metal, particularly extreme Metal, is obviously still mostly a boys’ club, but if Metal is supposed to be for everyone, then also male fans should be glad that there are living examples out there on stage who show that these are not just mere words. However, it would not be fair to only dwell on her gender. It does play a role, but what is even more important that she is turning more and more into a professional musician who knows how to have fun on stage while also entertaining the fans in the audience.
Liane was not alone on stage, of course. Incertain’s bassist Janis Wilkes, for instance, might not have been as noticeable on stage, but he delivered a solid performance and definitely did his part to make Incertain’s music shine! Or maybe he simply stepped back to give more room to Liane and Phil Unger (guitar)? This is a common characteristic amongst bass players, particularly in a genre that is so focused upon the vocalist and guitarist. Throw in a small stage into the mix and you are in a situation where such decisions are simply unavoidable. Phil Unger (guitar) went totally wild though! Long hair waving everywhere, his fingers racing over the strings, and an impressive presence on stage, that is part of what Heavy Metal is all about! Also, what made his antics on stage even more impressive was the fact that he also played for the second band of the evening, Bloodspot. All he got was a short break and then he pulled it off again. Talk about energy! And last, but absolutely not least there was the drummer, Luis Strietholt. His instrument of choice obviously limited his mobility on stage, but it was obvious to see how much he enjoyed the gig. This is also what makes you wonder how it would have affected the audience, if he had been a bit more visible. But then, small stage, a couple of musicians… Certain decisions are unavoidable there.
Last but not least, what was the gig like? It focused on aggression which is not really surprising for a Death Metal act, but it was a positive form of aggression, the kind of aggression that allows the fans to let off steam. So yes, the gig had that certain cathartic effect that every Metal gig should aim for! So, if you should ever have the chance to check out Incertain live then DO IT!
After Phil was done with his Bloodspot gig, Incertain was also so kind to give us an interview:
PoM: You played a powerful set as always, but how did you like the show? Also, how did you get to play here again?
Incertain: We got to play the show, because Shredhammer supported us with our own release party and this time it was our turn to support them. Also, we played a lot of shows together before and appreciate their music quite a lot.
PoM: A question for your vocalist. You are obviously not the first female Death Metal vocalist, but it is still not exactly a typical role. How did it come to decide that you wanted to do what you do?
Incertain: Yeah, we pretty much developed our style together. Also, I already liked Metal before and was already acquainted with the genre.
PoM: You have been at it for a couple of years, now. 5 years to be precise?
Incertain: Yes, we started back in October 2012. That is when we started to develop ideas that went more and more into the direction of Thrash and Death Metal. However, we always tried to stay open minded. We don’t want to adhere to any genre rules just for the sake of it. We just want to play what we want to play. Usually this means that we end up with pretty aggressive songs, of course. And that is also how Liane started with growling. This is us. Simple as that.
PoM: Another thing I noticed about your songs is your very mature approach in respect to your songs subjects and lyrics. How do you come up with your lyrics?
Incertain:We only write about things that move us, things that make us think and which are meaningful to us and just try to put our thoughts into words.
PoM: What is the story behind the song „Amok“?
Incertain: That’s something we better leave up to Phil. […] Amok is a song with a theme that is very different from what we write about most of the time. There is nothing political about it, and it is not about social criticism either. It rather tells a story that happened to somebody who used to be pretty close to me and my family. It is not about an actual amok run though, but rather a story about a person I grew up with. He was struck by a series of blows of fate. This caused him to become more and more of a hermit and to develop a very antisocial attitude. He blamed everybody else for what happened to him, but he never blamed himself. In the end he lost his apartment and finally flipped which caused him to commit arson for which he also ended up in prison. This was a very serious blow for me when my parents told me everything about it. Yes, I had not seen him for years, but we had grown up together and I thought a lot about it. How is it possible that a person can turn out like that? And why?
PoM: This song obviously means a lot to you, but what about your bandmates? What are your favourite songs?
Incertain: Rage and Greed. It is about a guy who is chasing after a woman in a forest [laughter from the entire band]. Well, I like the music. The way how the song builds up and how it escalates.
Incertain: For me it is the song Mask. It is a very personal song for me and I put a lot of feelings and emotions into my clean vocals there.
Incertain: For me it is the song ‘Crusader‘. Crazy thing is that it is not even my favourite song in respect to musical quality [once again: laughter from the entire band]. It was our first song and we never stopped improving it until we finally got to record it for our album. I have simply developed an emotional bond to it. Musical wise though it is definitely ‘Rage and Greed’.
PoM: How do you, as a young band, experience the Metalscene? Do you feel welcomed?
Incertain: The Metalscene is pretty open. Yes sure, there are exceptions, but so is life. Generally speaking we get a lot of support though. Also, people seem to appreciate it a lot that there are still young people playing music. So, generally speaking there are no problems whatsoever.
Incertain: We also got and still get a lot of support from promoters and clubs like the JUZ Live Club. Without them we would not be at the point where we are. We also got a lot of help from friends and also profited from various other forms of support for young artists.
PoM: You already played quite a lot of shows, but your gig with Tankard strikes me as particularly important. How did you experience it?
Incertain: Yep, that gig was awesome. For the first time we got to play for an audience that had no idea who we are. Also, the hall was much bigger than to what we are used to. It even had a barrier in front of the stage which was an entirely new experience for us. Really cool!
PoM: Do you have any recommendations for other new bands?
Incertain: Don’t try to force it, but rather play with your heart and soul. You never know how things will develop and success is unpredictable. Simply do what you love and don’t expect too much in terms of success. Simply enjoy your music.
Incertain: Personally, I believe that you have to have goals. This must not lead to a one track mind that makes you ignore other important things, but you really have to believe in yourself. And yes, sometimes you also have to be stubborn. You must want it!
PoM: How about some final words from your vocalist?
Incertain: Don’t be the ‘Metal Police’. People are allowed to listen to whatever they want. It doesn’t matter whether it is Metal, or not. Music is about emotions no matter whether it is Metal, or something else like pop music. This is what is really important about music: Emotions.
Short after Incertain Bloodspot hit the stage. Together with Incertain’s Phil on stage they delivered a brutal set just like Incertain did. Actually, their set was even more brutal than Incertain’s set. There was more anger, there was more aggression which is exactly what got the audience even more going. Or maybe it was a reciprocal thing? The audience had already been ignited by Incertain after all which gave Bloodspot a certain advantage in this respect. But whatever, Bloodspot worked with what they had and fired off their Death Metal right into the audience. Also, their vocalist’s Pete presence on stage (lean, mean, shaved head, barefoot), likely also did its share. In this he reminds one a lot of Shredhead’s vocalist (Shredhead, i.e. not Shredhammer! The two bands just happen to have very similar names.).
When somebody like him screams at you then you just can’t stay cold! You either run away scared, or you embrace the screaming. The audience obviously decided to go for the latter. In fact Bloodspot marks the point where the audience went really crazy, particularly with the beer showers which resulted in a hard time for photographers, but obviously in a good time for the fans, at least for those fans who did not mind some beer in their hair.
And then came the main act of the evening, Shredhammer who celebrated the vinyl release of their current album “Patch Over”. And yes, as hard as it is to believe, the audience went even crazier. Headbanging, moshing, and even more beer showers. The hall turned pretty much into a Heavy Metal inferno! So no, this was obviously not a show for people who are just sniffing into Heavy Metal, but the fans obviously enjoyed Shredhammer’s brutal Groove/Thrash Metal. It was simply a nice contrast to what Bloodspot did with the fans and goes to show that bands who play the same gig should not be too similar. Some Death Metal here, ultra-brutal Death Metal there and then some Groove Metal (think Pantera) there obviously make up for a good mixture for a gig. Also, although Shredhammer is not really an Old School band in the classical sense, there is still a certain Old School feeling about the band. Or maybe they were simply so comfortable about what they were doing that they radiated the same self-security just like a really Old School band with decades of practice? Their smiles on stage seem to indicate this. So yes, Shredhammer obviously had a lot of fun on stage, but so did the fans. In fact one could see that this was yet another case of how the audience and the fans got each other going. And yes, this is exactly what Heavy Metal is all about: To have fun on stage and off stage, to enjoy the music and to have a crazy and wild time with lots of screaming guitars!!!