KNÜPPELNACHT organized by










review by dalia di giacomo

all photos © by Stefan W. Vogelaar

[The public use of these photos  is strictly prohibited without written permission]






The 5 piece-band Muilaff, that come from Littau (canton Luzern), this is to say Central Switzerland, impacts very well here in Zürich, providing quite immediately the right propulsion for this evening. In September Muilaff played a "Mosh-Night" edition at Sedel, in Luzern, supporting the Metal legend GurD. Now they  do again a good job opening another memorable "Hellfire- Knüppelnacht" headlined by the Italian Brutal Deathers "Hour of Penance", a concert indeed  where Death metal is again main key of expression. And Muilaff, that seems to have a very young drummer and an expert singer,  ignite the pit with a Melodic yet aggressive Death combined with Thrash and just some trace of Black. Deep grunts and punishing  drums, fluent pace changes, bursts of fierceness and ear -catchy loops push  the crowd soon enough  and let understand that our necks will hope for mercy in vain all  evening long. 

Muilaff, massive and resolute, receive applauses from the bangers, vocally alternate grunts and screams, fast picking in Black style and agreeable melodies in good proficiency. They give that kind of impression that makes you eager to see them again next time around and to check the merchandise if available. So i hope and think that we will hear more about Muilaff in future. Not bad at all. Their compositions sound at times still very "underground" but it's good so, they have ideas, a satisfactory preparation and the necessary force united with the capacity to offer songs that remain in your mind, between fast pace and demolishing mid tempo, with some lead solos, backing vocals, and shattering riffs. Of course, a beer "prosit" with the fans is not missed as well as the greetings to Zürich and to Hellfire. At 20:45 Muilaff end a 8 tracks set which has brought songs like Let the Battlehyms chime, Smells like Death, Heidnisch Berserker Art...and the right kick!



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SHADOW'S FAR   www.s-i-f.ch 

21:15 Time for the second Swiss band to hit the stage: Shadow's Far carry on , with this second phase of the concert,  what Muilaff have begun. Let's celebrate hate and extreme music with the meat  grinder of heaviness. We have more Thrash tones now, though Death and  American Heaviness are clearly included. The musicianship coming from Uri got inspired by the far yet omnipresent  school of Swedish Melodic , but also by bands like Atheist, Napalm Death and Pantera. To tell the truth, their music  is really enormously affected by Pantera. The pit is enslaved to motion and the crowd answer is nothing but great . Couldn't be anything else coming from a band whose mini CD "Lost in Contemplation" (2004) got Andy Classen's  work at mixing and mastering?   A bit cryptic, a bit ironic,  and very merciless Shadow's Far start off with Tears from Below, characterized by screams belonging to  a certain Swedish melo-register, powerful progressions and melo- staccatos indeed. Dubai by Night is then announced, the title makes us suppose oriental inspiration, and in fact there is  some oriental/Middle Eastern shape framing the core, enriched by an interesting bass and a good drumming. We go  on with Never Again, a true pleasure for a banging body, and the much awaited Defection Walk

Celebrate Hate starts very aggressive and very hammering with a major Death influence. Needless to say that headbanging  is creeping fast and shameless in the first rows. Well built loops give the definitive touch for ear-worming and suitable catchiness. The song that follows, G-Factor, initially wrongly approached , maybe confused by some members of the band with Tears from below, (indeed G-factor and Tears from below changed their reciprocal position in the set) appeals a lot, quite irresistible with its New Breed Thrash flair.  Also  Absinth provides for another highlight of the show. The band presents 9 tracks, three songs are   excerpted from  "Lost in Contemplation" currently sold out but available for complete download at their website: Absinth, Deflection Walk, and Dubai  by Night.  

setlist Shadow's Far


Tears from below

Dubai by Night

Never again

Deflection Walk

Celebrate Hate



From heaven

Pyroclastic Stream




PUNISH     www.punish.ch 

The third Swiss band to support the Brutal "Pageantry" from Rome is Punish . And what an amazing support! This last half  of the concert gets into a higher sphere: If Muilaff and Shadow's Far were really good on the whole, Punish  and Hour of Page infect the evening with  open skillfulness and malignant overpower. Punish, seed of dark charm and evil fear,  lay down a class performance. Punish, formed in 1996, are one of the most meaningful emerging bands in Switzerland. On 3rd December they will play with the German BM Nordafrost and the Swiss Black melodic Atritas at Industrie 45 in Zug. Don't miss them! At any cost this group of fierce Newcomers, put together to grace us with hatred and darkness,  must be attended. 

Here Punish , who have supported acts like Belphegor and recorded at Mastersound Studio  with producer Alex Krumm their 2005 mini CD "Four Songs in morbid Lust", almost steal the show to the Martyrs of Rome, thanks to their formidable lead guitar, their tight rhythmic session and their obscure music. After all, they are a technical band in my opinion, where each  member has a definite role beyond the mere apparent instrumentation in the musical phrases,  but fortunately their technicality is very fluent and expressive. Singer Chris Block's hieratic stage - acting gets in balance with the violent, fast, lively lead guitar of founder member André Mathieu.  Tonight,  the band from Zürich will make us be disciples of its rite through 11 songs, four of them brand new : Guiding the wandering lost Souls
The Entity of immens Evil Dawn of the Martyr
and Divinity falls, which will be not published until the release of their next CD (a full length), probably in middle 2006.

Around 10:20  the last sound check runs; five minutes later Punish start off, sinister and energetic and straight to the point without any intro ceremony,  with the track Screams from misanthropic Town , which already  reveals the talent of Mathieu's piercing guitar. Bassist Reto "Hardy" Hardmeier, also  founder member of the band, provides for  solid and elastic lines through its 6 strings, headless Basslab (www.basslab.de ) bass-guitar. A very technical unusual lethal weapon, light and comfortable (as Reto underlines to me), ergonomic. So i have before my very eyes a revolutionary product, if it's true that Basslab strings are developed through years of scientific-physical research on acoustic and modern material of construction. Everything positive for the vibration of the strings.  Fact is that Punish can be bulldozing and bonebreaking as well as razor-sharp, making  always good profit  of a dark low-pitched backframe. Brutal and evil with angelic enchantment, they lay down a precise concert based on fast aggression, riffs-changes, plenty of  Death, even some old school Black/Death  scheme, American appeal, spiced up with a bit of Thrash and killing loops that allow our necks to bleed drops of pain. The compact mercilessly and the dry drumming  are able to  trigger many moments of moshing: the Werk 21 is again seat of tessence of metal for no posers.  While the many eclectic lead solos rips off, Chris' deep growls, very impressive in the first part of the show, recapture force in the last part where also screams and almost clear vocals are delivered.  The answer from the crowd is intense and i find the song Divinity falls,  the one i prefer,  a damned good one. Obviously , like always in these cases, the  moment of the last song (Hall of Violence) comes always unwelcome, cause the crowd truly cannot get enough, but Hall of Violence closes definitely the show providing great  loops,  a dynamic bass sound and a brilliant performance of guitarist Andre Mathieu again. Mr.  Mathieu is a talent, man!!


setlist Punish

Screams from misanthropic Town
Suicide Warrior
Ground Zero
Guiding the wandering lost Souls
The Entity of immens Evil
Dawn of the Martyr
Punishment by the Veil of the dark Creation
Discouraging Calamity in mental Disorder
Suffering of the Enemies
Divinity falls
Hall of Violence



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HOUR OF PENANCE   www.hourofpenance.net           


And now the wolves of the pit can be led by the ruthless demons from Rome. Hour of Penance: foreigners here on HeLLvetic soil? Not completely! Hour of Penance already brought their poisonous brutality to the mighty Mountains of Death one year ago.  In fact they were on the 2004 billing of the Open Air  that takes places in Muotathal, an open air without any compromise,  one of the (few) really extreme Open Airs of the continent. So we could say that from  The Mountains of Death, HOP land  now on a lake, angry, hungry,  ready for the battle. Influenced by acts like Nile, Malevolent Creation, Hate Eternal,  Cannibal Corpse, Visceral Bleeding,  they are actually very near  to the most  tremendous brutal acts that Death can produce, and impacted already in other European countries like Germany and Sweden (they played the first edition of Gothenburg Deathfest).  I simply cannot believe that HOP began  their  "career" as cover-band, ehi i mean...cover band..with all respect, but...and look now: they are able to unleash a true pandemonium, created by their own mind, in one of the most demanding lands of metal. Two points capture your attention immediately when attending this Rome-based band: a formidable and charismatic frontman, Alex "Necrotorture" Manco,  whose grunts are simply killing, and a drumming  who is kicking Christ and all Martyrs' ass. Well , their latest effort is the album "Pageantry for Martyrs", not forced into a strictly religious point of view,  but meant in a wider extension.  The inspiration for lyrics comes indeed from the terror  that affects the modern society, their message is a struggle. Who is somehow not a martyr nowadays?

This evening, their concert however is not easy though acclaimed: one or two monitors end up  to work not properly, rare thing in an equipped venue like this, but you know, crowds here eat monitors just for breakfast. However, with the right professionalism , after a short pause, singer Alex Necrotorture sets the still healthy monitors in a different position After the concert, he will tell me that it's the end when a singer doesn't hear himself. But anyway, nothing to complain  cause the band is successful in delivering a relentless gig that unleashes a violent mosh in the first rows and magnetizes the rest of the pit. Yes, Italians can produce unrestrained Death and not only Power or Gothic.  Guitarist Enrico delivers an attentive and valuable performance, after all this band really takes all  his dedication, while the other members have also side projects. Attracted by the warmth of the audience , Necrotorture is commanding;  and he is  pleased in diving in the bath of flesh of the banging and moshing fans, till the climax of his long final crowd surfing. The songs proposed are taken by both albums: the new  "Pageantry for Martyrs" (2005) and the previous "Disturbance" (2003), but the last  song proposed is the  cover of Hate Eternal's Spiritual Holocaust

 HOP themselves  are headbanging  a lot, bass player Silvano supports with determination the whole rhythmic section which is anyway propelled by Mauro Mercurio's  erupting drumming. One of the best drumming i  have ever appreciated live. My jaw drops, ...sorry the ignorance but who is this Mauro Mercurio, this blonde , slim and sardonic element able to manage supernatural powers behind the skins!! No massive body, he could be the "nice"  guy next -door, nonetheless he lays down a performance  worth of a manual, such  an explosive and practically perfect Death drumming is uncommon. After Node's Marco Di Salvia, i enjoy attending the major percussion of another Italian badass, and tonight he is moreover the second musician that amazes me. Are drummers a race of their own? for HOP guitarist and mastermind Enrico Schettino yes, they are.  After  the gig, Enrico  tells me laughing,  that drummers should be all eliminated,  annihilated: they are naughty, disorganized, sick, they just stay  waiting  for the band to turn around them ..."But  we depend on them!" adds Enrico who, in spite of his friendly "hate/love" against drummers, composes the songs in a way that His drummer Mauro can have the proper shine and manifestation. Eh yes drummers are very important, that's true, but Enrico also treasures a little space, a little corner just  for himself only and his passions. Huge Nile fan as he is, he was able to make a sudden long travel from Rome to Milan  just  to get the guitar he is currently playing. He says "You know, the biggest difference between children and adults is that adults take care of their  toys!"

dalia di giacomo

setlist Hour Of Penance

Towards our Storm

Rise and oppress    

Mystification as Law

Far beyond Humiliation

Celebrating collective Terror

End of Relief

Inhaling Disbelief

Shreds of Martyr

Life in a Pain Amplifier

Spiritual Holocaust (Hate Eternal cover)











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