Big news: De Verlichte Geest has moved! I had in mind the fact that the venue had closed its doors at the beginning of 2023 and then reopened a few months later under the name DVG Club, but I had omitted the moving part. When the GPS says “you have arrived”, I find myself in a very quiet industrial zone. No long black hair on the horizon, no blast beats blaring, it’s very worrying. After around twenty minutes of searching with my passenger and a few detours through a pedestrian zone, we finally found a door indicating “DE VERLICHTE GEEST”! Hallelujah, here we are! And that’s why, on the evening of 8th March, I’m running wildly late.

Tonight’s concert is a rather special event, as it’s a release show organised by Cathubodua for the recent release of their album “Interbellum”. This second effort from the Belgian epic symphonic metal band was released on 23rd February by Massacre Records. And because it’s always more fun to share an evening together, Bunch of Maniacs and Objector will be joining the bill.

Bunch Of Maniacs

Unfortunately, it was at the end of Bunch of Maniacs‘ set when I finally pushed the doors of the DVG Club. If the concert poster hadn’t been displayed at the entrance, I might have doubted whether I was in the right place. The hard rock riffs and deep vocals seem far from the symphonic metal offered by Cathubodua. So, the evening will be eclectic.

It’s hard to get a good idea of the band’s performance after just ten minutes, and I did manage to get a few photos through the thick smoke that had invaded the stage. All I can make out from the back of the stage is the drummer’s cap, and unfortunately he’s out of reach for my lens. Smoke 1 – Vanessa 0. Anyway, despite my surprise regarding the musical style, I’m not displeased at all with what I hear. The interpretation is impeccably mastered by the quartet and the guitarist provides the visual show, compensating for the more static performance of his acolytes.

Bunch of Maniacs is a new band, with no album or EP to their name yet, but the four musicians who make it up are no strangers to live performance. At the end of February, the band took to the stage at the DVG Club for the semi-final of the Wacken Metal Battle. An excellent appetiser for this evening, unfortunately a little shortened for my part.


A radical change of atmosphere with Objector. This line-up is definitely full of surprises! With a capacity of 200 people, the DVG Club isn’t full tonight, but the audience is relatively dense (perhaps there are others who still haven’t found the entrance?). To sum up the second band to perform tonight: visualise the arrival of heavy machinery on a building site to raze everything to the ground. That’s Objector: a steamroller, a bulldozer, a digger and a dump truck. They’ve come to clear everything away before the headliner arrives. No fuss, they get the ball rolling right from the start, they’ll get back to the niceties later. The Antwerp’s team delivers a powerful and energetic thrash. No, don’t count on it, there won’t be any ballads during this set. With each track, Objector show us that they can go faster and faster. I’m not usually a big fan of this kind of music, but I have to admit that on this occasion I was easily swept up in this mad dash for BPM, executed with commendable precision.

Like Bunch Of Maniacs this year, Objector took part in the Wacken Metal Battle in 2023 and were among the finalists. The weather conditions at the time of their performance at the Wacken Open Air this summer were so bad that it had to be cancelled. But, good news for them, they’ve been rescheduled for the 2024 edition. Congratulations Guys!


Put away the jackhammers, Cathubodua is coming!

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the video for “Effigy Of Aftermath”, the second single from the “Interbellum” album. You’ll be able to appreciate all the singer’s delicacy! Ah ah!).

After Objector‘s thrash set, the crowd is on their feet to welcome the evening’s headliner. Right on time for the running order, the six musicians of Cathubodua take the stage at the DVG Club. Tonight, we celebrate the release of the band’s second album, “Interbellum”, which will be played entirety for the occasion. As “Interbellum” contains “only” six tracks, a good chunk of the previous opus, “Continuum”, is also included in the setlist. To top it all off, we’ll be offered “Monolith of Doubt”, a cover of the late Dutch symphonic metal band After Forever.

This is my second Cathubodua gig. Discovered during the Symphonic Ace’s Tour they shared at the end of February with Alwaid and Epinikion (live report available here), I quickly spotted this date in Kortrijk to do it again. So, this time, I know more or less what to expect, but I’m still hoping for a little something extra, given that tonight is THEIR night.

Well, I’m not disappointed! I don’t think I’m wrong by saying that the concert was prepared with the utmost care. There were no technical glitches during the show, the sound was excellent and the performance exceeded my expectations. It’s simply astonishing. The six musicians poured incredible energy into the venue, the enthusiasm was unrivalled and everyone seemed to enjoy defending this new album. It has to be said that the drums really kick the rest of the band’s butts! With a double bass drum, to really make an impact all over the stage! Peter’s bass is rather discreet in my opinion (not an objective bassist’s opinion … ) but it’s there and contributes to the dynamic already well underway by Harald’s drums. The two guitarists complement each other perfectly, neither encroaching on the other’s sound. Robin and Tom string together melodic themes and heavy riffs with disconcerting fluidity. The superb solos stand out impeccably, even when the violin is added. The violin is a key part of Cathubodua, adding a folk touch and a dancy spirit to certain compositions, and there are rarely any moments of rest for Arvid, even if the band also uses samples for the orchestrations. Let’s face it, having a violinist on stage is a class act! Finally, let’s not forget the voice, THAT voice, so powerful and bewitching at the same time. Sara’s combination of femininity, subtlety and intensity is admirable, and her wide vocal range is showcased throughout the songs. The track “The Mirror”, performed as a violin/voice duet in the middle of the set, allows us to appreciate for just a few minutes all the sensitivity of which the singer is capable.

Thanks to the combination of all these qualities, but also to the complicity that reigns between the six characters, each more endearing than the last, Cathubodua are able to convey many emotions during their concert. We find ourselves sailing from melancholy to rage, with a stopover in a dancing, even festive spirit. In fact, we were treated to a throw of confetti on the penultimate track, “Hero of Ages”, which seemed to be eagerly awaited by the connoisseurs. The set ended with “Goddess Fallacy”, the last song on the ‘Interbellum’ album, a magnificent eight-minute piece that the musicians held together without faltering.

This second experience with Cathubodua confirms the crush I had on them in Lille two weeks earlier. Despite the fact that they’ve been around for ten years, I’d missed out on this project, which I think is well worth checking out. During thise release show, I made a quick diversion to the merch stand to pick up a signed copy of the famous “Interbellum”, so as to have something to look forward to until the next live performance. The whole band is alert to receive the congratulations of the audience, and there are quite a few of us in the queue. At home, the album has already been through quite a few rounds while I was retouching the photos of this gig, and it’s more than up to the standard of what I saw live on stage. Six tracks, six little gems in a delicious setting that I can’t get enough of.

My discovery of 2024 is here, and it’s fair to say that Cathubodua has set the bar very high.