Hulder / Devil Master / Worm / Necrofier – March 2, 2024 – The Abbey, Orlando, FL

Saturday, 23rd March 2024

Photos by: Brittany Barkasi

The Decibel Magazine Tour has historically boasted a lot of heavy hitters, mixed in with bands currently making a large dent in the underground scene. Recent years have seen Obituary, Municipal Waste, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Immolation take top billing, while acts such as Enforced, Gatecreeper, Spirit World, Necrot, Blood Incantation, etc. have rounded out these annual powerhouse lineups.

Last year may have been this writer’s favorite thus far, with Dark Funeral and Cattle Decapitation co-headling, with 200 Stab Wounds and Blackbraid (on their first US tour no less) completing what was a diverse and hard-hitting tour that was an absolute blast to attend. Cattle Decap being a personal favorite doesn’t hurt, either!

The 2024 edition is a bit different, dominated specifically by black metal of varying forms; Hulder’s cold and relentless second wave musings, Devil Master’s punk oriented occultness, Worm’s thick deluge of blackened fury, and Necrofier’s punishing melodic black metal. No doubt a snapshot of four bands with different interpretations of black metal, on what amounts to an eclectic billing that we were very much excited to take in.

Check out more Necrofier photos

Houston’s Necrofier have been on a tear in recent years, especially with last year’s Burning Shadows in the Southern Night turning more than a few heads. To the uninitiated, Necrofier represents a melodic black metal sound that eschews heavily towards the more abrasive side of that particular sub-genre. Also known for their intense live performances, we were definitely excited to see what these Texans would bring to this evening’s stage.

Adorned by a microphone stand decorated with antlers, vocalist/guitarist/Hell’s Heroes booker extraordinaire Christian Larson steamrolled the eager audience with the speedy pace and snarling growls of “The Black Flame Burns” to set the tone into overdrive. An astute song choice to plant a firm marker into the stage for what to expect from Necrofier on this night. The crunchy “To the Wolves” followed, filling the room with monstrous riff after monstrous riff, pushed forward by the beastly percussive exploits of Dobber Beverly. His thunderous drum work is an important aspect of the band’s sound, proving to be absolutely vital to the powerful aura that made their performance tick.

The set continued with another track from their 2021 debut full-length Prophecies of Eternal Darkness via “Darker Than the Night,” flashing the more melodious side of their multi-dimensional output nicely. The tempo slowed a tad with “On Wings of Death We Burn the Sky” to pulverize with a brooding menace. Necrofier certainly has a lot of variety in their bag of riffs, with this being one of their best examples of such.

Necrofier’s fiery set ended with more from their latest, highlighted by the maniacal closer “Total Southern Darkness.” These fellows change their sonic approach smoothly without losing their raw grit, leaving onlookers more than satisfied with a non-stop black metal assault coupled with a steadfast presence that can’t be denied.

Check out more Worm photos, where the pitch blackness cooperated with our shutter

Having heard plenty about Worm and their typically lightless stage show, we weren’t exactly sure of what to expect, having not experienced them in a live setting yet. A friend in attendance with us assured that we would not be disappointed, and per usual, they did not lead us astray. Worm is an entity unto themselves.

True to reputation, Worm engulfed our hapless ears with a weighty, monolithic wall of doomy black metal that literally rumbled the walls. They play loud and meticulously, with a known air of mystery to boot, with shadows and the occasional camera phone flash giving the clearest glimpse of Phantom Slaughter and his horde. “Murk Above the Dark Moor” provided a grime-filled eradication of massive proportions, making sure every single person knew what they were in for.

Continuing with another entry from Foreverglade in the eerily punishing “Empire of the Necromancer” was a sinister joy, itself being a track that was highly desired to hear included on their set list. Mr. Slaughter’s coarse growls rattle along with gargantuan rhythms, all while wailing lead guitars cut sharply through to add dynamism to their hefty and mysterious presentation. Glimpses of Slaughter’s blood-drenched face added to the ambiance, sporting John Lennon-like sunglasses to complete his unique visualization.

The latter half consisted of two of the three tracks off of the band’s 2023 split release with Dream Unending, titled Starpath, of which rightfully garnered much acclaim last year. Boasting a more mystical atmosphere, “Ravenblood” hummed along with starry keyboards and memorable fretboard mysticism.

“Sea of Sorrow” concluded proceedings via fastidious rhythmic hypnosis, equating to a long form black metal trance that grabbed hold tightly. A doubtlessly fitting conclusion to an effort that lived up to the hype, yet wisely leaving a craving for more.

Devil Master
More Devil Master images this way

Devil Master sure has a somewhat cheesy, theatrical punk approach to their black metal. In this lies their charm and appeal, with many in the crowd eager for the Philly natives to arrive. Swathed in red lighting and drastically differing stage garb – two members sporting snazzy capes – the four piece burst at the seams with punk-tinged vitality.

Opening with the galloping “Enamoured in the Throes of Death” measured up to be a prudent decision, immediately encouraging the crowd to jump and move along to match the effusiveness of the music on display. Bassist/vocalist Disembody Through Unparalleled Pleasure (yes, that’s the stage name) adds a snarling, raspy voicing that contrasts extremely well with Devil Master’s punchy tonality.

Mainly drawing from their 2022’s Ecstasies of Never Ending Night, the unstoppable occult-filled energy continued with “Golgotha’s Cruel Song.” The single example from their first record, Black Flame Candle, was the quick and fiery title track, of which was a notable highlight for myself and the boisterous crowd alike.

The band’s heavy occult rock influences glow on “The Vigour of Evil,” stomping on with universal approval, while ripping yarns such as “Shrines in Cinder” kept the crowd’s blood pumping. Axe-wielding duo Darkest Prince and Infernal Moonlight Apparition (their stage names kill me every time, in a fun way) are the pulse of Devil Master’s hook-filled ball of insanity, blazing away as their stringed weapons figuratively combust in front of us.

Devil Master left a mighty impression, nearly always sticking the landing via their brand of infectious catchiness. It’s near impossible to not nod along and crack a wry smile as they weave their tales of audible madness. A horror-filled blast is to be expected at a Devil Master show, and we definitely look forward to experiencing their vampiric tunes again.

Onward for more visual Hulder mysticism

The headliners should require no long introduction to any black metal connoisseur in the know, having been firmly establishing a place in black metal lore within the six years of the project’s existence. Hulder is the one-woman phenomenon that has quickly ascended to heights that have truly been earned by continuously upping the ante with every subsequent release. Her second full-length Verses in Oath is a landmark accomplishment in a short career filled with them, no doubt being the high water mark so far.

Having first caught Hulder at an incredibly special one-off in New York City last year, the high anticipation of catching their dominant black metal display again was incredibly difficult to contain. Especially with the excitement of hearing excerpts of the band’s latest material in a live setting. The wait thankfully was non-existent, beginning with “Boughs Ablaze” to obliterate with reckless abandon. A chilling beginning, sending a blast of buzzsaw guitars and medieval moodiness that enchanted all present. Hulder’s cutting screams pierce the air while measurable tension builds through what is one of the project’s most formidable creations.

The ceremonial destruction continues in the form of “Hearken the End” and its foggy symphonic nods, transitioning to the emphatic ear worm “Verses in Oath.” The chorus is especially one of Hulder’s most poignant moments that cuts like an ancient sword, and holy hell does it sound gargantuan live. By this point, the crowd is in a frenzy, and rightfully so – Hulder is beyond dialed in at this juncture.

Diving into The Eternal Fanfare EP is “Sylvan Awakening” to continue the momentum; a track that contains multiple chilling moments that further enthrall. Early cuts make up the middle of the set, notably by the standout “Unholy Divine,” giving credence to each step that Hulder has taken along the journey. Not to forget album number one, Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry, we have the quick-hitting but potent “Upon Frigid Winds” to maintain the chilling feelings abundantly.

Returning to the new record is “Veil of Penitence” and all of its tremolo-laden sword-clashing glory. “Vessel of Suffering” serves as a tornado of riffs and atmospheric fervor to close the main portion of Hulder’s set. An encore follows with a cover of Absu’s “Descent to Acheron (Evolving Into the Progression of Woe)” that more than gives proper tribute to the original, as well as giving a fitting sendoff to what was a performance for the ages.


The long-running impact of black metal has been charted endlessly. This style’s impacts are numerous, many viewpoints of which were on full, glorious display on this night in downtown Orlando. Each act being quite distinctive from all of the others is a well-planned touch, showcasing many purviews with some of the best acts currently going.

Hulder really does represent black metal in a pure form – honoring the trailblazers that came before, while at the same time traversing their own trail for a new generation (and the old folks like yours truly) to embrace. Many of the best aspects of this counter-culture style of music were successfully showcased, and all who witnessed will not be forgetting it for some time. The darkness still reigns supreme.

Hulder on Facebook

Devil Master on Facebook

Worm on Instagram

Necrofier on Facebook

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