Friday, 28 April 2017
Black Metal Warfare
Photo by Anya Svirskaya

Concert Review: BLACK METAL WARFARE in Brooklyn, NY

The BLACK METAL WARFARE Tour Wages War on Brooklyn

On a Tuesday evening in the bowels of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a musical war took place. On this glorious night our loving Baphomet sends forth his army of black metal warriors to cleanse New York of all the trends that have tarnished the once gritty atmosphere for which it was known. On this night the “Black Metal Warfare” tour reared its ugly head at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, conveniently located at 66 North 6 (666). The evening’s event has a vibe that brings together the past, the present and the future of Black Metal, setting the land of hipsters ablaze.

ROTTING CHRIST – THE PRESENT

Rotting ChristHailing from Greece, the band Rotting Christ make their presence felt as the dark ambient light reveals the silhouette of the band. As they display their form of extreme metal for the next hour, their performance is high energy from beginning to end. It’s been five years since the band last played these shores, and with their new album Rituals due in February of 2016, it could be that we have not seen the last of them in New York City. They opened up with the hypnotic “666,” the chanting of the song heightening the energy of the crowd, while the fluid motion of the drums in the following song, “P’unchaw Kachun – Tuta Kachun,” has an industrial element with an organic sound that keeps the momentum going.  The rhythmic pounding of the drums combined with the intricate weaving guitar melodies creates a dark and otherworldly sound, while the gang vocals throughout the song allow the audience a chance to sing along.

The guitar playing on the song “Athanati Este” inspires new generations of guitarists, and playing these songs in this sequence shows a melodic vibe among the musicians. The way lead vocalist and guitarist Sakis Tolis performs his musical mojo shows us it’s not the easiest thing to do, especially in this genre of music. This is evident when they played a cover of the Thou Art Lord song “Societas Satanas.” This song is truly amazing live – the drums constantly within a groove that has feel, and the guitars sound as if the tone was blessed by the devil himself.

WATAIN – THE FUTURE

WatainLead vocalist Erik Danielsson starts the night with his traditional ritualistic mojo thing he does as Watain tears into the song “Underneath the Cenotaph,” followed quickly by “Black Flames March” from 2013’s The Wild Hunt. While most of the material tonight seemed like one extended song that ran for an hour, it wasn’t until they played “Angelrape” from their debut album Rabid Death’s Curse that things got interesting. With a chalice containing pig’s blood in hand, he then brings the attention to himself by raising it in a ritualistic pose (kind of reminded me of Jay Z doing the diamond symbol that he took from pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page) and douses the audience with the chalice’s contents. To my surprise, the audience wanted to get drenched with the foul-smelling substance. Once this was over the focus went back to the music as they plunged into the popular song “Outlaw” from their critically-acclaimed album The Wild Hunt.

The band has a body of work that dates back to 1998. They have been the premier BLACK METAL act while at the same time still evolving musically. It’s been two years since The Wild Hunt. However, tonight we were treated to what could possibly be the passing of the torch. While covering the song “Beyond” by the group Tormentor, Mayhem’s vocalist Attila – who was once the singer of Tormentor – shocked the crowd by singing alongside Erik in what can only be described as a magical moment.

MAYHEM – THE ELDERS OF BLACK METAL

MayhemMayhem is considered one the pioneers of Norwegian black metal. Without getting into the already well-known specifics of this band, Jørn Stubberud (a.k.a. Necrobutcher) – the only original member of the band – had steered the group on albums such as Ordo ad Chao and Esoteric Warfare. The bands legacy is already written, and it seems that Mayhem has new life since the return of Attila Csihar in 2007.

At this point in their career, imagery is secondary. While we do get Attila preforming in his Count Dracula cape, and Teloch donning a Druid hooded robe, the emphasis now is strictly on the music. Tonight Mayhem attack the audience with classics like “Funeral Fog,” “De Mysteries Dom Sathanas,” “Freezing Moon,” and “My Death,” as well as future classics like “Psywar” from Esoteric Warfare. Necrobutcher defines perseverance – by remaining in the forefront through so many line up revamps, and dealing with the loss of friends in this band – he not only champions black metal, but also shows what it means to remain driven.

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