Venue: Webster Hall, Manhattan NY
Date: January 10th, 2015
Revenge played a 40 minute set of primitive and militant Black Metal, with Death Metal riffs thrown in, as per their M.O. The bass sounded super-low and probably hit the brown note several times; the guitars were a bit too distorted and quiet in the mix to hear most of the set; vocals sounded about right. Overall, enjoyable set. Revenge debuted a new song from their upcoming 2015 album which sounded... like a Revenge song. Love them or hate them, Revenge doesn't care, but they are consistent.
I'm not a huge fan of Watain; I mostly was interested in seeing their stage show. While not as ornate as depicted on their 'Opus Diaboli' live DVD for the 'Lawless Darkness' tour, the stage show was still fun. The familiar tropes were present: skeletons tied to wooden crosses, staves with the Watain logos, candles, a goat skull, blood splattered onto the audience from an ornate skull chalice. Apart from some microphone issues early on, the sound was quite solid for Watain's style.
Plagued by Visa issues, Mayhem played sans Hellhammer (drums) and Necrobutcher (bass). Nonetheless, Attila (vocals) was impressive as ever. His costume consisted of an OD green military jacket over the torn black clothes and studded gauntlets. His face paint/make-up consisted of a central pentagram flanked with inverted crosses on his forehead, with what appeared to be Theban, Angelic, or Demonic script strewn about the rest of his face. Attila donned a cape for songs from 'De Mysteriis...' and frequently used props such as a crossed femur bone scepter and skull. I hope that Mayhem releases a live album with Attila on vocals, as the songs take on a whole new life in the live arena, compared to album recordings. That is, of course, not to mention that Attila has only been the studio vocalist for the LP's 'De Mysteriis...,' 'Ordo Ad Chao,' and 'Esoteric Warfare' so he brings his own unique presence to any songs from any other albums. I would have liked to hear more songs from the new album, however, considering that half the band couldn't make it to the USA and a live band had to be hastily assembled, I was quite pleased with the set, which included: Silvester Anfang/Deathcrush (which opened the set), Pagan Fears, Symbols Of the Bloodswords, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Chainsaw Gutsfuck, To Daimonion.
Side note: for some unknown and, to me, humorous reason, Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "You Put a Spell On Me" was played as Mayhem exited the stage. I will also note that their set was cut short thanks to the venue. Every time I see a show there on the weekend, concert goers must brave the bottle-neck fire-hazard of an exit only to be ushered past the entrance/exit, past a DJ'd club gig, into the bar and out a tiny side door. I will also add that Webster Hall, while getting some good acts, often has poor sound, with far too much bass being a frequent complaint of mine. Okay, so END RANT #1.
Start RANT #2: The whole concept of "Black Metal Warfare" paired nicely with the Philip K Dick book I'm currently reading, "The Zap Gun" in which weapons fashion designers with parapsychological powers create useless weapons to perpetuate a myth of never-ending Cold War. I highly recommend putting Mayhem's 'Grand Declaration of War' and 'Esoteric Warfare' albums into a queue as background music while reading this book!
*Review and photos copyright The Samnambulist, 2015*