Here’s my first concert of the year. It came on the day I found out David Bowie died so it served as a catharsis to vent out some of the depression hanging in my chest. Normally I would have had a harder time getting motivated to get out of the house at 9:30 at night but I had been wanting to see both bands for some time. And since my family over at Cvlt Nation was sponsoring the “Chaos Raids” tour, I felt even more obligated to make it out.
My wife had to work late so we got to the Basement right when Tombs was doing their sound check. We missed local openers the Vimur and Full of Hell. The latter I have previously seen with Mutilation Rites. Bassist Ben Brand from Woe was still in the band and had a pretty mean tone. The big surprise in the unexpected line up changes is the addition of Fade Kainer from Batilus/ Statiqbloom he often splits the vocals duties with Hill and has his own personality when it comes to his stage presence which honors the more black metal elements of the band, but also brings forward the more industrial influence that has been simmering under their surface. These cast a larger shadow in the live sound and the more post-punk moments were toned down, obviously touring with a band like 1349 they have had to bring it in the most furious fashion possible. Addition to the band and adds a lot to their sound. His synth work added punch to the low end as he accented certain hits.
First off before we get into their set, which cares what you think of black metal's more theatrical elements, these guys are the real deal and played with dead serious conviction. The stage was set for the ritualistic pageantry of black metal. The drummer first came out in a hoodie and full corpse paint on to adjust his drums before returning to the stage covered in sigils scrawled over his bare torso. Frost was no able to make it over so they employed Jon Rice of Job For A Cowboy, and I can’t imagine Frost being better than this guy who didn’t even break a sweat, but for a little guy hammering everything out with power and machine like precision . Singer Ravn brandished Gwar like gauntlets on his forearms and had a stage presence that was commanding and engaging. The mix shifted and the vocals were much more audible from the house p/a, so the closer you stood to the stage the more his croaks and screams faded behind the buzz saw guitar.
The band’s energy and intensity keep the momentum of their set flying by you no matter if they were playing blast beats or not. They won the Atlanta audience over due to the fact they have a punk rawness to them live. With Archaon handling all the guitar duties by himself, some of the layers that are on the album were given a more stripped down and straightforward treatment. From behind his cowl their bassist kept the rumble going for the occasional run up the neck Archaon took, but these happened so quick the wall of razor sharp sound kept it’s lacerating attack. While the material from “Cauldron of Chaos” dominated the set they came out and for their first three songs crammed “I am Abomination” , “Nathicana” and “Sculptor of flesh” in your face . If you have not caught these guys yet and call yourself a fan of black metal you are doing yourself a disservice. In fact both bands are a must as they approach their respective sounds with all the passion of their black hearts.