MAYHEM, INQUISITION, BLACK ANVIL – Black Metal Masters Invade The Big Apple
March 25, 2017, a month ago
Even though the historic De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas tour came to a close here in North America at the end of February, the band has spent a month recuperating and preparing for the European leg, which began on March 25th in Sweden. The tour is the very first time the band will be playing black metals opus in its entirety since its release in 1994. The performance was one of the most theatrical and moving things I have ever witnessed in the metal realm. The culmination of over thirty years of dedication, blood, sweat, blasphemy, and tragedy has been leading up to this point. It is the bands crowning achievement, a celebration of the history of Mayhem and the album took the world by storm, which has since stood the test of time. From the moment the band took the stage in darkness, through Necrobutcher reveling his face halfway through and until a mask-less Attila suffocated the candles flames with his bare hands at the very end, it was an emotionally charged and devastating journey. “Buried By Time And Dust” heard in its proper context as part of this classic album as a whole is something fans have been waiting a life time to see. DMDS from start to finish was pure, raw, unbridled power exceeding any and all expectations.
Black Anvil was the first to take the stage, a staple here in their hometown of NYC and well known to the NYC scene. The three bands on this tour are vastly different in many ways. Black Anvil has separated themselves even further from the genera. They are doing things their own way, not because they think it will bring them more success, notoriety, or popularity but simple because they don’t care what others think. They write the music they want for themselves specifically not to emulate others and to be different. This is a quote I found from another interview which speaks to my statement about them. “We could easily be carbon copies of other bands, but we still write what we want based on our reaction. Not that we’re this original band, to me we are, in the grand scheme we’re not. I think real recognizes real at the end of the day.” Even though they claim that in the grand scheme of things they aren’t an original band that’s just them being humble, they are totally an original band and a breathe of fresh air in a genre that is typically unwavering.
In direct support of Mayhem on this tour is the mighty Inquisition. As one of the most powerful and distinctly unique bands of the genre, Inquisition’s past three albums have become some of my personal favorite things to listen to. The fact that they are able to pull this material off live as a two piece is astonishing and quite the spectacle. It was amazing to see “A Magnificent Crypt Of Stars” live is one of the many ripping tracks from their latest album Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Alter Beyond The Celestial Zenith. Inquisition has cultivated a huge worldwide following and rightfully so. They have had a long and illustrious career and luckily for fans everywhere I believe it is only going to get better. They haven’t been touring the US much lately but have enjoyed some time on the road bringing their weird and intense show to fans in all corners of the world.
I finally got the chance to spend some quality time with the band and celebrate the Watchers music video my company Magnetar Studio created for them back in November of 2015 during the Black Metal Warfare 2 tour with Rotting Christ and Watain. The band was excited that the tour was coming to an end with only a few shows left. They were looking forward to returning home and recuperating before beginning the European portion. They were in high spirits celebrating the success of the tour as we drank good whiskey and partied from midnight till 4 AM when they left and headed to Boston. It was an honor to spend some time talking with each member about a variety of topics. I spoke with Attila for a while about his inspiration for the lyrics of “Watchers”, malevolent alien overlords, and the other band he performs in, Sunn O))). Charles and I spent a while talking about the intricate details surrounding the battle of Britain a total nerdy history buff conversation. I took the chance to talk with Teloch about his other band Nidingr which is Old Norse for (shameless person, a thief, coward) and the inspirations for the band and their new album The High Heat Licks Against Heaven.
Hellhammer and I spent some time talking about his home and family life in Norway and how vastly different life is while on tour. Finally at sometime around 2 or 3 AM, Necrobutcher came out from the back of the bus to spend some time with us and join in the festivities. It was great to speak with him for a while and he had so many investing things to say, all of them did. We spoke about the early days of the band and how they didn’t reach New York until 1998. I told him I was surprised at this and that seemed late, he said well when your band members are blowing their brains out and killing each other it tends to set you back a bit, to which internally I replied...fuck. I used this opportunity to ask for an autograph for the first time in almost four years of photojournalism in heavy metal and had Necrobutcher sign my copy of his book Mayhem - The Death Archives. As the hours went by and the bottles emptied it was very interesting to watch the dynamics of the relationships between these five vastly different people. The funniest thing was watching Hellhammer and Attila relentlessly bash and complain about Teloch’s “shitty” music selection (mostly pop and electronic garbage). They would laugh and bob their heads and act like it was awesome which was pretty hilarious. They are all really down to earth and even though they have come a long way they remain humble and haven’t forgotten their roots. That’s what this De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas tour is all about.