Mayhem, Immolation and Black Anvil at Mohawk, Austin, TX, 11/21/2017

Couple of days before Thanksgiving.  The weather is starting to get a little bit chilly and the daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter.  This is the perfect time for a trifecta of grim black metal to descend upon our fair city.

Mayhem is one of those bands who reminds me of the boogeyman of your childhood.  They were the first and most notorious of the 90s era Norwegian black metal bands.  You’ve had suicide, murder and church burnings associated with these guys all before they released their first proper album.  I’ve never been a huge fan because these guys have always seemed more important for the influence they spread to other bands rather than for the actual quality of their output.  However, on this latest tour, they have been playing their classic first album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in its entirety.  Granted legendary frontman Dead and guitarist Euronymous are no longer with us (due to suicide and murder, respectively), you’ve still got the original rhythm section of Necrobutcher and Hellhammer and the vocal stylings of Attila, who replaced Dead during the recording of the first album.  Honestly, I expected a little more of an over-the-top kind of show.  In the past, their stage show has included actual pigs’ heads on spikes.  The current show had the spooky lighting, corpse paint and ominous costumes you would expect out of a black metal show, but at no point was I in fear of a portal opening up to one of the lower circles of the pit of hell.  Out of respect for the band who issued a pre-recording request at the start of the show that everyone refrain from taking out their phones, I didn’t film any of their performance.  If you’d like to get a taste of them in action, you’ll just have to buy a ticket next time they come through your town.

Now, I was actually more excited this evening by openers, Immolation.  Immolation is a super technical death metal band from New York who has been pushing their chosen sub-genre forward for many years now.  This was my first chance to see these guys ply their wares in a live setting and they did not disappoint.  Seeing guitarist Robert Vigna play live was truly a revelation.  The dude is just on a different plane in regard to a lot of death metal guitarists.  I would put his lead work up against anyone in the metal community today.

Also on the bill were long time New York death/black metal band Black Anvil.  They put on a short, gritty and earthy set.  These guys have more of a rock n roll sort of angle on the black metal theme.  You could see these guys growing up as fans of Motorhead and putting those kinds of riffs to the black metal aesthetic.

Immolation-The Distorting Light

Immolation-Above All

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