Black Metal Warfare Tour – January 27, 2015 – El Corazón, Seattle, WASaturday, 31st January 2015
On a damp and cloudy Tuesday night, at a small sized and beer soaked rock club on Eastlake Avenue in Seattle, Black Metal Warfare was unleashed upon the Seattle faithful in a four-hour melee of satanic bloodlust and sonic annihilation. The Black Metal Warfare tour made its way across North America this January, featuring Mayhem and Watain. Mayhem, of utmost importance to, and the most infamous Norwegian black metal band ever – and Watain, who in the last decade-and-a-half have become one of the best (and biggest) names in the genre. Opening these dates is Edmonton’s Revenge.
I arrived a little past eight to a packed room and a hostile and breakneck force coming from the stage. Revenge was playing, and they sure didn’t have the feel of being merely a supporting act. This trio was cranking out death/grind jams with power and venom. Their dual vocal attack creating hellish tones (they employ the low roar+higher scream technique) meanwhile frantic and maniacal guitar soling evoking feelings of torment and panic. Fast is the way these dudes roll, and the tempo was intense, to the delight of their many fans watching from the back to those in the pit. Certainly the oddball of the three bands in terms of style, their speed metal attack is a common tongue to black metal and death metal fans alike. Based on crowd response, it sure looks like Revenge was a good pick to open these tour dates.
Watain was up next, and entered the stage in dark ceremonial fashion. Despite playing on a smaller stage than they’re likely used to, the stage set was pretty elaborate, complete with crucified skeletons book-ending the drums. Fire was kept to a minimal set of candles, which is understandable on this side of the Atlantic, given what’s happened with flame in small clubs before. By the time they set in with opener “Deaths Cold Dark” the crowd was frenzied. Chants of “Hail Satan” were soon drowned in blistering metal. Watain played a nice 10-song set, highlighting a breadth of material (refer to the setlist that I snagged from the sound guy). This is a band that totally brings it for the show. Really a great live act in musical performance and stage theatrics. These dudes take their Satanism pretty seriously, and convey that well. Frontman Erik Danielsson is totally captivating and really brings the crowd into his Satanic ceremony (the Temple of Watain).
After what seemed like an hour (probably 45 minutes) “Silvester Anfang” pumped out of the PA (the intro music to the Deathcrush EP). Then hell broke loose as Mayhem unleashed the old classic “Deathcrush”. It’s really a treat to watch drummer Hellhammer at work, the guy is a machine. And he impressed all set long. Playing songs from every album, with an emphasis on older material (including “Whore,” “A Time to Die,” “Illuminate Eliminate,” “Chainsaw Gutsfuck,” “Freezing Moon,” and a couple others as well). Atilla Csihar is a nut, and hands down one of the best frontmen in metal. His always strange, alien delivery is so unique to the band and is part of what makes Mayhem the special band that they are. After creating aural carnage for an hour, Mayhem departed with “Pure Fucking Armageddon” thus opening and closing the set with Deathcrush…nice.
Indeed Black Metal Warfare Seattle was a grim night of evil fun. Watain had the overall better set, but even despite the ridiculous wait between bands, Mayhem were a force to behold. I even got to see a guy get the boot after vomiting all over the floor and himself. Not bad for a Tuesday night.