Anaal Nathrakh – May 21, 2015 – Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NYMonday, 25th May 2015
If last week’s Amaranthe show was beauty, than the trip to see Anaal Nathrakh in Brooklyn was to be it’s corresponding beast. Being Anaal Nathrakh’s first ever full US tour (they’ve done a few one-off dates here and there over the years), people were bound to come out of the woodwork for this one – despite it being a Thursday night. And come they did.
Getting to Saint Vitus exactly at 8 after a few driving hiccups, I entered to the sound of Secrets of the Sky playing “Angel in Vines.” Focusing on their latest release, the excellent Pathway, the band played an all too short set which also included highlights “Eternal Wolves” and killer closing number “Garden of Prayers.” What was most striking was how the band’s more atmospheric material really resonated in the live arena. Not exactly high energy material for the most part, but the emotions of the tracks were conveyed rather effectively. Vocalist Garett Gavey hit all the high marks of his diverse repetoire, and the rest of the band brought the same sense of urgency to their playing despite the disappointingly empty (at the time) Vitus. Big things seem to be in this band’s future so they’ll get a larger crowd sooner than later. You can also check out yours truly with Gavey (right) and guitarist Clayton Bartholomew (left) at the top of the article.
Next up was Incite. More people had been filtering into the venue at this point and Incite’s thrashy brand of metal seemed to get things moving, though I was only able to catch the first song due to an interview with the afore-mentioned Secrets of the Sky.
Third on the bill was Vattnet Viskar, a post-black metal band that came off as a bit surprising (in a good way of course). Only having checked out a few tracks (including the recently released ones), it was clear that they drew a portion of the crowd for the evening as the club was starting to get packed. What was most impressive about Vattnet Viskar was how “riff-y” the material was. Most USBM bands in the style of Deafheaven, Lantlos, and So Hideous rely more on atmosphere but Vattnet Viskar had a number of headbanging riffs that worked quite effectively live. Due to unfamiliarity with the band, the only song that was distinguishable was the title track from the band’s forthcoming Settler album. Clearly, this is a band to be investigated further.
The last of the opening acts (which all seemed to have rather short sets) was Early Graves. An effective mix of death/hardcore/crust, the ever-growing crowd seemed to dig it for the most part. Sadly another band that has not crossed my radar, they did put on an energetic performance that was entertaining to watch.
Alas, the time had finally come for Anaal Nathrakh to hit the stage. A very crowded Vitus exploded with the band’s opening of “Acheronta Movebimus/Unleash.” It was the first time I’ve seen a pit at Vitus (though as a reference, I do not live nearby and I can still count the number of times I’ve been there with two hands) and the crowd was raging. Moshing, stage-diving, and crowd-surfing were all in full force, much to the glee of vocalist Dave Hunt, who further encouraged the activities – shouting each time for “more of this.” The band focused on their most recent release (Desideratum) for 5 out of the 12 songs (“Idol,” “The Joystream,” and “Monstrum in Amino” rounded those out), but the setlist was well-rounded with some older favorites such as “Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes,” “In the Constellation of the Black Widow,” “Do Not Speak,” and personal favorite “Drug-Fucking Abomination.”
Hunt frequently interacted with the crowd, offering little quips about the songs and doing some joking around and inciting the crowd. The rest of the band carried a strong, energetic presence as well. If it wasn’t obvious from the songs chosen, Anaal Nathrakh seemed to stick with the “hookier” portion of their material, which likewise made for great crowd interactions, particularly on the sung choruses of a track like “Forging Towards the Sunset.” The crowd’s energy never died down throughout the set and the band seemed to feed off of it, offering a furious performance that those in attendance will not soon forget.