Review by Metal Mom
Photos by Char Tupper
Monday, November 21, 2011 is the first of 3 shows that I am attending for this line up. It all starts in Vancouver at the Rickshaw Theatre, and it’s a miserable drive into town, pouring rain and lousy drivers. After about 1.5 hours we reached the venue, and walked in, I was excited to know that I was seeing my favourite band again, but not really sure what to expect with Mayhem.
ABIGAIL WILLIAMS takes the stage first, they were originally from Phoenix, Arizona but are now based out of Los Angeles. Their genre is said to be symphonic black metal, with a touch of early metalcore. I was kind of surprised to find this band on the bill, they are more of a slow, mellow, stoner music type. Not really a band to get you psyched up for whats to come. Their last song was one that I really enjoyed, and wished there was more of. If they had been more upbeat and head banging worthy I think they would have drawn more to the floor.
Next is the band I came to see - HATE . This polish band originated back in 1990 and is based out of Warsaw Poland and they are pure death metal. And these guys know exactly what they want to do, and that’s to give their best. And its what they did. The songs they played were all raw, brutal and always leave you wanting more. The fans quickly filled the floor , either moshing, head banging or horns high, everyone on that floor you could see where enthusiastic for HATE. But I have to say…they are “ NOT ” Behemoth. The only similarity between the two bands, is they are both from Poland, and they both wear corpse paint. That’s it, simple, all you need to do is listen to the music/vocals/bass and guitar , they stand on their own, they have their own unique style and sound. Truthfully they should not have held this spot on the tour, they deserved a higher place, and they definitely should have played more than 4 songs. The 4 songs they chose were excellent, uncompromising, brutal, diverse, and creative. From many fans, I heard that they thought HATE stole the show, and I do agree 110% with that. The execution of their music is one you have to witness to appreciate the power of pure HATE.
Keep of Kalessin was up next, they are an extreme metal band out of Trondheim, Norway. They played a good set. Their drummer Vyl could not tour with them this time around, so his replacement was Oli Beaudoin, drummer for Neuraxis, and let me say he did a phenomenal job, never once missing a beat. Oli can drum those blast beats right through your soul. Talking later with fans they were disappointed that Dragontower was not played, especially with a longer set time (it also was not played on their last tour here in May). I was hoping for the same. Next time maybe.
Now for a little MAYHEM, do you know the history of these guys..let me tell you some of it..because I really think this is what drew people to witness this band play. It all started back in 1984 with Euronymous, Necrobutcher and Manheim. At the end of 1988 Dead became the new vocalist, Hellhammer the permanent drummer. Dead is actually the 1st to wear corpse paint, and he also liked to bury his clothes, only to dig them up day before the show to insure he would have the essence of death. He was also know for cutting himself on stage which in 1990 landed him in hospital for loss of blood. April 12, 1991 Dead committed suicide by slitting his wrists and blowing up his head with a shotgun. Euronymous supposedly took a photo which was later stolen and put on the cover of a bootlegged copy of the album Dawn of the Black Hearts. Euronymous claimed to have given necklaces (made from Deads skull) to musicians he deemed worthy, Marduk and Samael. Aug 10, 1993 saw Euronymous murdered by Varg Vikernes of Burzum (who at the time was bassist). Varg drove 518 km to stab Euronymous 23 times. Varg was arrested and sentenced to 21 years in jail for murder and church arsons. Leaving Hellhammer to be the only Mayhem member remaining.
The Legend known as Mayhem - has been born, there is more, but I don’t want to take too much time, you can read up on Mayhem just about anywhere. So yes, I was intrigued to see what these guys were all about. Not scary at all on stage. Musically most of their songs were well put together. I just was not too fussy about the vocals. I thought they would be more demon sounding. And I guess I was thinking, where were the pig heads, etc. Atilla, singer now for MAYHEM wore a robe, while hanging onto a cross, and a skull with a rope tied as a noose. But I do like more to a band, than the story, or the dress on stage, I like a whole complete package. Oh I know some will just love Mayhem for who they were in the past. That’s what attracts some. But I do have to say, I did enjoy the chance to witness one of black metals “Legends” of all time.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 the show took place in Seattle, Washington at the El Corazon. It would have been much better if the stage was bigger to accommodate the movements of the bands on stage. Sound was good.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011, and we arrived in Portland, Oregon to attend the 3rd show, another chance for me to witness the full strength of HATE. They did have trouble during their first song, but got it worked out, and they went on again to steal the show.
Its always sad to come to an end when doing more than 1 show. But its great to see your favourite band 3 times, and to compare all the shows, the sound systems, and acoustics of the room. Wish I could have seen more shows. They are still on tour, so if you get the chance, please go and witness the black metal show of all time, and end 2011 off right.