Mayhem – The Masquerade, Atlanta 13/02/17

I caught up with Norwegian legends Mayhem on the Atlanta stop of their De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas tour supported by Inquisition and Black Anvil. The show played out in The Masquerade in front of a solid crowd of black metal fans.

Black Anvil 3

Black Anvil took the stage first and immediately dropped a heavy hybrid of black-trash upon the crowd. The New York City outfit played an energetic set with frontman and bassist Paul Delaney displaying an impressive range of vocals that pays homage to the band’s eclectic influences. Check out Black Anvil’s latest release As Was – out on Relapse Records now.

Next, Seattle-based Inquisition played a dynamic set consisting of material from their long discography spanning roughly 26 years. Aside from the unique brand of black metal they play—the band employs varying tempos and dark melodies in their compositions—the most impressive thing about Inquisition was their two-man stage show. Guitarist and vocalist Dagon and drummer Incubus played with the kind of passion and composure that most two-and-three-piece bands often lack. Be sure to check them out on tour and give a listen to their latest effort Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith< out on Season of Mist. Inquisition 2

What can be said about Mayhem that hasn’t already been said? Given the band’s notoriety for tragedy and death, it is a miracle that they are still around. Except that it’s not. Mayhem are the undisputed kings of Norwegian black metal and they know it. From the dark, almost pitch-black, lighting to intricate stage design and minimal chatter on stage, the band make it clear that they are the dark lords of a scene that has historically rejected all notions of metal “stardom”. Make no mistake though, Mayhem love their fans and play with the utmost respect towards the crowd.

Mayhem

The band is playing their iconic De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album in its entirety making this tour a very special one for all black metal fans. Having seen them live two years ago, I was excited to see the band’s new and highly theatrical set this time around. Not surprisingly, Funeral Fog pushed the already-buzzing crowd into overdrive, with Hellhammer’s furious blast beats and Atilla Csihar’s vocals dictating what was to come. From Freezing Moon to From the Dark Past, Csihar and company employed every bit of mastery in their collective black metal toolkit to make this a special night for the 800-strong crowd at The Masquerade.

The highlight of the night for me was the last song of the set, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, capping off a near-perfect performance. Csihar had mentioned in an interview earlier this year that the timing was right for a tour celebrating such a genre-defining album. It would be very hard to argue with that assessment based on last night’s performance.

10/10

Photography by Trent Ryan.
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