March Metal Madness was drawing to its inevitable close at this point and what better way to send it off in style than by having those original “Sons Of Northern Darkness” Immortal lay waste to those who bravely choose to follow them. The gig would be at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple and find NY’s own Black Anvil as the only support and you can learn more about this gig by scrolling past the bands logo below.
Venue: Brooklyn Masonic Temple (Brooklyn, NY)
Opener: Black Anvil
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
It seemed as though our 2010 March Metal Madness while coming in like a lion, was choosing to go out in similar fashion as the terrible rains and wind that we found hitting the Big Apple a few weeks ago had returned to haunt us once again. When you think about it, this was the fitting atmosphere for a band like Norway’s Immortal and tonight these “Sons Of Northern Darkness” had landed at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple. The space has been used for a handful of Metal shows recently, but it would be the first time that I ever attended a performance here so I was looking forward to putting the stories I had heard about it to a better visual of my own. We’ll talk about the venue a little later but first to the task at hand. Immortal’s return was similar to the last time back in 2007 and while that “tour” found the band doing two shows on opposite coasts; this go round would feature four. They called the Metal bombardment the “Blashyrkh Over North America” tour and the appearance in Brooklyn, NY had our own Black Anvil opening up the show. Here is how it went down.
Black Anvil: We’ve enjoyed the few times that we have caught Black Anvil in concert and are rather convinced that the band has made a deal with someone of sinister design, or just in the know based on how many powerful Black Metal shows they are finding themselves on. Tonight marks the third time that I’ve seen the band and two of the experiences come from seeing them perform with Sweden’s Marduk. They impressed the fans and showed that their own brand of Black Metal was a perfect fit for legendary giants and their ardent followers. After a quick intro that was played on the PA system, Black Anvil came out and began to crush our skulls with a Brooklyn style vendetta on their minds. The band is tight and musically impressive which makes one believe that an opening slot is not something that they are going to be hanging onto for too much longer, unless it is a show like this one. Fronted by bassist Paul Delaney, who also sings, the band began to work up the crowd with numbers from their Relapse Records recording “Time Insults The Mind”. I’ve gotten my hands on the release and must say that it’s impressive enough for the tried and true Black Metal fan based on the overall composition. Folks who are still learning about them should clearly turn their attention to the band as they deliver a very intense and somewhat original take on the format that does not seem generic or trite. I wish them luck and shall definitely see them again. Readers might be interested in knowing that the band members were all at one time involved in Hardcore bands and this just goes to show you how diversely talented they are. Now the Masonic Temple was packed to almost overflowing and it was time for the mighty Immortal to invade our land once again.
Immortal: It’s been about three years since Immortal last performed on this side of the Atlantic and as we mentioned earlier, this would be only a handful at best of appearances as opposed to a full scale tour. The New York City show was preceded by two Canadian appearances and prior to the gig the band did a Meet & Greet with the fans to let them get their CD’s signed and take photographs. This “Blashyrkh Over North America” tour would find the band supporting their latest release on Nuclear Blast Records “All Shall Fall”. It’s a powerful title without question and one should expect nothing less from a band like Immortal who hit the stage like a raging storm after their introduction music blasted our ears. They opened up their set with the brutal title track from the new album. Fronted by Abbath Doom Occulta, the bands founder, the show was almost one completely enveloped by smoke and dramatic lighting. The lineup remains the same as that last NYC appearance with now full time member Apollyon (on bass) and the thundering Horgh on drums. Demonaz remains involved in the band as far as being a spokesperson and song-writer, but this will be the second time that I have caught them without his presence in the physical sense.
The band’s set was nothing short of a full on sonic assault and you knew this would happen with an Immortal show. There is not a lot of stage banter and instead you get the occasional shouting out of a tune and an imposing stance from Abbath who demands you offer fitting homage to his Black Metal majesty. If you caught the band the last time around you would quickly realize how different the set list would be this evening, because they made some strong use of what was to be found on the new album. Of the whole fifteen songs that were delivered we got a total of five from “All Shall Fall”. Fans that might not have had the CD yet could quickly pick it up at the bands merchandise stand tonight and let me tell you that there was a good amount of that going on from my vantage point. Tonight I decided to watch the band from many different spots and while steering clear of where the insane batches of crowd movement was I could easily see how affected the crowd was by this band and their legacy in this dark side of the Metal genre. Interestingly enough, while a Black Metal act, there is not an over emphasis on the Satanic side of things and that makes them easy to be enjoyed by people who are put off by over the top blasphemy. There is a lot more substance to the way Immortal does this and that is why they remain leaders and respected icons to their fans. Since I have not fully absorbed the new release yet I found myself leaning towards the more classic stuff from “Sons Of Northern Darkness” and “Pure Holocaust”. They would deliver four numbers from “Sons” and do a three song medley of material from “Holocaust” and I think that this sated the savage beasts that had made their way to Brooklyn tonight. As far as the response went, there were moments when everyone stood enthralled by what was happening and then others when all was in chaos and frenzy. The lack of a stage barrier made it easier for the fans to jump on stage and we even found some of the ladies getting in on this kind of action tonight. Clearly the bands crew had their work cut out for them tonight. The show ended just before midnight by my watch and even though many thought additional encores were coming there would be no tunes performed after the closing “Blashyrkh”. After that ended, the silence came upon the room and the bright lights back on and all would need to retreat into the rainy night until the band came back the next time.
I’m not sure why Immortal only did a few choice shows, and perhaps this was done to generate a larger “buzz” or perhaps done in only the markets that they knew would sell out quickly, but it was clear to me that they do have a dedicated fan base in this region. Black Anvil was a great choice of opener but I would have liked to see a couple of more bands who need some attention be placed on this bill as well. There is a lot of good stuff out there that many more people need to see. After this evenings gig the Immortal hordes make their way to California for the final show on the brief tour and then its back to the cold darkness of their homeland.
The Brooklyn Masonic Temple as a venue space is very interesting and strange at the same time. Someone described it to me as seeing a band of note at your local high school auditorium, and they were not too far off in this. The floor is open with no seating but there is an expansive balcony that has small wooden seats locked into place. This region is probably great for a sit down show more than something like Immortal because the balcony rail is low and I had visions of Metal heads dropping down on my head from above when the show kicked into its most ravenous state. The sound was good sometimes and muddy at others and since there was no security barrier keeping the audience a few feet from the action, you had the fans pressed up tight against the stage and the band. This allowed for easier stage diving and one brave and buxom lass almost lost her top when she made it up there before being taken offstage. The other issue was the excruciating heat. It had to be over 90 degrees inside the place and with no real cross ventilation I fled for air in the hallways a couple of times during the show. I didn’t love or hate the experience here this evening in terms of the setting but I didn’t feel the same way that those friends had said when they mentioned absolutely adoring the space. Those folks seemed more focused on their bands than the room and in the end I guess that is all that counts. For me, a little more air and a security barrier would make all the difference. I am willing to adventure here again, but it would need to be something absolutely incredible for that to happen in the immediate future.
Full Black Anvil Photo Gallery:
Full Immortal Photo Gallery: http://piercingmetal.com/immortal-live-photos-brooklyn-masonic-temple-3302010/
Black Anvil Set List:
2. Margin For Terror
3. Ten Talons Deep
5. With Transparent Blood
Immortal Set List:
1. All Shall Fall
2. The Rise of Darkness
4. Sons of Northern Darkness
6. Hordes to War
7. Norden on Fire
8. Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms
9. Pure Holocaust Medley: As Eternity Opens, Pure Holocaust, A Sign for the Norse Hordes to Ride
10. Unearthly Kingdom
11. One by One
12. Withstand the Fall of Time
13. Beyond the North Waves
14. Battles in the North
15. Blashyrkh (Mighty Ravendark)