Bands: Kult Ov Azazel, Tenebrous, Sein Und Zeit, Ba'al Zabub, and Nocturnal Mourning.
Date: October 31, 2009.
Venue: The Black Castle, Los Angeles, California.
These days, I’m limiting my concert going to great bands that I haven’t yet seen. One of those bands is Kult Ov Azazel, a criminally underrated, and underexposed, black metal band from Florida. “Destroying The Sacred” may make it into this year’s top ten list (in a very competitive field), so, when the opportunity arose, I had to check out KoA at The Black Castle, a small venue in Los Angeles devoted to extreme metal. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this show was either not promoted, or word simply didn’t get out as the crowd throughout the evening never amounted to more than 20 people (half of those from various local acts). Nonetheless, the bands delivered their sets with professionalism, and those of us in attendance appreciated the effort. Understandably, it may be difficult for a band to get mentally charged up for such a small crowd, but lethargy was not a factor in the performances.
First up for the evening were Nocturnal Mourning, a Darkthrone-clone band playing competent Darkthrone-clone black metal. Not bad, but nothing special and the five of us there gave a smattering of applause. Some droning riffs held my attention. Necrite, the next act, had cancelled, and a decidedly non-black trio were next for 10 minutes. I never did catch their name, if they had one, but they were suitably loud and fast. Another smattering of applause followed.
After a long changeover, possibly because the venue was waiting for anyone else to show up, a local quartet called Ba'al Zabub took the stage. A very low-fi guitar with not much distortion initially discouraged me, but Ba'al Zabub ended up being very good, droning black metal. Simple drum patterns with a few rolls and fills would stretch endlessly with the strumming guitars, all the while backed up by simple bass and buried in the mix screeches. Ba'al Zabub were impressive, certainly much more so than I had originally had hoped for, and the drummer really made the difference with his very precise cadence.
The strangest act of the evening, and one of the weirder performances in metal that I’ve seen in awhile, was up next. Sein Und Zeit is a one man, black metal act that consisted of the musician on a dressed up stage (see photos). A strange costume, a guitar, screeched hisses, and pre-recorded drums and bass made for a strange performance, almost a version of performance art rather than a live set. Kudos to the performer for obviously taking a chance on a different presentation than the usual sort of live set from musicians, but his act would be greatly enhanced by a visual presentation of some sort with media. The lack of movement and stage dynamics dramatically lessened the impact of the performance, although the music was fairly basic black metal. Given the circumstances, the performance was also too long.
The main acts began with Tenebrous, a pretty good, straightforward black metal band from Florida. I reviewed “Arias Toward The Black Sun” awhile back, and I recall liking what I heard. Tenebrous’ set was good and was well-received with Xaphan from Kult Ov Azazel sitting in as a session musician. Tenebrous guitarist/ vocalist Armanen would later return the favor during Kult Ov Azazel’s set, and I’ll have to check out Tenebrous’ debut full-length from earlier this year.
Finally, Kult Ov Azazel were up and delivered the goods with a ferocious set. Hitting a good portion of “Destroying The Sacred”, the band also covered “The Third Of The Storms (Evoked Damnation)” and finished with “Oculus Infernum”. A professional, long set performed in front of only a few people, KoA were impressive, indeed.
The Black Castle
Sein Und Zeit
Kult Ov Azazel
The t-shirt haul...
Kult Ov Azazel
Next? Not too sure...