Sunday, December 04, 2011
Impetuous Ritual, Ritual Necromancy, and Grave Upheaval at Five Stars Bar
The shows being put on by L.A. locals Hatewar Productions keep getting better and better with a seemingly increasing frequency of high quality, serious black metal acts that don't normally tour being featured. Case in point is last night's tremendous triple bill of Australia's Impetuous Ritual and Grave Upheaval along with Portland, Oregon's Ritual Necromancy; a bill put on by Hatewar at Five Points Bar, a hole in the wall adorning a puke and detritus filled street in L.A. just on the eastern edge of the "historic" downtown district (the neighborhood does feature the Blade Runner Building, as it's known, though, regardless of the vomit).
With the recent closure of The Blvd. in Boyle Heights and still no word on metal from the supposedly relocated, revamped Knitting Factory, with the exception of The Black Castle (another Hatewar favorite), L.A. now lacks a venue for serious underground black and dark, death metal (the various joints lining the glitz and glamour of the Sunset Strip don't count). Five Stars Bar is the obvious choice to replace The Blvd. with a similar stage setup and hall capacity, and also with a particularly dark, brooding atmosphere.
Naturally, the usual extreme underground metal gang of Los Angeles proper was out in full force for last night's show, an assembly of metalheads that includes a veritable who's who from bands such as Nokturne, Gravehill, and Harassor. The Eternal Roadie even put in a appearance last night, overgrown mutton chops and all, along with about 75 other diehards as we go through a definite doldrums when it comes to good shows in L.A. of late.
My fellow lab rat and I settled near the front of the bar's small stage for Australia's Grave Upheaval, a trio featuring a guitarist who also serves time in Impetuous Rital (as well as Portal, if I'm not mistaken). Setting the tone for the remainder of the evening, Grave Upheaval are an absolutely barbaric wall of darkened, blackened doom/ death metal, treading the same territory as both Ritual Necromancy and Impetuous Ritual, but with an intensely raw sound. Also featuring a huge amount of blackened doom and drone in their assault, it's easy to draw comparisons between Grave Upheaval and Sunn O))) with their similar approach to atmosphere with muted lights and fog effects galore (all the more effective, and cough inducing, in such a small space).
Ritual Necromancy were next and absolutely crushed the small space of the Five Stars Bar with a very loud, very heavy detonation of dark death metal. Featuring a more bottom heavy and dynamic sound than Grave Upheaval, Ritual Necromancy were incredibly downtuned and immediately curried favor with the crowd, a number of whom already seemed to be familiar with Ritual Necromancy's just released debut full length album on Dark Descent Records (review here).
Adorned in their own blood and spikes, the barefooted quartet of Impetuous Ritual wordlessly took the stage amidst a cauldron of muted, hideous red lighting and smoke. Roaring through a 50-plus minute set of blackened death metal, Impetuous Ritual absolutely dripped with atmosphere and a palpable, evil intensity. The enraptured crowd silently took it all in with banging heads and horns and twisted Invisible Oranges held high. Never acknowledging the presence of the crowd, Impetuous Ritual conquered Los Angeles this evening and promptly exited.