Saturday, January 20, 2007

Live And Well: The Attera Orbis Terrarum Tour Featuring Dark Funeral

This is Nile Rivers very first accounting of a live show. Rather than give a review, the intent here is more to tell a story of live shows.

It was a cold night as it always seems to be whenever we go to the Opera House in Toronto. It was January 13th where we witnessed the Attera Orbis Terrarum tour with Dark Funeral as the headliners, with Enslaved as direct support. Other tour support came from newcomers Abigail Williams, and a more regional band formerly on Galy Records, Eclipse Eternal opened the show.

A diverse audience was at the Opera House to get their own account of this live show. I feared that the audience might be dominated by a black-metal only crowd, as Toronto can be a bit polarized within their metal scene, but this turned out not to be the case.

Myself and a friend had witnessed the Canadian band (I believe they’re from Toronto) Eclipse Eternal give direct support to Behemoth in London, so we knew what to expect. Raw grim black metal with keyboards poured from Eclipse Eternal. The shaven head frontman adorned with spikes, bullet belts corpse paint croaked out songs most likely about evil and Satan. The crowd was into it, and erupted into a fury of moshing. But alas, the fury of Eclipse Eternals evil music has its downfalls as being simply executed properly. The rest of the band seems to have a slight bit of difficulty portraying some stage presence, and the vocalist carries most of their show. None the less, Eclipse Eternal is always entertaining when they’re there.

The crowd didn’t seem to be as entertained by Abigail Williams, although the audience did seem interested in at least hearing what they were all about. The band Abigail Williams has been described as some as an amalgamation of metalcore with Gothenburg and black metal influences. Indeed, the description seems apt, although the songs played seemed devoid of anything resembling a “chugga” metalcore style breakdown. The newness of the band seems apparent; Abigail Williams only got signed recently to Candlelight Records and will soon release their debut EP. They also seemed to lack some stage presence, with many of the band members standing still for the set. The vocalist did his best Dani Filth impression with many high shrieks, although he still seems to be learning how to move about on stage. The material present by Abigail Williams seemed to have been lacking, perhaps when they get to a point when they can release a full-length album they’ll be able to grow beyond the Gothenburg influence.

Dark Funeral headlined the show, and came onto the stage adorned in the grand tradition of black metal, with corpse paint and customized leather costumes. Many people find the corpse paint visual silly, but even though I’m not a black metal focussed fan, I found the visuals quite entertaining. The music erupted, with the blazing fast drums coming off as an earthquake. Vocalist Emperor Magus Caligula spit out a high pitched black metal rasp, and carefully dictated the words to the songs in quite a clear manner. The guitars for some reason though, seemed weak and garbled. I could swear at times it was as if the guitarists were playing through water.

The set from Dark Funeral went from super fast song to super fast song, with very few songs deviating from the insanely fast speeds. The reign of fury was unrelenting and never ceased. However, I found myself growing numb to the constant battery of unusually fast drums, it would’ve been nice to have heard more change-ups in tempo.

Dark Funeral felt very mature and confident on stage, but their shortcomings come from the fact that from their live show to their albums, Dark Funeral do their black metal in a purely standard way.

The most interest and biggest audience reaction came from Enslaved, who stole the show. Their strange evolution from and old school black metal band to the progressive influences that permeate their sound today came off very well in a live setting. Above the band, images were produced by a projector that reminded me of something a progressive band from the 70's might do. At one point during the show, the bassist/vocalist and one of the guitarists stood together to throw their axes from high to low in tandem.

Tours like this prove that black metal can be fun. Except maybe for some of those fans simply standing their with their arms crossed looking grim.

Pictures from this concert will be up soon!


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