Artist: Celtic Frost
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Sahg, 1349
Label: Century Media Records
It has become evident to me that Metal rules when it comes down to the venue B.B. King Blues Club. If you merely judge what has happened there over the past year you will find that a literal who’s who in the vast and varied Metal genres have appeared, hosted reunion or even final appearances on that stage. Tonight we could count on more of the same as for the first time in almost 17 years in New York City would be legendary Black Metal pioneers Celtic Frost. The group would be supported on this first leg of the tour by both Sahg and 1349 and according to research this would be the first time those two bands visited as well. I arrived shortly after Sahg had begun but caught enough of their set to explain what they were all about. Sahg is an almost Black Sabbath meets Hard Rock Doom and Stoner music that is quickly enjoyable and on the catchy side. Their singer has many Ozzy Osbourne inflections in his voice and he really holds up live. The only bad part was that since they went on a bit early the room was not yet filled to its capacity. The group also has a member of Extreme Black Metal’s Gorgoroth on the bass. Yes, King Ov Hell is part of the band minus his truly frightening corpse paint. Good players all around and a band that will have a certain lock with the audience if they are on a show that best suits them. I did not personally think that this was the one for them. Their album “Sahg I” is available on Candlelight Records and is something that fans of the Doom/Stoner style will go for.
1349 would be next and I was totally not expecting what was going to be onstage when they would hit it. The crowd was there now and it seemed that many already knew what to expect regarding the level of intensity that this band would deliver. Soon amidst the smoke and dramatic lights came perhaps one of the most brutalizing bands that I ever had the opportunity to see perform. A mass of corpse-paint and arm spikes along with sinister scowls at the audience while buzz saw levels of Extreme Black Metal were presented would be the best description of this group. I found that being up close to take pictures both a little dangerous and that it ruined the sound of these guys. You could better appreciate them from farther back as they truly knew what they were doing in the live sense. Focusing on their “Hellfire” album, the band was clearly in command as if they were the headliner and not Celtic Frost. Sadly, the bands drummer Frost (also of Gorgoroth and Satryicon) had not been able to gain access to the US and was filled in for by the capable Tony Laureano. If non-stop brutalization if what you expect from your Metal, then I feel you should check deeper into what 1349 offers. They are also a Candlelight Records artist and perhaps the heaviest of the lot.
1349 Set List: Legion, Nathicana, Internal Winter, Sculptor of Flesh, I Am Abomination
A short break time would ensue and soon everyone in the place would be enjoying Celtic Frost, one of Black Metals true legends. There are many who dispute who exactly started this genre and without beginning any arguments, I will have to toss my opinion on Frost being one of the pioneers in this form of music. The crowd for the venue was holding comfortably at about 700, which I understand was a higher number than the preceding show. I expected two sell-out nights as we saw with Emperor but it would not be the case tonight. The original Celtic Frost was Tom G. Warrior, Martin Eric Ain and Reed St. Mark and together the trio delivered such epic Metal albums as “Morbid Tales”. These shows would find Warrior and Ain reunited and supporting their newest Century Media Records release “Monotheist”. They would be joined by second guitarist Anders Odden and drummer Franco Sesa. Overall the lineup sounded very full as they performed a very encompassing set of material, which while focusing on their first three recordings, made room for their newer stuff. “Monotheist” is a very heavy record and has some modern advances to the original Celtic Frost sound that I think more Metal fans will enjoy in comparison to today’s bands. They definitely delivered on the stage and while showing he was in complete control of the audience, Warrior occasionally paused to thank the audience and let them know of the next song to be performed. It’s not much the bantering type of music and Warrior was never that kind of a performer. Highlights of the set included “The Usurper” and my favorite from the old days “Into Crypts Of Rays” alongside some of their material. Overall a tight set that thankfully did NOT include “Cherry Orchards”.
As an added surprise, we would find the bands original drummer Reed St. Mark present for the show and finding himself recognized by fans. It would have been nice to see him slam out a classic number on the kit but it would not be the case. Instead, he fielded handshakes and even gladly signed some of the memorabilia that they had brought for Tom and Eric to sign at the Meet and Greet. I am sure that while he made some peoples night that the same was done for him. I enjoyed this show but given the difference in attendance levels think that this particular one should have been only one night. I do however love it when Metal legends return to remind us all how it is done.
1. Procreation Of The Wicked
2. Visions Of Mortality
3. Circle Of the Tyrants
4. The Usurper
5. Jewel Throne
6. Ain Elohim
7. Necromantical Screams
8. Dawn Of Meggido
9. Return To the Eve
10. Inner Sanctum
12. Dethroned Emperor
13. Into The Crypts Of Rays
14. Synagoga Satanae
Also at the show was drummer Reed St. Mark who as any Metal head that is up on their history will know was at one time a member of Celtic Frost. He didn’t jam with the guys and was instead offering up support but wow how cool would that have been.
Pictured from L to R are Tom G. Warrior, Reed St. Mark, A Lovely Lady Friend, & Martin Eric Ain.