Moonspell @ B.B. King Blues Club (10/18/2009)

Logo - Moonspell

Artist: Moonspell
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Secrets Of The Moon, Divine Heresy, Revocation
Date: 10/18/2009
Label: SPV Records

This past Friday a dank and chilly air set upon New York City and just in time for the show that God Dethroned did down at The Gramercy Theatre and this led us into some heavy rains on Saturday evening that eventually brought us into a very threatening Sunday. There were spots of storms here and there while cold winds blew the damp air right through your bones. All of this was odd this early in October but in truth it seemed to be the perfect setting for a show like this one as Moonspell returned to the USA and New York City once again in support of their “Night Eternal” CD. We missed the last time that they had come into town because the band while opening up for Danzig and Dimmu Borgir would be on the same night as Kamelot, so we opted for that show in the hope that a full set of material from these Dark Kings of Gothic Metal would come sooner than later. The wait was longer than planned an almost a year to the date but since they only played something like twenty minutes at the Danzig show we were confident that nothing was missed which would not be revisited this evening. The show would present some interesting blends of Metal as technical wizardry would come from Revocation and supreme Metal Blackness from Secrets Of The Moon and finally some direct support from Divine Heresy. If you somehow missed out on this show, here is how the evening played out.

Revocation: The Boston natives had never been to NYC before tonight but that sure didn’t stop them from delivering a very energetic and technically proficient set for all those who had wisely arrived early enough to enjoy them. They are a recent Relapse Records signing and bring to the table something very similar to what we first enjoyed in bands like Atheist by giving the Metal fans a very powerful level of Thrash intensity that gets an upgrade in terms of its complicated riffs. Their album is entitled “Existence Is Futile” which I guess is a tongue in cheek morphing of the Star Trek: Next Generation Borg catch phrase, and I was very, very impressed. That’s always a good thing when one sees a band for the first time, and its far better than being a scratched chin wonder who that was reference when people ask you how the openers were for the show. I felt that they did a great job and I am sure that bigger things are ahead for them. I was also happy that since they were in the home of the NY Yankees that they left off any Boston Red Sox references. The crowd also seemed to not be interested in chanting anything like that back at them. As most know, the Yankees would win the World Series in about two weeks after this gig took place. Never a bad thing for the Big Apple. Their set was brief of course as the first of four bands and on next was Secrets Of The Moon who I was very interested in.

Secrets Of The Moon: I had only received the bands album “Priveligium” a few short weeks before this gig and found it to be a very tasty bit of darkness in terms of its Metal content but that also left me with some curiosity about what I was actually hearing. Is it Black Metal, or is it Doom Metal? Well, I had to say that my own personal jury was still out deciding on this one and that made catching them as the opener for this show a total no-brainer. I had to admit that I was almost as excited for the SotM set as much as I was for the Moonspell one. The band had come for this tour over from Germany and I am sure that this was their first time playing at B.B. King’s if not NYC as a whole, and with their banners set up and ready to offer a little more visual, the lights were turned down very low and the drama began. In the live sense I felt that they were more of a Black Metal band and they were nothing less than intense from beginning to end. Sadly I could not make out which songs formed the set list since I was getting into it as well, but one can assume that most of the short set hailed from the “Priveligium” release. The crowd was rather large for them, and one might be correct in thinking that the new blood of Revocation had a better audience because they were being followed by Secrets Of The Moon. My view was that the hard core Black Metal fans wanted a good space to see what they were all about and made sure to arrive a little earlier than they might have. This CD is a powerful one and it goes over rather well live, and you can be rest assured that we will see this band again. They are very serious up on the stage as expected and their music shows that they mean business. Let’s hope there is not too long a wait before their return. Divine Heresy was up now and a band that I had not seen before as well despite their being around for a few years.

Divine Heresy: The band features Dino Cazares, formerly of Fear Factory, and the insane drumming prowess of Tim Yeung, and since I had never seen this band live before I was super curious as to how they did things. They would hit the stage after what to me was an excruciatingly long intro tape message. It had started off good, and ominous but then it kept on going and going and had me and some of the other audience members raging about the band getting on with it. To me this was a weird pairing up as well since the Gothic Metal Moonspell has a unique fan base as does the more Industrialized Metal of this new offshoot from Fear Factory by Dino. When they did begin to play it was a no-holds barred assault to the senses but for me this was very, very close in sound and style to that of Fear Factory. The band had their new singer with them in Travis Neal. Neal replaced Tommy Vext, who had a very public ousting from the band about a year ago, and I felt that Neal was doing a fantastic job of getting the audience that was into this vibe of Metal crazier and crazier. If there were any fans that were locked into the way Vext did it, they sure were now fans of Travis based on his honest delivery this evening. Dino was the main dude to speak to the crowd in most cases and at one point he announced that “the fat man was back in New York City, and nobody brought him any burritos”. He also mentioned that the person who he was directing this comment at knew what he meant but I must be missing an inside joke somewhere unless there actually is someone who brings the guitarist burritos every time he comes to town. Most of the material would come from their newest CD “Bringer Of Plagues” which is available on Century Media Records and while intense and solid at the effort it was clear to me that this was a weird booking for the band and a set that was not entirely enjoyed by the Gothic Metal fans of Moonspell who had now officially flooded the room. I liked some of what they did but would prefer my next go round with them to be with a more in tune to their vibe kind of outfit and I was floored by the super human drumming prowess of Yeung this evening. This guy is impressive my friends and shows you just how much can be done for Extreme Metal on the kit. Now it was time for the darkness to unfold across the venue and let Moonspell take over to close out the night.

Moonspell: When I learned that Moonspell’s set at the Danzig show was only twenty minutes I was so glad that I didn’t bypass Kamelot that night because not only did I expect these Portuguese masters of Metal to come back sometime soon, but Kamelot had not since returned and the label that both of these acts were a part of had filed for insolvency. That was not a good sign for the Metal community as a whole but here we were and finally enjoying a full on set from the band. The venue was packed but not over the top to the doors kind of crowded. One had plenty of maneuverability and was able to wander the club and see the band from a number of vantage points. Moonspell’s latest album is called “Night Eternal” which is the new material follow up to “Memorial” and also comes after their back catalog reworking release “Under Satanae”. The album is a very strong release and one which would not disappoint the bands fans in any sense and resultant of the relatively new music and full tour they would deliver a good four tunes from the album. That was fine by me because the opening tune “At Tragic Heights” into “Night Eternal” are enough to draw you in for the duration when it all comes down to it. The band remains fronted by the enigmatic Fernando Ribeiro who is very charismatic during the show and keeps you focused on his every word. The band was solid, but I expected this much since their a professional outfit that knows how to entertain the masses and this evening I felt that it was just a few notches better than the last time that I saw them (when they came through town with Katatonia if my concert memories are intact which I believe they are).

The guys were tight in their delivery but it was only Fernando who spoke when he even decided to do so. They also performed in very low light this evening which I guess was utilized for added dramatic effect. I assume that it is hard to be a Dark Metal band and play in a brightly lit up space when you think about it. Material would also come from the bands “Memorial” CD which I still maintain as something most Metal fans should add to their collections along with this new release because both show the band as a forward moving force for Gothic Metal based on the melodies and mood that they instill. Of course the group would also present material from their most influential years by touching upon the likes of “Wolfheart”, “Under The Moonspell” and “Irreligious” for bad measure s well. In the end this would be a devilish brew that was enjoyed by a great crowd. Everyone in the venue participated by responding to the material with their voices or the raising of fists and horns or by getting into the fray in the circle pit. I didn’t see anyone just standing looking bored during this show. That’s always a good sign. Personal musical highlights for me came via the newer material since I didn’t follow the band when they first got into this. One of my goals is to look into their older stuff or at least pick up the 2007 compilation release “The Great Silver Eye”.

While I had expected as much, this show drew far more people than we found attending the Friday evening appearance by God Dethroned and while no offense to that band, perhaps a headlining gig was not the best idea after being gone so long from this regions public eye. To be brutally honest, I would have swapped out Divine Heresy with God Dethroned to make this night completely make sense in terms of the theme of Metal that was being delivered as opposed to putting a conflicting factor into the mix. This was a great time for all involved and I think that any Metal loyalists who might have missed this one will regret it. Granted this week will be a busy one with CMJ happening and the Type-O-Negative show in a couple of days that will be followed almost immediately by Satyricon’s return as well. With the fans making tougher choices on their shows of late I was happy to find this one crowded and hope to see more of the same at these up and coming events of note. We shall see.

Moonspell Set List:
1. At Tragic Heights
2. Night Eternal
3. Finisterra
4. Southern
5. Wolf
6. Opium
7. Scorpion Flower
8. Nocturna
9. Moon In Mercury
10. Vampiria
11. Mephisto
12. Alma Mater
13. Blood Tells – encore
14. Full Moon Madness – encore

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