Venue: The Fillmore NY (New York, NY)
Opener: Chthonic, Korotory Regain The Heart Condemned
Label: E1 Entertainment
It seemed like it was an incredibly long time since we had seen the enigmatic Satyr and his band Satyricon doing a show in the United States before the fates could no longer stand this rift in the Metal balance and would send him to our region as the direct support act for Cradle Of Filth back in February 2009. On that tour Cradle had embarked out to support “Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder” and the show in New York City quickly sold out and featured Septic Flesh from Greece as well. Satyricon, while the second of the three acts, clearly had the majority of support from the attending fans who all seemed interested in what he would do perhaps even more so than the headlining band. For many Metal fans this made sense based on just how well the singer’s previous album “Now, Diabolical” had been received. His follow up would come care of Koch Records and be entitled “The Age Of Nero” and like its predecessor was building up some serious Metal steam. This tour continued the singer’s support of the release which found itself on the now renamed from Koch – E1 Entertainment.
The tour that was planned for the singer’s return was an interesting one on paper and would feature Satyricon as the headliner with direct support from Bleeding Through and opening support from both Taiwan’s Chthonic and Toxic Holocaust. My own hectic schedule of shows and not keeping up on the recent developments found me not realizing that both Bleeding Through and Toxic Holocaust were now off this tour and how in various spots two local openers would do their thing while Chthonic was officially moved up to direct support. In the NYC region we found this support coming from both Regain The Heart Condemned and Korotory. Here is how the evening commenced if you were one of those fans that missed the fun.
Regain The Heart Condemned & Korotory: Starting off the affair was Regain The Heart Condemned who was a band that I had seen just a little over a week ago and was not all that impressed with at that particular show. They had opened up for god Dethroned and that show on its own needed help based on how few fans actually showed up and combined with a dismal sound and lackluster performance they didn’t do it for me. Tonight however there was a tighter sound to their musicianship and the growling vocals were all the more clear making this a much better representation of what they are trying to do in this scene. However, the singer still uses the crucifix prop and he brandishes it like a club and I do think they need to upgrade the visual side of the project in order to really have themselves standing out above the crop. Korotory was up next and from Long Island and they were pretty good musically but there was not much to set them apart in the visual sense. I might seem like I am harping on this, but so many Metal bands find you remembering the sight as much as the sound that they delivered and I think at this stage of the game that the two work hand in hand more than they do not. They had a nice show of support and the same can be said for Regain since they were locals. A friend of theirs described them as “Pantera meets someone else” and I feel that such labeling can do more harm than good if they don’t step up the game. Among their songs was “Organized Hypocrisy” which was dedicated to all of the Catholics in the room. Chthonic was up next and I had to say that I was very happy for them to be the direct support for this tour at this point; Bleeding Through while interesting was just a weird choice for this particular headliner.
Chthonic: Before Chthonic walked onto the stage I wondered how many people here tonight would actually appreciate them and what they stand for. Yes they are a kick your ass inside out Metal band but they do this with a crucial difference from many of their peers. Combining their countries rich history and cultural legends into its current political dilemmas, Chthonic things forth a very exciting brand of Black Metal and one that leaves you remembering what you just witnessed. I had the pleasure of seeing them a couple of times when they last toured here around the time of the free Ozzfest and shortly after that event and I was totally blown away by not only their musical presentation but also by their overall intensity on the live stage. The band is fronted by Freddie Lim, who goes by the name “Left Face Of Maradou” when in his other identity, and he is a very electric presence up on the stage. He is the strongest of the group’s political activists and his efforts often find many Taiwanese people at the shows even if they are not the biggest Metal fans around. Such would be the case tonight as many older people who were clearly of this descent were in the venue. It was interesting to find them enjoying the band amidst all of the hard core Black Metal fans that were there for some Satyricon. Their new album is called “Mirror Of Retribution” and the majority of their set would be music from this release. It would be my first time hearing this particular album and I liked what I heard but am somewhat of a fan already of how this band does their thing. This evening was also interesting in the fact that the band seemed to be sporting new makeup from the last time and according to an interview The band hit strong and for those who dont know are sporting new markings this time around. I heard an interview that was held with Doris “Thunder Tears” and if I understood correctly, these new marking are something akin to curses in their native tongue.
While the band is under the command of Mr. Lim, the bands bassist Doris Yeh seems to get a lot of attention herself which finds the petite musician on lists such as Metal’s “hottest chicks” and so forth. If these kinds of statuses are giving her a big head it sure doesn’t show since she does not really speak during the bands set and instead sings from time to time while thundering on her bass. The whole band can be found at the merchandise booth and if you are lucky enough to speak to them you will find them to be very enthusiastic about their fans and their political message about the plight of Taiwan. As expected Chthonic impressed me this evening and the audience was eating out of their hands. Freddie would play the Er-hu when this was required and after the gig had ended I learned that Su-Nung had left the lineup to pursue his own interests. They would meet as many fans as possible tonight and sign their CD’s and also allow for some photos to be taken with them. Some of the fans would yell “f**k China” during their photo op shot and one could only hope that they knew exactly why Chthonic is so passionate about this stand because if they do not they come off as ignorant. My hope is that more people get into “Mirror Of Retribution” and give Chthonic the level of Metal attention that they deserve. Now it was time for Satyr and company to dominate the stage of New York City once again.
Satyricon: As we mentioned, Satyricon was continuing to support their latest effort “The Age Of Nero” and this release was a logical successor in style and vibe from its predecessor “Now, Diabolical”. The musician upgraded this release around the time of this tour with a special edition that featured the full original album and a second CD of live tracks and a couple of other treats. It was worth seeking out if you could find it, and makes a nice replacement for the first go round version. In similar fashion to his last visit, the stage was left to the essentials and that meant the bands equipment and a solitary “trident” microphone stand in the dead center of stage. This is the only prop involved in a Satyricon show it would seem and the singer does use it to proper dramatic effect. Satyr walked out to a tremendous level of applause and he spoke to the audience saying that unlike his opening act, he had no political agenda and instead this was just some Norwegian Black Metal for us all to enjoy.
The set this evening was solid and a lot more encompassing that with the opening slot for Cradle which was a pleasant surprise. He would focus on “The Age Of Nero” and play something like four or five tunes from it, but he would also pay attention to the album before this one and a couple of others. It was interesting to be present for this as one could see how his material had morphed over the span of years and albums and yet still remained an intriguing and powerful type of Black Metal. Some of the newer stuff is slower than your conventional Black Metal would be but no less heavy when it comes down to it. I like to think of those tracks as being ones which give drummer Frost a little bit of a breather as when he plays fast it is almost super human. The drummer was positioned behind a massive kit that sported the words “answers to no one, certain and bold, it makes us stick to the cause” on one bass drum and “the wear and tear of agony stretched, it makes us stick to the cause” on the other. In viewing this I had to say that it was a lot more profound than someone who just places their name on the drumheads or silly paintings. One of these days I will find out what he is referencing, and what exactly the cause is. At one point Satyr said he was going to try something again and that was when he jumped down into the photographers pit with the security and sang to the crowd from the barrier. Needless to say the Metal denizens in the crowd this evening went absolutely ballistic for this. Fortunately everyone respected the singer’s motives and no one pulled at him or jumped over while he was doing this. Satyr does not appear to be a massive dude, but he is rather intense and I would not want to cross his path when he is on a mission of Metal. Despite his keeping up appearances during the set, I did see him crack a slight smile a couple of times and clearly he was pleased with the turnout and response that his visit was getting. Overall I felt the set list was strong this evening even though there were some fans around me who screamed for more older tunes to be done. He did everything that I expected and wanted to hear from the last two albums which was good for me, and of course would close it all out with the ravenous power of “Mother North”. This was a crushing performance from beginning to end when it came down to it and one that I think the fans will remember for awhile.
For many of the Metal faithful this Sunday evening show would be their dose of music for weeks to come but I didn’t have that luxury and instead found it to be a show that was prepping me for the task at hand. That task was to help document the other killer appearances that would take place over the course of the coming week. As it stood, the itinerary ran as follows with Gwynbleidd (Monday), Vains Of Jenna & Company (Tuesday), Blackmore’s Night (Thursday), Dethklok & Mastodon (Friday) and The Misfits (Halloween Night – Saturday). Five more shows over the course of six days would not be easy but I would “stick to the cause” in the best fashion as it applied to me. Horns up!
Chthonic Set List:
1. Rise Of The Shadow
2. Bloody Waves Of Sorrow
3. Spell Of Setting Sun: Mirror Of Retribution
4. Forty-Nine Theurgy Chains
5. Sing-Ling Temple
Satyricon Set List:
1. Repined Bastard Nation
2. The Wolfpack
3. Now, Diabolical
5. Black Crow On A Tombstone
6. With Ravenous Hunger
8. To The Mountains
10. The Pentagram Burns
12. Fuel For The Hatred
13. Mother North – finale