When it’s cold and when it’s dark, the freezing moon can obsess you…
Regardless of many who would prefer Mayhem to end with the death of its former frontman and of the even larger group of people complaining about Attila Csihar’s emotion-loaded performance, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas in its entirety was a gig I didn’t want to miss.
Another very positive side to Mayhem’s October performance in Nosturi was the autumn mood at its best: misty mornings of the last months of the year, evenings getting colder, deathlike trees and the northern landscape looking wonderfully grim.
Such was the autumn scenery, already full of darkness, when I was headed to the well-known Nosturi (can’t believe how familiar it became during just one year spent in Helsinki!).
A half-empty venue before the first band promised the possibility of standing in the first row (small joys of a small person) and soon enough I started watching the supporting Barshasketh.
Despite the visible efforts of the band members, the group didn’t truly do justice to warming-up for the legendary Mayhem.
On a more positive note, the band surely was a curiosity as a New Zealand formation (I’ve never seen any other New Zealand band performing live after all).
Another very good thing about the concert was the powerful sound of the drums and bass, and while I’m tempted to describe the vocals and guitars as ‘average’ I absolutely can’t call them poor.
A curtain hiding the stage after Barshasketh’s gig promised a spectacle worth waiting for Dragged Into Sunlight’s show.
I was far from disappointed after having discovered a gigantic candle holder, made of bones and twisted iron, placed in the middle of the stage.
The whole arrangement looked like a thrift store from hell, with candles illuminating horned skulls, ribs, jaws and vertebrae all tied up together and crowned with antlers fashioned out of metal.
Mist, which appeared moments later, enhanced the omnipresent feeling of a lunatic’s interior decoration brought onstage. Soon enough, the venue started buzzing with noise which could easily be compared to a sort of broken radio from the depths of hell.
To make the concert even more intense, strong stroboscope lights blinded the audience for a moment. Another reason for using such lighting might have been hiding the musicians’ identities.
During the entire performance, the band members had their backs turned on the audience (with vocalists occasionally facing the crowd). This might come as a surprise to those not familiar with the group, whose musicians stay anonymous.
Dragged Into Sunlight’s blackened death metal created an incredibly aggressive wall of sound effect. Songs combined with incomprehensible radio extracts helped in creating the feeling of creepy strangeness. This mysterious gang was so intriguing that seeing them again in the future might be even more interesting.
Even though I wish Mayhem had more black metal support, one obviously can’t have everything. Hopefully their next tour would feature a killer lineup! On the other hand, there was nothing to complain about the choice of the venue. The last time I’ve seen Mayhem was on a festival so the band performing on the much smaller stage of Nosturi made me curious. As if it wasn’t enough, I was excited to find out if the atmosphere at a club gig would differ a lot from the festival one.
What can I say? It changed, and, without a doubt, it changed for the better! The ambiance in Nosturi was noticeably grimmer.
Thanks to the backdrop featuring Nidaros cathedral completed with panels depicting weeping angels and beheaded saints, the mood became perfectly eerie.
Surroundings and all kinds of stage ‘artefacts’ being prepared were also another sign: Mayhem were about to start in a few minutes.
Just as expected, there was no need to wait long for the band and the cacophonous riffs of “Funeral Fog” let the infernal black metal mass begin.
As one could have easily imagined, the album’s opening song was met with enthusiastic (and loud!) response. Despite the band’s recent appearance at Tuska, Nosturi’s audience turned out to be even more dedicated than the festival crowd. Fans gathered in the club were mesmerized and entirely absorbed by the performance.
Followed by the audience’s devoted screams, the unmistakable intro of “Freezing Moon” could be heard. After the first mind-bending riffs, Attila proved once again to possess one of the most impressive vocals in black metal. Menacingly tortured, but at the same time incredibly sinister, his well-known voice filled the venue.
One of the highlights of the evening (if not THE highlight) was the “Freezing Moon” solo played by Teloch. Not a single festival performance of Mayhem had this kind of sinister mood to it…
As if the gig wasn’t already thrilling enough, Attila’s performance was dramatic and just as filled with onstage devotion as always, and Necrobutcher’s unquestionable professionalism brought the spirit of Mayhem’s original lineup.
When De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas was over, “Deathcrush” was performed as the very last song of the hellish evening. With the set closing in less than an hour, Mayhem once again proved to deliver spectacular sets despite the gig’s length (and the Helsinki show was also proof of how dedicated a fanbase they have!) (especially for an early Tuesday evening! ~ed)