Mayhem / Immolation / Black Anvil @ Irving Plaza – 12.2.17

Published: December 12, 2017
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Prospect Park might not be the best zoo in NYC but it is certainly the most metal. I mean, seriously, that place has fucking everything. They have a Sumatran Goth Chicken and a Chinese Fanged Deer. They’ve got an existential otter and an invasive Mallardian horde. They have a goat so fat it had to be quarantined, baboons with calloused asses for days, epic iguanas, radical fruit bats, one seriously sagacious Pallas cat, a cow named Merlin, a mob of balling mongoose (A MOB, DUDE!), enough poison dart frogs to kill Revolver’s readership three times over, snakes, dingos and three mini pigs which are just, like, the BEST! and now and again, I was assured, can be found all snuggled together snoring under their little wool blanket because sometimes everything is just so fucking right with the world.

They also have peacocks, the jerks.

And sea lions and fish and birds and cranes and another cat and simians, et al. and the reason I’m telling you all this is because I started my day at the zoo with some of my dearest because that’s how a man of a certain age spends his birthday before sauntering off with Joseph to herald in the benchmark of bleakest blackness.

Unnatural histories and all that.

But those little pigs, though…

Black Anvil

Joseph missed Black Anvil which is a sin because he would have been ALL IN for this shit. Blackened and bloodied sigilistic new rage from the concrete coven of NYC, Black Anvil kick the Necrinomicon jams with a careful balance of red-boned hate and horn-throwing exaltation. Like a black tar hemorrhage suffocating a biker dust death trip, Black Anvil bring the bad times hard with no fucks to be given.

Immolation

“I think this is actually categorized as technical death metal.”

“What the fuck is that?”

“It’s when the music is actually insanely complex but all you can hear is some dude going ‘GGRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOUURRRGGG!'”

“Huh.”

“Yeah…and they’ve been doing it for, like, thirty years.”

“Metal is weird.”

Mayhem

I’m pretty sure it’s been twenty years since I saw Mayhem play Wetlands before a slew of seriously fucking serious dudes at least one of whom road the rails from his New Hampshire “homestead” just to hear “Pure Fucking Armageddon” live before he died and I’m pretty sure it’s been about twenty years since I’ve listened to them in earnest.

But Mayhem is legend and the last year they’ve been touring in celebration of the ludicrous perfection that is De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (think Venom playing Twin Infinitives or vice versa) so who wouldn’t willingly genuflect at the blackest of masses?

I mean, I know I did. I soaked in the wraith. I welcomed the fog. I believed the skull hiss and wished death upon the merciful.

Joseph was less penitent and I suppose that’s understandable. Introducing someone to Mayhem at this point in their career is a challenge. The band’s history is so enormous, so storied that it invites irrational expectations but Mayhem isn’t the same band they were when churches were burning and murder made their name. They’re not a bunch of drunk punks trying to kill themselves with Venom worship and bitter, idle horror. They’re professional musicians with one hell of a light rig and a frontman unafraid to embrace the theatrical. They’re a show, plain and simple and their interpretation of the grand guignol might not send real shivers down your spine but it’s a delicious bit of escapism in a trying fucking time.

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