GIG REVIEW: Belphegor, Origin, Shining & Abigail Williams at Oakland Metro, Oakland, California
These are great times to be alive if you are a Metal head, and happen to be living in the States. This Year, North America has seen some of the most amazing tours in its history. August witnessed the wrath of Abigail Williams, Shining, Origin and Belphegor raiding across, decimating everything in its path. One of their stops was the recently relocated Oakland Metro in Oakland, California on the 19th of August. Bay area local support Anisoptera began the proceedings with their style of metal, which had unique flavors of technicality and progression, infused into raw death metal. Their music takes its influence from various genres ranging from Jazz to classical and obvious Death metal. They played a short but stellar set, which definitely served as a warm up to the necks which were about to be destroyed.
Abigail Williams brought the cold and grim to stage, with their atmospheric black metal. A rare but one of the most beautiful forms of Metal in my opinion, we hardly get to see bands of this genre active in the live circuit. The set simply made me close my eyes and absorb every bit of the soul in it. It felt as if the crowd was taken over by a cloud of euphoria.A perfect balance of evil and atmosphere is what made it an experience, which could only be felt, and not explained in words. They do seem to have been gone through lineup changes, since the last time I saw, however they are here to stay and keep creating what is called a beautiful music for the dark soul.
I remember, few years ago while exploring the dark alleys of Black metal, a dear friend has suggested checking out Shining from Sweden. They associated their music to the genre Depressive Suicidal Black Metal or DSBM as we say it. It did blow my mind. But, had I thought, that I would get to watch them live on their first ever US tour. The band blasted off with their unique variety of black metal, which progressed from evil tremolo picked riffs to eerie depressive tones. Founder Niklas Kvarforth’s Captivated the crowd with his pain and despair laden vocals. Crisp drumming by Jarle and some of the most amazing guitar work by both Peter and Euge made it the best set of many such evenings I have witnessed. Niklas interacted fairly with the crowd. In one of the ‘incidents’ of the evening, he snatched away the phone of one from the first row who was filming the set. ‘Look through your eyes, and not your camera’ he said. Shining’s set was exactly how I expected it to be, dark and depressive, and specially when the mellow parts hit, it felt like transcending into a different dimension altogether. It was definitely the most notable performance of the evening.
Next up was US based extreme Technical Death Metal pioneers Origin. Being the only pure death metal group, they provide the required diversity to the lineup.Their sole purpose being melting faces,from the first note played, brutality was delivered in the most brutal way possible. The sound could be defined as extreme even for the regular technical death metal listener and many a time,with all the high tempo blast beats and intense riffing, it was difficult to understand what is going on. As expected, the venue could see the most brutal moshpits of the evening followed by numerous stage dives and two walls of deaths. And then would come in the sweet slams, bringing along the groove, and the whole crowd would just bang their head as there is no tomorrow.
It was now time for the Occult Blackened Death metal hordes from Austria,Belphegor to take stage. A Belphegor stage is a unique ritual like setup comprising of ram skulls and bones to arising smoke lit blue, and a very soothing and mysterious music being played in the background. The lights dimmed and finally the band was on stage. “In Blood – Devour This Sanctity” was how it began. They delivered the best of both the black and death worlds through other songs like “Lucifer Incestus” and “Totenkult”. The set was a phenomenon for the crowd to behold. Musically, the performance by the band was extremely tight and insane.
Blood and beer was equally being spilled in the mosh, while the others banged their heads in awe. A lineup as diverse as the euphoric atmospheres of Abigail Williams, the despair ridden depths of Shining, the face melting by Origin, and a taste of the occult by Belphegor, the year’s ‘Conjuring the Dead’ tour brings together some of the best metal this world has to offer.