As Mayhem brought Blackened Fest to St. Paul, MN on June 9, 20009, the vibe was unexpectedly and unfortunately even more somber than one would have hoped for the return of some of Norwegian black metal’s reigning elite. After already suffering the crippling blow of a late visa-related cancellation from Marduk before the tour began, the rest of the lineup except for Mayhem (Cephalic Carnage, Cattle Decapitation, and Withered) were forced to cut the trek short the night before St. Paul due to a variety of complications described by Justina V. over at Metal Injecction. Whether or not Justina’s indictment of Mayhem’s responsibility for the festival’s implosion is accurate or not, I certainly can understand her resentment as a fellow Metal Injection reporter (based in MPLS) and someone who was on the opening band’s guestlists that never arrived. To put it shortly, it was a huge bummer to be greeted with the cancellation announcement sign as I walked in, and it made me skeptical I’d even enjoy what was now becoming an expensive evening for me (although, I must say, the ticket price was actually slashed to 1/2 the original cost for those who bought advanced tickets, and refunds and free Absu tickets for next week were being offered to attendees – the venue was graciously being overly apologetic for the unfortunate circumstances).
While performances from Cattle Decap, Cephalic Carnage, Withered, and Marduk would never occur, Mayhem pushed on against the odds and advice of financial experts, carrying the torch of blackness alone on the last dates of a now-solo headlining tour. Playing to a crowd of devoted Twin Cities extreme metal faithful, Mayhem’s blistering, theatrical black metal and a collection of local bands that adequately replaced the openers who were dismissed eventually won over the dejected.
Chris Deline, my pal from CultureBully, has already posted an excellent review that breaks down the action for the show set-by-set, so I invite you to check out his recap and live videos to see exactly how the entire night panned out.
For my part, every opening act that played brought something unique to the table, just as I had originally expected heading into the night. Deterioration‘s two-instrument aural assault was the most eye-opening physical display of death-grind talent I’ve seen all year, while Grand Demise of Civilization‘s straight-forward black metal offered one of the most spectacularly ceremonious performances you’re likely to see from a band of any kind in this region. To top it all off, the classic campy metal humor of deathgore lifers in Anal Blast helped to lighten the mood considerably before Mayhem finally took control of the room.
By the time Mayhem hit the stage, the crowd was primed and ready to unleash under their dizzying spell of disgusting black metal. As Necrobutcher, Hellhammer, and the guitar duo of Morfeus and Silmaeth blasted out the storm, Attila Csihar hung his rope mockingly above the thrashing mass of a darkness in front of him, taunting the pulsing mosh pit with an oppressive arm and repeatedly ridiculing the disgraces of humanity. The stage set up was grizzly and overbearing, as well; however, one such as myself couldn’t help being sucked sucked in by this chaotic display from such a legendary and influential band beneath the dazzling lights at Station 4 in the much the same way that many people are by shocking horror films. Until the end, Mayhem never ceased to shock and impress my blackened heart after so many years throughout the lenght of their performance; when it’s said and done, they put together a show well-worth the ticket price and surely were appreciated by everyone who they stuck it out and played for (despite their inevitable financial loss).
Concluding our coverage at Station 4, I’ve got my own video from Mayhem’s set as well as some pretty vivid photographic evidence from the night. The media continues below:
VIDEO: Mayhem, Live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN, 6/9/09
Photos of Mayhem, Anal Blast, Grand Demise of Civilization, and Deterioration continue after the jump… Continue reading