Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Velnias, Nuklearenpest, Lone Summer, Ithi - 05/17/2011
... and there were fourteen of us in a circle worshiping by candlelight.
I've never been to Montclair's famed Meatlocker before. Maybe "famed" is the wrong word. But the venue has created quite a name for itself amongst this generations crowd of music lovers in New Jersey looking for their own CBGB styled hole in the wall - or in this case ground - that contains a certain smell and gritty aesthetic. The fire Marshall warning cites the legal limit for occupancy at forty-nine people. There weren't half that many people at a show that should have been packed, especially for being completely free and especially with the interest in black metal and noise recently. The entire show was worth every cent in gas even if only for Velnias, which wasn't the case.
Opening group Ithi was an electronic noise duo, consisting of Luke Krnkr and Joshua Convey, both armed with synthesizers and an army of effects pedals, loop stations and midi sequencers (I think) tied together with two miles of patch cables. I've never seen their kind of band live before and it was an unsettling experience to watch two guys behind a desk covered in gizmos wavering back and forth like horror movie archetypes. Speaking of such, musically and sonically I describe the duo as Cannibal Holocaust's soundtrack with distortion in John Wayne Gacy's basement. It was creepy but completely enjoyable. I would have been a bit frightened just to walk into their performance if no one else was in the room. Their record, The Persistence of Meaning, while a good representation of the band doesn't seem to capture the same energy the band displayed in the live setting but the vocals, which were difficult for me to hear from my position at the gig are more audible which is nice. I'm sure any fan of electronic noise would enjoy their record.
Lone Summer wasn't really my thing but would probably appeal to fans of bands like... Wolves In The Throne Room or Alcest or whoever. But, one of the highlights for me, was seeing Nuklearenpest for the first time. I've known Z. and A. for several years now. I thought their set was, immediately, loud, but once my ears adjusted, their brand of black metal was the perfect fit for the evening. Memorable, well written songs were briefly interrupted by a broken string which Z., after trudging through one track without, left his guitar on the side of the stage. Unnerved, second guitarist, H.L., handled all the guitar duties while Z. gave an impassioned performance on vocals.
Last band of the night, and who I was really there to see, aside from hanging out the Nuklearenpest dudes, was Velnias, the Colorado entity which take Funeral Doom, Black Metal and god knows what else, and lays waste to all. While on record, Velnias may be more reserved and meticulous, live, auditory impalement is the name of the game distorting their songs into body numbing ritualistic self mutilation. It's like listening to Lordamor's take on Burzum covering Under A Funeral Moon. Lights were turned off, the wall of amplifiers - most hand made by guitarist Petras - turned up, candles lit, and tracks from their album Sovereign Nocturnal were summoned amidst a small but loyal grouping of onlookers. I hope one day to see the video to this as I know that the band was given a black and white grainy bootleg styled video at the end of the night. If you have the chance, go witness them live.
I had the opportunity to interview Petras after the show as well. That interview will air on The Vault June 8th at 10PM EST.