sabato 21 ottobre 2017
Mayhem/Dragged into Sunlight/Naudiz (Ciampino, 17th October 2017)
Location: Orion Live Club - Ciampino (RM), Italy
Date: 17th October 2017
Strangely, I never published a live report on my Timpani allo Spiedo 'zine during all these years. I did only some live reports for the other 'zine in which I am involved (heavymetalwebzine.it). But, finally, this is the first live report to be appeared here. It wasn't written by me but by a friend of mine, that, some days ago, watched the mighty Mayhem in the Orion Live Club (a location in Ciampino near Rome) in a very nostalgic and theatrical gig where the band played entirely their seminal "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" in order to recreate the sick and ultra-Satanic atmosphere typical of the '90s black metal.
So, enjoy this fantastic article written by L.L. full of photos shot by him and join the black metal kult until your fatal death!
After I slept over one night and more, today I am interested to say a couple of words about the Roman live gig of the legends of Scandinavian black metal Mayhem.
Last night on Tuesday 17th October, in fact, the Norwegians Mayhem, a band that certainly does need no presentations, have performed his gig in the eternal city! The concert was originally scheduled for May 23th, but was postponed last Tuesday due to problems concerning with the organization of the tour (this is what we know).
The Scandinavian quintet has re-presented its milestone "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas", 23 years since its release in 1994. The re-launching of past records or concerts is an operation that not everyone likes, but that I fully support, at least in this case having not seen Mayhem at the time. As someone can object and say: "…It's not the same thing…", I reply that, certainly, today the band isn’t the same as it was in 1994 (and before) and also the atmosphere isn’t the same of the '90s, at least looking to the massive presence of cell phones (including mine) trying to immortalize some of the most important moments of the show. But, doubtless, the chance to taste at least part of a show that has entered history and not just for what concerns black metal music, is a must not to be missed for every black metal enthusiast.
The location chosen for the show is the Orion Live Club in Ciampino, a top class venue that, in my opinion, not suitable for hosting a concert of groups like Mayhem. His great circular hall in use as a disco as well as a concert hall can’t create the right dark and mysteric atmosphere needed for the best performance of such a concert.
The turnout of spectators has been steady for all the evening and has reached its peak (of course) with the performance of the Norwegian quintet. The opener was the promising trio of Roman blacksters Naudiz (there is need to say that they released some months ago their debut album through the important German label Iron Bonehead Productions) followed by the British combo Dragged into Sunlight, which featured a sound closer to blackened death and doom metal.
Going into further in the details of this evening, Mayhem come on stage with a quintet featuring Hellhammer on drums, the bassist Necrobutcher, the rhythmic guitarist Teloch and the legendary Attila Csihar at the vocals. The four are supported by the newest member at the solo guitar, the British guitarist Charles Hedger (Ghul).
On the stage stands the enormous, oversized Hellhammer's drums partially hidden by an altar featuring two candles and a skull. Unfortunately, the big drums almost covers the background image, in which we can see the image chosen as picture for the concert’s poster. At both the sides of the stage there were four banners, two in the background placed at both sides of the drums and two further ahead on in the foreground, with as many stone images that were replaced, firstly, by other four ones and afterwards, at the end of the show, by four skeletons of friars. On the banners there are different images including a capped hooded anthropomorphic figure with the head of goat (Baphomet?), a female figure with a skeleton of a child, an angel without head, and the well-known angel of despair (located in Rome's non-catholic cemetery).
Finally, the Black Mass begins! Now on the stage, the band members are dressed in a simple tunic except Attila that wears a bishop's dress. And everyone flaunt a freaky face painting except Ghul (without makeup).
The tension is palpable since the first notes. After a long instrumental intro in which we can hear a slow and lilting toll of bells, “Funeral Fog”, one of the most beloved songs of the band, starts, so the fog invades the stage while the creepy and distressing voice of Attila performs the text written by Dead in such a masterful and unusual manner making the track distressing and super intense at the same time. The vocals are barely perceptible under the assassins riffs of the two guitarists who are side by side with a drums base of brutal precision. After “Funeral Fog”, it’s the turn of “Freezing Moon” with its anguishing intro, “Buried by Time and Dust”, my favorite one that features inhuman blast beats, “From the Dark Past”, and the most evocative “Life Eternal” and all the other tracks till the last one: the title track “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”, violent and obsessive with sharp guitars and the Attila's voice which plays magical-evocative formulas in Latin, alternating with anguishing vocalizations.
Behind his altar Attila, that lived in Rome from 1998 to 2004 (firstly near Colosseum and, then, in the Roman area called Trastevere), evokes occult entities and walks across the stage with his thurible "blessing" the spectators, then he performed an Hamletic and insane duet with the skull silent that was on the altar. All the show is immersed in an overabundant and practically continuous smoke curtain, the stone images (like the skeletons) are skillfully illuminated by beams of strong intermittent white light that make them look almost like apparitions, ghosts in the fog, which respond to the evocations of the band. The lights in plant that prefers the blue, red, and purple shades enhances the severity of the slow and cadenced movements of the entire band on the stage, contributing to the creation of a magical and mysterious atmosphere, a disturbing theatrical show of lights and shadows from a pounding and precise melody and a tearing and evocative vocals.
Shortly, this operation will be questionable, but I would say that (even this time) Mayhem have centered the point. In fact, they have succeeded in bringing the public (and even themselves) back more than twenty years and to let us revive the spirit that animated their black metal of that period with a performance far from what the group usually present today. There was only a shame: the show was so short, just an hour (even less). But maybe it is better this way.