MAYHEM with INQUISITION
The Gothic Theater – Denver, CO
January 27th, 2017
Words and pictures by Kyle Moore, the Metal Magnus
Nothing on, above, or below this earth was going to keep me away from the Gothic Theater last week, where MAYHEM, the most notorious primogenitors of Norwegian black metal, came to perform. For those unfamiliar with the band’s long, bloody, awful history, I won’t recount much of it here: it’s readily found online or in full-length books. The short version is: original vocalist kills himself, guitarist is murdered by bassist, who burned down several ancient churches in the 90’s. All of this occurred before the band could release their first full-length album DE MYSTERIIS DOM SATHANAS. To this day, it is considered to be one of the most influential black metal albums ever recorded. But first..
On the surface, their sound is pretty standard black metal, but after a couple songs I started to really enjoy their style.
INQUISITION is a two-piece band, composed of a drummer and a guitar/vocalist – no bassist here! Black metal doesn’t seem to need much from bass anyways.
Their performance style was a little austere for my tastes, with frontman Dagon seemingly happy to stand at his mic and screech away, his deadpan face barely changing throughout the set.
- From Chaos they Came
- Ancient Monumental War Hymn
- Hymn from a Dead Star
- Infinite Interstellar Genocide
- Vortex from the Celestial Flying Throne of Storms
- Dark Mutilation Rites
- Command of the Dark
- Ancestral Path to Supremacy
- A Magnificent Crypt
I loved the theatricality of the robes, the near-darkness, and the Satanic ritual altar right in front of Hellhammer’s drum kit. There was even a pre-show announcement requesting that the audience members refrain from using any light sources during the show (i.e. cell phones) to maintain the ambiance of the performance; this is a first for any metal show I’ve been to.
There was no banter. No mugging for the crowd. No high fives, guitar picks, or drum sticks hurled. Nothing. Just pure malevolence.
Despite the minimalism, the atmosphere in the Gothic was electric. As musicians, MAYHEM played each wretched note to perfection. Hellhammer’s drumming was particularly on point.
Frontman Attila seemed to float across the stage like a wraith, his clawed hands contorting in vile shapes as he conducted Satanic rituals with skulls and candles.
As the band was backlit by blue light most of the time, seeing their faces was nearly impossible. Front-light was used only once, to great effect; a dim red glow finally gave us a look at Atilla’s ghastly face, right as he pulled back the hood of bassist (and only remaining original member) Necrobutcher. His was the only face clearly visible for the show.
Overall, this show will end up in my top-10 of all time. The thrill of seeing these musical legends in the flesh will stay with me for years to come.
- Funeral Fog
- Freezing Moon
- Cursed in Eternity
- Pagan Fears
- Life Eternal
- From the Dark Past
- Buried by Time and Dust
- De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
BONUS: this being a black metal show, there were some amazing-looking fans who showed up. I couldn’t resist taking some photos.