Concert Review: Creatures From The Black Abyss Tour

One of these things is not like the othersImpressive lineup for this one, interestingly sponsored by both Decibel magazine and Fearnet. I like the potential behind Fearnet sponsoring tours – would be my kind of stuff, I assure you!

Anyhow, opening act was Daniel Lioneye, who are notable for their guitarist/vocalist Linde also being a member of HIM and that their song ‘The King Of Rock N’ Roll’ was the theme for Viva La Bam on MTV. Heavy at times but always with a Pop/Blues undertone, they were decent openers but nothing stood out as spectacular. I do like their song ‘Euroshaman’ which can be heard if you follow the link.

Next up, and damn near stealing the evening, were the Battle Metal outfit known as Turisas (pictured with yours truly). Mixing elements of Folk with Death Metal is certainly nothing new, but even minus accordionist Netta Skog (who dropped off the tour due to health reasons) these guys put on a super-high energy show that had the crowd dancing and singing along like a Finnish pubcrawl! Dressed like barbarians complete with warpainted faces, Turisas blend of symphonic elements with fiddle-centric traditional interludes made for a truly enjoyable and memorable performance. A lot of fans were won that night – including me!

Amusingly, vocalist Mathias “Warlord” NygÃ¥rd complained openly about the “piss water” he’d been handed on stage, such that when a crowd member yelled out for him to “drink a beer”, he responded “I would if I’d been given one!”. A large cup of something made it’s way across the pit to quickly remedy that situation & the show proceeded.

Following Turisas were the psychedelically influenced Nachtmystium. Combining obvious Pink Floyd riffs with extreme metal vocals, there’s nothing quite like their unique sound. Self described as “what happens when Pink goes Black”, I found their onstage performance enjoyable but ultimately suffering from a certain lack of momentum – a common problem for “Stoner” acts. Still, I would definitely see them again as their musicality is excellent, layered with vintage keyboards & classic rock chord progressions that evoke images of bad acid trips or late night hashish binges. Definitely a band to re-listen to with headphones & some recreational aids (in my case, Tequila).

Headliners Cradle of Filth closed out the night with a surprisingly powerful set that was visually stunning (albeit downsized from previous tours) and featuring a nice mix of old favorites and minimal new tune-age. Loved hearing ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’, ‘Nymphetamine’, ‘Honey & Sulfur’ and my all-time fav – ‘Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids’. I was also surprised to see them close with ‘From The Cradle to Enslave’, which I honestly never expected to see performed live again (but am glad I did!).

The band line-up is as stable as usual (which means it isn’t), with longtime backing vocalist Sarah Jezebel Diva & keyboardist Rosie Smith both being replaced by the lovely Ashley Ellyllon. Dani’s vocals seem to have held up to the rigors of touring, although he does appear to have put on weight and sports a haircut that looks like he lost a bet (sorry Dani, I think you rocked the longer locks better).

Overall, their performance restored my hopes that they hadn’t deteriorated into nothing more than a Hot Topic band, as the old glory and swagger were still there. Masterfully bludgeoning the crowd, guitarists Paul Allender & James McIlroy pummeled us with deft licks and screaming 6-string wails, supported by the capable rhythm section of Dave “Herr” Pybus on bass and skinbasher extraordinaire Martin Skaroupka. Unlike Dimmu Borgir’s show a few weeks ago, Cradle’s lineup shifts seem to have created a stronger entity – even if I prefer the musical direction of ‘Cruelty & The Beast’ to some of the more accessible new work.

For a show that I was “on the fence” about, this wound up being quite an enjoyable evening. Not only did I discover some excellent new bands to listen to, I was assured that an old favorite can still blow us away. Catch this tour if you can!

Gary Holt Filling In With Slayer – Because Of Zombie Infestation – The linked article off KNAC was just too good not to comment on here. First off, how very cool that Gary Holt [Exodus] is filling in for Jeff Hanneman while Slayer continues on tour in Australia. Holt is an awesome guitarist, only wish I could see him tackle the Slaytanic catalog in person. But more interesting to me, is the REASON that Jeff Hanneman is ill.

Hanneman is home recuperating from. . . a flesh-eating virus. No, really! How very Slayer-ish, eh? Not a broken arm like a lesser band might suffer, not an accidental drug overdose. The man has a freakin’ flesh-eating virus!

KNAC goes on to state that doctors think it might be the result of a spider bite. Me, I know the truth; it’s the impending Zombie Apocalypse & Jeff Hanneman is patient zero! I can see it now, 10 months in the future, the world has deteriorated into a walking dead infestation. I survive (OF COURSE – was there any doubt?!) and travel out West where I spy a particularly familiar blond zombie. Before offing him with my 12 gauge, I toss him my Charvel (which I happen to keep handy for just such situations) & and ask him to play a few bars of ‘Seasons in the Abyss’.

Ok, so I have a demented imagination. Anyhow, get well Jeff. And here’s hoping someone posts some video of Gary Holt while he fills-in. Sweet!

SUN UK: Gary Moore’s Death Involved Alcohol – So the SUN UK is reporting that there are indications Gary Moore might have died a la John Bonham & Bon Scott, i.e. choking on his own vomit. Horrible news – wasn’t bad enough that we lost one of the most under-rated guitarists in rock, but now he’ll be known for dying after an apparent drinking binge.

As a long time fan of his work, I’d like to focus on his music & not his premature death. Let the media vultures fight over the morbid details, only the worthy organizations will speak of his tremendous talent. Check out this live footage from 1984, performing a guitar solo I consider every bit as amazing & pivotal as Eddie Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’. The fact that he could so effortlessly reproduce the song live makes him the epitome of the Rock Guitar God. RIP Gary.