First off, this is not a review of the Cradle of Filth show last night. I tried to get into Cradle of Filth in the months leading up to this show. I listened to their new album and a lot of their older stuff, even spending quite a bit of time with the so-called ‘classic‘ albums, but they never clicked. I think it’s Dan‘s voice that I can’t get past and this is coming from someone who loves black metal vocals. That being said, I did stick around for their set after Nachtmystium played, but I only lasted about 15 minutes before leaving. No offense to the fans, it’s just not my thing.
You might ask why I was at the Creatures of the Black Abyss Tour if I am not a Cradle of Filth fan and my answer will be the same as a lot of the other reviews I’ve seen out there and that is ‘Blake Judd and Nachtmystium‘. The progressive, black(?) metal album, Addicts: Black Meddle, Part II, was one of my favorites last year and I didn’t want to pass up a chance to see this material live, even if it was as in the form of a supporting act.
The line for willcall at The Gothic Theatre was about 30 people deep at 7:15pm. By the time I picked up my ticket, showed my id, got stamped and grabbed a beer, it was 7:30pm and the second band was half way through their set. Evidently the only other band I cared to see, Turisas, had a half hour set starting at 6:30pm. Who the hell plays at 6:30? Pretty disappointing, especially when I thought they were the second band to play. Turns out Finnish, HIM side-project Daniel Lioneye were second and that’s who was wrapping up their 30 min set when I walked in. Gothic metal with a funky/sludgy edge…think HIM meets Infectious Grooves with an Eyehategod influence? Something like that. I couldn’t get into Daniel aka Mikko Viljami “Linde” Lindström‘s vocals but the music was alright and the last song was actually pretty good. Everyone seemed to know these guys and they had the crowd going, so even though I would give them a 4 on their musical performance, I would give them an 7 on energy…this would have been higher if not for the incredibly generic ‘do you like metal?’ ‘show me your horns’ ‘we are from Finland’ type crap.
Blake Judd and his crew started setting up their stage minutes after Daniel left and took half the crowd with him. I fought my way against the tide to the stage while everyone else went to the bar or out to smoke.
Their set started just after 8:00pm with instrumental intro, One of These Nights, before taking it up a notch for Assasians. The vocals were buried and that was disappointing. Doing my best to get center stage without getting sucked into the most dangerous of pits (an empty one), the vocals sounded a little better, but not great. I wasn’t familiar with the the four guys Blake had onstage with him, but they were impressive, especially the bassist, Will Lindsay, in his Descendents shirt. He reminded me of Flea, if Flea was a tall, skinny black metaller. But to call this black metal is deceiving. Sure, Blake‘s vocals are sung in a black metal style and although this band started out true to that genre, the Black Meddle albums are actually named after Pink Floyd and have a very progressive sound to them, causing the addition of a keyboardist on stage.
It was the full-band stage presence that made this a set worth seeing even if the vocals weren’t right on. Although no matter how many people are on stage, there is not doubt that this is a one-man project, especially when Blake announces Addicts with ‘this is the title track from my latest album‘. After seeing Nachtnystium live, the similarities to Nine Inch Nails are much more prevalent…Blake having more in common with a young Reznor than a Nocturno.
Nachtmystium played their 40 min set of Black Meddle material straight through with little audience interaction or stage theatrics. No make-up, no ‘do you like metal‘ or ‘scream for me Denver!‘…just a comment on having to hydrate in the Mile High City before pounding a can of PBR, a question as to whether the audience liked ‘to take drugs and fuck’ before dedicating Hellish Overdose to ‘your poor decisions‘ and then an odd request (from a band that sings about the destructive power of drugs and addiction) for cocaine to be delivered to ‘the blue bus outside‘…a bus I passed on my way to my car when I left the venue much earlier than expected. Maybe I should have waited for a headlining show where they could have played more than 7 songs and the sound guy might actually give a shit about how they sound.
One of These Nights
Ruined Life Continuum
Ghosts of Grace
High On Hate