Sunday, October 19, 2008
Bands: Watain, Withered, Book of Black Earth, Sothis, Winterthrall, and Gravehill
Venue: The Knitting Factory, Hollywood, California
Date: October 18, 2008.
I’m resigned to the fact that a Gaahl-fronted Gorgoroth probably will never grace the shores of the United States; however, getting an opportunity to see black metal masters Watain in concert comes close in terms of experience. Naturally, I trekked out to the Knitting Factory for the second time in two weeks for yet another monstrous bill, this time a six-band marathon headlined by Watain.
Four local bands kicked things off with Gravehill, an old school death metal act, going first. Decked out in bullet belts, spikes, masks, and so on, these guys were highly entertaining and came across as a version of old Sodom with a great deal of energy, enthusiasm, and even some humor. Gravehill are definitely a band to check out further. Next up were Winterthrall, an uneven band playing blastbeat driven black metal, but with no theatrics whatsoever. Not bad, but not all that great, either.
Next up were local heroes Sothis, a symphonic black metal act perhaps on the verge of hitting it big. Although I was less than enamored with their debut full-length “De Oppresso Liber”, their performance was slick, professional, and impressive. Much better than the last time that I saw them, and I may be becoming convinced.
Book of Black Earth from Seattle were next and I was very much looking forward to checking out this up and coming band, a band with which I am not familiar. Frankly, they kicked some serious ass with awesome drumming from Joe Axler and well written songs. Yes, I’m going to get a hold of their latest full-length, “Horoskopus”.
Withered from Atlanta were up next, another act with which I’m not familiar, but had been hearing great things about. Unfortunately, they did not go over very well in a live setting and the crowd seemed to become bored with them rapidly. That’s too bad, because underneath a wall of noise seemed to be some quirky songwriting with nuance that just didn’t seem to translate, at least this night. I’m reserving judgment on Withered until I’ve had a chance to hear their latest full-length, entitled “Folie Circulaire”.
As entertaining as the opening acts were, everyone was there to see Watain, plain and simple. The first thing noticeable prior to the opening of the stage curtain is the palpable stench. Upon opening, the stage is fully dressed with huge inverted crosses, candles, bones, animal heads on pikes, you name it. Fully decked out in corpsepaint, Watain storms the stage with energy and blows through a highly theatrical, visually entertaining set. Ultimately, Watain were as I expected, and I went away exhausted and satisfied after a six-hour marathon evening.
Oh, and the Knitting Factory’s bathroom was as I feared.
Special thanks to Dave Brenner.
The t-shirt haul...
Book of Black Earth