Take a walk on the dark side, Norwegian black metal band Mayhem has returned to Montreal
Saint Laurent Boulevard is home to the Club Soda, a marvelous venue with a capacity of up to 975 standing guests. Their large capacity was suitable for a black metal show of Mayhem’s caliber.
In the lobby, the doors to the dance floor were rattling with the powerful sound of heavy guitars, a bone-rattling kick drum and the grueling growls of Midnight, the opening act. Their sound was incredibly powerful, though not as fast-paced as the headliner that would proceed them. Midnight’s vocals were clear and severe, backed up by wailing guitars as they sang of sin, darkness and death. Their fiery sound successfully provoked the crowd, preparing them for what was to come.
After spending Midnight’s set in the mosh pit, the silence set in as the crowd waited for Mayhem’s arrival. The band was timely, creeping onto the stage through red light and clouds of fog. Feeling like I had entered the dark dungeon of a secret society, I watched as the lights slowly grew brighter.
Opening with “Falsified and Hated,” Mayhem was met with screams from the crowd. A rush of harsh guitar and ghoulish rasping kicked the show off, with a quick flash of blue light revealing the lead singer, Attila Csihar. He was dressed in many layers, with a tattered cloak on top. His face was covered in blood and corpse paint, and in his hands he held a cross made of bones.
The band would eventually swap out their battle jackets for black ritualistic cloaks, with Csihar donning pope-esque garb, upholding the theme of a high satanic priest preaching to his devilish children. The stage would appear to be the inside of a cathedral. Eventually, Csihar would be seen swinging a noose around, whispering into the microphone over an ominous beat like a vengeful spirit.
During the band’s most notable song, “Freezing Moon,” the crowd rushed to the front of the stage and the mosh pit erupted with crowd-surfers, creating pushing and shoving galore. The pulsing lull midway through the song provided a smooth transition from the first verse’s fast pace to the sound of a more soothing embrace of death.
The most vicious mosh pit that night by far would be during “Chainsaw Gutsfuck.” People were headbanging left and right. The thunderous hum of raspy guitar and bass accompanied melodic shrieks and the beating of a vicious kick drum. Several men were shirtless, sweating and panting as they sought out their next shove from a fellow fan.
The show came to a close surprisingly early at around 11:00 p.m. The band members kindly threw picks and grasped hands with fans on their way off the stage. Overall, it was a beautifully dark, thrilling experience!
There was such a strong sense of spirit in the room through it all and it was an unforgettable night. To all metalheads of Montreal, if you haven’t had a taste of black metal yet, I’d recommend dipping your toes in by listening to a song or even attending a show (especially if you’re looking to mosh and headbang insanely hard).
Photo by Jake Beacock