In late July, legendary blackened death metal outfit Belphegor announced a North American tour celebrating their 2014 album, Conjuring the Dead. For this tour they took the black metal acts Abigail Williams and Shining as well as technical death metal band Origin as their support acts. Their New York fans got excited when they were confirmed to play at New York City’s iconic Gramercy Theater. The venue was really packed from the start as people from all over the Northern Coast were attending.
After Abigail Williams opened up the show, it was Shining’s turn to go on. Their set gave this tour controversy due to vocalist Niklas Kvarforth cutting himself and bleeding onto the audience at several shows, as well as people being aware of some of the insane things this man has done in the past. The band played a mixture of their early stuff and their later more progressive material, pleasing fans of both eras. Guitarists Peter Huss and Euga Valovirta played extended guitar solos half way through the set. This showed the band’s number of influences including classic rock and Latin jazz. Nik didn’t do any over the top stage antics outside of goofy improv, but his left arm was bandaged showing he was cutting at other shows. Their set really reminded us that there is much more to Shining than shock value.
After Shining were done, it was Origin’s time to shine. Origin is a band that gets on many metal bills and they deserve it as they are always amazing live. Like always their live presence was insane, and the band’s mix of ultras technicality and high energy translate well here. Vocalist Jason Keyser started a wall of death telling one side of the crowd to be the death metal side and the other to be the black metal side.
During Origin’s set, it got a little too crowded for a decent amount of people, so they retreated downstairs and watched Origin from the TV screens. Others went downstairs to buy shirts, as the merch tables weren’t so crowded during this time. Several hidden treats were here for those who ventured down here. One of these was Niklas letting fans gather around and take pictures with him; he also sang Christmas carols to some of them (not making this up). During the intermission between Origin and Belphegor he was seen hanging at the bar with several fans and just having casual talk. As crazy as Nik is, he still loves his fans.
Also, during this intermission, cult filmmaker/metal DJ Bill Zebub was hanging around, handing out copies of his film A Nightmare of Elmo’s Street for free.
Once 10:40 rolled around, Belphegor hit the stage. While all the bands had great sound, these guys sounded the most spot on as everything sounded really clear. Their stage presence was great and the crowd moshed like crazy. The band’s set was mostly focused on their later material, with some of their best later tracks such as “Hell’s Ambassador” and “Bondage Goat Zombie” being included in the set. Like always, the band’s set included fun theatrics, such as the members being covered in blood with props on the stage and had an actor play a satanic druid. At around 11:50, the show ended with the crowd mostly being pleased on how they spent their Wednesday night.
Photo by Colleen “Coco” Duffy.