Phew, what a week it has been for me! The 2014 Metal Alliance Tour was my second of three shows this week, as it stormed into Philadelphia at The Theater of Living Arts. As reported by Damian in part one of the A&GS coverage for this tour, the lineup features the likes of BEHEMOTH and GOATWHORE. But it also showcases Norwegian black metal horde 1349, summoners of Satan INQUISITION, and progressive technical death metallers BLACK CROWN INITIATE. Maclyn Bean Photography took these evil photos you see before you!
BLACK CROWN INITIATE took the stage first, opening with “Stench of the Iron Age”. The intro was melodic and tastefully executed. Andy Thomas sang while playing his 8 string guitar. Shortly after, vocalist James Dorton made his way on stage as they burst into the heavy sections of the first track from their Song of the Crippled Bull EP. Through their set, backing screams were dealt by guitarist Rik Stelzpflug. The sound of this band is massive! The rhythm section of bassist Nick Shaw and drummer Jesse Beahler kept everything in line and super tight. The just over seven minute epic lead into “Ghosts She Sends,” the second track from the EP. While most people in attendance at the TLA may not have known BCI coming into this night, they know who they are now! The band was forceful and full of energy. They finished their brief set by playing the remaining two tracks from their EP. As they walked off stage, the Philly fans applauded and cheered very loudly. I am looking forward to seeing them again soon. Do yourself a favor and get to these shows early to catch this up and coming powerhouse quintet.
Up next was INQUISITION. I have looked forward to this moment since I bought tickets the day they went on sale. INQUISITION is one of my absolute favorite black metal bands and I’ve never seen them live. In my opinion, they are masters of black metal guitar riffs and songwriting. The two-piece took the stage, ominous red lighting upon their corpse painted faces. The crowd roared at the site of them as they charged forth with the lead track from 2013’s Obscure Verses for the Multiverse, titled “Force of the Floating Tomb.” Elated fans like me chanted along with guitarist/vocalist, Dagon, “RAISE THY CHALICE, RAISE THY CHALICE!” For this band only having two members they sounded huge! “Spiritual Plasma Evocation” and “Command of the Dark Crown” followed. I was absolutely blown away by this band. They didn’t miss a thing! All of the insanity you hear on their records is absolutely realized in full during their live performance.
Next, the duo performed “Ancient Monumental War Hymn” from 2007’s Nefarious Dismal Orations. I had very high expectations for this band coming into this show and they completely surpassed all of them. INQUISITION carved ahead with “Crush the Jewish Prophet” off of Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer and “Those of the Night” from Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult. Through their eight song set-list, the band featured songs from most of their full-length release catalog. “Astral Path to Supreme Majesties” was the next composition in an utterly crushing, non-stop set. Dagon and Incubus rarely took time between songs, but after their seventh song, they informed Philly their time was just about up. Dagon said they would close with one of their personal favorites “Infinite Interstellar Genocide” from their latest LP. I could not have been more pleased with their song choices and total performance. I was in my absolute Satanic black metal glory. I can’t stress to anyone enough; GET TO THESE SHOWS EARLY! If you don’t, you will miss this undeniable force in music known as INQUISITION.
After a brief stint in the mosh pit during GOATWHORE’S set, I was ready to witness 1349. They were another band I never had the opportunity to see in a live setting. The corpse paint adorned four-piece wasted no time as they blasted into their set of hellfire. The level of intensity skyrocketed as frontman Ravn screamed his hate filled lyrics, staring down everyone in attendance. The energy and aggression could be felt throughout the entire building that night as guitarist Archaon, bassist Seidemann, and touring drummer Sondre gave it their all. With the complex nature of their technically extreme black metal, 1349 executed with deadly precision.
Highlight tracks from the night included “I Am Abomination” from 2005’s Hellfire, “Chasing Dragons” off of Beyond the Apocalypse, and “Atomic Chapel” from Demonoir. My favorite song from their set came in the form of a brand new track. Recently, 1349 premiered a song titled “Slaves.” It will be featured on their yet to be titled LP due out later this year, but you can purchase the 7” single on tour now. The song is fast and aggressive, with the feeling of old school black metal influence. It is a fine taste of what is to come from the black metal horde and should be witnessed live for the ultimate experience. Overall, 1349‘s performance was intense, powerful, and unapologetic. On this night, they proved to Philly why they have been a major force in black metal for over ten years; their brand of aural hellfire compares to none.
LIVE REVIEW BY ERIC THE BULL
LIVE PHOTOS BY MACLYN BEAN PHOTOGRAPHY