There are some bands more adept at riding the chaos than others in the storied history of underground music. From noise and hardcore pioneers like Steel Pole Bathtub to Man Is The Bastard to synth/indie/post-core bands like Six Finger Satellite to numerous grindcore bands like Fuck The Facts, etc.- some groups just embody the concept of "fuck it/let's really go for it" more than others. NY's Black Mesa sits proudly in that same spirit of frenzy and ferocious inventiveness, as evidenced by their recent compilation of insanely manic live performances. Whatever sub genre they throw in the emotional blender, you are bound to enjoy a deliciously nutritious smoothie of muddy sonic punk purée.
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NYC’s celebrated Gramercy Theatre was host to a plethora of true metal fans of various stripes, from denim jackets to hipsters to black t shirts to hairbags. The occasion was the inredible package tour of Witch Mountain, Ecstatic Vision plus headliners Yob and mighty black metal/prog legends from Norway, Enslaved. The tour is a celebration of much of what is good about metal right now, deep roots of Yggdrassil extending into the past, present and future.
I was really excited as I’d yet to see any of these great bands live. I’ve been an Enslaved fan since my artist pal Simon Ampel gave me a mix cd years ago with “Entrance Escape” on it along with Malevolent Creation (who turned out to be racists, unbeknownst to me and Jewish Simon at the time, so I never listen to them anymore).Enslaved, however, have left a long lasting impression on me and were pretty much my introduction to black metal. Their viking/Bathory influence interested me a lot more than groveling in the dark for Satan bands and since they have remained a tour de force for pushing metal into new territory. I love their new stuff as much as the old and it was so fucking cool to finally bask in their onslaught.
It was awesome to see the marquis saying “Enslaved Tonight”, like some crazy bondage party was about to go down. It was also cool to catch up with metal scribe Kim Kelly who was holding down the merch table for Yob.
Witch Mountain were up first and Kayla Dixon, the new vocalist, had the job of winning over the toughest crowd of snobs in the world (NYC music fans). Uta Plotkin was a tremendous talent but Kayla amply filled her shoes and people were talking about her all night! At first she seemed a touch nervous and admitted as much at the merch table later but she ended up killing it! I’d say Dixon has a more soulful voice than Plotkin, who is a bit eerier. Kayla kind of stalked the stage like Angela Bassett making grim, contorted faces in American Horror Story one minute and suddenly her face looking like a quite sweet and comely model the next. It was very theatrical. It will be awesome to hear what she brings to the next Witch Mountain record. Kayla really brought the massive sound the band was putting out down from the rafters and into her body, channeling it out in stark wails.
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Whether setting stages aflame touring with Nik Turner’s Hawkwind or landing on many a year end list (sorry gang, I got into this record too late for my year end poll this year), Witch Mountain have become very well known and respected in the real heavy metal underground.
Their latest offering Mobile Of Angels has been rightly praised by critics. Did the band expect it would get such good reactions? Is the title alluding to teaching kids religion at a young age, like a crib toy?
“You never know how an album will be received,” says Nathan Carson .“The key is simply to satisfy yourself as an artist. As for the title, it came from a dream that our guitarist had and a nice description of it is included in the lyrics to the title track, as well as the album art.”
The Billy Andersen tracked MoA is a pivotal release for the seemingly super busy drummer, booker, writer Carson’s band. It also would prove the final album (to date) of popular vocalist/demi-goddess of insane pipes Uta Plotkin.
I caught up with Carson to ask him about the release and the band’s future course.
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Welcome to Metal Riot’s Cover Art Battle! Every week we try and show the best-of-the-best in metal cover art, ranging from the fantastically illustrated to hauntingly photographed and everything in between.
Another week, more album cover art to discover. New bands. Tenured bands. Enough shenanigans. Time for you to go and vote.
That is all.
***WINNER*** Bilocate – Summoning The Bygones (Code 666)Add to My Radar