The Atlas Moth -- Detroit, MI -- September 1st, 2012
I was supposed to be back in Texas last week but am still in Michigan so I figured Iíd see if there were any shows going on this weekend. When I saw that Altar of Plagues and The Atlas Moth were playing the Magic Stick we had a winner. After seeing The Atlas Moth twice during SXSW this year I know their songs translate well in the live setting and that they put on a great show. In addition Altar of Plagues is a band Iíve been interested in seeing in concert and I know they donít come to the US too often. While both bands employ some similar elements (black or blackened vocal parts, almost prog meets post-rock interludes, feedback and effects to create atmosphere) they actually have two very unique sounds that you wouldnít classify in the same metal sub-genre.
When I arrived downtown I found parking easily right in front of the Majestic and quickly made my way upstairs to the Magic Stick where I found the Irishmen of Altar of Plagues in the midst of their set. When I first heard Mammal last year, it didnít really click with me. However itís a record that Iíve revisited from time to time and Iíve come to enjoy the hell out of their fusion of black metal with post-rock/shoegaze elements. (I would compare their sound to Wolves In The Throne Room or Deafheaven) Stavros of The Atlas Moth is currently playing guitar with AoP; I think he is only an addition to their live incarnation and perhaps just for this tour but donít quote me on that. I was able to see at least 20 minutes of their set, which equated to a song and a half. Not sure what they were playing when I arrived; but I am pretty sure they closed with Feather and Bone. The blastbeat sections sounded so great; while the effects pedals and feedback on the guitars drenched the whole thing in a beautiful droning fuzz. Theyíre a band thatís relatively stationary on stage, but the music they play does not lend itself to a thrashing performance. It was a shame that only 20 or so people were in the crowd, because more North Americans need to see these guys.
After they finished I wandered over to the merch area where I came across a guy who was looking to see if Altar of Plagues had any CDs (they only had one shirt, CDs and vinyl were apparently in transit) and I got to talking with him. Turns out he plays bass in a Detroit stoner metal band called Karmic Lava. One of his buddies had a Sword shirt on, so we chatted about Austin for a bit. He and his other friends, including a guy in an Impiety shirt and a girl with a Nachtmystium shirt, all knew their metal and shared their greenery so I couldnít ask for much more when hitting a show in the dirty D.
We were shooting the shit out on the patio while The Atlas Moth set up and soundchecked, so when we walked back inside the Chicagoans had some green mood lighting set up in the venue and also some incense burning. Whether intentional or not there was a ton a feedback during their first couple tunes, which made it difficult to discern what they opened with. The slower interlude pieces of their songs and the layered vocals really accentuate the psychedelic elements of the bandís sound. At one point between songs when they stopped for a moment you could hear some shitty hip hop coming through one of the monitor speakers, which the band commented on; it definitely felt like a good Detroit moment. The band closed with the title track off of last yearís An Ache For The Distance. With my third The Atlas Moth show this year done, I canít complain one bit. I grabbed an Altar of Plagues shirt and talked to a couple of the band members before I headed back home for the night. Both great bands on record and solid as hell on stage.
The Atlas Moth (incomplete)
Holes In The Desert
An Ache For The Distance
8/6 - False
8/12 - High on Fire
9/4-6 - Hell's Headbash