Ragnarok -- Montreal, Quebec -- November 24th, 2012
Venue: Théâtre Plaza
Festival: Messe des Morts II
Other bands playing: Sarcomancy, Mortuas, Sylvus, Neige Éternelle
This was the third and final day of the second edition of Montreal's own black metal festival: la Messe des Morts. The previous days featured other exclusive band performances, such as Revenge, Seth, Archgoat and Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult. However, both bands I was the most excited for, Darkspace and Mgła had unfortunately cancelled. The festival has grown a lot since last year (that featured Absu and Inquisition, among others) and it was now in a much bigger venue than the Katacombes. Except for the long coat-check lineups, I totally love Théâtre Plaza. It has a vintage old theater look and the blueish lightings give it a cold, dark atmosphere that is perfect for black metal shows. It also has a screen in the back where bands can screen their logos. My friend and I got there a bit after 5:30 (it's early, I know), right in time to catch the first band of the evening. It was a new band from Worcester called Sarcomancy. They played some kind of generic, Immortal-influenced black metal and their structures didn't flow that well. They were pretty boring, but they had some cool moments and they guys were pretty sympathetic. The second one was a Quebec band called Mortuas, but hunger made me miss them. Me and my friend went to Subway and came back for the first really interesting band.
Sylvus is a band from Toronto. They play really dark black metal with some pagan/folk influences. The guitarist/vocalist was hilarious in a good way; he wore a hood and he kept making abrupt theatrical moves. It made their show even more entertaining. The key element was obviously their songs: the melodies interpretated by their beautiful female russian guitarist were always memorable and their Jesus's-evil-twin drummer displayed impressive skills. A very cool discovery. Next were the Quebec patriotic black metallers Neige Éternelle. Even though they only have released one demo CD, there seems to be some kind of local scene hype around them. It was my first time seeing them and I didn't know what to expect. Let's say I was partially disappointed. They were all dressed in traditional wool jackets and wore horrendous corpse paint. They gave a good performance, but their songwriting is a bit too ordinary for my tastes. Their succession of generic, over-played black metal riffs got boring after a few songs. Still, they had a good presence and managed to get some pits going on. I'm happy I saw them, but it will probably be the last time.
Now was the time for the two foreign bands. After an exaggeratedly stretched sound check, the floridian war metallers of Black Witchery finally hit the stage. Their performance was basicly the same as the one they played at MDF this year, but with one extra song and with Impurath being a little less pissed. Sadly, there was no one dressed as a banana this time to make him angry. Another thing that was different compared to their MDF show was the sound: the bestial vocals were more audible and the guitar/drum attack was even more abrasive. It basicly sounded like armageddon. This word could also describe the pit chaos that was going on on the floor too. Violent stuff. At some points, their ultra-minimalist riffing made songs feel a bit lengthy, but overall it was a destructive and fun set. Probably the best of the night.
The final band of this year's edition was the norwegian legends of Ragnarok (like Black Witchery, they made us wait at least 45 minutes for kvlt needs - kinda lame). Well, the only "legend" left in the band is their relentless drummer. Their new guitarist looked like an obese version of Kerry King with corpse paing and a huge inverted cross hanging from his neck, but he did a great job with the riffing. The new vocalist (he's actually not that new, he sang on the two most recent Ragnarok records) also did a hell of a job. His corpse paint and fake blood made him look like a revenant and his vocals were powerful. He communicated a lot with the crowd, to the point where it got a bit cheesy, with the "HAIL SATHAN!" and "NORWEGIAN BLOCK METHOLZ" shouts, but it was all good fun. The band gave a fun show, but I was getting tired and the majority of songs from their latest opus Malediction, that I don't especially dig, made me drowzy. Fortunately, songs like "Pagan Land" and especially "Blackdoor Miracle" woke me up. At the end, the thinned out crowd chanted for the band to come back and their played one last classic from Diabolical Age, ending the Mass in a beautiful way.
The turnout of this show was surprisingly good, and from what I heard, it was also the case for the two previous days. It makes me proud to have a festival like this in my hometown and to see it enjoy success like that. I would have liked to see Mgła and Darkspace, but oh well. Martin of Sepulchral Productions said that he would try to bring them here for a tour in 2013 and that we would get discounts on the tickets if we kept the ones for this night's show. Let's hope this really happens.
Holocaustic Church Devastation
Unholy Vengeance of War
Crush the Messiah
Command of the Iron Baphomet
Heretic Death Call
Desecration of the Holy Kingdom
Inferno of Sacred Destruction
Chaosforms of Demonic Hate
Ritual (Blasphemy cover)
Blood of Saints
Bless Thee for Granting Me Pain
(Dolce et Decorum est) Pro Patria Mori
Collectors of the King
Necromantic Summoning Ritual
Iron Cross - Posthumous
Sword of Damocles
In Nomine Sathanas
8/6 - SubRosa