Monday, December 15, 2008
The owner's identity should be obvious - Oslo, Dec.2.08
Neseblod Records, Oslo, Dec.3.08
Watain - Uppsala, Dec.6.08
KK of Destroyer 666 at Necromorbus Studio, Dec.7.08
Pantheon I rehearsal, Dec.9.08
Proper use for a church - Dante's Metal Bar, Helsinki, Dec.13.08
Antti Boman - Helsinki, Dec.14.08
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I smell. I smell like zombie vomit. I smell like I shit my pants and then died. I smell like Watain. The creeping red odor of the bunker has attached itself to my hair, skin, clothes, and everything else I own. I'm not sure if Ravn will let me back into his place when I return to Oslo. I made my bed and agreed to lay in it, but I really cannot believe how bad I smell right now. It's the worst I've ever smelled in my life. Everyone who caught a whiff of me on the city train reacted with distaste or upset and some confusion as to the odor's origin. Someone had a dog on there and it wouldn't leave me alone. I have become an unwitting harbinger of Watain in my journey to Uppsala; I am now their stench-bearer and I leave a trail of olfactory evil behind me. I have to admit that being caught in this miasma has been giving me alternate waves of amusement and an unease that could pave the way to panic. I think this is the true nature of death – alternately absurd and terrifying in equal measures. People on this train car are starting to freak out. Good thing I'm getting off.
Now at the central station. I tried to look around for some dryer sheets, Febreez, or something else to stem the putrescence but the grocery stores here don't seem to carry anything like that. I hope I don't get kicked off the train. I am actually feeling a bit self-conscious; back home, this would be totally hilarious but here I feel like a scumbag amongst all these well-dressed and well-bred people. Even the Mcdonald's servers are slender blond angels sent from Heaven to serve us our Big Macs.
Maybe this is part of what motivates Watain; they come from a place where everyone is shiny, groomed, and good-looking, and they factor that into their rejection of the world at large. To be an odious freak in America is commonplace, but here it is a statement. All I know is that they are the antithesis of what I see in the people of Sweden.
5pm. I got a nice hotel room up the street from the venue and took a shower. I couldn't take it any more. I also got a bottle of Oust and sprayed it liberally on my clothes. The thermals are toast. I have to rinse them out. I have another clean shirt but that's it. We'll see if the Indian restaurant across the street can stand me. The show starts in 3 hours. It promises to be great and insane, and I am looking forward to seeing a lot of friends. More tomorrow.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Ravn and Seidemann of 1349 are graciously hosting me during my time in Norway and I then I will go to Stockholm for Watain's 10th anniversary show at week's end. There may be no time for further entries but some additional photos will be forthcoming. Thanks to all who came to the shows and to Gorgoroth and their outstanding crew. We will return to finish the job on the mainland dates as soon as we can.
Oof. I am tired. I was up until 7am talking with Gaahl. He kept pouring me wine through the course of our conversation and I ended up drinking a lot more than I had planned (which started out as not at all). Gaahl was very complimentary to Sanguine about his vocal performance last night, and King pointed out that these sorts of compliments were rare. It was nice to hear his efforts praised in that fashion. I finally slept and had a lot of weird dreams and woke up at 1:30pm feeling very unrested. Birmingham is a tough looking city and it was again cold and wet when we arrived. The venue was called The Asylum and it was actually a really nice place with an adjoining rehearsal space building that set us up with coffee, tea, and a place to hang out for a little while. The show felt very anti-climactic in a lot of ways; it was nothing compared to the raw electricity of Leeds the night before, and the turn-out was not as big. It was the standard 100 heads, give or take, but the room was large and it made the crowd seem thin. We played a razor-sharp set to a moderately good response, a lot of people were taking photos. When Gorgoroth went on the room ignited and they owned the crowd from beginning to end. It was a good time. Then came the part we always hate- the farewells. We had just gotten to know this band and its crew, all of whom we enjoyed thoroughly. There was the shared sentiment that it was too soon for us to leave and that it felt strange that we would not continue with them on their tour with Cradle of Filth. Once again, I am pleased to say that this tour, while short, was another great experience for AVRS. We presented well on all fronts and made a lot of new friends in the process. As I have affirmed many times before, I wouldn't trade this for anything.
Coda- we received a lot of email leading up to this tour regarding our opinions of Gorgoroth and Gaahl. While I still decline to comment on any of that directly, I will say that Gaahl, King, and the band as a whole were professional, dedicated, and they treated us with respect and esteem. We are not taking sides on their legal situation, but it would be very disingenuous of me to say that we did not enjoy our time on the road. If we have the chance, we will appear with them again regardless of the disputed name.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
PS We ended up trapped in front of the venue by a car parked to close to the bus' front end. Iain of Artisian and The Carcass went out and tried to wrench it out of the way. The fact that they even managed to hoist it on their own was impressive. It still didn't grant us passage but finally the bemused owner showed up to move it. Not a moment too soon. This bus is getting pretty zoological with drunks now.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The turnout was actually just fine despite the low presales. I wish I could say the same about our set. I don't like to be one of those musicians who forever bemoans performances but in this case we had a hard time in large part due to the overloud drum monitor. The Carcass couldn't hear anything because his ear was being blasted apart by the volume so we had a few moments where we felt completely lost in the weeds. The audience wasn't bothered by it so in the end it mattered little. We signed a few posters and met even more adherents of “Homecoming's March”. It seems we need to think about reincorporating some of those songs back into our set. Gorgoroth was good tonight, but they remain pretty consistent from one night to the next. Back on the bus now. Everyone has their laptops out because we're still getting a signal from the club. Sleeping soon- the jet lag doesn't want to let go.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Now- stayed near the bus all night. People in Glasgow tend to yell a lot. Gaahl drank four bottles of champagne and six tall cans of beer and was still standing. We're in the club in Glasgow now, no idea how it will go. I had to rearrange our passage to London and it is kind of a mess at the moment. The uncertainty is unwelcome.
The show itself was well-attended, we were well received, and our sound and performance was easily the best so far. Gorgoroth had a good night too, but we were all surprised at the lack of sales despite all the positive response. The rest of the evening went smoothly and we're once again ensconced on the bus and hanging out. We have a day off tomorrow in order to ferry the bus to Scotland. It is just as well, as a Monday night show in Glasgow sounds like an abysmal proposition. Truth be told, our tour manager Jay advised that while the Ireland shows had strong presales the UK dates are pretty soft thus far. I hope that doesn't remain the case as the only thing worse than playing total shitholes (as I have been warned is the case) is playing empty total shitholes.
Later - a friend of the opening band Zebadiah Crowe helped us load out and for his trouble managed to slash his thumb wide open. He was taken onto the bus and Gaahl ended up attending to him with bandages and black pepper. I think it made the kid's night to have the front man of Gorgoroth serving as the attending physician. On to Scotland tomorrow. Posting is hard to do at the moment so it looks like I will be a day behind going forward.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Cork was more locked in than Dublin. We were playing a much smaller venue with a smaller stage, but this inevitably suits us much better. I don't know why this is the case, but so be it. I slept pretty terribly. The bus bunks are actually something to get used to (they are much like coffins), and a water bottle in mine ended up leaking on my bed in the night and I woke to a cold dampness that left me uncomfortable. Before the show started we endeavored to put up our banner, which ended up meaning we had to get Gorgoroth's banner first. The stage was small and the only ladder was like something out of the Flintstones. It was a struggle but finally they went up. We dragged our banner across the ocean so we might as well use it. We sold a fair amount of merchandise and this time we started later and had more time to properly prepare so the stress levels were far less. The set was good I suppose; about halfway through The Carcass had no monitors and we ended up getting severely lost in the middle of 'Serpent Recoil' and mangling it beyond recognition. The crowd was forgiving, however, and we ended up finishing well despite flying without radar. One guy came over and said he found out about us because Ross of Immolation wore our shirt on the new Cannibal Corpse DVD. That's another one we owe him. Gorgoroth was of course well-liked and I had to laugh when the audience chanted “GAR-GER-OTH! GAR-GER-OTH!” in true Irish glory.
Afterwards, it got claustrophobic and hectic as the backstage room got jammed up with fans and promoter friends. Ultimately I went ahead and took a shower in the adjoining bathroom and for a moment I was away in the temple of my head again. This district is full of chavs and we were accosted by a couple who blathered to us about copping drugs. We remained aloof and they moved on. Horrid people. Not much else of interest happened as of this writing. We're on the bus and will remain so until morning. There's a lot of intermittent shouting along this street, and I want no part of it. It seems knifey and stabby around here and the only people I want to talk to are in here anyway. The lack of wireless access is irritating though.
Sanguine and I stayed up late talking with Gaahl. He is a wine connoisseur and discussed the fine points of wine making and matching wine to meals. We also got into talking about how paganism and Satanism reconcile and the traditions of death in Viking culture. Morning now (or 1pm actually), and we are in Belfast. Apparently the concert was mentioned on the local news and much was made about the tour package's lack of Christian convictions. Belfast is the home of religious violence for Europe, and while their rage between each other seems to have quieted as of late we could easily serve as a common enemy. We'll find out soon enough.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball." - Herman Melville, Moby Dick
I am pleased to be unfettered once more. No obligations except the days ahead, which even at their most trying moments will outshine any day of prosaic "real life" that remains difficult to escape altogether.
The Jonestown mass suicide happened 30 years ago today. Pity that such events are so infrequent. Reverend Jones had it all figured out - make yourself God and then slay the faithful. It is straight out of the Septuagint. Soon we will bring the same threats of fire and damnation to many new congregations, but there will be no salvation.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Room 710- Austin, Tx.
This is the last US show for Averse Sefira in 2008. This will also be the last Texas show for many moons, so to everyone local who asked when the band is playing again- THIS IS IT. Come witness a blistering lineup replete with AVRS as the worship-made-weapon, whetted and deadly in anticipation of their tour with Gorgoroth!
Sunday, November 30th
Arcane Promotions presents:
The Purple Turtle- Camden, London UK
Tickets are on sale now through Ticketweb.uk
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Along with the current UK incursion, Averse Sefira will strike London in a headlining appearance. Here is the updated listing:
21 - (IE) Button Factory Dublin
22 - (IE) An Cuiscin Cork
23 - (IE) The Limelight Belfast
25 - (UK) Ivory Black Glasgow
26 - (UK) Rock city Nottingham
27 - (UK) TJ's Live music Newport
28 - (UK) Rio's Leeds
29 - (UK) Thr Asylum Birmingham
30 - (UK) The Purple Turtle, London (Averse Sefira headlining date, support bands TBA)
These are 100% confirmed, do not heed any cancellation rumors.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Saturday - The next day we slept in late as none of us had any sleep on Thursday night in preparation for the very early morning flight. Vlad drove us to our hotel in West Hollywood (The Saharan, which is next to the notorious Seventh Veil strip club - both are featured in the video for Mötley Crüe's "Girls Girls Girls"). It sounds more dangerous than it is- the room was clean and comfortable and the surrounding area was relatively stable. I took the walk down to In-N-Out for my beloved "animal style" burger, and I was struck to see that neighboring Hollywood High School was taken over by local teens who were thrashing like crazy with their skateboards all over the landings and stairs. It looked like something out of a Tony Hawk game, and it was hard to believe that the cops would not chase them off due to property damage or potential lawsuits. It was something of a throwback to better times in America - thin, active kids and a permissive place for them to have some fun without being yelled at and driven back to their homes to play Xbox forever after.
We went to a grocery store across the street from the hotel, and the city did not fail to put on a show for us. As we came outside, three police cars were blocking up the lane and we quickly realized that the officers were out with guns drawn on a large Hummer. The driver exited gingerly with his hands up while the cops screamed, "GITONNAGROUN! GITONNAGROUN!" in tandem. LAPD lives for this moment. The whole thing seemed so much like a television show that we glanced around to see if there was a film crew present (there wasn't). Later, Sherman and the Gyrobus arrived to take us to the show. He declined to take the highway for fear of more traffic snarls, so we drove down the whole of La Brea Boulevard and actually saw quite a wide sampling of the city. Sherman has lived in LA all his life so he pointed out many places of interest from where famous people lived and movies were filmed. There were sites like the tattoo shop where that semi-fat rocker chick hosts a television show and the Jim Henson studios featuring a giant Kermit the Frog statue, and then we blasted through a panoply of neighborhoods that featured a variety of ethnicities, interesting landmarks, and varying degrees of urban decay until we finally arrived at the club deep in the heart of the dreaded South Central LA.The Black Castle itself was a perfectly fine venue with plenty of space and a good sized stage. It would be an ideal metal venue anywhere else, but the common refrain of the attendees was that the area was extremely dangerous. Sanguine and I could not really figure that out, since we stood out in front of the club throughout the night and the street itself was just a low-end shithole commercial district like every other low-end shithole commercial district that we've played in any number of major US cities. There were no signs of violence or apparent gang activity at all, but it seems like the location was a deterrent for some as the turnout again was below expectation (though not like Pomona by any stretch). Interestingly, many people who showed up weren't even from Los Angeles but from the San Diego area where we had that crushingly awesome show last February. It was validating to think that we made enough of an impression that anyone would drive two hours into an urban war zone to see us. Our friends Morgan (whose photos appear below) and Jessica of Nuclear Blast (and also of Texas) showed up and we were pleased to see them. We sold some merchandise though it seems that bootleg shirt penetration is total in this region; I'd never seen so many Finnish black metal shirts in one place.
We finally moved to the back stage to prepare for the show and about half the people in attendance were back there as well, which is true to form for this town. There was one guy who had a black gym bag full of LPs for sale or trade and he was also sporting a monstrous and bloody razor gash down his arm that looked like a diagram of the San Andreas fault (as The Carcass described it). Chris Hatewar was also present and he gave us some DVDs of live footage from our previous California appearances. We finally took the stage under a phalanx of well-applied red lights that were tempered with white ones for a somber effect. We launched into "Vomitorum Angelis" as our opener and from there we did not miss a note. The stage sound was completely coherent, and we were able to perform with full force unto a willing audience. The Carcass also pulled some wild stunts including accidentally breaking a stick and then continuing to play the blast beat with the broken handle end. His performance was bestial and flashy, and before long many up front were chanting his praises. Sanguine and I were in the perfect mode where our minds are tethered and we can anticipate each other with utter clarity. This is when the entity called Averse Sefira manifests and rises like a black shadow over us, and in these moments we do not falter. When it was over we were met with praise and a few overwhelming hosannas but soon enough everyone seemed to scatter. Nobody wants to hang around South Central after midnight I guess. We packed up into the Gyrobus and saw the glitz and excess of a Saturday night in LA while bathed in the bus' dreamy blue interior lights.
Sunday- The Carcass was tired and stayed in while Sanguine and I decided to explore West Hollywood. We ended up walking many blocks up Hollywood Boulevard and checked out the myriad rock shops along with the endless parade of nubile girls armed with warhead tits and armor-piercing nipples. This town has truly cornered that market. We made it over to the well-stocked Amoeba records and furrowed our brows at much of what passes for extreme metal these days. I found a used and seldom-seen copy of Mercyless' Coloured Funeral on CD as well as the original soundtrack to Apocalypse Now. I also managed to find a great leather vest on the boulevard, which for some reason is not easy to do in Texas. Despite a pleasant breeze, the sun started to have its way with us by 4pm so we took a short rest and then proceeded down La Brea for more browsing. At some point we came across a small, 1950s-era garden apartment complex that I was sure was the residence of James Ellroy when he was a child. We had no way to be certain, but Sanguine and I are both avid fans of his books so we strolled through just in case. We finally decided that we needed to see the Sunset Strip proper, so after some deliberation we waited until nightfall and set out for the Rainbow Room. As promised by the doorman of one of a dozen strip clubs we passed, it was almost an hour walk. We also ended up passing a lot of cool stores we would have liked to visit including a dedicated Mesa/Boogie dealership, and we cursed ourselves for walking the wrong direction earlier in the day. Despite the ever-present smog there was an almost ominous looking mansion in the hills above us with spot lights and purple and red underlighting that made it look as though it was suspended in the night sky like some kind of wizard's castle. Nobody we asked had any idea what it was. One random guy we asked was walking the same direction and he ended up latching onto us. It was a little odd, and I thought before long he would ask for money or drugs but he ultimately did neither. We passed the Chateau Marmonde that Jim Morrison helped make famous, and there was some big time celebrity junket going on. The amusing part was that an older couple stepped out of a car at the entrance and had dozens of photographers shooting them, and we couldn't begin to guess who they were. They looked wealthy so that was probably sufficient to be a big deal around there.
Many paces later we arrived at the Rainbow Room, which among other things is Lemmy Kilmeister's home away from home, but we decided not to go in. Five dollars just to cross the threshold? Go to hell. I think Motorhead is still on tour anyway. We grabbed a cab for the ride back and laughed at ourselves when it took the driver seven minutes to get us back to the Saharan. The hotel itself was leaking stuck-up looking club chicks from its rooms as we walked up the stairs. Women like that all look like robots to me - generic and manufactured. The next morning Sherman came out to get us and took us over to his neck of the woods in Manhattan Beach. It was well kept and pretty, and it seemed a world away from the rest of the city. We had a hearty meal of Mexican food at a local favorite walk-in diner and then walked out onto the beach at the bottom of the hill. It was nice to visit a beach that wasn't jammed with idiots and for the first time ever I touched the waters of the Pacific Ocean. It was somewhat undercut by the fact that I managed to step in some well-hidden tar that embedded itself in the track of my boot like the most noxious hellborn chewing gum ever. From there, we went straight to the airport and returned home without notable issues.
So to the curious- we liked Los Angeles this time. It wasn't as aupicious as our high-profile package tours but at the same time we still enjoyed ourselves, the city, and the people we met. Everyone was very good to us and we will not forget it. Thanks to Vlad, Jose, and Absolute Void, Chris and IIKRANEOS, Chris Hatewar, bands Necrite & Ent, and a huge vote of thanks to Sherman Insecticide for making the entire thing go. As always, see you next time.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
The above video is an excerpt from an upcoming film project called "A Year at the Wheel". It reached a lot of people in a short amount of time, and it has also generated many comments and questions. A recurring observation was that we seem to have a binary outlook of the nature of Christianity. I responded to this in a different forum, but it seemed worth posting here as well. It is true that many Christians in the past (and the present) have contributed to the world. The difference is that these people are/were smart and talented regardless of their religious leanings. Christianity in the 21st century has, by and large, continued to be a default ad hominem mechanism for people who are neither smart nor talented. And historically, now and as always, Christianity has been the impetus for the destruction of reason and culture in the west. It encourages war, overpopulation, fear, and a consumptive brand of commerce. Most people subscribe to this religion because they are afraid of death (and life as well). It is sometimes hard to face the idea that we may well be alone, or that there is no grandfatherly figure in the clouds who watches out for us and wants us to win the lottery or survive cancer.
People are increasingly threatened by strong opinions and straight talk, but we see little point in choosing our words based on whether or not anyone agrees or if it means one less person might buy our albums. Safe and crowd-pleasing outlooks are for politicians.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I was asked today why Averse Sefira agreed to return to Los Angeles for two shows in light of my indictment of the city in previous entries. I write this journal as a record of events at the time of their occurrence, which to me is the only way to convey my perceptions in an honest fashion. As such, I do not retract anything I have said in that regard but that does not mean I am unwilling to revisit the city under different circumstances and have my mind changed in the process. If anything, I should acknowledge that I have painted Los Angeles with a broad brush and perhaps that was unfair; my only real impression of LA is the Sunset Strip, a place that has nothing in common with our interests. Previously we performed in large commercial venues that were glitzy and expensive and not appropriate for bands like ours. This isn't a comment on anyone's efforts in terms of booking, but sometimes what is good for the whole of a tour package is not ideal for a band alone and this cannot always be remedied. This time we will perform on our own terms in dedicated venues. We expect it to be a completely different scenario, and it seems certain that we will come away with better impressions overall. In any event, we chose to do these shows in good faith and we are looking forward to them.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
PS I initially neglected to include our masterful album designer Valnoir in this entry. He is the part of the dangerous terrorist outfit Metastazis and his work is here.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
It is not my place to speculate on the reasons why Celtic Frost fractured once again, but let us not forget that the band was always fraught with adversity from its inception. Tom's efforts to propel the band forward often struck me as Melvillian; he was another Ahab hunting his own elusive white whale. Thus it is all the more poignant to think that he had finally captured the beast through Monotheist, but only then to see it fall back into the cold darkness. I enjoyed having elder statesmen among us again; for too long we have endured something of a headless movement with many of the old guard selling out, walking away, or leaving this world altogether. It was galvanizing to have Celtic Frost step forth and take up the flag once more and on their own terms no less. The fact that they did it at all is amazing given the way it ended the first time around. Moreover, Tom in particular deserves all the credit in the world for embracing so many of the bands that grew out of his legacy. Try giving your album to someone like Kerry King and see how well it goes.
The short version is that I wish it did not have to be this way. And maybe it won't be forever. I get no sense that Tom is going to summarily abandon metal in the wake of this, so it seems that waiting patiently is the only choice we have. Still, I was ready for more from the mighty Frost and it seems that this day may never arrive.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
For the record we are not at odds with Cephalic Carnage and we never were. The bad exchange I described earlier was an isolated incident not even connected to our band, and as I also mentioned the issue was dropped. They kept in the spirit of competing with us and Watain, as I have since heard that they lampooned both of us on stage during their set. We take no exception to that, in part because it seems they saw the line-up situation for what it was and answered to it in their own fashion. People love conflict, and while I know it would be more exciting to think that we are now arch-enemies this is simply not the case.
This is the only time I will ever use this space for rebuttals or clarifications but when we and our friends are facing slander that is in part based on something that was featured in these pages, I think it is only appropriate to keep a response close to the source.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The Carcass had his own room and had gone straight to bed upon arrival and soon a very drunk P. insisted to see him. It was 3am but Sanguine and I felt that an ambush was in order so we led the sotted Swede down to his room and let him announce himself first with tentative knocking, and then with punches and kicks that we feared would raise alarm. Finally the door was opened a crack and P. burst into the room and grappled wildly with a startled and bleary Carcass. This is how he says hello. They are both large men, and as they pitched about the room we laughed but also wondered if all the expensive furniture would survive. Ultimately order was restored and more proper greetings were proffered. Generally everything P. says is offensive and hilarious, and his deadpan delivery only furthers this so we were sufficiently amused by the time we led him back to his room and then promptly passed out in ours.
Saturday - we slept in late and took our time getting ready. After a hearty meal at the downstairs Irish pub, Terese arrived and drove us to the venue which was a ballroom on the University of Calgary campus. The night before there had been some predictions on whether or not Cephalic Carnage would attempt to sabotage Watain or simply start a fight. Based on what I knew of that band's reputation, I advised that nothing like that would likely happen. Sound check was a bit rocky as the ballroom (as usual) was a mess of booming sound, and despite our best efforts to communicate our needs with the monitor levels nothing sounded right when we left the stage. From there we mostly stayed in the backstage area with Watain and talked while E. Watain and roadie Johan assembled a bone mic stand from the bones of local roadkill. Watain's bassist had been detained in Germany so once again E. would be handling bass and vocal duties.
Everyone in the Swedish outfit was jetlagged, so drummer H. slept on a couch and P. ended up repeatedly vomiting in the adjacent restroom with accompanying heaves that sounded like they were coming from the very depths of his soul. The show had been on for a couple of hours at this point and I stuck my head out to get a new Watain shirt among other things. I was surprised to find that all of the shirts they printed were already sold out, save for the display shirt which I promptly grabbed. It turns out we did almost as well with our shirts and CDs, with only a couple of size XLs left over at the end (only Americans seem to need that size). I also managed to locate our old ally Sabazios Diabolus of Lust and the guys from Weapon, with whom I was until then unacquainted. The promoter had ordained that no animal matter would be allowed in the venue due to insurance reasons, so Watain would have their most sanitary show in some time (relatively speaking, anyway- all of their gear and guitars were encased in dried and scabrous blood from many previous performances). Cephalic Carnage also arrived and were not confrontational with anyone, so the unpleasantness of the previous evening was left behind.
After the local support acts had finished I and my bandmates headed to the stage only to find that the stage crew was moving and all but disassembling the drum kit to center it on the large rear riser. The Carcass had to intervene before his trigger module was damaged, and the whole ordeal set us back on on schedule by almost twenty minutes. We finally took the stage as the first of the headliners and were met with much headbanging and pit acrobatics upon commencement. The audience was great throughout, though our sound was still strange and uncomfortable and we simply could not hear each other. There were a couple of near-miss moments that we soldiered through, and while it was not anything discernible to the audience it hampered our ability to go full-throttle at points. Nevertheless, the set was a success despite the extra work it demanded.
Watain hit the stage with full regalia including banners with attached chains and their famous inverted crosses. Their sound was as odd as ours, and it seemed that they had to approach the lack of audible drums with a similar degree of caution. There were a few places early on where it seemed like the performance was about to slip off the rails, but they quickly got things back under control. Their response was predictably great and they played well overall. E. actually tossed the bass aside on the closing song and his subsequent attack of the microphone injected a more venomous energy into the performance. I see now why he prefers to perform this way. Earlier we had all been discussing how sometimes when the circumstances leading up to a performance are too comfortable it leads to a degree of malaise. We are all used to having to drag gear around and sit in a van or an alley waiting to play, and the quality of our current surroundings may have disarmed us. I also cannot discount the inherent exhaustion of international travel and P.'s green-faced discomfort leading up to their set. The fact that they still presented with their usual degree of conviction was admirable indeed. The other strange aspect of both sets was that we all felt like we were playing on an unmoored boat. I cannot better describe this except that Sanguine and Set both complained of dizziness as they moved about the stage, and H. and The Carcass were both made nauseous from the wobbly instability of the drum riser. In any event, the final outcome was still a positive one for both bands.
The end of the evening was not the outrageous finale I expected; Watain was very tired and E. stated that while he was fine to spend more time with us he wanted to otherwise be out of reach. There was a small party for the bands and crew down the hall from our respective rooms and while Sanguine and I visited briefly with the guys from Warmarch, The Carcass and the Scandis stayed out of sight. We joined them presently and ended up staying up almost until dawn despite our blistering fatigue. It had been five years since my bandmates had seen anyone in Watain, so we were anxious to log a few hours together before leaving the next morning. We did exactly that at 10am and unfortunately missed Sabazios Diabolus' offer of meeting for breakfast as well. Once again we feel the sting of a one-off show in that we have to leave too quickly and there is so little time to spend with friends.
The past couple of months have felt like another period of growth for me in terms of my passion for metal in general. It is barely April and already it has been a fantastic year for Averse Sefira. To commemorate this, I decided to once again make my flesh a panegyric to our work and enlisted the help of the masterful Jonzig to this end.
The Body says, 'It is only through Me that you are realized. I am that which makes you known...' -Sanguine Mapsama
Block not my path! You futile walls of flesh and blood. For I have seen your structure clear and I know where to stab. - E. Watain
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
So I did something I never thought I would ever do, which is to attend the South by Southwest music conference (SXSW for those “in the know”). This is a huge event for Austin, and we in AVRS have categorically avoided it as it is crowded, expensive, and mostly designed for industry folks and hipster parasites. However, 1349 was slated to fly in from Norway to play two shows over the weekend so we were not about to miss out on their performances or company. Things started off a bit rocky as only Chris, the band's sound engineer, arrived on the expected day. Through a flurry of text messages we discovered that the band had been delayed in Holland. Sanguine and The Carcass were also out of pocket at this interval so Chris and I decided to venture over to the free afternoon showcase with Enslaved and Motorhead. We arrived at 11:30am to a line of people that stretched around the block. Put a sign up that says “Motorhead” and “free” on it, and hordes of punkers, rockers, bikers, burnouts, and skeezy already drunk chicks will beat a path to your door. Chris and I marched past everyone and got our VIP passes at the front gates. Membership has its privileges. The temperature was a convenient record high of 90 degrees so we sat at a picnic table in the rear of the open-air venue and talked for a while. Then the first band came on with a terrible and booming stage mix and played unintelligibly for twenty minutes. Enslaved was supposed to be next so I walked up to the front only to see the band striking their gear. It turns out they had just performed, though the sound rendered them unrecognizable. No matter, they would play two more shows tomorrow.
1349 was set to play both an afternoon and evening showcase with Enslaved so I caught up with the guys at the dubious looking Vice Magazine venue, which was a vacant lot in an east side ghetto. We stood around talking and watching the stage be built while trying to grab as much shade as possible. I talked a bit with Ivar from Enslaved and told him about how early on his band helped convince my band that longer songs were the way to go. So you can blame them for that. Sound checks did not seem to be on the menu so I took the band over to the Averse Sefira practice space so they could have a proper rehearsal with their relatively new session drummer Madz. It was low-key but a good time. I joked about how we could now brag that we had a Norwegian black metal act in our room, and Archaeon commented on how he felt that the fixation on their nationality with US fans was really strange and awkward to him. I found this interesting and wondered if this perception was widely held among the Scandi bands. We closed out the session with an impromptu version of Celtic Frost's “The Usurper” with Ravn on drums and myself doing vocals; it was fun and I wish we had recorded it but such is the double-edged sword of spontaneity.