Concert Review: Creatures From The Black Abyss Tour

One of these things is not like the othersImpressive lineup for this one, interestingly sponsored by both Decibel magazine and Fearnet. I like the potential behind Fearnet sponsoring tours – would be my kind of stuff, I assure you!

Anyhow, opening act was Daniel Lioneye, who are notable for their guitarist/vocalist Linde also being a member of HIM and that their song ‘The King Of Rock N’ Roll’ was the theme for Viva La Bam on MTV. Heavy at times but always with a Pop/Blues undertone, they were decent openers but nothing stood out as spectacular. I do like their song ‘Euroshaman’ which can be heard if you follow the link.

Next up, and damn near stealing the evening, were the Battle Metal outfit known as Turisas (pictured with yours truly). Mixing elements of Folk with Death Metal is certainly nothing new, but even minus accordionist Netta Skog (who dropped off the tour due to health reasons) these guys put on a super-high energy show that had the crowd dancing and singing along like a Finnish pubcrawl! Dressed like barbarians complete with warpainted faces, Turisas blend of symphonic elements with fiddle-centric traditional interludes made for a truly enjoyable and memorable performance. A lot of fans were won that night – including me!

Amusingly, vocalist Mathias “Warlord” NygÃ¥rd complained openly about the “piss water” he’d been handed on stage, such that when a crowd member yelled out for him to “drink a beer”, he responded “I would if I’d been given one!”. A large cup of something made it’s way across the pit to quickly remedy that situation & the show proceeded.

Following Turisas were the psychedelically influenced Nachtmystium. Combining obvious Pink Floyd riffs with extreme metal vocals, there’s nothing quite like their unique sound. Self described as “what happens when Pink goes Black”, I found their onstage performance enjoyable but ultimately suffering from a certain lack of momentum – a common problem for “Stoner” acts. Still, I would definitely see them again as their musicality is excellent, layered with vintage keyboards & classic rock chord progressions that evoke images of bad acid trips or late night hashish binges. Definitely a band to re-listen to with headphones & some recreational aids (in my case, Tequila).

Headliners Cradle of Filth closed out the night with a surprisingly powerful set that was visually stunning (albeit downsized from previous tours) and featuring a nice mix of old favorites and minimal new tune-age. Loved hearing ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’, ‘Nymphetamine’, ‘Honey & Sulfur’ and my all-time fav – ‘Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids’. I was also surprised to see them close with ‘From The Cradle to Enslave’, which I honestly never expected to see performed live again (but am glad I did!).

The band line-up is as stable as usual (which means it isn’t), with longtime backing vocalist Sarah Jezebel Diva & keyboardist Rosie Smith both being replaced by the lovely Ashley Ellyllon. Dani’s vocals seem to have held up to the rigors of touring, although he does appear to have put on weight and sports a haircut that looks like he lost a bet (sorry Dani, I think you rocked the longer locks better).

Overall, their performance restored my hopes that they hadn’t deteriorated into nothing more than a Hot Topic band, as the old glory and swagger were still there. Masterfully bludgeoning the crowd, guitarists Paul Allender & James McIlroy pummeled us with deft licks and screaming 6-string wails, supported by the capable rhythm section of Dave “Herr” Pybus on bass and skinbasher extraordinaire Martin Skaroupka. Unlike Dimmu Borgir’s show a few weeks ago, Cradle’s lineup shifts seem to have created a stronger entity – even if I prefer the musical direction of ‘Cruelty & The Beast’ to some of the more accessible new work.

For a show that I was “on the fence” about, this wound up being quite an enjoyable evening. Not only did I discover some excellent new bands to listen to, I was assured that an old favorite can still blow us away. Catch this tour if you can!

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