Live: Super-Metalheads Destroyer 666 Finally Tear Down Europa
For those of us who endured the utter tease that was Destroyer 666's last-minute cancellation of their August 4th show at Club Europa, last night's make-up gig was a welcome and much-needed release of metallic fury. Everyone was clearly there to worship at the feet of the Aussie black-thrashers; the crowd was also refreshingly traditional, with wall-to-wall illegible black T-shirts, and vendors hawking merch from all manner of subterranean acts like Blood Freak and Clotted Symmetric Sexual Organ. Super metal.
New Jersey's Immolith did little to get the blood boiling, their corpse-paint-by-numbers black metal receiving only some polite nodding (I wouldn't really call it headbanging) and applause, as opposed to, say, some loose teeth. Their set blurred into one long tremolo-picked riff, save for a few mid-tempo sections that actually elevated the atmosphere from sterile to hazardous. Mutant Supremacy fared significantly better, the Brooklyn traditional death metal troupe being something of a local opening fixture on the NYC metal scene--a malevolent stage presence, a slew of memorable riffs, and a rockin' cover of Death's "Zombie Ritual" elevated their set above the standard opening-band doldrums.
So high was the anticipation for D666 that everyone lined up and cheered throughout the sound check. When they finally tore into "Rise of the Predator," the crowd became a flurry of banging heads and spastic fists that didn't abate until the last strains of "Satanic Speed Metal" died out from the PA. Clad in spiked armbands and black leather, they wisely spread their set list equally across their four full-lengths, even summoning forth "Satan's Hammer" and "Australian and Anti-Christ" from their '97 debut, Unchain the Wolves. Highlights included "I Am the War God (Ode to the Battleslain)," which got the crowd pumping their fists with militaristic precision to the epic opening refrain, and personal favorite "A Breed Apart," with its stabbing trills courtesy of frontman/guitarist K.K Warslut and lead shredder Ian Shrapnel. Simultaneously nihilistic, caustic, melodic, and melancholic, Destroyer is a varied live experience no metalhead should miss.
I almost felt bad for Belgium's Enthroned, fearing the long-running black-metallers were doomed to pick up the pieces of D666's crowd, but the corpse-painted quintet fared surprisingly well, squeezing out what energy remained in our blood with a tight, energetic, and dynamic performance. While the similarly styled Immolith fell due to a lack of hooks and variation, every one of Enthroned's blasphemous anthems featured at least some melodic fretwork and thrashy neck-snapper riff to latch onto. Sure they had their share of black-metal clichés, but the crowd's near-fanatical response toward the end of the set proved that a little compositional effort goes a long way.