The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY was the host to the 31st Anniversary party for Rock Fantasy, the long running heavy metal & hard rock shop owned by Middletown native Steve Keeler. With a huge selection of CDs, vinyl, t-shirts, patches, posters, as well as smoke items and pinball, Rock Fantasy has been a mainstay of the Hudson Valley heavy music scene now for over three decades. To celebrate this occasion, around 500 metalheads (including many of the Hudson Valley metal illuminati) packed The Chance for a night of black metal, featuring the legendary Norwegian act Mayhem, who on this tour are playing their iconic De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album in its entirety, alongside popular international act Inquisition and New York's very own Black Anvil. (2/17/2017)
Relapse Records act Black Anvil kicked off the evening right around 8:00PM, playing a selection of songs mostly from their recent release As Was, which is a great introduction to the new material for those who haven't yet hard it. Though the spirit of black metal rages throughout their music, Black Anvil toss in some melody, atmosphere, prog, and good old rock 'n' roll into their savage attack which comes across just fine on stage and keeps things moving at an exciting and varied pace. Some of the highlights being the epic "On Forgotten Ways", the manic "Nothing", as well as the atmospheric & melodic title cut from the new album, "As Was". The inclusion of a few clean vocal passages offset the savagery, and in the end the band played an energetic and varied short set that perfectly kick started the evening.
The dynamic duo known as Inquisition, consisting of Dagon (guitars, vocals) and Incubus (drums), dubbed on this evening as "The heaviest two piece band in metal" by none other than Steve Keeler himself, leaned less heavily on their newest Season of Mist release, Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith, but still managed to throw in a few selections from the new album as well as some older classics to fill up their hour time slot. Dagon is a force of nature, his trademark croak cutting through an endless barrage of effective riffs that call upon black metal, death metal, and classic metal styles, all while Incubus' dynamic blasting flails away underneath. As the band have toured quite a bit here in the US in recent years, they have become somewhat of a favorite of extreme metal fans on the live circuit, and accepted here on this evening with open arms by the crowd who were more then ready for their pummeling attack. "From Chaos They Came", "Dark Mutilation Rites", "Vortex From the Celestial Flying Throne of Storms", and "Ancient Monumental War Hymn" are just a few of the monumental gems they played, the duo barely taking a few seconds to pause between songs before barreling into the next one. In the end, there's no doubt the audience would have welcomed another 30 minutes at least, but the haunting specter of the legendary Norwegian black metal gods was quickly approaching...
At just after 10:00PM, the lights dimmed, the candles burned, the fog rolled in, and the hooded shadows of the mighty Mayhem took to the stage and launched into the classic "Funeral Fog", the evil kick off track to De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. This was not a night to necessarily pay too much attention to what was going on up on the stage, as Attila (vocals), Necrobutcher (Bass), Hellhammer (Drums), Teloch (Guitar), and Ghul (Guitar) were all awash in darkness and fog, shrouded in hooded robes with the burning candles and the occasional blue lights seeping through the mist. Instead, the crowd could close their eyes and just soak in the thunderous, evil menace. Attila loomed around the stage, spewing his venom amid layers of savage riffs and Hellhammer's maniacal blasting, the band tearing through "Freezing Moon", "Cursed In Eternity", "Pagan Fears", "Life Eternal", "From the Dark Past", "Buried By Time and Dust", and of course the title track. A black mass for the modern age, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is just as powerful and chilling here in 2017 as it was back in the early '90s, and for the hundreds in attendance at The Chance, the opportunity to witness this landmark black metal album in its entirety live is an experience that won't soon be forgotten.
With a set that lasted less than an hour, Mayhem came in, kicked ass, and took no prisoners. Despite a relatively short concert length of just about three hours, no one was left complaining or wanting more, all three bands delivered in a big way and gave everyone in attendance their cold winter's mix of quality black metal. In the end, a glorious night for the fans, Rock Fantasy, the bands, and The Chance, with everyone going home happy. Mission accomplished!