With an event called the International Extreme Music Festival and the venue of choice to be the recently newsworthy CBGB's I knew that this was to be one of those interesting nights. The tour looked to be a nice lineup of some very heavy groups and I think it originally started with about 9 acts before the show hit NYC. Among the listed on ads the following performers were run down as follows: God Dethroned, Byzantine, Nightrage, Hell Within, Epoch Of Unlight, Thine Eyes Bleed, Lilitu, Atrocity and Leaves' Eyes. My plan was primarily to cover the Leaves Eyes and Atrocity set as I had just reviewed The Vinland Saga CD on the site and found it to be an incredible piece of music. I also enjoyed some of God Dethroned material and Nightrage was a band a colleague has been talking up. There was an early start time based on the number of bands set to perform and this did not bother me in the least. I had to attend to something's the following day and that would prevent the all-nighter coverage this evening.
Read on for Ken Pierce's coverage of the events!
By the time the show hit NYC Nightrage had pulled out due to unconfirmed reasons and Thine Eyes Bleed and Byzantine were no longer listed. Instead we would find Mantiss added and the roster set at 6 bands. God Dethroned would be holding the headlining spot. I was not sure whether or not this was a good idea as while they are popular I felt that Leave's Eyes would be the biggest draw tonight. I also felt that legendary or not, that CBGB was a poor choice of venue, it would be too cramped if this sold out and a lot of people would have to be turned away. This would not be an issue tonight as sadly poor promotion left the draw at an extreme minimum. Arriving on time to do an interview with Leave's Eyes I found them over an hour away stuck in traffic according to the Tour Manager. When I spoke to several girls who were diehard Liv Krull fans they expressed concern as appearances earlier had been cancelled. It was nice to be able to inform them that while they were late, they were in fact on the way.
The late start and hustle and bustle did not allow me to get to focus on more than the main three groups I was there for, however I did pay a little bit of attention and can run down the list briefly for readers just the same. Lilitu, Hell Within and Mantiss are all bringing a lot of that old style HardCore meets Metal vibe to the table. Not exactly of the Metal Core genre but more of a Traditional sound that has HardCore roots to it. This sound seems to be coming a lot more to the front these days and going over quite well. I prefer the Power edge, but if it sells records and keeps clubs packed then so be it. I found Lilitu to be a bit more melodic based on their use of keyboards while Hell Within and Mantiss just cranked and crushed. I advise fans of this kind of stuff to be on the lookout for their records. It came across well in the live setting and that's very important. I was caught up with a couple of the Leaves Eyes personnel trying to get some scope on the tour and the overall response to the album. Even though this was generally busy music reporter sort of stuff I was able to stop and help a couple of the attendees meet members of the band and take a picture for them. Having digital gear ensured I would not run out of film so why not help make someone else's night. Liv Kristine Krull was especially happy to meet everyone but would plan on talking more after the set. Most singers need this practice done as talking a lot before a performance is unwise.
Leaves' Eyes: As I mentioned above I have been enjoying this band's music for a few months now and was thrilled that they would be making a first ever appearance in NYC (and the US for that matter). The bands rich atmospheric compositions truly take you to another world musically and creatively. The songs on The Vinland Saga are stylish and heavy, yet hold a superb melodic edge to them. Liv came out dressed in the long gown she is seen wearing in the "Elegy" video in and she is stunning in person. Fans of the Nightwish and Within Temptation sort of music will appreciate Liv's voice for it is pure and beautiful yet at times you feel as though she can shatter glass. There were some young singers in training in the crowd and it was great to see them react during the set as they stared at Liv with admiration and respect. The band is incredible at this music and I am happy to say that they deliver it much heavier than the album allows them to showcase. I was happy to find them also sounding good because there are some keyboard moments and tapes that require planning and timing to be precise. These went off with not a hitch. Midway into this all too short set a giant of a man comes onstage and this is Alexander Krull, husband to Liv as well as the lead singer in Atrocity. Krull provides the Black metal or growling vocals to the Leaves' Eyes music and it works well together as the perfect mix of light and dark if you needed an image drawn. Alex also has perhaps the longest hair I have seen so far on a singer and he swings it around all through his song parts. Alex sings "Solemn Sea" and "Ocean's Way" with the band. The group played a mere six songs (seven if you count the intro piece) and it was a shame for at the time of their performance it seemed as though the club was at its most crowded. I could have easily listened to a half dozen more songs. On attendance I have to say no more than 75 people if that many came to this gig. Truly the Leave's Eyes set alone was worth the mere $7 cover charge.
Atrocity: Giving the audience the quickest turnaround in setups would be Atrocity for they are the exact same band as Leaves' Eyes. The only difference would be in the style of music and in the fact that Alexander Krull now will be in the front while Liv provides melody and backup. Liv Kristine came out in a black dress of some kind and of course had all the men in the crowd falling in love. For those that have never heard Atrocity before be aware that this is a 180 degree turn on that which you will experience in Leaves' Eyes. No longer the Atmospheric/Gothic act but instead a brutal almost Death/Thrash Metal and while I am sure the larger audience had no idea of them they were all the while enthralled. Alexander Krull is an imposing person guy as I said earlier, big in height and hair. I wondered if those very same girls I saw admiring Liv were now being pummeled by those locks. Maybe they did not care and took it as part of the excitement of Metal music. I have to say that they also went over very well with no one in the crowd dissipating due to the quick changeover. Atrocity music was intense stuff and brutally fast at times. Where Alex offers the Dark to Leaves Eyes music, Liv offers the ray of light as sharp as a knife in their songs. Ordinarily one would not expect this to go over as good as it ended up doing. Even though I did not have any of their music as a reference point I thought it was very well-executed. As a closer for the set the group performed possibly the most unlikely of covers. A Heavy Metal version of the Tears For Fears song "Shout". Some people in the audience had the dropped-jaw for that while others simply sang along. I liked the song so I helped out with the singing along folks.
God Dethroned: There was to long a downtime from when Atrocity had left the stage until the time when god Dethroned was setup to play. Over an hour or more it seemed like. This was due to the club having an issue with something on the stage and rushing to get it fixed so they could play. All the while the guys were hanging out outside and meeting friends and fans alike. I snapped them a good shot in front of the CBGB's sign since no one else thought to. Hey, the next time they come back from Holland this club might not even be here. Soon enough the guys began to deliver their brand of melodic Death Metal to the now meager crowd. At this point there did not seem to be more than 25 people and this was bad because they were really giving it their all. It seemed like everyone was supposed to play about 40 minutes but each time Henry said goodnight people were yelling for other songs, so they played them and went on for a good 40 minutes more. While the crowd was smaller, the ones who did remain seemed to know the material and in the end that is all that counts. I have listed all three of these bands set list, but GD's is not in any order. This is the kind of band that I think should tour with Behemoth from Poland, they hold a lot of the same principles in the delivery of their brand of Death Metal. I think they would make a killer opener for them.
I have to say that I enjoyed this event very much even though it seemed to be put together very haphazardly. Despite this the bands that performed still rose above it all to give the people a great show. It was also nice to meet a lot of the people involved and find out what the future holds for them. Watch out for these bands for they are worth your time and your money. Hunger and passion are what they are all about and this is a rare find today if you ask me.
Leaves' Eyes Set List
Farewell Proud Men
Into Your Light
Atrocity Set List
Reich Of Phenomena
Cold Black Days
God Dethroned Set List
The Art of Immolation
Under A Silver Moon
The Execution Protocol
The Lair of the White Worm
Salt In Your Wounds
Official Web site: www.LeavesEyes.com
Official Web site: www.GodDethroned.com
Official Web site: www.Atrocity.com
Official Web site: www.Lilitu.com
Official Web site: www.HellWithin.com
Official Web site: www.Manntis.com