NECROFIER + HATE + BATUSHKA
White Oak Music Hall, September 30th, 2022
I am glad this show was scheduled on a Friday; it’s a rewarding way of starting the weekend for the working class. This North American Pilgrimage had a unfortunate casualty: The Italian technical Death metallers HIDEOUS DIVINITY didn’t embark on the tour. On a personal note, I was a little bit disappointed because I was hoping to see their brutal set live.
NECROFIER opened on time as promised. The Houstonian melodic Black metallers also joined this unholy expedition over Texan lands like Austin and Dallas. The four-piece has been getting more adept and also booking more shows since the highly appreciated 2021 debut album Prophecies of Eternal Darkness on Season of Mist. The audience was standing still during the first songs, but in a way, the music merits an attentive listening and some headbanging with the mid-paced tempos. NECROFIER’s riffs remind me of DISSECTION’s somberness and MARDUK’s coldness, but I dare say that these guys have a personality of their own. I truly believe that the quartet’s music is one of the finest Texan black metal exports, and I am extremely stoked that they are from my Space City.
The first Polish act to hit the stage was HATE. They are becoming more popular every time they tour the States. They just embarked on this tour days after they finished the Final Declaration Northern tour with VADER, so the Polish machinery was pretty much oiled and ready to massacre the United States. During the pandemic, HATE was forced to stay away from US stages, but they darkly and triumphantly marched in and attacked with fury with “The Wolf Queen,” the second song from the recent album Rugia. The setlist was very broad and included tracks from classic albums like Auric Gates of Veles, Erebos, and even from Morphosis, one of my favorites so far. But I confess that Adam didn’t have to add fuel to the fire, because this is Texas, and we can recognize when a superb Death metal band is on stage. However, HATE has been mixing some Black and Folk elements to the music, and Rugia is blunt proof of it. The show at White Oak was impressive and demolishing and quite an experience for those who approached HATE for the first time, and if you don’t believe me, ask our graphic designer, haha.
We went outside to light some cigarettes, and when we came back, the White Oak stage looked like the inside of a Church, an Orthodox one. There was a pulpit, a lot of candles, incense, religious symbols, and eight faceless monks who decided to put on a very distinctive show. I am not going to debate whether this is the fake or true BATUSHKA because all attendees buy a ticket for the BATUSHKA experience, which put them on a stage and got them signed with Metal Blade Records. I am not going to convince anyone that Hospodi or Maria are lower or higher-quality albums compared with the debut Litourgiya; there are a lot of discussions there. But what I can totally attest to is the change of mood and tone. HATE was the kick off the drug, and BATUSHKA was the comedown. As fans know, their compositions are furious and high-speed Black metal mixed with doomy elements, chants, prayers, blessings, and solos here and there; but there is too much ecclesiasticism for my atheist soul and too much immobility for my metal live taste. However, we all must agree that it was a hell of a unique performance.
It was a killer Friday night full of brutality and mysticism, or “brutal mysticism” as a friend likes to refer to these musical experiences. Thanks to Liz Ciavarella from Earsplit PR for allowing us to cover this show. Our H-town will definitely be open to more Polish metal invasions. Thanks also to White Oak for hosting shows like this one, but I missed a cold Shiner Bock at the bar that night, haha. Beers up!
Words: Alex Sanchez
Pics: Chaviano & Enyil
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