MAYHEM, INFERNO – Boogaloo, Zagreb, 9.4.2017.
On Sunday, 9 April 2017 the Boogaloo Club in Zagreb had the opportunity to host two black metal bands, the Czech Inferno and the Norwegian legends Mayhem. Due to great interest, the event was moved to a larger space, which caused mixed reactions among fans: while some approved the change of location, others objected due to the well-known (lousy) sound quality of the place in question. Given that rejection of high quality production and emphasis on atmosphere evoked in the listener are at the core of this genre, the need to comment becomes redundant. The only question that remains is whether the two bands succeeded in creating the atmosphere that gave name to this music with their performances.
First things first… Inferno take the stage moments after 8:40 p.m. and start the evening with a swift and unrelenting barrage of chaotic melodies that soon become tiresome and uninteresting. The quintet on stage look static and uninterested, and the people in the audience do not give off a much better impression. The performance is nevertheless maximally rehearsed and professional, but unfortunately it did not arouse a memorable impression. Given that Inferno played as an opening act for around 30 minutes and did the warm-up for the night’s main performance, I must admit that they gave their all to present what they have been doing for the past 20-odd years in the best way possible, and the audience rewarded this with a warm applause. Perhaps a longer session would avail their artistic expression and result in a more favourable reception from the audience, but until their next visit to Croatia we can only wonder.
After a short break, an evoking echo of sounds starts to call out the visitors who slowly gather in the hall, and the stage becomes enveloped in a thick cloud of smoke that announces the start of a truly special event: the first Mayhem show for the Croatian audience, and what is more, a live performance of one of the most iconic albums in the history of black metal, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. “Funeral Fog” sounds just as fierce and ruthless as it did at the beginning of the 90s, taking us back to an era when black metal exploded on the music scene and paved the way for future styles of this extreme and versatile sub-genre of metal. “Freezing Moon” ensues, sparking an expected reaction from the audience who enthusiastically respond to each section of the song with obedient bouts of approval, and “Cursed In Eternity” and “Pagan Fears” only reinforce the atmosphere that culminates with “Life Eternal”, one of the highlights of the evening. “From The Dark Past” and “Buried By Time And Dust” are accompanied by a less intense ovation, but the last song of the evening, the title track “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas”, leaves a powerful effect on everyone present and brings this well thought out theatrical presentation of a controversial and unrepeatable classic to a closure.
Finally, it is worth noting that the inimitable quality and complexity of a cornerstone composition like DMDS make the elements that sadly dissolve the overall impression of Mayhem’s performance. De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is a part of musical history whose importance and magnitude simultaneously heave up and press down a band of challenging and progressive artistry that have been redefining the “black” in black metal for over two decades. Whether the performance in Zagreb was indeed an authentic presentation of their most monumental achievement or not remains to be decided by those who attended the venue.
>>>>>> GALLERY <<<<<<
Live report: Zorana Stanko
Gallery: Vedrana Dobrić