The Black Path of America Tour with Vreid, Kampfar, NecronomicoN, The Whisky, September 9, 2011
When the remarkable trio of bands arrived in the States for The Black Path of America Tour, they were greeted with the rumblings of a rare earthquake on the East Coast. A few days in, Hurricane Irene would effectively cancel their New York City date.
Mother Earth and the Gods certainly knew Vreid, Kampfar, and NecronomicoN had arrived to spread the Black Metal gospels, and were merely responding in kind. The crowd response at the world famous Whisky on the Sunset Strip was just as mighty and impressive, and the bands delivered the goods with an all out fire and vengeance.
After a good selection of local acts, it was time walk the Black Path, and what commenced was surely underground metal in its finest hour.
The first band encountered on the Black Path was the mighty NecronomicoN from Canada. Although there are only three within the membership, NecronomicoN filled the hallowed walls of the Whisky with their blackened hymns. The band has been in existence since the early 90’s, and yet they were playing Hollywood for the very first time. Top tracks performed included Into The Fire, The Time Is Now, and Revelation. Rob The Witch made for a tremendous front man, a commanding figure with both the lead vocals and guitar duties. The rhythm section was in top form, its fury unleashed by D on bass and Rick on drums. Their latest release on Napalm Records is entitled The Return Of The Witch, and it’s well worth seeking out. A terrific way to kick off the evening!
Kampfar is one of the true legends of the Norwegian Black Metal Underground – a long running entity whose stunning recordings has gained them respect and admiration for metal heads worldwide. Finally making their way to the States, Kampfar delivered a mesmerizing set that sent the Whisky crowd into mosh pit overdrive. Lead vocalist Dolk is a highly charismatic front man, delivering the magnetic anthems with a driving sense of passion and urgency. Kampfar seemed genuinely appreciative to be playing in the States at last. Although they are used to playing the giant festivals of Europe, they greeted the gathering of metal heads in the “little room” of the Whisky, saying, “We are family here!” Performing songs from their latest Napalm Records release Mare as well as many older favorites, Kampfar was amazingly tight and their entire set was an absolute triumph. For those who have been anticipating the arrival of Kampfar to our shores, they were certainly well worth the 17-year wait!
Closing out the night was Vreid, another legendary Black Metal collective from the icy wilds of Norway. The remaining members of Windir would reform after the death of front man Valfar, adding a progressive edge to their music and bestowing the moniker Vreid onto the project. Shades of Opeth and Amorphis were present, yet Vreid possesses their own unique personality that sent the extreme material soaring. The late night horde was transfixed by the sheer magic and artistry Vreid presented within their set. Performing songs from their recently released V CD from Candlelight Records as well as other favorites, the crowd was swept away by the dark intricacies and sheer intensity of the material. The music was grand and epic, filled with staggering dynamics that were wondrous to behold. And sadly we reached the end of the Black Path, with metal heads being sent into the night seeking their own darkened highways, ready to take on the world at large.
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)