NOTE: Yeah, I know I didn’t write part one yet. I’m starting with Pt. 2. If you don’t like it, get your own damn website and number posts however you see fit. Now then…
It was under an appropriately darkening and threatening dusk that I — having slept until 1:30pm and spent most of the day wandering around semi-conscious and reeling from the night before — drearily made my way into Manhattan to catch the North America is Doomed Tour with SerpentCult, The Gates of Slumber and Atlanta mavens Zoroaster headlining. I left the house at about 8pm hit little to no traffic and pulled into a parking spot directly across the street from Webster Hall at 9:05. From outside, I could hear The Gates of Slumber riffing the start of their set. No one stopped me when I went and pulled on the wrong door of the venue.
The show was downstairs in a space they called The Studio. I’d never been in it before, but it was basically a smaller club apart from the larger ballroom. I love rooms like that. Like the Tap Bar at the old Knitting Factory. Every time I go to one I immediately start booking a multi-stage festival in my head. Upstairs I’d get High on Fire and Pentagram to headline while in The Studio I’d bring over Dozer and put them on with someone more local like Unearthly Trance or maybe Solace. Awesome. Just don’t ask me how I’d pay for it.
By the time I was inside, The Gates of Slumber were nearly done with what I hope was the first song they played. I checked the merch area for copies of their older albums, 2004′s The Awakening and 2006′s Suffer No Guilt, to no avail. Though 2008′s Conqueror didn’t do much for me in terms of repeat listens, my understanding was such that the two that came before were the way to go. Has yet to be seen (or heard, I suppose). In either case, the trio surprised the hell out of me by kicking all sorts of unholy trad doom ass on material both new and old, highlighting Conqueror cuts like “Trapped in the Web” while simultaneously promoting their forthcoming Rise Above debut, Hyms of Blood and Thunder (split your lungs therein). Skulleted guitarist/vocalist Karl Simon pulled emotive solo notes to new song “Descent into Madness” shortly after saying how glad he was people had come down to the show because he didn’t think anyone would show up, and if I wasn’t a fan before, I certainly was one by the time they were done with “The Ice Worm’s Lair.”
PBR was $5, which was better than $8 for a Stella, so I availed myself of a few as Zoroaster started setting up their lights and equipment. This was the first I’d seen them since the release of Voice of Saturn earlier this year and I chalk the fact that they didn’t have as many amps on stage up to the size of the stage itself rather than any kind of aesthetic change on the part of the band. The crowd was made up of some of the NYC stoner/doom faithful and spotty hipsters, their inexplicably gorgeous girlfriends and a fear bearded doomers like myself. At one point the door to the backstage room opened and a man came out who for a split second I thought was publicist Adrian Bromley, and I said to myself without thinking, “Oh, Adrian‘s here, cool. I’ll have to say hi,” before the reality of his death late last year set back in. That was kind of sad.
Zoroaster went on shortly thereafter and doomed out with their typically trance-inducing riffs and the unbelievably hard-hitting drum work of Dan Scanlan, without which they would be lacking more than just the translucent kit on which he wreaks his havoc. He was playing with what appeared to be a broken foot, and if it slowed him down at all, neither I nor anyone else noticed. A wall of expensive amplifiers behind them, guitarist/vocalist Will Fiore and bassist/vocalist Brent Anderson traded off vocal parts in screams and moans and Fiore‘s inebriated cleaner approach was a definite change since the last time I caught their show. Sometimes flat, but cool sounding anyway, and put to good use in songs like “Lamen of the Master Therion” and set-closer “Spirit Molecule,” which sadly didn’t have the piano part that made it such a standout on Voice of Saturn, but brought the evening to a rightful and noisy end nonetheless.
Anderson, donning a red Kyuss shirt, hunched troll-like over his low microphone to deliver his lines and, when they were done and Scanlan had long-since hobbled off the stage, leaving Fiore and Anderson up there as a duo to play his drums and drone out riffs, informed the crowd that, “Anyone who knew anything about anything illegal” and they “needed to talk.” I did not ask him if he wanted to rob a bank later on, but shook his hand outside and told him he played a good set. It was the best I could do.
The promised rainfall drenched my trip back to the valley, a downpour on Rt. 80 making it hard to see as I drove too fast anyway, the “Spirit Molecule” riff still stuck in my head. I don’t often make it out to Sunday shows, especially after Saturday ones, because I’m old and lame, but I was really glad I took the ride into the city to catch this one. Sometimes you get lucky in more ways than just getting a good parking spot.
Tags: Atlanta, Indianapolis, Live reviews, NYC, Rise Above, Terminal Doom, The Gates of Slumber, Zoroaster