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Rites of Darkness 2011 — Day 1 pics & review

words by Kim Kelly, photos by BBG

Adorior @ Rites of Darkness
Rites of Darkness

Rites of Darkness is in full swing, with both pre-fests done and dusted (check out photos of the Bond’s show here) and Day 1 still ringing in our ears. On Friday evening, doors opened at 4pm and the opening band, Houston death metallers Warmaster, got short shrift: the line of black leather-clad punters wound ’round the outside of the building waited impatiently for the singular door-person to check their IDs well into and past their set (from what we could hear, their crushing, Bolt Thrower-inspired cacophony deserved better).

Philly black-thrashers Infernal Stronghold (who just got back from a short tour with Absu) ripped through a short set of urban blasphemy, taunting the still-lethargic crowd (“I didn’t realize we were gonna be playing a fuckin’ nursing home!”) until the room filled up and the front row got violent. Ritual Necromancy brought the Incantation worship (filtered through a few grimy layers of doom and blackness), then Grave Upheaval filled the entire fucking room with (funeral) fog, which helped distract a bit from the monotony of their muddy, unfocused material.

Dispirit, who had appeared at the prefest and were hastily added to the fest proper, were once again at the top of their game; their hypnotic, atmospheric black metal rituals captivated and impressed. London horde Adorior, one of the most anticipated acts of the fest, delivered a wickedly intense, utterly savage set of thrashy death/black. Their imposing, leather-and-spike-clad frontwoman Melissa screamed bloody gore, sneering and mocking the “whiners and bitches” who’d been complaining about the fest and unveiling a new song: “This one’s about fucking surviving, you know? This is “Gutters of Cum.”

Canadian black/death cult Weapon were up next. This was their first-ever time playing the United States, and the maniacs down the front made their appreciation known, as a sea of fists and deafening roars greeted the quartet between every merciless cut of raw, sinewy death, blackened and tempered with shades of Middle Eastern melody. Afterwards, the mighty Demigod, Finnish gods of death, took the stage to play their seminal classic Slumber of Sullen Eyes in its entirety. “Amazing” is the only word that comes to mind; they were utterly on point, totally focused, and devastatingly heavy – a well-oiled war machine. The show closed out with two-man black metal institution Inquisition (who recently laid waste to NYC with Disma). Dagon’s vocals, always a matter of contention, were a bit too loud, but the overall effect was fluid and damn near trance-inducing.

Stay tuned to BrooklynVegan for continuing coverage from Rites of Darkness 2011. Check out more pictures from Day 1 below…

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