Modern doom metal masters Yob tore through NYC, playing a massive show in the Greenpoint, Brooklyn Polish music hall, Warsaw, and they brought along a couple of colossal legends of stoner metal to help with the audacious mission of melting faces of the sold-out crowd. Heavy metal rock has been around a long time now, and along the way it has evolved greatly from Sabbath and Deep Purple to Iron Maiden and Metallica to the present head-trashing state of the genre, but these three bands proved a perfect reflection of how far these bands can develop and expand that hard-rockin’ sound.
The holy onslaught Amenra opened the show with a darkly menacing post hardcore/metal set performed to foreboding, beautiful black-and-white video art projected onto the stage as they raged. This Belgian rock priesthood is the deafeningly preaching clergy of their own birth child known as the ecclesiastical Church of Ra, and their ritualistic howling felt at times like they were damned near raising some unholy forces from the bowels of the Earth itself. Vocalist Colin H. van Eeckhout spent most of the show facing away from the audience and roaring towards the drummer rather than the crowd, but this did surprisingly little in dulling the directness of their music, as his vocals pierced the dark imagery of the video that rained off his back as he called out to the dark forces with all the pain, anguish, and anger you could ever fathom, and the audience remained devotedly transfixed throughout the whole set. It’s easy to tell why they have formed such a faithful following over the last couple decades, and the complexity of the music really drew me in from the very start, as the dizzying tempo changes with sweeping highs and lows set me up for a blessedly sanctified experience.
The Canadian metal legends Voivod played next, and they showed off why their nearly 35 years of face-melting expertise mattered in the modern post-hardcore scene, and they left the crowd utterly destroyed. This is a band who pioneered the combination of progressive, classic hard rock, thrash, and hardcore metal in a thick soup of influences that many bands use as a recipe today. They originated back in the early 80’s, but I was lured into their cult in the early 90’s after they did a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Astronime Domine,” and soon after became obsessed with their 1989 album Nothingface my senior year of high school. I was pleased to see the band has actually grown a lot since even those days, and that they still can act like a bunch of overly delighted kids rocking out on stage after all these years. Lead singer Snake (Denius Belanger) and drummer Away (Michael Langevin) are the only remnants of the original early 80’s unit, but the whole band really gels exceedingly well on all of their jams both old and new.
Eugene, Oregon’s legendary stoner metal trailblazers YOB took to the stage and dominated like the towering giants of metal they have been since the mid 90’s. Every song was like an epic journey, as the songs sometimes lasted upwards of 20 minutes per tune, but each sprawling voyage felt daring and adventurous, and the expedition always felt like there was something bold and new around each corner. Levy Seynaeve from Amenra came out to rock out on their classic “Grasping Air,” and their closer felt like it tore the roof off. Frontman and guitarist Mike Scheidt had a major health scare a couple years back which influenced a temporary shuttering of the band, but now he’s back and playing with all the blisteringly angry howl he had always been known for and plenty more. Still, as much as I have idolized dark and angry visions, it was their more tripped-out psychedelic side that really took drew me in during the show, and the ease and flow of the expansion of their components really fit together to make a powerfully dense and devilishly diverse sound.
Article: Dean Keim