The Black Dahlia Murder (w/ HateSphere, Augury & Obscura) 03/06/10
The Roxy Theatre – West Hollywood, CA
Words/Videos/Photos by Reverend Justito/

After two weeks of non-stop action up the coast in Vancouver, the close of the 2010 Winter Olympics has sent me into a downward spiral of depression. No longer can I turn on the television and watch global goliaths face off in events like Curling and Ice Dancing. Gone were underage girls drinking and smoking cigars, a Ginger on a snowboard and that ice-skater guy on LSD. For those like myself, hopelessly addicted to friendly yet fierce international competition, this week has not been kind. Thankfully, the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, CA understood the post Olympics withdrawals and helped ease the pain with a four-nation demolition derby of death metal. With heavy wind and rain splashing down upon the Sunset Strip, hundreds of fans waited in line for hours to get into the sold-out event. Featuring a triumphant return to the historic venue by headliners The Black Dahlia Murder, the melodic metal band handpicked three international acts to show their skills off to an eager stateside audience. With all three support acts unknown to me, I found myself with an opportunity to experience new music from exotic lands before one more round with Waterford Michigan’s best metal band.
HateSphere (Denmark)

As fans wrung out their wet clothes in the venue’s restroom, HateSphere took to the stage. Right out of the gate, the five-piece Danish act commanded the attention of the 60-70 fans in front of the stage. As many more rushed in, the band belted out a quick and energetic set, filled with groove-heavy trash/death metal. The riffs, while heavy, were rich with melody, instantly setting them apart in my mind from countless other opening bands I have seen over the years. Front man Morten “Kruge” Madsen (a recent addition to the group after the departure of Jonathan “Joller” Albrechtsen) did an outstanding job of getting the crowd worked up into a frenzy as guitarists Jakob Nyholm & Peter “Pepe” Lyse Hansen chugged along in unison behind him. Towards the end of the brief opening set, a circle pit formed as cold and wet fans bashed and banged into each other, signaling their approval. As my drink flew out of my hand from a wet mosher crashing into me, I didn’t even have time to mind. With it being the final few moments of their first show in the great state of California (The band is touring North America for the first time), I was going to enjoy every second instead of crying over spilt Red Bull and Vodka.

Augury (Canada)

Hailing from Montreal, Augury was a perfect mix of random geeky band traits that I adore.
Hilarious Stage Banter – Check
Appreciation of Conspiracy Theories – Check
Crazy & Random Momentum Changes That Catch You Off Guard and Take You Places You Never Planned on Going – Check

Augury simply blew me away. Much like HateSphere, the four-piece band was playing with new members. I am unsure of who was playing bass before, but it’s hard to imagine it getting much better than fill-in, Christian Pacaud. This man is a monster who effortlessly lays gargantuan riffsdown upon his 6 string bass. In between heavy, technically progressive riffs and growling vocals, Patrick Loisel cracked jokes with the now over-capacity crowd. With a set that drew heavily from their recent release, Fragmentary Evidence, the band had the crowd right where they wanted them the entire time. Of the three opening acts, there is no doubt that Augury easily won the gold.

Obscura (Germany)

All the way from Munich Germany, Obscura took to the stage just after 10pm. Hitting the crowd hard with their relentless jackhammering riffs, while not terrible, I know I failed to connect with the band and it seemed as if other members of the audience felt the same. While decent, the songs lacked emotion and failed to make a lasting impression on me. Perhaps that is what some search for, but not I. At one point towards the end of their set, guitarist and lead vocalist, Steffen Kummerer, did his best to get the audience involved questioning if the American metal scene was still alive. It fell upon deaf ears as a majority of the crowd was ready for the main event. This was further proved by the loud chants for the headliner after Obscura had left the stage.

The Black Dahlia Murder (USA)

At 11:00pm sharp, the curtain rose for the final time to reveal the evening’s main attraction — The Black Dahlia Murder. Having rocked the same room for free two months earlier, the five-piece band returned to a hero’s welcome as they opened their headlining set with the song “Funeral Thirst.” Passing out high fives to rowdy fans, vocalist Trevor Strnad paced back and forth across the front of the stage, screaming bloody hell into his microphone. Over the next hour, the band played a brutal set of metal that spanned their four Metal Blade releases. One of the best things about the live Black Dahlia Murder experience is that the crowd goes off no matter what. It does not matter if the five-piece is destroying the stage with a classic like “Statutory Ape” or a new song like “Black Valor” (from the band’s most recent release Deflorate); the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd is exactly the same.

After dedicating the number to all the drinkers, the band launched into an intense version of “I’m Charming” that saw the pit swell so large it became impossible for security to keep the mob from overflowing into the fire aisles. While “What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse” gave the bloodsuckers in the crowd their chance to go off, I was more enthralled by new guitarist Ryan Knight. In the two short months since I last saw the band, he seems so much more comfortable on the stage and within the music. Hell he outright owned songs like “A Vulgar Picture” and “Miasma.”Really, the entire band owned the entire night, which is the reason I keep coming back for more. While intense, The Black Dahlia Murder shows have a wild and crazy edge that makes them feel more like a large house party than a concert. The bands fun loving energy is contagious and it is fucking impossible to not have a great time with them.

Hours after the band had made themselves accessible to fans, standing in the crowd during the sets by HateSphere and Augury, the show came to an end. While closing with a new song can often kill the momentum of an otherwise great set, this is not the case when you are the Black Dahlia Murder. Skipping an encore, the band gave the beyond capacity crowd one last chance to go nuts with “I Will Return.” An appropriate title, as it completely sums up how I feel after every single show I see these guys play. As long as they keep performing, I will keep coming back to see the most exciting band in melodic death metal. Here is to hoping that The Black Dahlia Murder won’t keep Southern California waiting too long for a rowdy round three within the legendary walls of The Roxy.

A direct descendant of the outlaw Jesse James and star of a 1983 Kilpatricks Bread radio commercial, Reverend Justito has taken his gift of ADHD and put it to good use by creating one of a kind concert reviews. A bootlegger at heart, the man lives off Whiskey, Taco Bell and the love of San Francisco sports teams.
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Sunday, March 7th, 2010 at 11:32 pm.
Categories: Reviews.

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