A divine dark cloud hovered over Santa Ana on May 7 as the black metal siren Myrkur and the prominent Polish black metal band Behemoth conquered with their last stop of their North American tour.
Long after the hoard of loyal fans slithered in and settled in to the small gladiator shaped venue, the Danish songstress took the stage with grace. But this one-woman band led by Amalie Bruun performance not only proved that she was “one of the guys”, no, Bruun is on her way to establishing her dominance in the testosterone powered genre.
Myrkur’s sound is a bit of a time capsule and can induce nostalgia launching listeners back to the early 1990’s wave of Norwegian Black Metal with an alluring component. Bruun created a haunting but entrancing melody one might find in the deepest darkest corner of an enchanted forest.
In true siren fashion, Bruun weaved a hypnotizing melody that would pull in even the toughest metal head before going in for the kill and releasing her hellish growl. Audience members morphed in to gladiators in the small arena after being struck with shock and excitement from the petite front woman’s fierce battle cry.
Myrkur did not need to ask to receive as the pit became a choppy mess by the middle of her first song “Den Lille Piges Dod” which started out like the beginning of a morbid and epic fantasy like most of her songs. A fan decked out in dreadlocks surely was deep under her spell and briefly started a fight in his frenzy.
Brunn may have won the crowd over way before she reached the halfway point of her nine song set list, but what bewitched the crowd was her beautiful rendition of “Song to Hall up High” originally performed by the iconic Swedish black metal band Bathory. Within the silence, faint weeping could be heard from hell as Satan and the deceased Bathory front man, Quorthon, spewed tears of joy.
Bruun not only wowed audiences with her beauty and grace, but she’s on her way in creating an innovative and new era in black metal. Bruun is showing her growing and dedicated fan base that not only can females kick ass in the metal world, but they can look good doing it.
By the time Behemoth made their highly anticipated appearance, the restlessness in the atmosphere was outstanding and stirred by the beginning riffs of “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”. With screen projections showcasing occult-like images and black, horned ceremonial masks in tow, the Polish quartet decimated the performance with their incredible showmanship.
Front man, Adam “Nergal” Darski was a force to be reckoned with and certainly conveyed the demigod essence with his incredible energy and natural charisma. Though his face was partially shrouded by an over sized hood and corpse paint, his piercing gaze could be felt miles away as he blared his unmistakable thick vocals. Rabid fans in the pit clawed their way to Darski in hopes of receiving the unholy blessing of the famous communion wafer.
Behemoth played “The Satanist” in its entirety followed by two encores, rewarding fans with their older hits such as “Slaves Shall Serve” and “Conquer All” among others. By the end of the unforgettable performance, the crowd was thirsty for more and Darski, who was taken aback by the energy and support, promised they’d return.
The two European bands went out with a bang and will probably be one for the books. With Behemoth constantly rising to legendary status and Myrkur’s star in the making, its only exciting to see how these bands will continue to blow audiences away.