Haunting The Chapel

Watain, Goatwhore, Black Anvil, Hamsoken @ Santos Party House, New York 12/03/10

Unless Agalloch give me a call, I’m taking a break from organizing Haunting The Chapel shows for a few months — after the Swans @ Masonic Temple sell out, freezing Halloween event with Krieg and woe, those Monarch! events with Fred, and this past Thursday’s smoky Watain collaboration with Blackened Music and Chronic Youth, I might as well pause on something resembling a roll. Something that dawned on me halfway through Black Anvil’s set: Santos really is a good spot for metal. Especially when it’s packed. Hamsoken (Feat. Nick Forte of Rorschach) and those HTC regulars Black Anvil (Feat. Kill Your Idols) seemed to pickup on that hardcore matinee energy — the latter always “bring it,” but seemed especially possessed on Thursday. Speaking of: I trekked to the show with a friend mostly there for Goatwhore and it was fun watching the Louisiana crew through his eyes and boundless enthusiasm. Minor gripes: Ben Falgoust’s an interesting enough frontman, though his anti-Burzum/hipster talk was pretty crowd-pleasing/easy/silly (and, in itself, hipster-y). That, and I prefer Sammy Duet’s voice. But, really, the majority of people showed up for Watain — people who don’t even usually listen to metal — and their infamous Satanic stench. The Swedes delivered: The candles and incense and rotting animal parts created a pretty unforgettable ambiance for an hour-long set that culminated in an encore of Lawless Darkness closer “Waters Of Ain,” a song I spoke to frontman Erik Danielsson about in depth a few months ago. It’s important to note, of course, that the gore wouldn’t matter if the songs didn’t … and these guys write some truly amazing riffs, hooks, etc. It was the last night of their North American tour, which maybe had something to do with the across-the-board energy level: I’ve seen Watain a handful of times and this was, by far, their strongest showing. Samantha Marble captured the ritual in pictures. My friend Kon shot a couple videos from the pit.

Goatwhore – “Apocalyptic Havoc”

Watain – “Underneath The Cenotaph”

P.S. Since we’re in the season of lists: I’m a Lawless Darkness fan, but Sworn To The Dark remains my favorite.