Gig review: METAL ALLIANCE 2014 – Tremont Music Hall, North Carolina

I hate my Birthday. Hate it with a deep passion. It has nothing to do with getting older. I really couldn’t care less about my age. It’s just a number. I hate it mostly because I link my Birthday with some significant tragedies in my life, as well as some less than fond memories- deaths and unattended parties mostly.

Now that I’m older I don’t so much dwell on this fact, but there for a while my Birthday was a harbinger of sadness for me. In the grand scheme of things and through (wiser) different eyes I see now that it was just a case of “shit happens.” I still typically don’t do much of anything in celebration, though a couple years ago when I turned 40 I was surrounded by good friends. That was a good one for sure. This year will definitely rank pretty high on my list of Best Birthdays ever, if not the best.

Much like I usually do I was searching on the Tremont site looking to see what shows I would be attending and what shows I would be missing. When I spied that Goatwhore, one of my favorite bands, was not only coming to Tremont, but would be performing on the day of my birth it was pretty much a guarantee that I would be there.

I have only been to one concert on my Birthday in my life and though it was a great show, this one would surely be way better as I’m a much bigger fan of this band than I was of the other. Of course I have been forced to cut out most (hell all) shows thus far this year thanks to lack of money. Lucky for me I have an awesome Sister who was able and willing to buy tickets for me and my woman as a gift.

Due to lack of funds and time (early show and doctor appointment) we hit the McDonalds drive-thru. It was an early show time due to it being a Wednesday plus there were five bands on the bill. This was the Metal Alliance tour so it was a package deal. Other than the opening band, it was my first show of nothing but Black Metal.

As has been well documented in my write ups I’m not a huge fan of this genre, at least not as a whole. To be frank I was only really interested in seeing Goatwhore and the headlining band Behemoth. I had actually seen Behemoth before on the 2007 free Ozzfest. Sadly I didn’t really enjoy it as I hadn’t really gotten to the level of fandom as I am now.

With an appreciation of Black Metal, not to mention the fact that I really enjoyed their latest release The Satanist, I was curious to see how I would feel after their show. We arrived at Tremont just as the doors were opening. There was already a good crowd there, which was a great sign of things to come. Once inside we checked out the merchandise.

I opted to skip buying anything, though it was tempting to get the Goatwhore bundle to pre-order their new album. Tommy, the singer of Avalon Steel, arrived while we were hanging out so we shot the shit a little bit, then he went looking for his guitarist Ross. Once we made our way into the main area we ran into my friend Fernie and hung out most of the night with him. I also saw my friend Alaric there as well.

First band up was Black Crown Initiate. They were the band I knew the least about. Tommy mentioned they were a Technical Death Metal band. I have to admit they impressed me. They did some things musically that really appealed to me.

Death Metal is a genre that I have gained a great appreciation for over the last few years, even more so when a more tech/prog feel is thrown in. There was one singer who did clean vocals, utilizing an almost minstrel vocal style then, of course, another guy did the cookie monster thing. It totally worked though. I would be curious to hear more from these guys.

Next was Inquisition. From what I had heard prior to the show I wasn’t really anticipating liking them. Musically they’re traditional Black Metal, but for me the vocals sounded too processed and robotic so for my ears it really detracted. When the band took the stage there were only two guys, a guitarist/singer and drummer.

Both were adorned in the typical corpse paint synonymous with the genre. Initially when they started it was looking like my gut instinct was going to be right despite a number of people telling me that they were the band I should be there for.

After a couple of songs I started warming up to them and by the end of their set I was definitely enjoying them very much. The vocals were still a sticking point for me, but once you adjusted to it it wasn’t so bad. The music was very mesmerizing, the blastbeats and driving guitar hit home the intensity of their performance.

Next up was 1349 named for the year the Black Death arrived in Norway. They were the complete opposite of my expectations of Inquisition. Based on what I had heard prior I anticipated liking them a lot. However (and this had nothing to do with 1349) their set was marred by drum trigger issues.

Having said all that I’ve got to say the band persevered through it. You could tell they were having issues, but it didn’t seem to faze them. I would definitely be curious to see them in top form as everyone who had seen them prior said they were typically amazing live.

Finally it was time for the mighty Goatwhore! As this is somewhere in the neighborhood of 8th or 9th time seeing them live, I don’t need to go into how much this band means to me. There’s something about the sound they make that just brings me such joy and happiness. I realize that style wise it’s not for everyone, and with their dark lyrical imagery it’s hard to fathom them bringing such positive feelings, but they do.

My spirits and excitement for seeing them got an early start as while we were waiting for the show to begin Sammy and James were walking out amongst the fans so I managed to meet them both and got my picture with them. When they took the stage I know from the word go that this was going to be an amazing performance. Fern hadn’t seen them before and I kept telling him he was going to be blown away. And indeed he was!

This is the best show I have seen from these guys, and that is saying quite a lot. They played some new material for their upcoming release and it sounds like it is going to be an amazing album.

Also just prior to them taking the stage our friend Sarah appeared before us. Sadly her hubby Mike wasn’t able to join her, but he told me she really wanted to be at the show. I was glad to see she was able to.

Rounding the evening out was Behemoth. As if the night couldn’t get any more amazing, Behemoth takes the stage, led by recent cancer survivor Nergal carrying what appear to be two daggers engulfed in flames.

From that moment on the night belonged to them. The combination of theatrics and music set a perfect tone of evil awesomeness. Their performance truly transcended anything I have witnessed at Tremont.

No longer were we standing in the confines of my favorite Charlotte hang out, but we were deep in the lowest pits of hell being entertained by Satan’s house band. Everything I had ever imagined a Black Metal show to be, this was pretty much exactly what I would’ve expected.

So yeah this was a pretty awesome Birthday experience. Hanging out with my best girl, at the best club, watching some incredible bands doing what they do best…I think 42 is going to be just fine.

This show is a definite must for fans of this type of music and these bands. It was a perfect mix stylistically, which sometimes doesn’t happen with these package tours. Though this wasn’t my first show of the year (the actual first one musically was awesome what we saw, but some things happened that left a bad taste so I opted not to write about it to avoid being mean,) I will consider it as such.

And having said that, what a way to start the year! Until next time my peep’s always remember: Witching hour always strikes, feel the bite of cold emotion. Self absorbed isolation.

Review by Chris Martin


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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)

Power Plays w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)

MILES NIELSEN AND THE RUSTED HEARTS Hands Up (indie)
THE FARGO RAILROAD COMPANY Something In The Water (indie)
THE DARK ELEMENT If I Had A Heart (Frontiers)
LIBERTY LIES A Thousand People (indie)
DIRTY SHIRLEY Here Comes The King (Frontiers)
CARRY THE CROWN Runaway (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 WORK OF ART Exhibits (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SIGN X Like A Fire (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 JACK BROADBENT Moonshine Blue (Creature Records)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)



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