Gig Review – Emalyth’s Masque of Comus

“Comus, the Greek God of Revelry and Festive Mirth, son of Bacchus, lord of Chaos and Anarchy, join us on this carousel of carnivalesque debauchery. An occasion of over indulgence and excess awaits…” These are the words by which Emalyth’s first big event of 2012 was presented to us metal heads, necks itching for a good spin. With special guests Theatre Runs Red travelling all the way from Durban to bring their brand of blackened death metal to the city, many gig goers were counting the days.

Despite having been to Black Dahlia too many times to remember, I got hopelessly lost on the way and stumbled into the dark alternative hot spot just in time to catch Killatoria. Those that have read my previous reviews know how I feel about these boys – a bomb of potential, ticking towards explosion, and Saturday’s performance was no different. Masterfully banging their heads on cue to the music, it is evident that they breathe for the music they make and project this passion to the audience, making it near impossible to resist in following suit.

Dressed in full battle gear, a personal favourite guaranteed to provide a release of angst, Spectral Realm took to the stage. Dahlia’s stage had transformed from a small crowded deck to a bigger platform that catered more comfortably for the bands that tread on it. Whenever Spectral Realm play, I involuntarily find my way to the front and swirl my head in unison with their intricate and epic sounds – their energy lures me and I find escape in the musical journey they offer on stage. I happened to be the lucky recipient of a self titled demo disk from this impressive black metal outfit, and I can assure you that there is pure gold in the making.

The well-renowned Theatre Runs Red brought butterflies to my stomach even before they began their set. Authenticity and the patriotic loyalty towards their genre radiated with intensity from each member, dressed in well crafted leathers with faces artistically painted in morbid corpse fashion. Music aside, this band manages an accurate interpretation of the blackened death image without looking out of place, but rather commanding power while adding much depth and a theatrical element to the music and stage act. Ebony Aberdein stepped to the microphone with unrelenting female prowess and grace, and it was clear by the audience’s numbed silence and awe that this band has become a well-respected force to behold. Her intensive deep inward growls accompanied by the slow, rhythmic, heavy musical breaks hypnotized the crowd with an almost soothing dark energy. I felt every chord, every word, right in the pit of my stomach as I watched Theatre Runs Red prove that they are a fundamental piece of the local metal scene.

Another musician in attendance of the show described All Forlorn‘s set as being the tightest act on stage that night. Despite any musical preference, he maintained that All Forlorn‘s live performance was of an international standard and that this band will be going places. Considering they have had little practice with the new members on bass and guitar, they deserve credit for pulling off a set so musically flawless and powerful. Thomas Hughes, one of SA’s greatest assets in terms of drummers, has proven undeniable talent with multiple musical ventures and is a drummer that many aspire to be like. Brandon van Os has established a unique sound for himself and shreds solo’s on his guitar like a pro, adding a very special something to the band with his old school techniques which we see misrepresented quite often by inferior guitarists. Overall a high-energy set that pulled a bustling and supportive crowd.

Bile of Man ensured many stiff necks when they proceeded to jam their usual relentless set with all the moshing pleasure and intensive circle-bangs we have come to expect and love from them. These boys will be touring with the mighty Fleshgod Apocalypse for the Detonation Tour, and have proven to be the perfect accomplice for an international band of such high regard. I look forward to watching them do us proud alongside the musical monsters from beyond the ocean.

I blame Bloodbeast for the pounding headache that ensued after their aggressive set. My body almost convulsed with pleasure when they blasted their unappeasable, fast-paced brand of metal with fury on stage. Definitely a must-see for those with a taste for heavy brutality, like myself. It is like a full blown adrenaline rush hitting you at a collosal speed, driven by an unrelenting heavy metal rage; the type that induces uncontrollable head movements and raw energy highs. The type
that well seasoned death metal enthusiasts crave to feel ballistic for a little while as they revel in the Necrophagist-like chaos.

I am honoured to be able to transform what I experienced at Masque of Comus into words and share it with the world. The heavy metal scene in Gauteng seems to be picking up some momentum and I hope to see more and more people supporting gigs like these.