Mayhem, Watain, Revenge 17+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Jan. 16, 7:45 p.m. 2015

For most metal bands, the horror-movie vibe is an aesthetic statement, not an autobiographical one—thankfully, few have actually walked the walk like Norwegian black-metal pioneers Mayhem. It’s kind of grimly hilarious in retrospect that they accidentally gave a fan a serious head injury with a flying sheep’s head in 2003, but there’s nothing funny about the 1991 suicide of front man Dead or the 1993 murder of guitarist Euronymous (by session bassist Varg Vikernes, also of Burzum, who spent 15 years in prison for the crime). But while these are definitely not guys you’d want to bring home to mother, there’s nonetheless a lot of buzz and excitement about last summer’s Esoteric Warfare (Season of Mist), their first studio album in seven years. Only one original member remains, strictly speaking (that’d be bassist Necrobutcher), but drummer Hellhammer has been aboard for decades, and vocalist Attila Csihar, who also performs in two trios with Oren Ambarchi and members of Sunn O))), first sang with the band more than 20 years ago; they anchor a solid lineup with new guitarists Teloch and Ghul. Now, forget you know all that stuff, and just listen to the damn music—Esoteric Warfare isn’t a groundbreaking black-metal record, but it churns up the old bloody black earth in a lot of interesting ways. Csihar’s voice is a force of nature; he’s extremely versatile, like a male Diamanda Galas, and he uses that expressive range to drive his horrific, dystopian narratives through the shifting wall of restless, undulating noise his bandmates create. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $25

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