Live shows are always a wonderful experience for me. There is no better way to support the scene, bands, and people you care about all while having a good time. So when it happened that a few bands I loved were playing at my favorite venue with a great dude vending some his distro at the show, it was a no-brainer that I had to be there, and as expected, it was a phenomenal time.
Void Omnia played at the Complex in Glendale, CA, which those who have been keeping up with my concert exploits will know is my favorite place to catch live metal in the Southern California area for a myriad reasons. This time, in addition to the great booking, great drinks, and ease of convenience, the venue was also hosting a table for Baneful Genesis Records to vend his merch at. I had been meaning to hit up the distro for some time, so being able to snag everything I had my eye on without shipping costs was a win/win. Plus Kevin, who owns the label, is an extremely nice fellow and I had a great time catching up and hanging out with him.
After securing my distro haul and grabbing a drink from the bar, it was time to kick off the music. First up in the evening was the elusive LA metal entity known as Pessimist. This was my introduction to this band, and with no social media presence to be found, I was curious as to what I was in for. Thankfully, the band delivered a vicious performance that set the night off in the right direction. Mixing the swirling atmospherics of black metal with the dark tonalities of death metal and drums that often lapsed into crusty d-beat fury, Pessimist’s set was engrossing and energetic through to the end. It certainly left me hoping this band emerges from the shadows again somewhere near me.
Next on the bill was Los Angeles’ Skyeater. Whenever a band’s set involves bones, the lighting of candles, and incense, I usually know I’m in for a good time, so I had high hopes for Skyeater just from watching them set up on stage. Even so, I was not prepared for just how much this band was going to blow me away. Effortlessly moving between howling black metal and haunting funeral doom, Skyeater’s songs and stage presence captivated me completely. The atmosphere and musicianship were astounding, and I cannot wait to see what the band’s first full length album will give us.
The penultimate act of the evening was Icon of Phobos. Having been the only act on the bill I had had the pleasure of seeing live before, I was very excited to be able to witness the chaos that is Icon’s live show again. I was once again not disappointed; vocalist E.R.M. appeared in ceremonial robes, got in the face of the crowd, and drank from a chalice in between roaring over some of the most vicious and dark black metal the US scene, and certainly Southern California in particular, has to offer. Upping the intensity from Skyeater’s doomed out misery, Icon of Phobos tore through their set at an unrelenting pace, their dissonant and hallucinatory black metal still ringing in the ears of the crowd long after they left the stage. If you should ever get the chance to bear witness to this band live, it is highly recommended that you do so.
Finally, it was time for the headlining act to take the stage. Oakland’s Void Omnia made quite a splash this year with their debut album “Dying Light”, and rightly so. The album showcases the soaring melodies the US black metal scene is becoming known for, yet works a little more grit into the equation for those who don’t like their atmospheric black metal too shoegaze-y. For my money though, hearing the songs on “Dying Light” live takes the experience to a whole other level. Void Omnia executed their set flawlessly; every riff and melody in every song fit like pieces in a puzzle and the intensity of the music was only amplified by the close quarters nature of the venue. It was inspiring to say the least, and I came away even more enamored of the band than before.
Thus concludes a recap of a great night. This may seem like a special occasion, but events like this with local bands coming together and local distributors and labels being given a deserved spotlight happen all the time. These are the kinds of events that it doesn’t pay to miss. Big name national touring bands come through large cities time and time again, but your local scene is your home, and it pays to support that.