Photos and Review by David De La Huerta
It was a cold, windy, and rainy evening in Toronto, but that did not stop fans from coming out to see metal acts Mayhem, and Midnight at the Phoenix Theater. Mayhem, the Norwegian Black Metal band, paid a visit to only two Canadian Cities, Quebec and Toronto, on their North American Tour The Sanguine Sodomy of North America.The band is currently on tour promoting their latest album, Let There Be Witchery. They brought along with them opening act Midnight. Unfortunately, Waitan, the Swedish Black Metal band, was forced to cancel due to some Visa issues.
Everything was ready for the opening band, Midnight. They took the stage wearing masks and dressed in all black like modern era executioners. They kicked off their set with “Black Rock n’ Roll” followed by “Poison Trash” and “Evil Knife.” The audience got more into it and rowdier as their performance went on. Commander Vanik (guitar) mentioned that his guitar was stolen in Montreal the night before. I could tell the guitar is sentimental to him and I hope he gets it back soon.
They played an extensive set that included a variety of songs from their most notable albums, like Complete and Total Hell, Satanic Royalty and Szex Witchery. Despite having limited room on the stage due to Mayhem’s setup, they still ran around showcasing their musical skills. During the final minutes of their performance, while playing “Unholy and Rotten,” Commander Vanik and Athenar jumped off the stage to bodysurf through the crowd. Security rushed in to make sure that no one got hurt and both guitarists left their instruments at the edge of the stage as they made their exit. It was an amazing performance from beginning to end!
Next up, was the main act… Mayhem. The fans were ready. Many had painted their faces to replicate the look of the Norwegian death metal band. Black scenery started to emerge on the stage with low lights and fog, Hellhammer (drums) and Teloch and Ghul (guitar) took their spots on the stage. Shortly after the legendary Necrobutcher crept into his space. The band waited along with the eager crowd for the arrival of singer, Attila Csihar. As soon as Csihar took the stage, they tore right into “Falsified and Hate” kicking off act I of their performance. I must mention the entrancing visual prop that looked like human bones with an upside down cross that Csihar had on his mic stand. During the first act, Mayhem played various songs from albums Chimera and their latest release Daemon. Songs included, “Bad Blood,” “Falsified and Hated” and “My Death” which was one of the highlights of the night for me as it is a favorite.
When the first act we as done, the entire stage got really dark while very creepy sounds were playing on the P.A system after about 10 minutes the low lights started to appear and with them the entire back dressed like monks all in back with their faces also covered in hoods, that’s when the second Act started with four songs from “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” that’s when the audience took chanted Mayhem*s name several times while having their hands with the horns up gesture.
The third act started the same way, with the stage going black, while the band took a quick break. This time they came out with no costumes. Csihar was wearing menacing face paint and holding a skull in his hand. He used the skull to make an eerie sound by blowing through the oval-shaped opening in the occipital bone. The audience went nuts and the mosh pit exploded.
It was my first-time seeing Mayhem and it was an unforgettable performance. If you get a chance to catch them on this tour, I highly recommend it.