Black Moon Over Ross Bay: BLASPHEMY w/ ARCHGOAT, VALKYRJA, HELLFIRE DEATHCULT and WEREGOAT at Rickshaw Theatre, 12 March 2017 (Photo Gallery / Gig Review)

Black Moon Over Ross Bay: BLASPHEMY w/ ARCHGOAT, VALKYRJA, HELLFIRE DEATHCULT and WEREGOAT at Rickshaw Theatre, 12 March 2017 (Photo Gallery / Gig Review)

Blasphemy‘s 2013 performance at Noctis Festival (v.6) in Calgary is still fresh in this reviewer’s memory but Sunday’s concert was the first occasion in half a generation that Vancouver fans have had to witness the Victoria-based legend’s live rites here on the lower mainland.

Leading the war march with a surprise early assault soon after the Rickshaw Theatre’s doors opened, Portland’s Weregoat treated the earlybird crowd to a flesh-rending set of misanthropic bestial death metal. While the band’s previous local performance at Covenant Festival II was a memorable highlight last June, this time around their grinding sarcophagal frenzy set the bar that much higher for the next death squad in the procession. Hellfire Deathcult were clearly up to the challenge, pounding out a relentless white-hot battery of infernal material; but Sweden’s veteran quintet Valkyrja provided the most animated (and well-lit) spectacle of the night’s lineup, its various members continually trading places onstage throughout their manic set of caustic black metal. Making its Vancouver debut, Archgoat cast down unholy desecrations upon a rapt capacity crowd and setting the stage for a decimating set by the warlords of Ross Bay themselves. Though it’s been well over a decade since Blasphemy last played in Vancouver, their set was a seamless demonstration of blunt-force fury.

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(Click to enlarge photos)