Tucked away beneath the billowing skirts of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the Media Club’s squat, shadowy bunker was an apt site for such a nefarious music event, when last Saturday’s Black Requiem Mass bore onto the dimly lit stage a cadre of bands from the blackest and most desolate realms of metal to unleash infernal contagion upon the world.
Granted, this was not the first time Vancouver has seen a confluence of the local music community’s black Stygian undercurrents – last June’s Covenant Festival unearthed several; however Saturday’s exclusive focus on Vancouver black metal marks the occasion as an historic event, evidenced by strong and enthusiastic crowd turnout and utterly decimating performances.
Illithid’s opening set, although brief, set a strong tone for the evening with the band’s rapid bursts of ferocity. Finite raised the stakes quite early on – an impressive feat for what was only the band’s second live show – followed in kind by the abysmal dark torrents of Omnipotence. Despite a slight stumble on unfamiliar terrain as they debuted a new song, Firecult nevertheless delivered their trademark wild hellfire without mercy. Although headliners Ritual Dictates dutifully closed the show with their seething hybrid black metal contortions, Kafirun stole the night, shrouded in funerary cowls and the martial totality of nihilistic black metal en par with the genre’s best.
If the Black Requiem Mass proves anything it is that the tide of black metal in Vancouver has risen enough to mark this occasion as a great dark beginning for future genre-specific shows in the city. All hail the darkness to come. \m/