On the weekend of the autumn equinox, a darkness befell the northern Canadian city of Edmonton, eclipsed by a twilight horde of black metal bands and fans. Factory Worker Media made the long trek across provincial lines to witness the second iteration of Black Mourning Light Festival in all its grim glory.
As enamoured as one may be with the prodigious BC metal scene, time away from familiar venues and bands is an opportunity to have new experiences and see how other creative communities in Western Canada function. As recently remarked by Social Arsonist drummer Danny Sever, Edmonton’s Rendezvous Pub is not unlike Vancouver’s own Funky Winkerbeans (a venue which until recently was the premiere spot for new heavy bands to cut their teeth; although, tragically, management has announced its intention to dispense with live music at the end of the week, in favour of karaoke), and its intimate atmosphere provided the event’s regional bands and headliners alike a chance to establish and expand their ties in northern Alberta.
(Although this post recaps Saturday’s events, fortunately several of Friday’s headlining acts continued west after the show and we caught up with their malefic caravan in Vancouver for Black Monday at The Red Room – check back tomorrow for that coverage.)
Saturday’s show delivered several noteworthy highlights: Ye Goat-Herd Gods’ songwriting was sharper and stronger than one would expect from a band two years young (finely-honed performances by guitarists Jeanie Keebler and Gord Olson made a particularly strong impression); reminiscent of Firecult’s appearance at Wacken Metal Battle in Vancouver two years ago, Dethgod’s impressively fierce set belied the young age of its members; Nachtterror’s porcine set decoration aroused anxiety as one expected accompanying scents similar to a Watain show (fortunately, in polite Canadian fashion, their disembodied pigs smelled much better); Holocaust Lord invoked the studded spirit of truly venomous black metal; according to vocalist Nic Miquelon, Norilsk’s moshpit was an apparently unprecedented event; Vancouver’s own Wormwitch conjured a compelling black enchantment to an appreciative crowd; and both Helleborus and Uada presented sets of chilling and inventive black metal.
Sadly, after the lengthy 14-hour drive Friday night and full coverage of Saturday’s lineup, the need for sleep trumped our attendance of Sunday’s breakfast with the bands and one hopes that next year’s feast will come later in the day.
(Click to enlarge photos)