In Southside Pittsburgh’s The Smiling Moose, a place known as much for co-ed carousing as it is for underground live music, a cramped attic of a venue hosted a storm of black metal that brewed slowly, starting as a fine mist and finishing as a torrential thundershower.
Local act Veiled took the stage first, their dripping, mossy, frigid black metal, the band formerly known as Gnosis of the Witch, Windir and Drudkh iffs crawling from their mouths and nostrils, swirling atmospherics complimenting their nihilistic death rattle.
Bane from Canada upped the stakes with warlike chords, an old-school thrash stage presence, and an Immortal vs. Watain fervor that blew away the fog.
Imperial Triumphant took over the stage next, their statuesque stage garb and chiming, ambient din evoking ancient times, gladiatorial violence, deprived idolatry, golden hordes, and blood sacrifices.
Panzerfaust (also Canadian) played amidst disorienting strobe lights awash in blues and reds and blinding white. Drummer Lord Baphomet played upfront as mysterious, almost unseen vocalist Goliath stood in the back. Dagger-like arpeggios, wolf barks, and hateful, progressive, percussive, Rotting Christ rhythms were emitted to ghoulish, grave soil-dusted effect.
Portland’s grim reapers Uada finished the evening with scythes swinging and sharper than the Spear of Destiny. Riffs like Satyricon, Dissection, Cemetary, and Old Funeral howled from the guitars of Jake Superchi and James Sloan in servitude to Chernanog and bent on sun-eating jihad.
After the final notes were struck, I was left hoping that bigger rooms and halls await Uada and their emissaries. This was a small, private ceremony that should have been a revivalist extravaganza.