Saturday Sept 29th 2007. Waiting on friends Devon and Kyle to arrive at the house. Making good time already as both show up around 4pm. We grab a bite to eat and hit the road. Already aware that friends Timpaler, Paul Ledney, and the Witchtomb guy's had made it to the club or were pretty close. The ride was a smooth sail. Maybe an hour and fifteen from here in CT to NJ. Parked and made our way to the club. Good sized crowd inside(100-150 maybe?). I'm not sure if Ash or Tribulation were on stage playing at this point? Whomever it was I wasn't in the least interested. I just remember hearing god awful power metal/King Diamond like vocals that were totally off key and out of place. Next up Witchtomb. Thankfully not a long wait between bands. Though I did hear complaints from a few of the bands themselves they were rushed onto stage. Witchtomb totally got me in the mood for the nights event and seem to have the same effect on others. Dirty, raw and brutal BM in the Profanatica, Von, Blasphemy, Sacrofago vein. Cold Northern Vengeance followed and were hindered by technical difficulties which was a shame because I was looking forward to their set after hearing excellent new material from the forth coming album. Baphomets Horn blew me away! They were totally on spot and tight. Their drummer is awesome and what really makes the band in my opinion. Totally following in suite with the likes Revenge and Bestial Warlust. I hope they cut a full length in the future. I have new found appreciation for Nightbringer after being hypnotized by their live performance. Unearthly shrieking/chilling vocals and mesmerizing tremolo- guitar picking elevates this band to trance mind altering levels. Really their music on disc does no justice to them in a live setting. My only complaint however was with their drummer who really did not hold his own. Though I believe I was told that was not the regular one. Once Nightbringer finishes there are mere minutes till Havohej. With the Fog machine on and a foul aroma in the air, we have our signals that the start of the Havohej performance is under way. As the "rumble" blares from the PA you could feel it hit your stomach, at least up front we could. The crowd grows antsy, as they call for Havohej to come out and perform little do most know Havohej is already several mintues into the first song of the set. The crowds anticipation is understandable, since the new Havohej ep Tungkat Blood Wand is not even out, they assume music they hear is nothing more than an intro. When in fact it's the 10 minute long first track from the new ep. Finally Paul appears on stage decked out in an impressive cloak/rob. He approaches the mic and launches into his vocals. The club(Dingbatz) has a great PA really giving punch to Paul's vocal blasphemies. They were loud, harsh, and very audible. Say what you will of newer Profanatica and Havohej, there's no denying Paul's vocals are powerful and have not lost any the effectiveness that have always commanded. Havohej(Paul) plays the remaining 2 tracks off of Tungkat Blood Wand all the while weidling a large kinfe/sword, he demonstrates his martial arts skills and training. Even more tricks up his sleeve as the Dethrone The Son Of God rant is spewed forth. Accented by the appearance of a bible that when opened the pages instantly burst into flames. 15 or so minutes later the set was over. Cheers from the audience erupted while others were left scratching their heads in bewilderment. I believe the majority of the audiences expectations were met(mine were) with the Havohej performance. Still others came away disappointed, expecting a concert of sorts. Many speak or write about black metal as the ultimate self expression or the most artful form of metal. While it may be evident in the studio or on record your usually hard pressed to find that self expression or artful approach in a live setting. Especially in the metal genre. Let's face 4 0r 5 individuals on stage playing their instruments gets mundane. What Havohej(Paul) pulled off live on Saturday night was performance art. Theatrics if you will. Was it perfect? No. Even Paul will tell you that himself. But is all art good or let alone perfect? Again, the answer is no. Artists and musicians need to take chances, to do the opposite of whats expected, to hold onto their visions. Good, bad, or indifferent Havohej(Paul) has accomplished and continues to accomplish his goals of self expression via his music and art. The key to Paul Ledney's success is his ability to re-invent himself and his projects. I will not be at all suprised that in the not to distant future to witness similar performances, yet not by Havohej. No, Paul is I'm sure already onto a whole new concept for Havohej even as I write this. Fucken Ledney, alway's one step ahead of the game.
With that being said, Autumn Equinox V Fest was a good time. Probably one of the best K.E.P. Productions has done that I have attended. Good bands, good atomsphere, and good friends. Cheers to Devon(Decemeber Wolves), Kyle, Timpaler, Paul Ledney, Gabe, Ryan, Daryl&Dave(Abazagorath/Funebrarum), Witchtomb boys and crew, Paul&Matt(CNV), Justine, Damon, and John(DeathThrasher). Good to see and hang with you all. Till the next time...
p.s. In case your thinking I've left off a few bands in my review. You'd be correct. Though not intentional. For one reason or another I only caught one song from Cyber Christ, Bloodstrom, and Kult Ov Azazel. Unfair of me to warrant a review based on one song. Thought I regret not watching more of Bloodstrom, who sounded amazing. Interesting to note was that Neil(Krieg) handled vocals for Kult Ov Azazel. Again, regrets for not watching longer. Engorge I missed all together. Too bad as I believe Jim Roe(Incantation) handled drums and Alex(Gorephobia) was on bass!?
Live excerpt of Havohej from Autumn Equinox V Fest:
Thanks to everyone who came out to the show on sat. nightbringer was the most eveil shit i have ever seen live! Engorge were killer, and also witch tomb were heavy as fuck! as for havohej i think it went over a lot of peoples heads. i had no control over the club. the owners were putting pressure on me all night long and were not easy to get along with. the show was about 1/2 succesfull for havohej. now im forced to re-think how im going to continue this thing. first off. there WILL be another havohej show. this time it will be controlled by myself and my guys. (invite only) this way we weed out the disgusting drunken monkeys of filthy jersey. it will be done on my terms. no people from the sapranos telling me my intro is too long. this art is self expression ,period. opinions from other people do not matter. havohej is about drone, filth, and being isolated while watching. the next event will be complete sensory deprivation. im looking for a way for the audience not to have any contact with each other. complete seperation.maybe some kind of pod setup. im not sure yet. it was great to meet christophe, and hang out with old friends i have not seen in a long time.alex, chris, gabe, kyle, neil, chase, tim, damon, black metal lou, and everyone else who we spoke with at our merch table.
blackest fucking hails,