Black Friday Ritual at the Amsterdam Shows a Strong Presence

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As most finished up their Turkey Day festivities, attention quickly shifts to big sales and bargain hunting on Black Friday. However, anyone that knows me, know that this droning run for the stores and sales is not in my wheelhouse. Instead, time was spent shooting some portraits in the studio and resting up for what I knew would be wild night at the Amsterdam Bar & Grill. The show was not going to be normal flare. This was going to be a deeper answer to the Black Friday as Minneapolis’ The Metal Evangelist (KFAI’s Roar of the Underground) and Fulton Beer hosted the Black Friday Ritual. With five bands on the line-up including Ulkum, Suffering Hour, False, Sivad, and headliner Teratism, the evening was going to pretty extreme.

I arrived in plenty of time to make my way close to the stage before the first band started. It was a real testament to the strength of the local metal scene when I realized the number of people in attendance. Many were socializing and checking out the band merch tables that were situated on the side of venue. In my normal mind-prep, I contemplated the question that always seems comes up, “how am I going to capture this experience?” At times, this can be a real distraction and even a struggle. Sometimes the performances I witness illicit frustration in capturing the artist or to really pair the emotion that artist’s music is intending to convey. An experience on stage only happens once, increasing the beauty of the moment as well as the challenge of properly capturing it. What was about to unfold at this show was raw, unfiltered energy.

Ulkum took the stage first. As the band started their set, the intensity that they brought to the stage was pretty incredible. Their sound is best described as Doom Metal. It is extremely heavy and driving. Singer Joshua Ans’ deep growl basically erupted from a sequence of somber notes as the opening dirge stretched well beyond 14 minutes. The entire set methodically executed with direct morphing riffs that folded in a more traditional Black Metal sound with a furious intention. Simply put … mind blowing!

Next in line, Suffering Hour took the stage. This three piece band based out of Minneapolis, kept the crowd engaged. Their sound fuses dissonant black metal and harrowing death metal to create an experience that’s both eerily atmospheric and punishingly heavy. With a full fire-storm of ferocious lyrics, these guys nails a hardcore set. The band uses very traditional progressions mixed in with skin-shivering otherworldliness and it somehow managed to be quite memorable as well as persistently unsettling. High energy to the core.

After a short stage change and my need to partake in some fine liquid refreshments, False was up next. This was the only band I had covered before (at the former Mill City Night — April 2016), so I kind of knew what to expect. However, I was completely blown away at their performance. From start to finish False hammered the crowd with layer upon layer of atmospheric dissonance … and did so without hesitation. This was the only band that had a keyboardist but it definitely accentuated the dual-guitar riffs. The singer prowled the stage like a stalking demon looking for her next possession. With a hard driving beat from beginning to end, False evokes a sense of desolation with a quick throw into an unsettling violent storm.

Up next was Sivad. Based out of Memphis, TN, these guys have been pounding the black metal scene for a number of years. When Sivad took the stage, it was like an event. The driving music and dark melodic riffs were spot on. Frontman Der Wolf Der Anbetung engaged the crowd in a constant expression of the lyrics and song emotion. This was serious shit though … full on ‘shit fire and save matches’ real. The mic stand was laced in loosely wrapped barbed-wire which the singer wrapped around his arm. Further, a huge bowie knife was brought out during one song which managed to a small cut on his forehead. The band created for themselves a space, both physically and sonically, which they occupied and invited us into. I really don’t know how else to describe it. Their performance was an invitation to stare in the face of an epic performance … and the crowd jumped right in.

Wrapping up the night was Minneapolis’ own Teratism. With the stage dimly lit, Teratism stepped up, faced the crowd, and unleashed their viciously demonic performance that still rings in my ears as of this writing. Teratism is an extremely loud and evil horde, and their presence on stage details this in every way. They conjure up a suitably nasty and unrestrained dose of vile underground Black Metal malevolence in a very extreme way. Their presence on stage and music delivery is raw, raucous, possessed, wholesome and potent as a strong shot of whiskey. The performance on stage is without doubt a trip worth taking, and judging from the crowds response, many would agree.

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