February 24, 2014 Moonspell Cast Magic on Gramercy Theatre NYC 2-17-14 w/ Leaves’ Eyes & Atrocity
In early December of 2013, Gothic metal fans received an early Christmas present with the announcement of Moonspell’s headlining America Noir Tour with direct support from Atrocity and Leaves’ Eyes. Having already been a successful tour, stopping in numerous cities a long the way, this European metal exhibition came to Gramercy Theatre in New York City on Monday February 17th. Fans packed out the theater early to catch local acts Fin’amour and Firehaze gearing up for the headliners to follow.
The first of the billed touring bands to hit the stage were Germany’s Atrocity. Celebrating almost three decades as a band, Atrocity has given audiences a diverse mix of metal styles over the years, experimenting with gothic, thrash, industrial, and death elements. The band’s 2013 Okkult album saw them going back to their death metal roots while keeping their sound eclectic and unique. Lead by vocalist Alexander Krull, Atrocity’s line-up features long-time member Thorsten Bauer (guitar), with newer additions Sander van der Meer (guitar) and Joris Nijenhuis (drums). Adding intrigue to this already exciting tour, Krull and company also happen to be members of Leaves’ Eyes which means they would be performing two sets consecutively. Have not toured North America in sometime as Atrocity, there was clearly a sense of excitement among long-time fans gathering close to the stage.
Cheers echoed through the theater as the band hit the stage opening with the lead track off Okkult entitled “Pandaemonium”. The guitars thrashed loudly as the drums hit you in the chest immediately. Krull took the stage with force and confidence as a lead vocalist should. An already imposing figure with locks past his waist, his voice sounded full and thick through each song performed thereafter. Giving fans a full tour of Okullt, with tracks like “Haunted by Demons” and “March of the Undying”, it was a great opportunity to hear these fresh tracks in a live setting. Krull kept the audience involved all the way through with even handing picking two lucky young female fans to come on stage and dance with the band during “Satan’s Braut”. There was no let down for Atrocity lovers on this evening and one can only hope they return for another touring cycle when the second part of Okkult is released.
Next up were Gothic symphonic metal leaders Leaves’ Eyes. Immediately following angelic front woman Liv Kristine’s departure from Theatre of Tragedy she picked up the pieces and began again with good friends in Atrocity. Proving everything happens for a reason, Leaves’ Eyes have become a force with five successful albums, numerous tours of North America, and now will be celebrating the tenth anniversary this June of their first single “Into Your Light”. The band’s most recent album, Symphonies of the Night (2013), see’s a Kristine and company raising the bar for themselves with one of their best albums to date. Filled with anticipation and energy Gramercy Theater was ready for Leaves’ Eyes.
The set began with the mood setting “Galswintha”, with Kristine’s voice in top form side by side of Krull’s death growl. Kristine was draped in a beautiful form fitting black gothic dress and captured the audience with eloquence while moving onto older songs “Take The Devil in Me” and “Farewell Proud Men”. Sounding tight and clarified, the band showed no signs of fatigue from their previous set with Atrocity and a sense of comradery glowed from the stage. Kristine moved around singing face to face with Krull and engaging with other members of the band. On songs like “My Destiny” and “Elegy”, Kristine reached for the sky hitting high notes with ease and having the audience in a frenzy. A warm feeling of comfort was felt all around as the band made each and every person feel like are part of the extended Leaves’ Eyes family. Kristine is perhaps one of the most reserved female vocalists in metal, but her class and grace work exceptional well with the emotion she brings in her voice. There is no question to why Leaves’ Eyes has captured North American fan’s attention over the years, and their popularity continues to grow with each visit.
Concluding the evening were Portugal’s own Moonspell. No strangers to North American stages and New York City, Moonspell has toured the region countless times over the past decade with the likes of Katatonia, Danzig, and Opeth among others. Their consistently beautiful dark gothic themed metal over the course of the past twenty plus years and ten studio albums have made them a clear leader in extreme metal. Having graced Gramercy Theater’s stage a year ago with Marduk, The Foreshadowing, and Inquisition; Moonspell appeared this time as a headlining act, allowing them more time to offer the fans a full on showing of their double album Alpha Noir / Omega White (2012).
Walking onto the stage, the line-up of Miguel Gaspar (drums), Pedro Paixão (keyboards,guitars), Morning Blade (guitar), and Aires Pereira (bass) came out directly followed by a theatrical Fernando Ribeiro wearing a gladiator helmet. The room exploded as the band opened with “Axis Mundi” followed by “Alpha Noir”. The crowd reacted in the form of moshing and crowd surfing their way to the stage. Ribeiro had full command over the audience with arms raised in the air orchestrating the dark chaotic sounds. This led right into the groove of “Finisterra”, which left you with a feeling of complete immersion into Moonspell’s trance. The darkness only becomes more prevalent as the set went on with “Night Eternal” followed by the vampire inspired sound of “Opium”. Riberio’s voice kept you on edge all set through, attacking you with evil growls one moment and mesmerizing you in romantic fashion the next.
Caught in the gothic dream, the vibe flowed on through older tracks “Abysmo” and “Nocturna”. Paixão’s keyboard playing interjected the right subtleties needed to make Moonspell’s music effective and translate well into a live setting; he was right on it all show long. With no sign of exhaustion from the audience, rejoice and sing along interaction began with masterpiece “Scorpion Flower”. Originally recorded with guest vocals from former The Gathering vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen, the song was done justice with Riberio singing along with Giersbergen’s recorded voice. It was at this point fans were treated to “Luna”, a song the band had never played live in the USA prior to this tour. With eyes and ears focused upon the stage, everyone enjoyed hearing it performed live. As if this rare experience was not enough, Riberio introduced the final song of the evening, “New Years Eve”, off of Omega White which was performed solely in New York City the entire tour. Riberio dedicated the song to the late Pete Steele of Type O Negative and gave an astounding performance concluding matters impeccably.
Moonspell always seem to create a atmosphere in their live shows and New York City was treated to perhaps one of their best yet. Sounding as tuned in with one another on stage as ever before, each song had a force demanding hold of each and everyone’s attention. Showing love and appreciation for their fans on stage, Moonspell’s America Noir Tour 2014 winded down on a high note at Gramcery Theater.