An Australian Antichrist in Paris
Deströyer 666, Revenge and Temple of Baal @ La Petite Loco, Paris, 3rd April 2006
by: James Montague
The Locomotive club on avenue de Clichy in Paris is the ideal spot for an extreme metal gig. The avenue is known as Paris's red-light district, teeming with 1€ peep shows, adult video stores and flashing red neon. The club itself is directly adjacent to Moulin Rouge, the renowned house of burlesque. But while the tourists flock to this socially-accepted form of depravity, the metal hordes are forced to squeeze into the narrow, dimly-lit building next door. Nor are they even deemed acceptable fare for the large Locomotive stage; rather, they are shoved underground where they belong, onto the tiny basement stage known as "La Petite Loco", amongst steel girders, pipes, industrial-sized gas heaters and air conditioning units.

After a busy day in the office I showed up almost an hour late. Balrog -- a group featuring Belenos members and reputedly worth a listen or two -- had either cancelled or had already come and gone; my experiences in London taught me that a metal gig never starts on time, but perhaps the French have brought efficiency to the metal world? No matter; I sat at the bar and sipped on an overpriced, warmish can of Heineken, waiting for the next set, by local good-for-nowts Temple of Baal.

It was a fine opening set of fast black metal interspersed with catchy thrash parts. The French fans provided healthy support for their scene, packing the small dancefloor and exerting a considerable amount of energy for a second-tier support band. The Baalists impressed me with new songs like "Graveyard of Disgust" and "Traitors to Mankind", catchy raw black metal pieces with good songwriting dynamics. I was also impressed by the way the thickly-corpsepainted drummer managed to pull off machine-gun blasts and rapid fills while keeping his neck and shoulders dead still, the head tilted to one side, giving him the appearance of a zombie with possessed limbs.

Next up were Canada's Revenge, and a chance to see the marvellous James Read abuse his drumkit with abandon. Never has mindless noise been so appealing as when Read blasts relentlessly, killing the snare while the hi-hats remain untouched, or hitting everything at the same time, presumably hitting snares with nasal projectiles while pulling off rolls with his forked tongue. I don't know, I ain't a drum technician, and watching him in person didn't answer all my questions. All I know is that his body was flailing spasmodically for forty-odd minutes, and he headbangs like a motherfucker while assaulting the skins, and it sounds just as it should. Pete Helmkamp, of ex-Angelcorpse fame, leads the band with his bass-playing and soulless, dictatorial war cries. The large blond fellow on session guitar was, I believe, a certain Vermin from Axis of Advance. Quite the all-star threesome, Revenge mercilessly scythed through a set of unremitting intensity, baffling much of the audience, accustomed to more melodically logical forms of black metal. Being well-versed in the Canadian war metal style pioneered by Blasphemy and mastered by Conqueror, Sacramentary Abolishment and Axis of Advance, I knew not to expect ear candy, and I got none. It was great fun, though I'm not sure anything new was added to the style, as if innovation was ever part of the game. I decided not to buy their LP at the merchandise stand.

Speaking of merchandise, I couldn't resist the temptation to buy Deströyer 666's tour shirt while waiting for their set. The "Wolf Kult Kommand" tee is a Euro tour exclusive, with a nice doggy baring his teeth on the front and slasher-movie red fonts depicting the band name and tour details. Lovely stuff. But I didn't wear it for the gig; I had my über-rare "Six Songs with the Devil" T-shirt on, and I wanted to show the Aussie Antichrists that fuck yeah, I've been following you since your demo days. These things are evidently still important, even when you think you outgrew them a decade ago.

Finally, Australia's finest export arrived. I've been waiting to see these guys live since the dawn of time, but life has conspired to keep me from witnessing their live assaults just as it has stopped me from ever watching "Magnolia" in full. The anticipation reached fever pitch; there was something decidedly un-French in the waiting, wretched rabble of long-haired delinquents. Goddamn, it was great.

"I am going to tear... down... the world", announced a booming voice. Ah yes, "Rise of the Predator": a fine way to get the party started. The jackhammer blasts and wild soloing were a sure notice of intent. But that was just the beginning, as the insane thrash of "Raped" was what really got the fires burning. Nothing beats Deströyer 666 for live intensity, because their choruses are all such fist-flying, horn-saluting, scream-along classics. "And... she... liked... it!" I roared in unison with K.K. Warslut. I looked around and noticed a few female audience members at my side. Oops... well, homoerotic misogyny is what metal's all about; they can hack it.

The songs from _Cold Steel for an Iron Age_ seemed to get the most energetic crowd reaction; after all, it's probably the album that the greatest share of the audience had heard, and they are real compact thrash assaults, perfect for the stage. But for me, the definitive Deströyer 666 classic is _Unchain the Wolves_, so the following pieces were what triggered my complete mental breakdown: "Satan's Hammer" was the first song I ever heard by the band, and it brought back tears of nostalgia. Then the bells chimed, and another recorded intro gave the crowd time to settle... ah, the magnificent epic, "Genesis to Genocide"! Ten minutes of absolute bliss; this night would, by the grace of Satan, never end.

It was anthem time again, and "The Eternal Glory of War" touched the souls of all present. "Liars, cheats, cunts and fuckin' whores / I want you all against the fuckin' wall"... fuckin' oath, mate! That's poetry right there. The evening was becoming a profound, life-changing experience.

At this point I should note that K.K. Warslut is a wonderful front man, showing ripe enthusiasm for his craft and keeping the inter-song chatter concise and appropriate. I felt like I had a special bond with the man, wearing my fuckin' elite T-shirt and seemingly the only person in the French crowd who could understand his warm Melburnian drawl. At this point, he asked if there were any Bathory fans in the house. About a dozen audience members made out the word "Bathory" and roared their approval. Warslut eulogised about the dearly-departed Quorthon for twenty-odd seconds, then announced that the next song would be "Call From the.... [expectant pause]...". About five French metal fans yelled out "YEAH!!". I alone screamed from the sea of uncomprehending mutes, "FUCKIN' GRAAAAAVE!!!". I'm sure I made the Warslut smile.

Yes, the greatest live band in the world played the best song of the 1980s; possibly the best black metal song ever written. It was too much. I screamed every word from heart in my best imitation of Quorthon's razor-lacerated cries for help. Deströyer 666 played the soul-wrenching solos with impeccable taste. It was magical.

There were several more great songs to savour... "Sons of Perdition", "Black City", "Satanic Speed Metal". There was only one thing missing. "Alright, fuck you Paris, time for some requests, what do you want?", shouted the Destroyers. "WHOAAA, YEAH... DESTROYER 666!!", yelled the crowd. "AUSTRALIAN AND FUCKING ANTICHRIST!!!!", I roared. "Play the fucking national anthem, you fucking bogans!"

There was no other way to end a perfect evening...

Black hearted demons fight the metal fight

Raging from Hades in leather and spikes

Australian and Anti-Christ

Australian and Anti-Christ

Destroyer 666 is the Anti-Christ

(article submitted 18/4/2006)


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