The last few years have been a comeback and new beginning for L.A. based Dawn of Ashes with vocalist Kristof Bathory pursuing other musical ventures only to eventually return to the fold of DOA. The Phoenix awoke and rose to spread its blackened decayed but revitalized wings from the west coast. DOA returned with 2016’s Theophany and just wrapped up a tour in preparation for the June release of their newest ceremonial offering Daemonolatry Gnosis.
The Fire of the Phoenix tour made 18 stops across the nation from April 27 to May 23, starting in L.A. and Sacramento. Ohio’s second stop came Friday May 19, at The Venue in Fairfield. DF Productions and Events got the onslaught of Bathory’s sinister crew along with Montreal’s Projekt F and local support from Cincinnati’s Bloodwerks.
It could be said the room and its furniture were tailor made for the night’s entertainment. The music being as loud, fierce, furious and freakish as the surroundings with the on stage acts peaking and pleasing everyone’s audio fetish.
The crowd left happy with ears ringing as all three bands delivered impassioned performances playing to win over everyone that stood before them.
Bloodwerks dual vocalists Andrew Sherman and Dickie Wiedenhammer started off the night, with two drums sets, one sporting mobile, limber joints with beaming spotlights, synthesizers and a guitar fit for battle.
Drummer Ray Bates and keyboardist Stephen Eckstein played the stationary backbone of the set while Sherman and Wiedenhammer roamed the area.
“Fixation” filled the room with anticipation and innuendo. Guitarist and e-drummer Spencer Burton’s sticks sprayed red like trippy lasers or Vader’s light saber. “Consumer Whore” started scarlet, stilettoed and ripe with audio samples chiming in as the third vocalist.
“Diastetic” beat steady, hammering forth like a marching death battalion. The electric firearm came out for “Psycho Planet.” “Little Girls & Cigarettes” danced a naughty line between creepy, chugging guitar notes and screaming, screeching grimy vocals as worldly vices big and small distracted and deflected the realities of life from mundane daily habits to closed door private indulgences.
“B.I.O.S.” finished the show.
From the great white north came Projekt F and what a family portrait of Marilyn Manson, Mudvayne and Tool might look like. Built in 2009, they’ve played with Motionless in White, Combichrist and Dope among others scouring Canada and the U.S. Releasing one album and three EP’s, they have a look that’s anything but cloned and a stage show representing a unique balance of robotic punk, human automation and movie makeup gone horribly wrong. If Fear Factory merged with Nine Inch Nails with a few trippy tastes of Mushroomhead you would be staring at the Canadian gents.
The quiet industrial flutter of “The Butterfly Effect” brought them on stage ready and willing to give everyone a little forced entry on “Tongue.” Guitars, drums and industrial metal hit like a clanging bitch slap as vocalist Jonh M. Miller did a dual delivery of twisted clean tempo singing and gruff teeth gritting screeching. Miller’s attire and persona spelled out Marilyn Manson drained by Nosferatu in a dark alley as bassist William Hicks came off a bit more dapper in silent serial killer mode patiently playing, quietly observing his prey. His visage a ghostly patterned white face between solid black neck and tribal like head design. It took talent pulling moody and creepy while silent. Guitarist Simon Sayz was the misfit punk of the group looking more zombie than walking stiff, like Paul Stanley mixed with Doyle and Henry Rollins. Drummer Fred Linx remained hidden in black behind the skins, keeping the machine going.
“Unbegun” started pounding static. A psychotic ripper of a tune with grooving metal mixed in with industrial buzz as clean vocals dropped in unexpected. Subtle strings started the numbers game on “03:47:09:08:1945” leaving disturbing feelings of waiting for something to happen, in its wake. Sometimes the anticipation is more powerful than whatever comes.
“Fatman” burned calories, carrying a calmer vibe with moody bass drags and riffs chewing like electric teeth on the fret board. They ended with “Room 13” with Miller’s vocals edging toward Robert Smith territory. Heavy guitars were laid down in favor of industrial soundscapes except when slammed into the mix like cymbal crashes straight to the ear.
Like a morbid fairy tale told by road warriors come to life, Dawn of Ashes performed with a strong mix of horror (the guys) and beauty (bassist Angel Dies) under an ever changing tangled web of lights and strobes. Their attire as diabolic and wicked as Bathory’s screamed sermons. In person they mirrored the bastard children of Dimmu Borgir, White Zombie, Belphegor and Behemoth. Bathory was dressed to possess with success in finely withered, weather beaten attire looking fresh from a cemetery dusting. Eyes sporting a dead hypnotizing glare with decayed necro grin.
Bathory went into the crowd, motivating the assembled to mosh and get involved. Guitarist Raum looked to have done a few scarred trips down Fury Road with keyboardist Bahemoth and drummer Brandon Rage drenched in black and spotlit, looking arguably the most ‘normal.’
The atmosphere went arctic cold and still as the cold depths of “Enter the Vortex” began. Choose your path. “Stillborn Defect” (The New Breed) got gothic, techno and industrial celebrating those born without faith.
They closed with the lone track from their original run; Anathema’s “Poisoning the Steps of Babel.” The black eyed, soulless stigmata dripped with a wickedly smiled goodbye as the abominable worship climaxed and concluded.
Images by Mike Ritchie