Live Report: Immortal at the Gramercy Theater, February 19

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Chris Krovatin is the author of two young adult novels, Heavy Metal & You and Venomous. He is currently working on multiple new writing projects, as well as new material with his local New York metal band Flaming Tusk. He is a contributing writer for Revolver and generally comes off as a good-natured pain in everyone’s collective ass.

On February 19, I saw Immortal play with Absu at the Gramercy Theater in New York City. Here’s what I saw.

Percentage of my hangover from last night’s Eyehategod show: 72%.
General attitude about the world: Poor.
Temptation to take one of the seats at the back of Gramercy: High, but I can’t, man. Gotta take pictures. Besides, it’s a fucking show.
Number of long-sleeve Emperor shirts witnessed: 3.
Number of wispy Toki Wartooth-style mustaches witnessed: At least 640.
Number of dudes who might of have been skinheads: 3.
Skinhead or not: That guy has an awesome old-school Death shirt.
Number of bands playing tonight: 2.
Price of a ticket: Almost $80.
If you didn’t think black metal was mainstream: This many metalheads paid this much to see a Norwegian black metal band?
Merch situation: Not great. Lots of shirts, no patches, no nothing. Just shirts all around.
Doesn’t matter: Jesus, the merch table is mobbed! Took me a while to even see that there weren’t patches available.
First on: Absu, from Plano, TX.
Sounds like: A swirling blizzard of gold-tipped razors flying around at the behest of a heavily-tattooed wizard, his hands chapped, his lips cold.
Notable feature: Absu’s lead singer is also their drummer.
How does that work: Dude wears a mic strapped to his head by a studded headband.
Get out: I mean, he also wears weird spandex arm-stockings. And some Celtic Frost-esque eyes-only corpsepaint. He’s going for a look here.
Type of metal that said drummer Proscriptor insists Absu are: “MYTHOLOGICAL OCCULT METAL.”
Bummer: The dude from Absu’s stage banter voice makes him sound a little like Megatron mixed with the Great Gonzo.
Highlights of the set: “Four Crossed Wands (Spell 181),” “Swords & Leather,” and of course, “Nunbarshegunu.”
Back patch of the night: The dude with the gnarly Manilla Road patch.
Number of beers bought: Two. I owe Matt from Heavy Metal Happy Hour a beer, and shit, hair of the dog…
Shameless plug: Heavy Metal Happy Hour at Arrow Bar every Friday from six to nine! Two for one drinks! The only place to hear Deströyer 666 and Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart” back to back.
Number of fans witnessed in actual Immortal-style corpsepaint: 11.
Number of front-row Immortal honeys reenacting the Battles in the North cover: 2.
Eventual dream in life: To mack a chick in corpsepaint.
You or the chick: Both of us. All smearing our corpsepaint together. Spiked leather just starts clattering to the floor.
And now: Immortal, from Bergen, Norway.
Temperature: Grim and frostbitten.
Awesome stage effect of the night: Dropping the logo banner to reveal a massive backdrop of Blashyrkh itself, bathed in the cold light of its black sun.
Band mythology: Many of Immortal’s songs take place in or give reverence to Blashyrkh, a mythical kingdom of stoned and frost invented by the band that’s ruled by a raven-headed god named Mighty Ravendark.
So: There’s that.
Crowd response: Utterly rabid. Everyone’s packed together like sardines, fists in the air.
Outfits worn by the band: Insane studded leather armor.
Number of times singer Abbath does a Gene Simmons impression while playing: 75, 116.
Actually: Overall, these guys are pretty unabashedly proclaiming their love for Kiss. The face-paint, the synchronized headbanging, all of it.
Scowl of guitarist Demonaz Doom Occulta: Immovable and overwhelming.
Best tracks of the set: “Sons of Northern Darkness,” “Damned in Black,” “Tyrants.”
Holy shit: The ultra-long pause in “Tyrants” is such an awesome mindfuck.
Favorite Abbath song banter: “MMMHERE WE GO AGAIN.”
Personal wish: That New York clubs allowed fire-breathing.
Percentage of hangover left upon exiting club: 28%.
New cure for a hangover: Gale-force blasts of wintery hatred, apparently.