Concert Review: Possessed / The Black Moriah / Malefic / Invoke Thy Wrath / Hate the Adversary @ Empire Underground, 05/17/2023

Empire Underground did it again with another epic metal concert. This time highlighting five bands, the headliner being the much-loved and anticipated veterans of heavy metal, Possessed.

Photo by Hilary Crannage

Hate the Adversary set the bar high with a heavy, imposing start to the show, with their music taking inspiration from thrash metal, hardcore, and punk. The lead singer jumped on the barrier in front of the stage and encouraged the crowd to form a pit; the crowd obliged. Though not much moshing took place, energy was still high and would set the standard for the rest of the night.

Next to take the stage was the local death metal band, Invoke Thy Wrath. The lead singer kicked off their set with his Iconic guttural singing. Then put down his guitar to join the mosh pit. This got the mosh pit going and kept it going throughout their set. It was clear they had fans in the crowd by the way they threw shade at the band, who threw it right back.

Photo by Hilary Crannage

Malefic brought theatrics to the stage with fake blood, skipped vests, and a guitarist dressed as a priest. But there was nothing holy about their set. This local black death metal band brought it with heavy animalistic vocals accompanied by heavy guitar riffs and strong drum beats. The lead singer kept the crowd going by jumping on the barrier in front of the stage and headbanging in time with the drums as the crowd quickly followed suit. At the end of their set, the crowd requested an encore, but unfortunately, the band could not oblige as the next band, Black Moriah, began setting up.

Black Moriah was, in my opinion, the most unique band of the night. They successfully married death metal and Western style, creating an ensemble of what they call “vulture culture.” Band members wore cowboy hats, boots, leather wrist wraps, and bandana face coverings. What made Black Moriah stand out was their song tempo that mimicked a galloping horse and was present throughout their set and driven by their drums and bass. The band left their mark as death metal kings from the haunted west. 

Photo by Hilary Crannage

In contrast to their predecessor, the black metal band UADA stepped on stage with attire as strange as their name. Each member wore long black hoods covering their faces, leather vests, and tall black boots.

Their ethereal but heavy style broke up the more deep hardcore styles of the bands before them. Their cosmic backdrop set up and strobe lights added to the mystery of the band’s style. They never stopped to engage the crowd but still kept the show and energy going with in sync head banging and stylized guitar solos. After they finished the set, I overheard spectators telling each other how amazing the performance was.

Photo by Hilary Crannage

Finally, the kings of death metal took the stage. They earned the title of the first death metal, mainly because of their use of grunted vocals. This old-school metal band was highly anticipated and brought a lot of old-school metalheads to Empire Underground that night. It was apparent by watching the crowd just how diehard the fans were. They knew every song, and you could hear the nostalgia as they encouraged the band members. Most notable was the lead singer, who had been through it all. A true veteran of metal, he came out in his wheelchair and eye patch, ready to go as if it were never there. As they finished out the night, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind how they earned the title as the original death metal band. 

1 Comment
  1. The Pope Guy says

    Thanks for the terrific review! It’s Malefic though, not Melific 😁

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