Uada, Ghost Bath, Cloak @ The Meadows
Nightfall in Brooklyn on what had so far been a warm day brought with it brisk winds and ominous storm clouds. Like something from a gothic novel, the changing of seasons in New York City is both dramatic and somber. Some find beauty in the rusting leaves of Prospect Park, others find deep reflection as parks and playgrounds falls silent.
It is fitting then that the stage was set perfectly under rainy skies for a night of extreme music to welcome the darker months. With the release of their third album, Crepuscule Natura, Portland, Oregon black metal mystics Uada, along with special guests Ghost Bath and Cloak, rolled into the Brooklyn Meadows to celebrate their latest work.
Adorning the stage with candles and washed over exclusively in red light, Atlanta's Cloak started the nocturnal festivities off fast and fierce. Taking influence from Dissection, Tribulation, and Watain, the quartet churned through a set of new material to showcase their own new release, Black Flame Eternal, released in May of this year.
With the fury and might of songs such as "Ethereal Fire", "Shadowlands", and "The Holy Dark", it was no wonder that the mosh pit erupted again and again. Having two other albums under their bullet belts plus other cuts from Black Flame Eternal, fans simply were not ready for Cloak's set to end.
Feeling a little cheeky, the sound manager of the venue asked "Can I get a 'Hail Satan'?" while dialing in the microphones. "I don't believe in Satan..." came a response from the stage. Then again, when your band falls in the sub-genre of Depressive Suicidal Black Metal (DSBM), chances are, you don't believe in much.
Yet, while North Dakota's Ghost Bath might not believe in much, their fans certainly believe in their music. With a trio of guitars creating a lachrymose wall of sound over rumbling bass and drums, the pained howls and screams of vocalist Dennis "Nameless" Mikula left no one in the venue standing still.
Though having not released anything new since 2021's Self Loather, songs such as "Hide From the Sun", "Golden Hour", and "Happyhouse" hit fans both new and old the same way they did the day they were shared with the world. Indeed, it is this author's opinion that closing track "Burial" is one of the most emotionally intense songs he has experienced in many years.
Despite its rather obvious allusions, DSBM is also known has a healing side to it. As stated by Russell “Sin Nanna” Menzies of the legendary black metal project Striborg in a 2018 Invisible Oranges article, the genre is "an artform which suggested that it was okay to talk deeply and openly about your feelings, and, therefore, (feel) accepted."
The same article notes that Ghost Bath has received messages from fans that the band's music has kept them from self destruction. Here again it can be argued: Ghost Bath can believe in what they want, but the fans will always believe in Ghost Bath.
Drowning the stage in dense fog, the hour of spiritual and dimensional journeys had at last arrived as Uada began their much anticipated set. Leading off with "The Purging Fire", one fan rushed the stage and dove off into the crowd, a rare occurrence at most black metal shows.
Wielding the forces of the Pacific Northwest, the set continued into "Snakes & Vultures", and two cuts from 2020's Djinn, including the title track and "In the Absence of Matter".
Not forgetting the reason for the evening's gathering, "The Dark (Winter)" and "Retraversing the Void" served as incredible back to back offerings of the new chapter in Uada's history.
Rounding out with "Cult of a Dying Sun" and "Black Autumn, White Spring", the latter of which has been the closer for nearly every Uada show to date, fans were delighted to hear some of their favorites while also looking forward to more new material next time.
Exiting into the streets of Williamsburg, the aforementioned storm clouds had long since arrived and were delivering their own natural might onto the land below. A more appropriate end to the evening could not be asked for: as the rain cleanses the earth, so too does the awesome power of Uada cleanse the soul.
Ticket & photo pass courtesy of Suspiria PR