"It really sucks outside," says a hooded man standing behind 1349's merch table as I curiously examined an "Aural Hellfire" t-shirt. "I would move far away from here if I were you."
Putting aside the fact that the more masochistic side of me does enjoy Rochester's frigid winters, the evening's dreadful weather actually seemed fitting for the "Chaos Raids" tour that rolled through the Bug Jar on Monday, January 18. Filled out by Norwegian black metal stalwarts 1349, Brooklyn's psych-infused metal quintet Tombs, and Maryland-via-Pennsylvania's grind powerhouse Full of Hell, the particularly cold aura of the tour package felt right at home with the lake effect snow.
Buffalo's Enthauptung kicked off the evening, killing the lights and filling the room with incense as they pounded through a tight set of Wolves in the Throne Room and Ash Borer inspired black metal. While the crowd stood entranced through Enthauptung's set, the reaction to Full of Hell was considerably more chaotic. A sizable mosh spiraled open less than 10 seconds into the band's first song and persisted throughout the set. Apart from having to dodge the occasional wayward fist, it was a raucous good time.
Tombs' frosty brand of post-punk infused black metal cooled the room down as the band powered through a set consisting mainly of tracks off its fantastic 2014 and 2011 records, "Savage Gold" and "Path of Totality" respectively.
1349 finally took the small stage around midnight, bathed in red light and flanked on either side by Marshall full-stacks boasting duct-tape inverted crosses. Say what you will about Norwegian black metal's somewhat off-putting theatricality, but 1349 brought a uniquely punk flair to their hour-long performance. Despite the spiked gauntlets, corpse paint, and spooky sigils, the band sounded amazingly feral as they tore through tracks from 2014's "Massive Cauldron of Chaos" and 2005's "Hellfire."
Considering that this tour is being hosted by much larger venues as it travels across the country, its stop at the humble Bug Jar felt special. As 1349 frontmanRavn commanded the packed crowd to raise their fists and chant with him, it was hard not to feel proud of Rochester's vibrant little metal community. Why would you want to move?