Photographer: Justine Murphy
Based in: Portland
Text by Nathan Carson
Justine Murphy is a wonder. I should know–she’s a very close friend of mine, and also the fine photographer who has documented my annual Fall Into Darkness festival for the last few years. We have a date to make a blog called NVRSTSFD wherein her photography and my music writing will collide. Thanks to Cvlt Nation for providing us this opportunity (read: kick in the ass) to get the ball rolling…
The following photos were all shot at our mutually beloved Berbati’s Pan. This Greek restaurant and elegantly grungy music club is in the heart of downtown Portland, OR and has played host to every incarnation of my “Into Darkness” festival to date. The sound and vibe at this place is my favorite in town, and I know Justine agrees. In fact, this is how and where we first met, thanks to her long weekend adventures down from Victoria, BC to attend the fest. (She lives here in Portland now.) In late 2010, Berbati’s closed its club after the owner Ted passed on. Some of the room was remodeled and sold to the ever-expanding Voodoo Donut empire. But Berbati’s restaurant continues to serve up fine downtown cuisine, and has now reopened its club side with a smaller capacity, and the same great stage and sound under the new and reverential name “Ted’s.”
Photographer: John Currie
Based in: Southern California
Alda @ Neumos – Seattle, WA
This is a photo taken during my first series of metal shows outside of California this past December. I’d never traveled out of state for shows, and being accustomed to the Los Angeles scene I really had no idea what to expect. I was completely blown away by the Cascadian metal scene. Absent were those that attend shows only to parade around in costume or inflict injury on others – here everything felt much more real, alive, and raw. Alda is a relatively young band, and they played with more soul than a lot of bands that I’ve seen throughout my time in the metal scene – a performance that can only stem from actual faith in their own conviction. Without a word, the band took the stage and constructed a small fern altar – the skull of a small animal placed carefully in its center – and began a beautifully destructive set that will always retain a place in my heart. Here Alda’s backup vocalist unleashes a wave of raw shrieking into the mic overhead while bathed in pale blue stage lights, conjuring a very primitive and animalistic visual that fits the Cascadian aesthetic nicely. READ MORE…
Photographer: Sergio Amalfitano
Based in: Southern California
CEREMONY – CHAIN REACTION – ANAHEIM, CA
This is a photo of the first time that I saw Ceremony. I was never a big fan of their recordings and kind of resented people labeling them power violence. They were just hardcore punk to me so I never understood the hype I suppose. But I saw them for two reasons on that day. 1) My friends band Slip It In was playing and I wanted to support. 2) I read an interview with Ross. I gave it a chance. I listened not only to what the music had to say but to what the people behind it had to say. It’s hard expressing your anger and frustration at the world in a minute’s worth of screaming. So when I read the interview it struck a chord with me. They were my age, they felt what I felt and more so they expressed it in a way that I hadn’t really heard before. When I saw them it made sense. The hype. The praise. In this photo all you see is Ross, balled up in the center of the stage at Chain Reaction, lost in his own world. He’s surrounded by pounding hands that are searching for some sort of release or support from the swelling crowd behind them. Blurry faces grasping for air. This picture reminds me were all desperate and pissed and the world made us this way.
Photographer: Tracy Terrorist
Site: T. Terrorist Photography
Based in: Las Vegas
Of course every image takes me back to a particular time or place, but these invoke some of the best memories I can think of. These were all taken in the course of the last 2-3 years, some of the most memorable shows and events I’ve traveled out for.
This one has always been one of my favorite shots, there actually was a barricade/walkway in the middle of this venue which separated one side of the crowd (21+) from the other, it was also made as easier access for photographers to take pictures without getting smashed and trampled on within the crowd. Of course, like any event you would need to acquire a pass or permission of some sort to get through. I wasn’t even aware of this and had been photographing from the side of the stage, trying not to get trampled or have beer spilled on me. Near the end of their set I was pretty much worn out and wanted to stick with the shots I managed to get, but then decided to take a chance and talked to one of the bouncers to let me through the walkway. He was hesitant at first but let me go through to get the shots I needed which was extremely cool of him. I was only allowed up there for about 10 minutes, but 10 minutes was all I needed to capture some noteworthy images that I still look back on and feel proud of, this one is actually hanging on my wall in front of my desk as we speak.
Photographer: Bryan Proteau
Site: SF Sludge
Based in: San Francisco
This is a photo from Deafheaven’s record release show for Roads To Judah at Sub Mission Gallery in San Francisco. The band played their new album in its entirety, and I took this picture during the last song of their set, a song called “Tunnel Of Trees” which they’d never played live before. After throwing himself physically and emotionally into the music for the past half hour, frontman George reached a point where he put his back to the crowd and, like a game of trust, just fell backward. I love this photo because he continued to sing as he was being carried completely horizontal, with the cord of the mic leading like a lifeline back to the stage.
CVLT Nation is proud to premiere our Seven Stories photographer feature, where we ask rad photographers to tell the story of seven of their photos. We are kicking off Seven Stories with one of our favorite NYC metal photographers, Samantha Marble.
I love the artwork on the Watain records. When Brandon Stosuy asked me to shoot them for his column on Stereogum called Haunting the Chapel I was stoked. When the day came to shoot the show it was bleakly cold and I had been walking around dead inside. That’s what got me through shooting these savages. The set was over an hour long and all the rumors are true. The stench was so thick that it permeated everything on you. It was worth being crushed by the sold out crowd while chunks of decaying meat and blood were splattering me and my camera from the front. The entire set was as much willing abuse on multiple senses as it was mesmerizing. I walked out with one of the best sets of photos, I think, I’ve gotten so far. This shot was my favorite though.