Someone Else’s Simcha The Release Show for Dim Aura’s New Album - Black Is Beautiful

An Israeli extreme-metal band takes to a big-city basement in its first stab at global domination.

Ron Ben-Tovim
Ron Ben-Tovim
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Ron Ben-Tovim
Ron Ben-Tovim

Location: Levontin 7 club

Time: 10:30 P.M.

In the neighborhood: A wintery chill blows through south Tel Aviv’s dark streets. Groups of people wearing black T-shirts and leather huddle in groups holding beer bottles and exchanging tales of performances past. A beer bottle is hurled into a dark alley, echoing through the largely deserted street.

Venue: A street-level bar that, upon further descent, turns into a small, dark performance space, illuminated only by two lantern-like lights in the concrete ceiling and a dimly lit bar. A small stage is set up with instruments, backed by a large black flag. The words Dim Aura are sketched out in menacing white letters.

Simcha: The release show for Dim Aura’s debut LP.

Number of guests: Around 150

A brief history of time: Dim Aura, part of the Israeli metal underground, was formed three years ago. The drummer: Ezequiel “Hezi” Fel (aka E.F.F.), 31, originally from Eilat. The guitarist: Niv Mazkereth (aka Ferum), 32. The bassist: Ofir Nakar (aka the one who didn’t feel like having a metal nickname), 31. Both Mazkereth and Nakar hail from Petah Tivkah. The vocalist: Haim Guseinov (aka H.), 26, originally from Be’er Sheva.

Hezi, Niv and Ofir sought to find their niche in the global black-metal community, an extreme subgenre with roots in northern Europe. The music is sparse and blistering with a penchant for showmanship and anti-religious or even pagan lyrics. Hezi, Niv, and Ofir, who all played in a different band seven years earlier during their military service, got back together for a new project. Seeking a vocalist, Niv suggested Haim, whom he knew from the scene. Dim Aura was formed.

Spreading the gospel: Striving to break the odds of making it big, the boys released a short album a few years back, before releasing their debut LP, appropriately titled “The Negation of Existence.”

“We worked much harder on this album,” Haim says, adding that the band was going for a more global feel. “We may have recorded it in Israel, but the mix and mastering were done in a studio in Sweden and the cover was done by a Polish designer, so it was a very international effort.” And, since black metal isn’t very lucrative these days (or any days, actually), the musicians’ bid at global domination is accompanied by their day jobs or university studies.

Rites: Men and women, predominantly in their 30s, dressed in all manner of dark shades. Some sport long black hair and slowly make their way down to the bowels of the club. Inside, among the growing dark crowd, a young man dressed in light gray and wearing a bright-red kippa talks excitedly to a friend.

Soon enough the warm-up act is on, veteran cult favorites Barbara, made up of drummer Dudik Oppenheim and bassist Re’em Hareuveni.

In a small dressing room, the Dim Aura boys begin preparing for the show, putting on the black-and-white makeup known in the biz as “corpse paint” and donning their bullet belts and massive spiked arm bands. “When we started the band we said we’d do it by the book,” Haim says.

The release show for Dim Aura’s new album
The release show for Dim Aura’s new album
The release show for Dim Aura’s new album
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Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen
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Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen
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Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen
The release show for Dim Auras new album

Barbara provides a short set of its signature grating sound before making way for the main event. Two stage hands in Dim Aura T-shirts hang black posters on each side of the stage. The posters read in Hebrew “Behold, I open before you the ways of death and sin.” The stage hands light several large black candles and place them on the speakers.

Uber-dramatic music comes on, and the band members, smeared in fake blood, take to the stage to big cheers. Without further ado, the band blasts off, head-banging its way through old songs and tracks from the new album.

Heads across the crowd shift back and forth in unison as the music, somehow, keeps on gathering steam. A few guys try their luck at starting a mosh pit. Limited success.

As the show moves on, Haim, now in his capacity as H., pours on more fake blood from a Jack Daniels bottle until he’s completely soaked. His teeth are bright red through his long black hair.

After bashing through the set, with a mosh pit now successfully installed, H. bids the crowd farewell, thanking everyone for coming in Hebrew (for the first time tonight). On their way out, fans break out the money to buy the new album, on sale at a small stand, with the Motors’ rock anthem “Airport” gently emitting from the street-level bar.

Music: Blood-curdling black metal, served at concrete-breaking volume.

Food: Cigarettes and fake blood.

Drink: Mostly beer, with a few sightings of white wine.

Word in the ear: Haim, on being part of the metal scene in Israel: “I think people on the street look at you funny whether you’re in Israel or Norway, but it’s harder for a metal band in Israel to break through.”

In my spiritual doggy bag: Your day job shouldn’t stand in the way of your dream, especially if that dream runs blood deep. Literally.

Random quote: One excited male fan, expressing his admiration between Dim Aura songs: “Haim, I want to have your baby!”

Want to take part in Someone Else’s Simcha? Want to invite Haaretz to your family celebration? Send word to:

The lead singer of Dim Aura shows the audience exactly what he thinks.Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen

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