If you stumbled across Alden Quad on September 22, confused by the swarm of people wearing mostly black, moshing to some kind of screaming noise next to a deflated bouncy castle, let me explain.
On the 22nd, ClarkU Hillel held their annual Rosh Hashanah New Year Bash, which featured food, a water tank for students to dunk their professors and friends, and, of course, live music. The performers included Clark’s Jazz Band, classic rock band Professor D and the Wright Stuff, and black metal band Beneath Purgatory.
It was this last band that was responsible for the loud and aggressive scene many innocent Clarkies stumbled upon on Sunday. Made up of sophomores Logan Satalino on drums, Conor Stelmach on guitar, Jimmy Jackson on bass, and Jacob Strock substituting on vocals to let Satalino’s infected throat heal, Beneath Purgatory is a band that plays black metal – a genre too heavy even for your average former emo kid.
Next to the performance area was a small children’s bouncy castle. During Beneath Purgatory’s opening song, roughly 15 fans ran into the bouncy castle to have an aggressively good time. People were jumping, arms were flailing, and bruises were developing. There was so much moshing the bouncy castle tipped over on several occasions. For the sake of safety, ClarkU Hillel’s President Monica Sager, ’21, had to ask some folks to go back onto the grass.
Although the majority of audience members were not moshing and simply there to celebrate the Jewish new year, local Worcester bands like Harvest Manipulation, Path, and Dajjal, as well as members of Stelmach’s classic rock bands, Wichita Hangman and Comfort Girl, came out to support and mosh.
Ryan Fiasconaro, ’23, a Hughes Hall resident and former emo kid who stumbled on the show while going about his day, described the scene as “harrowing.”
That being said, Hillel’s Rosh Hashanah celebrants were enjoying the chaotic surprise.
“It’s not exactly what I expected,” said Judy Narod, one of the two Baby Boomers present in the audience and wife of Jeff Narod, ClarkU Hillel’s chapter leader, “but I’m having fun!”
When booking the band, Sager and Hillel’s VP of Communications, Alex Sklarz, did not realize Beneath Purgatory was a black metal band. Since they knew Jackson, however, they figured it couldn’t hurt. Despite the surprise, Sager found that “everybody (was) enjoying it.”
“We had a wide range tonight from jazz to classic rock to this,” she elaborated, ”which I really think is representative of Clark.”
After their successful set, Beneath Purgatory members were beaming with joy.
“I can’t hear right now and my throat hurts,” said Satalino, “but it felt amazing.”
Beneath Purgatory was born out of an impromptu jam session back in October 2018 when the trio were first-years in the practice rooms of Estabrook Hall. There, the beginnings of their self-titled album was born. After releasing their album in April 2019, Jackson was glad to bring their original music to Clark’s campus.
“I’m glad Hillel offered to have us and we hope to do more shows on campus,” added Jackson. “It was fun playing and bringing people together.”
Strock, who was only filling in for Satalino on vocals, was also thankful for the opportunity. “It’s crazy because I’m born and raised full Jewish, I’m doing this with an awesome metal band where I love the guys,” he said, “I do it for Hillel.”
“Nobody can say Hillel doesn’t know how to party,” said Jeff Narod, ClarkU Hillel’s chapter director.
Beneath Purgatory’s album Beneath Purgatory can be found on Spotify, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp.