The fact that it’s being performed from an actual venue (Alcatraz Milano) with a full production helps, as does the energy and presence that the band members bring. No-one’s claiming that it’s a full substitution for the real thing, though. After the show, the band talk about how weird it is playing to no-one. Streaming platform A-LIVE offers some participatory extras including a selfie gallery that displays as the show streams and the ability to press applause and a very strange-sounding ‘whoo’ button like gothed-up real-life avatars in the Five Million Credits episode of Black Mirror. There remains a surrealness to it all, but as stand-ins go it’s still pretty spectacular.
Black Anima is the ideal subject for a show from the brink of the apocalypse, being a not-quite concept album delving into the darkness of the human soul. There’s a surfeit of atmosphere to the songs that the band echo in the visuals, from the corpsepaint make-up that leaves drummer Richard Meiz looking like Rob Zombie’s cinematic killer clown Captain Spaulding, to the neon crosses and columns of ever-changing symbols and designs.