It finally happened. I had a good, no, GREAT time at Maryland Deathfest. Would’ve been better if I could have seen Garm’s unibrow rustling in concentration, but still, fun. Absolutely free of poorly thought out drinking binges, interpersonal drama, God, and other messy things that prevent you from living like a human, I’m glad to report a success story where I not only saw most of the bands I cared to see, but also was fuckin’ FIERCE in , goddamn. Lookin’ and feelin’ good are only two parts to the complex and variable happening that is America’s biggest metal/hardcore party of the year, but it’s easy to forget that when you’re crying and/or puking, and I’m glad to say I only did the latter once, and it was a party puke making room for more party as opposed to an “I hate myself and will try not to do this again” puke. Awesome. Now let’s talk about some shit.
There’s not much to say bandwise about Thursday, because fuck New York traffic. Slapshot got it right, they shouldn’t apologise for that shit. Just take a look at this monstrous eyesore I got treated to at the Port Authority station.
A motherfucking Cake Boss Café. Reaffirms misanthropy like little else. The icing on this cake of fuck is the presence of televisions airing the damn show to the lobotomised patrons. And don’t get me wrong: my brief sojourn to Times Square allowed me to bear witness to a lot of other unspeakable horrors including a strip club/body sushi bar/steak joint (unholy!) but it pains me to even think of the massive overcrowding and overstylised tomfoolery that is that den of iniquity. It takes 30 minutes to get out of that gods accursed necropolis, even with clear traffic, so avoid at all costs all the time. Now that I’m done bitching about long bus rides (and it was long), I’d like to take a moment to give a HUGE shoutout to a certain Peter Willis for setting me up with a couch to crash on the entire MDF weekend, via couchsurfing.org. Highly recommended if you can’t afford a hotel or just don’t want to deal with one anyway. This guy saved my life, and unfortunately I didn’t think to get a picture with him, but here’s his dresser clandestinely snapped pre-cleanup because he’s a party animal.
To Baltimore natives, Modelo and Natty Boh are water, and Strong Bow Cider is their apple juice.
So without further ado (and I’m not even sure about the ado), I made my sweet little way to the Ram’s Head, and I must say it’s a tad fancier than I would have thought, being called Ram’s Head. I had in mind a bar shitty enough to be Deathfest material, but that was only the bowels. The outside has a fancy ass fountain with lights that make it look like Vegas or someshit. Too cool, dude. And it’s near the most brutal Holocaust memorial you’ll ever see.
Isn’t that fucking metal? And not just because it’s cast in iron or whatever, but because it’s a bunch of bodies burning, twisting, writhing, and melting in spiritless agony. Forever. Fuckin’ rad. Boston’s glass tubes full of steam can’t compare.
Appropriately in the mood for Coffins after some rituals near this most blesséd monument to misery, I stepped face-first into the sludge.
The embodiment of dark, slow and heavy, and a direct genetic predecessor to Winter’s death/doom monstrosity, Japan’s Coffins is a contender for one of the most disgustingly oppressive metal bands out there. And they’re actually good at what they do, too. The distortion serves not as a cover-up for being shitty musicians (they aren’t), but creates that foreboding grave-like atmosphere we sick fucks need to feel alive. Now one member heavier after moving Ryo from drums to frontman and getting a new stickman during the making of their punishing new album The Fleshland, they brought out plenty of hits from the hellish Buried Death, my personal favourite (though suspiciously missing “Cadaver Blood”, why?). You’d be amazed at how fast a crowd can get moving even though the music runs like a tank draped in human bodies. Easily one of the more brutal pits of the weekend. Nearly lost my shit —as in my possessions, as you know I went ham— but it was totally worth it. “See you tomorrow”, Bungo or Ryo quipped as they signed off, with a smile.
Following with another hard C to the jaw, Nawlins’ own Crowbar came up to the plate and delivered sorrowful Southern sermons to our congregation of freaks.
There they were chugging along dutifully onstage, I’m looking at guitarist Matthew Brunson as the blues flowed freely, and suddenly there’s a scrawny-looking guy feeling the fury of Kirk Windstein’s foot to his face. Now everyone’s mind is in “what the fuck?” mode for a moment, and conflicting accounts of the “what” rose faster than weeds outside a shitty project building. Apparently a fan got onstage, got tackled by security into Kirk, which then prompted Kirk’s “what the fuck” mode, and subsequently a violent reaction that was probably not needed, in light of the whole Randy Blythe kerfuffle. Despite this hiccup, however, they finished their set like gentlemen, and all was well. No clue what happened with the guy that undoubtedly still has a shoeprint in his forehead, but I hope that wasn’t the highlight of his weekend. I mean, aside from that, the set went well. I made a man of myself by throwing the shit down during “Cemetery Angels” in a goddamn blue miniskirt. Get on that level, chumps.
Switzerland’s Triptykon was supposed to headline, but due to the sudden and tragic death of band friend and artist, H.R. Giger, and the subsequent scheduling of his funeral, they couldn’t make it, though the MDF XII shirts tell a different story.
Good Friday indeed! Oh the wonderful tales I could tell you about successfully defeating homophobia by simply walking away from loudmouthed dumbasses, or I could just review bands, which is a better idea, actually.
So, this is the second time I’ve seen New York’s Castevet here at Deathfest, and like their hometown, I’m not sure why it’s considered such a hot item, even though it has elements that I like. I enjoy their post-hardcore tendencies more than their Black Metal ones. Weird, ain’t it? I would have stuck around to hear more of Mgla (who are doing far more interesting Black Metal, straight as a shot of Beefeater), but I wanted to A) familiarise myself with the walk to and from the Baltimore Soundstage, because I would end up going back and forth. A lot. Like, more than a kid at a Gorilla Biscuits show, or someshit. Why do they do this to us instead of using the perfectly good former Sonar Compound for a shitshow, the only attraction being that beers were $3 rather than $6? Fuck logic.
Anyhow, yes, Creative Waste from Saudi Arabia, pretty decent. They’ve got the novelty factor of being one of the only known Grind bands from that country for obvious reasons, though they could stand to be more creative in the years to come. They’ve got potential, however, and it’s sweet they could make it out to the US and do stuff. After a bit of getting wasted, I walked back to check out Ruins Of Beverast, and I honestly found their brand of Teutonic Black Metal a tad dull. I swear one of their songs was repeating the same section over and over and over and over until I finally realised it, and then, as if to fuck with me, suddenly it changed. Is this what it’s like having a bad trip just to snap back into reality and find your loved ones dead? No? Completely off-base? I mean, I like atmosphere and all, but I didn’t come to Baltimore to be lulled to eternal slumber. That’s what got me in trouble the last two years.
This picture with Fizzle D-Dizzle happened at some point around that time, because Ruins of Beverast is the soundtrack to a selfie break.
Following that was Necros Christos, and I must say, golf claps to having the most evil sounding bands play in the bright Baltimore sun. The irony was lost on nobody, I hope. They were decent enough, I remember, but nothing truly stuck out. Yep, the drought of interest was alive, but luckily Lake ACxDC was nearby to quench my thirst for some hard-hitting PV. Since it was still early in the day and not everyone had warmed up, you can guess that the pit was live, but not entirely lit up. Their caustic mix of standard Powerviolence and wacky fun-loving Grindcore makes for some good Christkillin’ tunes, indeed.
A second helping of Coffins was on the menu, and boy was I hungry for more topsoil.
Legit, Coffins could have played all four days and I’d have no problem with that at all. This time around they played more of their “fast” songs, meaning those with more mid-paced tempos, and even “No Saviour”, featuring some blastbeats, which, in my Coffins listening experience, is quite a rare treat. This, however, only proves that the band is not a one-trick pony, and is capable of devastation at several different speeds. Efficiency is terrifying; just ask the Nazis. Not a band to repeat themselves too much, the only returning tracks were “Evil Infection” and “Altars In Gore”, the latter of which made the dance floor shine. With sweat. And beer.
Turning 30 just last year, Norway’s Taake has never been in the U.S., because playing shows in America is not Black Metal, or something. Hoest even decided to wear a robe rather than go balls-out, which would make more sense, given that the weather’s pretty nice around those parts at this time.
Controversy about telling someone to “go suck a Muslim” —something Creative Waste would probably not appreciate— and all other bullshit that has lead to people falsely pinning the NS tag on them, Taake is probably one of those bands that you hear about more than actually hear. Having exposed myself to some of their music, I can say with certainty that it is good Norwegian Black Metal, and controversy be damned; those riffs are ice fuckin’ cold, son. I’m not terribly familiar with much of their music aside from the hilariously awesome banjo solo on “Myr” from Noregs Vaapen, but I hope this means that they can come back sometime without me having to pay hundreds of dollars. Also, I saw this dead bird on the sidewalk, and someone had removed it by the time I went back out of the Lot.
They didn’t take the dog shit, though. Guess that would’ve been gross.
Having to dash in the midst of the fog to catch the almighty Capitalist Casualties was a painful, but necessary decision for me to make. If I even missed a minute of their set, I probably would have missed two or three songs, and that is, I assure you, not entirely an exaggeration.
Think the singer and bassist don’t look PV enough? Here’s their guitarist:
Now THAT right there is the face of fastcore.
Blistering, impossible hailstorms of insane start-stop tempos, rapid-fire vocals and scathing guitars that straddle the line between an all-out Thrash attack and condensed hardcore ferocity, and I suppose you’ve noticed that I’m fanboying so hard I can’t even stop using ad-words. I’ll be up front and say Capitalist Casualties was one of the main draws for me this year, alongside Coffins. With a 40 minute timeslot, I estimated that they’d play at least 10 songs that I knew. I overshot it by three or four songs, but still, good enough. The fact that they played “Selfish Parochialism” nullified the fact that they didn’t play “Violence Junkie”, or more from their split with Man Is The Bastard, but I seriously can’t even bitch, because when else am I gonna see Capitalist Casualties on the Beast Coast? Geekin’.
The madness was far from over, as Italy’s grind virtuosos Cripple Bastards were up next to ruin any semblance of a face remaining from the previous assault.
Ranging in styles from faithful three-chords-and-the-truth punk rock to blasting grind, to fret-melting death metal, Cripple Bastards are certainly not short-sighted in their brutality. I’d know what they talked about if I spoke Italian, but I get the feeling that it falls in line with socio-political vitriol, as grind is wont to do. From Assück to Discordance Axis to early Extreme Noise Terror, grind has many flavours, and Cripple Bastards brings a whole plate of goodness to the genre. Just thinking of Italy makes me hungry because I’m fat. Speaking of fat, I got a free Yeungling from some guy.
Best 6 bucks never spent.
After my lower back was adequately punished by Punx Aerobics 101, I took yet another long walk (and it got longer every time) back to Edison to catch At The Gates, no big deal.
Alright, so I lied, pretty big deal. At The Gates is only one of the most legendary Melodic Death Metal bands that actually still plays Melodic Death Metal. Who does that shit anymore? Not In Flames, I can tell you that much, even though I love them to death. But yeah, to see the fucking pit surge during “Terminal Spirit Disease” is like a breath of fresh air for MeloDeath. Some dude even got into the circlepit with a camera in hand, and somehow it didn’t get broken. What a man. He’ll put a baby in me one day. The most pleasant surprise of the set: they actually played “The Beautiful Wound”. Holy shit; I thought I was the only person that cared about that song for some odd reason. Killer doesn’t begin to describe it. With fear, I kiss the burning AWESOME.
Following that with the atmospheric as hell black/death/doom two-piece meal Bölzer made for an odd contrast, but it was pretty chill, despite being given the distinct feeling that I had been launched into empty space.
Not much I can say about these guys, unfortunately, but they’re good, so check ‘em, if you want. I saw this guy’s jacket, too.
California’s most likely to be sued for medical malpractice, Impaled, however, was what my ears had their hearts set on at that hour. I intended to catch some of Enthroned, but they took too damn long to set up, and ironically enough, Impaled also were taking ages to set up, and thus started ten or fifteen minutes late. But fuck it, it’s Impaled playing The Dead Shall Dead Remain, in full, with dudes dressed as doctors, Hæmorrhage style, crowdsurfing/moshing in ‘blood’-spattered lab coats and surgeon masks. To add fuel to the spiritual bonfire of Bacchanal celebration, the infamous MDF Party Brigade struck suddenly with a bunch of glowsticks, inflatables, and other goodies, as you can sorta see here.
One second, it’s just Impaled playing, the next, it looks like someone turned on a garden hose that shoots little plastic things you should never, ever, ever, eat.
I drank with the doctor you see in this picture, he’s pretty chill. I already forgot his name, though, because whiskey. And this little cute alien dude, even though this picture is from Saturday.
All hail Dollar Tree, for it is America, and America is good.
Then I went and caught some Incantation, and I must say they’re not quite as slow as I expected, since I believe some of their members had been in Disma, and lemme tell ya, that band’s pretty slow. I kinda liked it, but would have preferred if vocalist John McEntee (also known for his work in Mortician and live stints in Immolation) didn’t insist on trying to sound “evil” even though song titles like “Emaciated Holy Figure” do that well enough. Sounded like a damn cartoon goblin. How brutal. Not shittalking, it was just ridiculous, being referred to as “sick fucks” two or three times in a 10 minute span. Good night.
I can still hear, and that’s actually almost disappointing.
Opening this barrage of noise were Symptom(Ex-Host, Who Killed Spikey Jacket?, and not to be confused with a Death Doom band of the same name) , who play a Japanese style blend of raw d-beat and crust that takes you back to the mid-80s, when production just wasn’t something people did. Rumbling, barely audible bass, buzzsaw guitars that crackle like a hate-filled broadcast of impending nuclear warfare, and vocals? What vocals? You’re drowning anyway, and you can yell all you like, nobody will save you from the distortion. With a cover of “Pressing On” by the almighty Gauze, you’d think anyone with a single stud on their jacket would go absolutely ham, but ironically that’s when everyone decided to settle in for mosh bedtime and simply fistpumped/sang along to show approval. Sad day. For fans of Gauze (obv.), Gloom, Zyanose, Confuse, and other things that make your brain hurt.
Now here comes the complicated part: I’m sure that at least 5 or 6 bands played, but the flier you see here is inaccurate, as Raindance played nearer to the end of the night, and some other shit got moved around, fuck research. I think another d-beat band played aside from Cleansing Wave, but I don’t remember, so fuck it, I’ll write about Cleansing Wave, ya fucks.
I get the impression that Worcester’s Cleansing Wave were the favourite of the night, and I sure don’t blame the crowd for reacting so well to them despite some vocal troubles. The vocals follow a more reverb-y approach like Mörpheme or Dishammer (minus the black metal), but unfortunately we didn’t get to hear much of that. Instead we had to focus on the thrash-inflected hardcore fury provided by the rest of the band, which is a good enough consolation prize. For people that like Suburban Showdown, Misery, and you may not have heard of them, but there’s this obscure band called Discharge that may have been an influence.
Having missed Raindance due to not knowing when the fuck they were going on, I’m still not too torn up about it because I guess nobody but me likes them, and I’d just have to be the one-man mosh, which is just not nice. Downright disgraceful, don’t punch people. However, by all means do punch people to Toronto’s Column Of Heaven, who must mistakenly get invited to play a lot of church socials.
Boston is officially outrageous, or so says their vocalist King. Featuring former members of The Endless Blockade, it’s no surprise that they play grind/powerviolence with some death metal influence, and the result is a sonic stew pleases the ear. Or assaults the ear? We can’t ever know what terms to use when we listen to noise like this. It’s not the most unique style, but it’s at least weird enough to make you curious. If the subliminal, calculated terror of Iron Lung and Gulf Coast Grind nerds Hatred Surge/Insect Warfare were in collaboration, it’d probably sound like this.
Nyodene D sounded like a bunch of weird experimental/noise shit happening, but I wouldn’t even know because I was jus’ chillen on the couches in the lounge (they’re comfy) until Full Of Hell gave us all the auditory C-4 we came for.
Infamous for their uncanny ability to play so loud that they actually manage to overload their speakers and (I think?) blow out the electricity in an entire building, Philly/Maryland’s Full Of Hell are not known for taking it lightly when it comes to their music, despite their benign appearance. Their style encapsulates all levels of extreme: impossibly heavy sludge breakdowns, raging grindcore/powerviolence fast enough to make the Concorde 2 feel great shame, and power electronics/harsh noise influence that, instead of annoying us until guitars and drums are the tool required, acts as a palette cleanser until they start rocking out again.
Now, I mentioned that I can still hear, and that’s bullshit, because I came there expecting to get my ears royally screwed, but college campuses probably can only allow Full Of Heck, not to be confused with Full Of Hell, who would probably leave the building a mess if they had their way. That being said, I still enjoyed their set, as it included “Bone Coral And Brine”, which is a standout track on their devastating LP Rudiments Of Mutilation, perhaps because it best wraps up all the components of their sound in a neato 2-minute package that is both fascinating and frightening.
It’s like the old saying goes, “Beware of the quiet ones”. It could have been at least 5x more intense, but all things considered, maybe it’s good that they spared us. Deus ex machina.
Dive on into this prime example of what happens when you go to a lot of shows in a short period of time and then save it for a bad joke. Prepare your brains to run some linguistic laps, creatures, this is gonna be long. This post includes reviews of The Ocean (March 30), Aborted (April 1), Ramlord (April 5), and Carcass (April 10). The Dillinger review will be on Ghostcult or something, it’s a mess. Why didn’t I post this yesterday, you ask? Because that’d actually make sense. Now
The Ocean Collective, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth, & Silver Snakes @ The Sinclair
I was a tiny bit disapoointed to find that it was Scale The Summit and not The Ocean headlining, but that’s all small potatoes. If only the ticket itself didn’t lie and have The Ocean’s name over Scale The Summit’s. Blood under the bridge. Let’s talk bands.
Silver Snakes was a surprising treat of an opener. They actually weren’t boring like I assumed they would be, since the general structure of these kinds of shows is that you must first be bored before you can be entertained. Like having to eat a burnt steak to get a glass of OJ. But these guys, quite well cooked steak.
Respectable post-hardcore that sounds a bit like Antenna era Cave In, I dig, I dug.
The Atlas Moth is a band I honestly should probably be more into, as “Holes In The Desert” is infinitely badass in all its mountainous glory. Heavy as a titanic elephant when they want to be, yet still creating an atmosphere above all else. Maybe it was the booze running through my veins, but I did find myself enjoying it more than anticipated. Maybe I should be more positive. I’m sure these guys smoke mad weed, doe.
Positivity was certainly the word when The Ocean took the stage,since they were the only band you could really start shit to. If you pay attention to my posts on Facebook (and why would you?) you would see the massive knee scrape incurred due to being physicsfucked.
So here’s how it happened: I was gettin’ my thug on in the pit, someone, getting into the spirit of things (kinda) gives me a shove, naturally I fly in the direction in which the force was applied, and fell. No problem. So then I get assistance, and thinking they’ll simply elevate me back to a standing position, get all spry and leap up. Unfortunately, my helpers hoisted me up pretty hard, so the excess force caused me to jump too high, and I, surprised, ended up falling directly knee-first onto the brick floor yet again. My dignity. My knee. Ow.
But yes, they played Pelagial, their newest, and possibly best, album in its entirety, with some funky video playing in the background, giving us the story of what I guess to be a woman who takes over an hour to drown while she explores the tentacled depths of er… the ocean. But yeah, it was an awesome set, of course. “Bathyalpelagic III: Disequillibriated” (try saying that once fast) was one of the highlights of the set, but I’d say Pelagial in general is just a huge highlight for their career, so it feels weird to play favourites with any song(s) on it.
Oh, and singer Loic Rosetti climbed up to the mezzanine while singing and jumped into the crowd, which I guess is a highlight too.
Bands like Scale The Summit are direct evidence that Metal is not all “guys screaming” or a wall of distortion that must be penetrated to see the complexity of the music, or a constant cannonade of pounding, warlike drums. Their sweet, almost airy take on Prog Metal —appropriately dubbed “Adventure Metal— can be both heavy and turbulent, but always expansive and inspiring.
If there was mountain climbing music for metalheads that’s not Black Metal, it’s this. Busting out some choice tracks from their killer new opus The Migration as well as “Redwoods”, plenty of material from The Collective and I think “Age Of The Tide”, or “City In The Sky”. Something good, like all of their songs are, y’know?
Substance(s) consumed: A 40 of Mickey’s and a tall boy of Natty Daddy. I hate myself.
Ramlord, Spinach, INTHESHIT, NSF, Radical Apathy @ Ask A Punk Because The Jig Is Up
I may have the order of bands for this particular show wrong, but fuck it.
I love how DIY venues get so packed you technically miss bands because you’re standing in the hallway looking into the room due to the sheer volume of people. Such was the reason why I missed Radical Apathy, sorta, but that’s okay, because this marks the third time I’ve been in their presence. And it’s sexual. Check it if you’re into 80s hardcore with an anarcho streak of red in its mohawk. Think Void speed with a little Conflict and female vocals, and you have a rough approximation of their sound.
Struth’s first set of three, so his arms had yet to fall off.
Next up was (I think) INTHESHIT, was Struth’s second set of the night, and John Belmonte’s first. Their sound was fittingly manic for the claustrophobic setting in which it took place. Shredding riffs, schizo vocals, nonstop artillery drums, and a lot of instruments very sad to be instruments, because they were getting banged on roughly for our ears’ enjoyment.
Nuclear Special Forces celebrated bassist Jerome’s birthday the only way they knew how: getting drunk and wearing their own shirts, which have this on it:
Available in sizes Sexy and Awesome.
Nuclear Special forces just get better with each viewing. Here was the first place I saw them, and now look how they’ve changed. Well, I suppose they haven’t changed a goddamn thing, now that I think about it, except that they no longer play their cover of “City Baby Attacked By Rats”. But other than that, you know you’ll get a good time delivered straight to your face. If you’re sober during an NSF set, you’re probably not old enough to drink yet and you should work on that. And if you’re not almost knocking over their gear, you should be, because standing still isn’t what you do in a confined place when loud music about hating people is playing. For fans of J-punk like Kuro and the cheeky powerviolent swaggerings of Charles Bronson or Fuck On The Beach. Eric Struth set number 3 and John Belmonte set number 2, because big boys need love too.
Next up were Spinach, serving up a healthy helping of Fastcore. Shorter, faster, and ostensibly louder than my mom’s gospel albums, they are highly reminiscent of Backslider, and of course, the almighty Infest. Songs so short, Calhoun Tubbs must’ve given them lessons. Good times, though, can’t get enough Spinach in your musical diet, especially since it’s this gnarly.
Ah, Ramlord. Now off the relentless new album cycle and back to playing golden oldies and even their amazing new track, “The Breaking Of the Swans † The Eulogy Of The Crows” from their split with Nuclear Devastation. Time to git it, nigga: First time in so long I’ve heard “Total Doom” live, and first time in general seeing “Affliction Of Clairvoyance” live, which is my fave track. Twostep and pitcross for days.
Don’t get me wrong when I rejoice at the sidelining of the new opus, Crippled Minds rules, peep the review and then go listen if you haven’t already, dude. The last few times I’ve seen them have been mostly in support of the new album, so multiple sets consisting entirely of it will make my old soul yearn for the more familiar sounds. Glad to see the triumphant return of the old Ram, with a solemn eye to the future as the cult grows anew.
Substance(s) Consumed: A 40 of Colt 45, and I forget what beers after that, but I was turnt, don’t worry.
Aborted, Pyrexia, Forced Asphyxiation, and Totality @ Middle East Upstairs
April Foolin’ up in here with Totality, a band I can’t get into (sorry) and Forced Asphyxiation, who I enjoy but can’t see myself becoming a huge fan of. Death Metal by numbers, perhaps, but everybody needs a hobby, and some peoples’ hobby is writing brutal music, so I say let ‘em, they ain’t hurtin’ nobody. Yet.
Pyrexia, wow. That logo reminds me of a lot of nights spent in front of a bone Compaq computer printing out fake fliers for bands I idolised when I was 15. Someone couldn’t doodle them something drippy or splattery for appearance’s sake? After all, they do play slamming death metal with some bro-ish breakdowns, so they’d certainly be well off with a logo that looked like this:
Rather than Morpheus (or should I say “Morphevs”?), a font that calls to mind a lot more cheesy images of Goffick dating sites like vampirefreaks than it does pig squeals and XXXL shirt wearing bouncy slamdowns. Yes, I knowvampirefreaks not a dating site, I’m internet humoring. It should be, though.
See how I just took a huge diversion and talked about their logo instead of their music? Never do that, kids. It makes you look like a bad reviewer. That, and not posting things until like weeks later, but we’ll solve these problems one at a time.
Anyway, Pyrexia was aight, nothing to write the U.N. about. Aborted on the other hand has music like WMDs for your ears. I don’t know how long they’ve been going with a uniformed look, which comes down to black dress shirts with patches on them that bear an odd insignia that I don’t know the meaning of and could probably research, but nobody reads this anyway so why bother. Carrots.
I’m glad I finally got to see Aborted after like fuckin’ years of missing them at every turn. Hell, I’ve seen his side band System Divide, and they were pretty cool, but this is Aborted, dawg. If you’re not moshing during the final breakdown(s) of “The Saw And The Carnage Done”, consider yourself a fuck nigga. Sadly since Aborted does have a lot of albums and I haven’t paid attention to them all equally (Strychnine.213 is my fave, fight me), I felt I was unable to fully appreciate every gore soaked moment as well as I would have if I’d at least known the structures of most of the songs. And no “Dead Wreckoning”, aw.
Substance(s) Consumed: I think I was stoned, but I don’t remember, ha.
The Decibel Tour 2014: Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts and Noisem @ The Paradise Rock Club
I can say I’ve seen Carcass twice in the span of a year. Word.
Opening this fest up right were Baltimore’s youngest of youngsters in Noisem, and when I say ‘youngsters’, I mean these kids are actually kids.
Their oldest member probably still can’t drink legally, if I’m going purely by appearances. Don’t let their baby faces fool you, however, because these guys make some pretty nasty music for freaks whose hobby is mistreating their neck muscles. From the nods to Slayer, Death Angel and the like in their thrashier riffage, to the robust canned chaos of drumwork reminiscent of old death/grind Repulsion and older Morbid Angel, and even some modern hardcore influence in the form of the occasional breakdown, there’s a lot to work with, and it’s good. These lads are barfing out something to be interested in, and will talk to you as if they didn’t just play in a band on a stage for $38 a (severed) head.
Next were the ancient vvizards in Gorguts, who I’ve honestly not heard a terrible lot of material from. I’ve heard Obscura, had a love/confused relationship with it for a while (I eventually decided to make it my occasional fuck buddy), and I’ve heard some of The Erosion Of Sanity, which was more straightforward, at the cost of diversity. So with this and having checked a song or two from their newest opus of non-Euclidean dissonance, Colored Sands, I saw Gorguts. And while I was impressed, I feel as though I wasn’t familiar with enough material to get the most out of it.
Indeed, when listening to a band that chops and screws music just to reassemble it artfully disfigured, it’s probably best to know what to expect first, otherwise you’ll just be standing there thinking “This is cool and I dig it, but I’m still lost”. It’s kinda like reading an article on neuroscience, but with riffs. The vocals also seemed kinda iffy, but one doesn’t really focus on the vocals in music like this, which are more a vehicle for concept rather than meant to wow us, I guess. Luc Lemay does do some pretty interesting things with his guitar, though, that much I can say with certainty. I feel as though they got robbed, having such a short set, but it’s all a popularity contest, and The Black Dahlia Murder played Warped, so.
It’s almost unbelievable that this marks only the second time I’ve seen The Black Dahlia Murder. All other times I’ve missed them for dumb reasons or someshit, so I live with great shame on my head. I’ve not contemporised myself yet, meaning I’m still in the dark about how great Everblack is, even though Ritual was one of my top albums of 2011, and all their other albums hold a special place in my heart, so the fact that I haven’t listened yet means I should be beaten. I mean, let’s face it, they’re fucken great, what with being total stoner/drunkard goofball fucks —watching the Majesty DVD will make you smart— and yet still writing some of the catchiest and still legit and epic melodic Death Metal this side of Sweden is a testament to their commitment to the music.
The setlist consisted of, you’d imagine, new material, and songs from the more recent albums, these being Nocturnal, Deflorate, and the mighty Ritual. I suppose they won’t be going as far as even Miasma for a little while, but we’ll just have to deal. Much like I have to deal with my tattooless belly.
Need context? Well, lemme tell ya a story, kids.
So one day, after a heavy metal concert, the singer of one of the music groups, named The Black Dahlia Murder (kids and their rock’n’roll unsolved crime fascination) was drunk and hungry, so he proceeded to order one of the most obscene displays of American restauranteuring that isn’t just combining two deep fried and incompatibly heart-breaking foods. No, it was a sea, an ocean, a vast infinitude of french fries, complete with a hot dog and a cheeseburger. I bet even the Krispy Kreme donut would quiver in its calories seeing all that shit on a single plate. So I forget how we got to comparing belly tattoos —or in my case, lack thereof—, but my dad started it. Members of Gorguts and Noisem also bore witness to the silliness, so there’s a conversation starter if you read this and think it’s worth bringing up. You won’t. But Trevor likes my Despise You shirt so I win the game anyway, loser.
Oh, and Carcass played, it was awesome yet again. Their first Boston show in 20 years? Welcome back, lobsterback tea slurpin’ limey loo using Brit bastards.
If you want to get technical —and this is the show for it—, I suppose you can say this is half of Carcass, and two guys who are skilled enough to pretend that they’re Ken Owen and Michael Amott, but nonetheless, a phenomenal outpouring of death metal the way people have grown to love it. From the familiar clamor of “Symphonies Of Sickness”, the so-sicc-you’ll-throw-up “Exhume To Consume”, the catchy bounce of “Corporal Jigsore Quandary”, the tasty “Blind Bleeding The Blind” and some new sounds from the new album, Surgical Steel, which kinda sound like a continuation of what they were doing on Necroticism, which means it’s good, if not derivative, though we’re just happy Carcass exists again.
In addition to being one of the granddads of Grind, Jeff Walker’s also a funny guy. I’d probably be willing to see him in a shitty comedy club somewhere for £5 or whatever, because this guy’s got jokes. He threatened the crowd with Swansong, and the band even went so far as to tease us with a graphic of that weird patchyface monster and the opening bars, complete with Walker telling the crowd to prevent people from escaping. By the time the first verse was to kick in, they switched into “Keep Rotting In The Free World”, I think, which was actually a bummer for me, because “Black Star” is actually one of my jamz, yo.
Jeff’s also short. Like, really short. And he sounds like a leprechaun. He was built to blast.
Yes, that is my default facial expression for every picture now. No, that is not true, because then how would I have a LinkedIn account? Ha, just kidding, I barely use it. What’s responsibility?
Substance(s) Consumed: Spinach.
You’ve reached the finish line. You’re brave. Were you expecting something cool for reading all those words to the end? Fine.
But yeah, keep reading. Real books, not this drivel.
Threefer nothing, you cheapskates.
Ramlord, Nuclear Special Forces, Decrepit Existence, & Mata Ratas @ MIT Senior Hall
Well isn’t that cute? My band’s logo is on the bottom of the flyer. Too bad we couldn’t play and were replaced with Mata Ratas, who didn’t even have a drummer, so Mateo of Decrepit Existence —who I missed due to a booze run, so tough luck for you, no review— and some guy I didn’t know jammed away on guitar and bass while people (yours truly included) stepped up and played random bullshit while they tried to gallop along. Does this count as my seeing a band? Does this count as me being a guest drummer and thus my first actual live appearance? Useless either way. It was fun(ny) at least.
Next up were Nuclear Special Forces, who brought the goshdarn ruckus, as usual. Their mix of d-beat, crust, powerviolence, and just plain being angry and intoxicated quickly got people surging, pitwise. Typically, people surge arhythmically, but at least I tried to surge rhythmically. A pit at MIT; who’d have foreseen such a thing? Well, if there can be pittage at Northeastern, Tufts, or the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, maybe the school punks can occasionally have their moment to shine. With the drunken mosh ensuing (with some people holding lit cigarettes, no less), it was like “Look Ma, No Brains!”, and it was awesome. For fans of Flesh Parade and/or Charles Bronson, because all fast music sounds the same.
Ramlord played a buncha stuff from their most recent LP, Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom, even though they’ve got plenty to choose from. C’mon, guys. Bring back the oldies so I may sweat away this layer of permafrost. They’ve a split with Nuclear Devastation coming out soon, so peep the new song and shed the tears of nescient slaves.
Substance(s) Consumed: A biiiiig gulp of vodka, and a nip of Hypnotiq. I was sufficiently turnt.
Protean Collective, Acaro, & Pathogenic @ T.T. The Bear’s
A local show that didn’t make me want to cry? Yes! I have finally found it.
So I come gallivanting in a few minutes late for Pathogenic, formerly known disparagingly by me as ‘PathoDjentic’, but luckily they just decided to become spacey deathcore in the vein of Aegaeon. A marked improvement; more brutality, more technicality rather than false and misleading chugvertisement, and just more fun to hear overall. Thanks.
Acaro came to kill, and unfortunately they claimed few lives, but as far as captive ears and an engaged audience, they succeeded with their brand of heroic old-school Metalcore/MeloDeath both brutal and inspirational. If you’re not hip to them yet, you’re missing out on some sweet licks and actually not cheesy vocals. Certainly better than All That Remains these days. o0o0o0o.
The lack of energy in the crowd was disturbing, but “Return Of Jafar” made the mosh entirely mandatory in my eyes, even if it was the only pit of the night aside from a few started during Protean Collective’s set, which brought sufficient amusement to yours truly.
Speaking of Protean Collective, they’re some righteous jams. I give them a thumbs up for looking happy to play, aside from the singer/guitarist, who honestly looked kinda like he was made of wood. Or perhaps more accurately, petrified, but stage fright is common, so. One other small gripe, he barely strayed from the same croony singing that wants of variation after three songs. Regardless, it was a good blend of some Akercocke, Cynic, a touch of Gordian Knot, what have you; a pleasant prog stew to end the night.
Substance(s) Consumed: SXE except cigs.
Gangbang #2 feat. Untombed, Composted, Carnivora, Forest of Remorse, and Horrible Earth
Never have dads been so sexualised before the arrival of Tim & Eric. Oh my graces, what damage they have done to our intellect. The works of Plato, Aristotle, Wilde, Rushdie, Confucius, all the great masters; for null. And all because Tim & Eric is a thing.
Moving on, Horrible Earth was okay earth. I wasn’t offended, but wasn’t engaged, either, but they did give me a free CD so that’s chill. Cheers, guys!
Not since the last time the sun actually shone with splendour did I see my dads in Forest Of Remorse on stage and in your face/ass. They’ve only gotten simultaneously more technical and more slam-happy, and my dad RJ’s vocal range has gotten to the point where he can imitate four or five different types of alien swamp monster, it’s rad. Hatemoshing was on the agenda, but not enough people signed up.
Carnivora were. They could either be taken as an awful death metal band or a painfully average deathcore band, and I’d rather have nothing to do with either thing, thank you. I’m no longer 16.
My dads in Composted were who my pants were most excitable about seeing. Their first show in a long time, and still no album (but a brand new Cosby shirt design, wtf?), it’s a spiritually cathartic moment, slamming silly to songs about killing hardcore kids’ girlfriends, bronzing their vaginas, and beating said kids to death with them. “That old chestnut”, says vocalist Evan. I salute by two-stepping.
Now everyone in Composted is bald, but they made up for it by playing a “Wolverine Blues” cover, which got much ignorance. I should feel shame, but the song just asks for 80s NY thuggery rather than however people mosh in Sweden. Do they even?
I must take this opportunity to commend the 6″ tall motherfucker in a red At The Gates shirt for throwing down better than everyone. But here’s my dad and the Spaniard.
Lastly but certainly not leastly, Untombed, taking influence from the savage old school death metal leaning slam mechanics of Skinless, utilising dual vocals in a way that doesn’t make me wonder “Hey, why are there two twats running around on stage instead of just one?”. And rest assured, neither Juan nor Dave are twats, since they deliver the goods vocally, trading off on gutturals, bellows, screeches, etc., providing a spectrum of throat abuse while the guitars painted a murder scene, the drums the instrument. And Dave gave me a shoutout onstage, aww. If I could blush, I would, being referred to as “Sean Genovese” somewhere outside of the internet or a will-call booth.
Substance(s) Consumed: A few bowls to the face.
And there you have it, now I can sleep peacefully. Stay tuned for more writing about things that are vaguely related to metal and/or hardcore music, because that’s all I can write about here now, so as to save myself further shame. I’m such a downer.
Let me just say first and foremost: I HATE THE ROYALE. I mean, it’s got fine shows (Converge, Title Fight, some shows I didn’t go to so I won’t list them, etc.), and the staff seems nice enough. But by Jove, the dance floor kills me; it’s a monument to fucked architecture and careless nightclub floor planning. Normally I can stand behind a pit, no problem, but it’s quite another thing to have to step down and find a safer locale, or get knocked down, which I’m sure hasn’t happened yet, miraculously. Harshes my mellow big time, bro. This show was sold out too, so you know it was sweaty and all kinds of precarious. Proceed.
Speaking of things I can’t stand, I’m sorry; I just can’t get into Ottawa, Canada’s The Kindred.
Just look at this picture, and I’ll give you 5 seconds to tell me why you should already be suspicious.
Okay time’s up.
The frontman’s pose; look familiar? Like perhaps that of the frontman of the band THEY WERE OPENING FOR!?!?!?!
Now, I’d be able to overlook this fact if the singer didn’t also have a markedly similar handsome-prog-metal-guy haircut that Tommy Rogers has, and also be in a band that sounds shockingly, nay, appallingly like BtBaM, Protest The Hero, The Contortionist (sans black-hole chuggz). Their main saving grace is that they’re not djent, but I’m still unmoved by their lack of creativity as far as writing songs with a tendency toward intermittency. Also, that “Eyya eyya eyya ehhh!?!” chant during Heritage just kinda annoys me, dunno why. Though I do appreciate that the frontman is willing to jump into the crowd not once, but twice, to bookend the energy level. Charisma ain’t all it takes, though, boys.
On to the part of the show that I paid for; Intronaut. More like IntroNUTS, because I was bustin’ em.
Heavy as a ten ton rock, smooth as a carven ancient megalith of strange, lucid stone. Intronaut’s ability to capture smooth jazzy sensibilities and fuse them with chunky polyrhythmic battering is universally liked, and that’s a fact. Though if you do dislike Intronaut, please tell me, I’ll just ignore you.
I’m not really huge into Post-Metal but Intronaut is one of those bands alongside perhaps Jesu that I can find myself getting the urge to jam. In fact, I was briefly but fiercely obsessed with their single “Australopithecus” off Prehistoricisms, which is rather ancient now, I suppose, so fitting title. They were genius then, and it seems they still are, even if they’ve dialed back the heavy element considerably and seem to be focusing entirely on clean vocals and expanding their more Gordian Knot/Cynic tendencies. Needless to say, I dig it, and I’ll be giving Habitual Levitations a good hard listen til my ears are burnished into sensibility. Maybe then I’ll quit listening to Papa Roach, because that rots my brain so much I can sometimes scarcely type these worfs.
They had lazers and fog, too, which made me wish I was high as fuck, but maybe then I’d enjoy it too much. I was happy to hear they pulled out “The Literal Black Cloud”, complete with some newly added cleans, because they’re hepcats now.
Giving us a menthol blast of blackened major key warmth was our favourite band to either pretend we’re not hip to the hype of, or suck the dick of unconditionally, or just fold your arms and scoff at while you busily put spikes into your kvlt battle vest. Obviously, you fall into one of these three extremes in a world of no moderation. Deafheaven.
If My Bloody Valentine listened to Heretoir, they’d become Deafheaven. If a group of bored indie/punk kids got ahold of some Burzum records, they’d become Deafheaven. If you take acid and stare into a glass of Sex On The Beach while wearing an Oakland Raiders shirt, you will see with stunning clarity the colour scheme of Sunbather. And if you have an internet connexion, you won’t go a day without seeing that name. I suppose they know that their brand of harmonious, uplifting, shoegaze inflected post-black metal isn’t for those who take black metal as seriously as Catholics do, and they’re fine with that. The massive, surging pit is a testament to how stoked everyone is on them, if anything. Though I must say, less arm flailing during blastbeat sections would probably make more sense next time.
It’s amazing; George Clarke actually talked this time. I didn’t know he was capable of being anything other than an überfancy black-shirted black-gloved maestro when in front of 50+ people staring at him. He’s a nice guy, though, trust me. It is blissful.
And now; Between The Buried And Me. Gee, I guess I already posted a picture earlier, huh? Well, I suppose you can scroll up and we’ll pretend I actually have a clue in this life.
I suppose his marks time number 9 or 10 that I’ve seen these guys, and I don’t forsee it ever getting old. Let me not ramble nonsensically and just wonder why there’s a gigantic space bird thematically representing this prog flagship for this tour? I ain’t sure, but all I know is that Dan Briggs went from the most plain looking member to a straight up superhero.
Actually, the whole damn band seems to have just… evolved. Not just musically, because that’s basically a given if you dig their Wishbone Ash meets Cynic meets The Red Chord or whatever wacky triptych of seemingly incompatible music styles means to you. But they’ve all just shifted from dudes to superdudes.
“Selkies: The Endless Obsession” being the highlight of the set, the only party foul was when someone threw a bottle of water (accidentally or not, I’m not sure) at poor ol’ Dustie during “Obfuscation”, which made him stop playing as he checked to see if he would be electrocuted or if the guitar would continue working normally. As you can guess, since this isn’t an R.I.P. Dustie post, he continued playing, albeit with a slight “the fuck was that?” face for a few minutes as he continued to rock into the night. Welcome to Boston; it sucks, sorta. Okay, a lot. But it was a great show, and that’s all that matters, because I’m sentimental like that.
Substance(s) consumed: Sadly only one PBR, courtesy of Mike Gavin, who exists on the internet and apparently, real life. Cheers to that guy, motherfucker!
Yep. I’m not reviewing like 6-10 punk shows, fuck you; I barely remember the finer points of most of them amid the whirligig coagulating sensations cascading into my cortices on a weekly basis; d-beats, blasts, breakdowns, skank parts, beer, and surfing constellations, all meld together in one big lump of “why the fuck would I review all of these shows”, because there are only so many ways to say “This show was cool and punks moshed in a tiny space for 10 minutes and I liked it”. I’m not sorry for anything. Here’s a list of the bands I remember seeing, and the first word or phase that comes to mind because this is journalism.
Suffer On Acid (jazz), Draize (what?), Nuclear Special Forces (special alright), Pornstars For Romney (American hustlaz), Triple Thick (really?), Decrepit Existence (suck it, Jew), White Pages (speed), Jake & The Infernal Machine (needs oil), Funeral Cone (traffic hearse), Spitting Earth (hot), Ancient Filth (nasty), The Little Richards (not the Ramones), Eel (nice firecrackers!), Animal Mother (röööäär grrrl), No Tomorrow (AAAARRRGH!!), Flaccid (huehue), White Line Fever (drugs?), Cleansing Wave (filth), No Sir I Won’t (rebelz), Discipline (queercore babes), Crusty Craig (not really a show but fuck it), Disciples Of Christ (hmm), and Human Bodies (I may be playing with them soon)
Good job, humans. Keep rotting in the slave new world, and not necessarily in that order.
So, now that that’s all out of the way, let’s talk about Metal for a change. It’s been a long time since we’ve done that, hasn’t it?
Ah, I missed DIY metal shows. Kinda like DIY punk shows, but with less studs and 40s, and I guess more hornéd finger gestures. It had been a long ass while since the last I was at this cozy xth floor spot. So long, in fact, I nearly went a floor too high up, that’s how long. But I will make no complaints nor cracks of the climb, because I already did enough of that last time. I’m not a man to recycle humour. Often. I only do that when a particular joke is really good, which sometimes they are, but even then I just feel dirty inside. But enough of this palaver; let’s get this show on the road.
So, to confirm my suspicions, Coffin Birth has changed. A lot. I remember checking out their album The Miracle Of Death some years back, and it was more of a melodic black thrash workout that wasn’t entirely as professionally put together as major acts like Skeletonwitch, but then not on that savagely brutal level like Witchaven —though they’re still witches, make no mistake—, and not really in the middle either, so I dunno, go listen to it and form your own opinion, why don’t you? It’s good stuff. I haven’t heard any other studio outings by them since, but they seem to have taken a turn for the entirely different. I wasn’t sure if I simply misheard them last at the Monster Shop (R.I.P.[?]), but they have become a death metal band. I don’t bring you this news with despair, it’s just a fact. They sound good, albeit a little generic, so in my heart I yearn for “Arise From Damnation”, can’t they see? Maybe not, because I’m shy and haven’t sent them a passionate letter about it.
Forced Asphyxiation came next to sandblast our faces or something with their death/grind mix, and it was more enjoyable than I would have assumed. Forgive me for saying, but many metal bands in the local scene are dryer than the pieces of chicken in the KFC bucket that most people save for last. I don’t know what they’re called, and they’re not (usually) gross, but they’re not preferred snacking material. I’m glad to report that Forced Asphyxiation is not this, so I’ll probably actually go see them sometime if they happen to be playing a show I know won’t actively bore me or something. Here’s to you them being a good band. I’ll just drink to it later.
Boy am I glad I brought my guitar to this show for no reason. This is a random segue to pad out the post, by the way, because I decided it appropriate to delay the bad news. You’ll see why soon if you’re unfamiliar with what happened that fateful Dragon Caturday evening. In between bands’ sets, I filled the time by making idle discussion with people as foolish as I am (who else would go to an illegal BYOB metal show in a run-down part of Boston?) and assumed the role of the night’s bard, because that’s what beer does. Makes you want to recite poetry and all other manner of thespian shit. Granted, it was difficult to hear my strumming beyond a 3-foot radius of self-indulgent minstreldom and cigarette smoke, but a true artist doesn’t stop because their efforts are ridiculous.
I was also mistaken for a member of Animals Killing People because I guess being a brown guy with a guitar can do have that effect. Though truth be told, I can see where the basis of his error lay, as a former member of theirs, Eston Browne —now in Humanity Falls, who are rad as fuck—, was about my skin colour, so what can you do? Them’s the breaks. Speaking of breaks, this one’s over.
New York’s Animals Killing People put on a fairly fly set of some brutal death metal inflected grind, complete with croaked vocals that sounded like a dying swamp monster from a Star Wars flick. Original trilogy, mind you, excepting Return Of The Jedi, where almost every non-humanoid above Ewok level sounded just silly. Not quite as hilarious as Japan’s Jenovavirus, not quite as frightening as Spain’s Wormed, but a happy medium of plain fun meets gore and inhumanity á la Brodequin with less phlegm. What a beautiful sound. On par with Corelli’s Christmas Concerto.
To give a visual of their pro-animal/anti-human stance (they are a vegetarian band, dontchaknow), there were some grisly projected videos of macabre happenings. The overlay of a bird pwning the shit out of some guy’s face was interesting enough to warrant attention, but sadly obscured the video, so I’m not sure what was killing what, but the flesh sure was flying this way and that, much like the technical-but-tasteful riffs. They were nice enough to post it online for anyone wanting to see the unveiled barbarity, so enjoy, sick fucks.
And speaking of mixed bags, the mothafuckin’ cops busted up the muthafuckin’ show. Mutha. Fucka.
I must now take a moment to stand —sit, rather, because that more accurately reflects what I do when I type these things— in amazement of the sheer insurmountable odds which resulted in the police presence at this particular event. This show took place on the xth floor. Of a random building in South Boston. Where the only other occupants with any true presence seem to be the liquor store on the first floor.
Who. The fuck. Called the fuzz?
Now, please tell me that someone in Composted isn’t secretly at the behest of the bacon, because apparently they’ve had a string of poor fortune with sudden cases of swine flu, and at this rate it almost certainly won’t be the last. To add insult to injury, Animals Killing People was allowed to finish their set, albeit with slightly less loud guitars, and if they promised to wrap up at 11:00. These conditions requiring some reluctant compliance, we suffered no repercussions other than the sour taste of defeat, for Boston’s slam-silly superheroes were once more foiled. Not to mention a heavy heart for yours truly, who had been expecting to see Composted after so long a divorce from their bestiality tips and totally un-metal costume-wearing, Cosby spouting antics. Next time, maybe. Til then, I’ll deflect sobriety and try to bring you the hottest news from the frontlines of metal warfare. Präz Azathoth.
I guess now’s as good a time as any to insert some absurd tradition to sort of “post-script” these reviews, so I’ll tally how many substances I put in myself to not feel the weight of reality as prominently. Let’s see how long this lasts, because I break all of my promises.
1 40 oz. bottle of Colt 45, 1 morbidly chode-esque can of Foster’s, 1 12 oz can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a single hit off a doobie, and a lot of cigarettes.