Let’s Play #666: HORSE The Band @ Middle East Downstairs

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Gonna be a short one because honestly, what can be said about the men, the myths, the legend of H the B? These intrepid fucks have literally done world tours (how many other bands can say they played in Africa, and not just Joburg?); they fostered an obsession with Chicago pizza that culminated in the coveted Pizza EP; they’ve been known to have a ‘we’re larger than life so fuck you’ kind of attitude, but c’mon they’re HORSE; and perhaps, most importantly, bring basement dwelling neckbeards, metalheads, and hardcore dicks together like Sky Eats Airploane never could. The Nintendocore thing may or may not be their fault, but if their persona isn’t for show, I’m certain they just don’t care. This is “doing what you want” to the fullest. 

  horsethebandTo get in that “doing what you want” mindset, it helped to be drunk. Not necessarily blackout, because that’s when you only think you’re doing what you want once the liquor gains sentience. No, I mean just Adrew W.K. mode drunk. Like a “Take This! It’s Dangerous To Go Sober!” drunk. I found it meet to equip the Dionysus Helm and go to town on some glorious mead, m’lady. That way if I spotted a fedora I’d be less apt to pull a face. Surprisingly, however, a lot of the audience weren’t lookalikes of The Amazing Atheist, as per my initial assumptions. I knew when I saw Cro-Mags and Integrity among the bands represented, there’d be some antics. 8-bit synths and crunchy Metalcore breakdowns coupled with some rather colourful poetry makes kids lose their shit.

 

The setlist consisted mainly of jams from The Mechanical Hand, opening up with the instrumental “Heroes Die”, followed swiftly by a blast of “Birdo”, “A Million Exploding Suns”, and “Manateen”. “Octopus On Fire” and “Lord Gold Throneroom” also appeared, and that was fun. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting this; I would’ve preferred more material from the seminal and brutal R. Borlax, aside from the obligatory “Bunnies”, but really, how often does HORSE The Band play down the street from you? 

 

HORSE The Band used MURDER! It was Super Effective! The Audience is now Tearin’ Shit Up! 

 

HORSE The Band used SHAPESHIFT! Sean attempted CROWDSURF! It wasn’t very effective. I got up on stage in time for the song to end, at which point Sean attempted STAGEDIVE! Random Crowdmember is now CONFUSED! Sorry to whoever received that boot to the face; you’re a trooper and I fucked up. Like Nathan said onstage, “You came to the wrong show motherfucker”. Don’t know what prompted it, maybe he’s just an oddball. He also said somebody was going home with a bloody asshole, I should’ve wrote down all the other ridiculous shit at the time. Comment if you were there. 

 

I sorely wished that they’d at least also play “New York City”, “Big Blue Violence”, or “Pol’s Voice”, but at least they did close with an encore of “Cutsman”, and trust me when I put the scissorhands over my head while careening into people like a careless bipedal blue hedgehog. It’s good sportsmanship, see. Equipped only with our skills from years of Revenge Of The Shinobi, Super Smash Bros., and a fair amount of turn-based combat RPGs, the nerds did play.

 

On a completely random note, I’d go to E3 or some other related bullshit if HORSE ever agreed to play. But that’d be out-stupided only by the fact that MATH The Band is a thing, and played with HORSE The Band. 

 

A thought: Have the countless times of blankly staring at screens, controllers in hand, thumbs and index fingers twitching reflexively, colours and characters dancing, dying, running, collecting, quests aimlessly rewarding, failures too numerous to count, successes so hard gained, Easy, Medium, Hard, Nightmare, Legendary, boxes of different sizes, discs, cartridges, downloads, freeware, shareware, malware, rotted our brains? Maybe. Cheers; never stop imagining.

Lofty Goals//Low Places: Lord Almighty @ The Wreck Center

Metal shows aren’t supposed to smell like perfumed concert halls, they’re supposed to smell like cigarettes and stray kitties. And the piss of the aforementioned stray kitties. Which is why the Wreck Center, which fits that description neatly(?) with its run-down atmosphere and greenhouse qualities is the ideal locale for music made by degenerate fuck-ups for degenerate fuck-ups, at least two or three of whom are rocking Neighborhood shit shirts (local respect woowoo). If you buy your own beer and don’t get drunk enough, at least 5 other people will hand you some backup cans to keep your mana running high. Speaking of high, you’ll also get smoked up at least once or twice. Bad place to be if you’re edge, actually.

 

Far from edge, Norwood’s Deathstate soundchecked with vocalist Dan Roshin drumming —and quite well, may I add— with a nip and a can of PBR. Great way to set the tone for what was to come, as their fusion of elements from The Faceless’ dark carnival tech-death, Cattle Decapitation’s brutal grind grooves, Eyehategod’s evil blues, and some Mike Patton-esque clean vocals made for a musically engaging set that spurred on the first rolly-swivel chair mosh I can remember seeing in my years of going to shows. And the fact that I’ve seen a guy circlepit in a wheelchair —twice— before I’ve seen a rolling-chair throwdown in a space like this is one for my mental record books.

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Following a metallic bastardisation of advanced musical techniques were a roiling, churning sea of heavy sound waves provided by Heptagua, who do the small band/big sound approach with only two members. Try and stop people from throwing down when most of your songs go no faster than glacial melting pace, since sludge is about 80% breakdowns if you’re liberal minded enough.

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As you may guess, it went from hot enough to make you sweat to simply sweaty within minutes. One particularly rowdy attendee couldn’t seem to stop throwing elbows to save his own life, or the lives of those catching them in the chest/face, for that matter, myself included. His other antics included lightly slapping everyone as he circled the pit, and running back and forth like an out of control Pong ball, using the walls and the people standing against them as paddles ad infinitum. I didn’t sense any malice, only stupidity as he failed to realise that some people don’t enjoy being hit even if they’re “asking for it” by being next to the pit. I guess he got the “violence and chaos” he sought, even if it was almost all self-created.

 

I’ll spare you the ongoing drama and just tell you that this guy spent the second half of Heptagua’s set and the whole of INTHESHIT’s set arguing passionately about why he shouldn’t have been ejected from the venue, and sneaking back in through one of the many entrances only to be rebuffed and start the whole process over again. He was finally allowed back in for Lord Almighty, and fortunately did seem to have calmed down, if not just a little bit so he wasn’t attacking people with cameras in their hand or trying to flatten bystanders.

 

Continuing the actual review: INTHESHIT’s schizo grind never fails to get that murderous impulse inside every human to stir, if not fully awaken, because fast and heavy music is the sountrack to murder on par with your least favourite rapper. Vocalist Ian’s guy-trapped-in-a-safe-underwater-rapidly-losing-oxygen style meshes seamlessly with the hardcore on amphetamines drumming of ex-Today Is The Day/Anal Cunt drummer John Gillis, the dual guitar attack of Eric (NSF) and Seth, and the mostly inauduble (but I’m sure it’s also lethal) bass of John Belmonte, also of NSF. A strange soup of tempos that ceaselessly bubbles and threatens to spill over into the part of your mind that enjoys melody, the ease of their demanding performances certainly gives credence to the name of their 2013 EP Born To Kill. Born to blast, more like.

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Closing up shop temporarily in their own camp, Lord Almighty’s brand of progressive black metal hasn’t been active for very long. Their Metal Archives page shows that they formed in 2013, and what year is this? They have thus far only released one EP, though its half-hour running time gave them adequate material with which to flesh out a whole set and cap off this exploration of all things heavy just right. It’s a shame that their ‘back to the woods’ Black Metal is taking a (hopefully) brief hiatus, but if anything, they at least brought a little beauty to the dilapidation. The olfactory profile of the Wreck Center on this night in particular not only was home to the aroma of evaporated perspiration, weed/cigarette smoke, B.O. and fumes of spilt alcohol, but a welcoming and hospitable space for people that like to just get loose with friends and strangers alike when something rockin’ is playing, and that’s good enough for us. Come back soon, Lord Almighty.

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Substance(s) Consumed: 1 nip Jim Beam, at least 3 beers, 1 or 2 bowls. It gets hard to remember these things.

Pics by Zana. She rules: I think she is Nosir Idontlikeit but I can never be certain in this quantum reality.

Third Time’s The Charm: Maryland Deathfest XII: Saturday & Sunday

Saturday
Ramen is truly some food of the gods level shit. I subsisted on all of Friday and most of Saturday with the aid of four of these magick squares. Only a dollar each at —you guessed it— Dollar Tree. Stock up for the apocalypse. And find this guy.
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Ramen unfortunately couldn’t help Diocletian’s very evil brand of blackened death be more than an okay attempt at the sound of canned hell. Dark, swirling riffs and blasts ringing from bottomless pits is cool, but variety is severely lacking. Entrails, however, came to save my life —or end it, rather?— with their sticky, sweet old school Swedish Death Metal, complete with a logo that looks suspiciously like Entombed’s.
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Ladies.
Spain’s Machetazo brought yet more evil to the fore with their wicked gore/death inflected grind, en Español.
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Hearkening to bands like Regurgitate and fellow countrymen Hæmorrhage, they seem  uninterested in being unique (and with Grind, that’s quite a feat), just brutal, and they’ve certainly succeeded in that regard.
God Macabre, yet another group of old school Swedish Death infantrymen long forgotten, made their first appearance in the U.S. here, and probably was in the top three bands most likely given to old ladies if they asked fest-goers what “concert” they were heading to.
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With only one full length to their name, The Winterlong, you could probably guess the setlist, plus a cover of a Carnage song. Forget which one, but it was damn near heartwarming when vocalist Per Boder smiled in delight when the crowd reacted positively to the name of their fellow deathheads. “I guess they’re not so underrated after all.” You bet’cher ass, bud.
When one thinks of progressive death metal, Florida’s Nocturnus (A.D.) should ideally be what comes to mind alongside acts like Pestilence, Atheist, and Death, though admittedly I hadn’t heard of them until I saw their name on the line-up. Playing their seminal album The Key in full, Nocturnus prove that synths don’t necessarily have to end up sounding cheesy when used alongside brutal music.
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Vocalist/drummer Mike Browning (ex-Morbid Angel) seemed to be having loads of fun blasting and growling simultaqneously for such uplifting tunes as “Standing In Blood”, “Lake Of Fire”, and even a special cover of “Chapel Of Ghouls”, how rad’s that shit, homie? I think they even played a Death cover, but I could just have been imagining it. Setlist.fm isn’t helping my case.
The original Speed Metal Drunks (who’s Municipal Waste?) in Germany’s Tankard were clearly not hammered enough; they could still play their instruments. The crowd was one-upping the fuck out of them, however, with a beer-soaked circlepit despite the blazing sun cooking them through. Songs about zombies, and beer. Party. It’s fun stuff, though not the absolute greatest that thrash, has to offer, nor is it the best that humour has to offer, but these krazy Krauts won’t fail to get a chuckle or headbang out of you.
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Finally taking my non-drunk self to the Soundstage to catch DropDead for my third or fourth helping this Gregorian year, I first caught Sweden’s d-beat heroes in Victims. They play a version of the genre that reminds me of Martyrdöd, with more melody than is normally allowed, and less ear-fucking distortion, though weren’t quite as captivating as I would hope. Had they played it straight Swedish and aped Anti-Cimex or even Finnish contemporaries (all Scandinavians are the same, right?) in Riistetyt and Kieltolaki, I dare say they’d be more what I was seeking. DropDead, however, are consistent in their delivery, combining crust punk, powerviolence, and d-beat cooked the right way; raw and still bloody.
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Between socio-political and generally ‘wake-the-fuck-up’ rants came short but intense bursts of distilled punk fury, very rarely going below speeds safe to drive on the highway. The setlist seems to have changed, as they are including more new material that, while less speedy than the material of old, still has its fangs, yellowed with age but reddened with new blood as they press on. There was a special guest appearance, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to even mention it, though I will mention that they played a cover of Siege’s “Drop Dead”, and as an extra spiffy bonus, a cover of “It’s Not What It Seems To Be” by fastcore/powerviolence legends Lärm. Sweeeet,
With Nocturno Culto finally bringing his drunk ass to America only to not play in DarkThrone was a disappointment to many, but I suppose Sarke is the next best thing. Who knows, maybe Fenriz’ Red Planet will stop by to play material fromEngangsgrill in a few years.
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At least the crowd hungry to hear one song, any song by DarkThrone got their wish, sorta, since they played a ‘cover’ of “Too Old, Too Cold”. Clearly the case since Nocturno is never seen without a leather jacket. A weird mix of black-ish metal, normal-ish heavy metal, death rock, and whatever else Nocturno deems the right thing to do these days, it was interesting, but c’mon. DarkThrone. Not gonna stop saying it ‘til it happens.
True Norwegian Viking Death Metal warriors in Unleashed were something. Among my main draws to the fest this year, it’d be wrong to say I was disappointed, but underwhelmed is the word I’ll go with since their set was noticeably lacking in the glorious potential they are capable of.
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Having a staggering 11 full-lengths of Nordic praise, and my having only heard 5 or 6 of them in full (not counting the ...Revenge demo), I knew there were gonna naturally be some songs I wouldn’t know well enough to fistpump to. However, the lack of “In Victory Or Defeat”, “Warriors Of Midgard”, and prime material from As Yggdrasil Trembles was distressing. To add to the discomfort, they stretched out some songs by at least two or three minutes (“Death Metal Victory” count: 8+), thus cheating themselves and the audience out of more songs. It sucks that happened, but at least Johnny Hedlund brought out a Viking drinking horn, and the predictable happened. My diagnosis: they were drunk. To Asgaard, their brains flew.
Next up were Dark Angel, who’ve probably got more riffs in a single song than an entire Bolt Thrower album (or two), arrived to show us that indeed, time does not heal, because Thrash is a lifelong disease.
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Now recovered from a spine injury that left him unable to move, much less sing, Ron Rineheart is now back in action, and the L.A. Caffeine Machine is once more abrew. With speeds equal to or greater than that of even the fastest cuts on Sepultura’s Arise, it’s a wonder how Dark Angel never got up to the Big 4 instead of Megadeth, who stopped being Thrash after Killing Is My Business. Oops. They’re as virile and potent as 14-year old sperm after all these years.
Following U.S. fast with U.K. fury were Extinction Of Mankind, who, while not a founding band in crust (having formed in ’92), are as important as acts like Deviated Instinct and Hellbastard when assigning blame to old British guys spreading this filth. Their particular style is that popularised by acts like Misery; slow-churned Thrash infused riffs, barked vocals, and a steady beat to break down the walls of establishment. Naturally, the scent of unwashed dreads is the only perfume to adequately accompany such sounds, what with their LPBaptised In Shit, and all. I saw them again in someone’s basement a few days later, but don’t expect a review of that.
I took a little nap during L.A.’s Excrutiating Terror, who weren’t all that painful, nor scary, to be honest. It was decent grindcore, though not too much of a racket, so I caught a few Zs before heading over to catch the real death metal bastards in Asphyx, because what the fuck is a Schirenc? I’d have liked to have caught “Shrunken And Mummified Bitch” live, but The Church Of Pungent Stench would be a much more sensible name, aye? Or even Pungent Stench A.D., in keeping with what seems to be an MDF tradition? Whatever.
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So, The Netherlands’ Asphyx, fronted by one of the few aside from John Tardy who can audibly sneer while growling, —is this a blonde thing?— Martin van Drunen belted out classics like “M.S. Bismarck” and newer ballistics in “Deathhammer” with equal ease and aggression, and the band are no slobs either.
Come to think of it, Hail of Bullets should play next year. Just a thought.
Sunday
The soreness had began to set in by this time, yet my body had no say in preventing further torture. There was yet more on the plate for this exercise session from hell. Luckily for my muscles, a one-two-three heavy handed slap of stoner/doom in the form of Windhand, Bongripper and Graves At Sea was how the Sabbath day was to begin. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the former two bands practiced and recorded stoned and played sober?
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Theorising.
My next gym coaches in Misery Index, however, demanded a few proverbial pushups, despite the lack of shade. How cruel of them to play “Traitors” when they know that it’s impossible for me to stand still during such a thing.
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The new track(s) from the newest opus The Killing Gods were business as usual; brutalising politically conscious death/grind the way Misery Index has delivered it to their hometown of Baltimore and the world for 13 lucky years. I’m assuming they all walked home after Deathfest, since they probably live up the street.
Pseudogod, they existed, and Wrathprayer from Chile played Blackened Death Metal that was surprisingly not too generic, though little stuck out in particular from their performance. The wizardly dissonance of Colombia’s (now based in Seattle, WA) Inquisition was much needed following these two noble, if not uninspiring acts.
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Dagon’s trademark croaks take some getting used to if you’re not already into that thing, which I found out some years ago when I first heard “Those Of The Night”. I thought, “How the fuck are these Black Metal vocals? Weak shit, kid”, and fell in with the camp that didn’t enjoy the Popeye With Throat Cancer treatment. However, with time, I came to see them as an integral part of their sound, as important as the spiraling, dark melodies and atmospheres that blanket their deceptively simple aural landscapes. The tastefully militant blasting and appropriately placed groove sections provided by drummer Incubus are done well enough to the point that variety is not of great concern. Dagon even had the foresight to have two mics set up so he wouldn’t simply stand in one place the entire time, and that somehow made it a lot less likely to be bored while watching their ministrations. Clandestinely keeping you titillated since 1989.
A smorgasbord of Louisiana’s most metal featuring members of Goatwhore, Crowbar, and Eyehategod, Soilent Green are an unexpectedly well-done mixture of blues-tinged sludge metal and blasting deathgrind. I’d go so far as to say they’re one of my ‘favourites’ among bands I had gone in not expecting to be good, much less pretty darn good. Makes for good BBQ eating soundtracks. Because, y’know, the South. Following them were the French-Canadian band voted least likely to have anything to do with gore or guts, Gorguts, who are equal parts surrealist staircase-to-nowhere artists and death metal.
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Reanimating “Orphans Of Sickness” from The Erosion Of Sanity (complete with slamdown) and “Inverted” from From Wisdom To Hate, Gorguts shows that they’ve not gone entirely soft on us. That is, if you consider the fact that they’ve run with the avant-garde angle from Obscura onward going ‘soft’. Opening with two songs from Coloured Sands as if to say “now that we’ve got that out the way”, they proceeded to blow some minds the way they have been for a quarter century. Damn, they’re old. Luc Lemay’s cheesy but charming stage banter will tell you that much. Why isn’t he my uncle?
Yet another fuzzy treat for my unaware ears were Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, who got my vote this year for the category of “Why Is This Band Playing Deathfest?” in the same way Anvil did two years ago. Good old fashioned psychedelic doom rock worship aside, they should seriously consider changing their name to Sharp Dressed Man: The Band.
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Sure beats the hell out of Bigelf as far as semi-metal 70s hard rock goes. Just out of curiosity: why do none of these bands ever wear ‘normal’ clothes?
And now came the apex of sadness: Having to abandon the truest Sabbath worshippers in Sweden’s Candlemass after their opening song, “Mirror, Mirror” to go catch Japan’s legally insane grind outfit Unholy Grave at the Soundstage. Mats Levén of Therion fame handling vocals and the fact that I missed “At Gallows’ End” just makes me want to cry forever. Ancient dreams of an alternate reality where this was an easier choice. Almost makes me wonder; was it worth it? I don’t like to ask myself these questions, because regret is an unproductive state of being.
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The misery continued with the U.K.’s masters of the maudlin, My Dying Bride, with frontman Aaron Stainethorpe sporting a newly shaved dome after my only having ever known him with perpetually soggy lachrymose locks.
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Sadly (word choice?), “Deeper Down” and “My Body, A Funeral” didn’t make it onto their setlist, and I’m woefully (word choice?) unacquainted with much of their discography, though “The Dreadful Hours” and “Turn Loose The Swans” rang somewhat familiar. Hymns to never ending grief, complete with the mourning, sobering sound of a violin, though unfortunately (word choice?) no rain to complete the ambiance. If it can rain during Neurosis, Electric Wizard, and even Pelican, why no appropriate weather this year? You sicken me, skies. To compound my consternation, I noticed the beginning sign of an oncoming suckfest; that sensation of having a patch of permanently dry skin at the back of your throat, the messenger of death, the common cold. It only got worse from there.
All sordid business with the Edison Lot now done, I had a hot date with the Soundstage and Ratos de Porão, who play fucking fast.
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Brazil’s Ratos don’t play no bossa nova, fool. It’s balls-to-the-wall with no breaks at all crossover thrash meets the rawer (or rawwwwwwrrrrrr) sounds of 80s hardcore. Think Suicidal Tendencies in their Join The Army days if they took more cues from Charged G.B.H.’s City Baby Attacked By Rats, with thrashcore beats that threaten to become blasts, and you’ve got an approximation of how this beast sounds. Pure energy and speed, but always on the right track, like a studded train full of crusties hitting you with a fist made of metalheads. Someone eventually decided that a trash can would have more fun near the pit, and the result was a lot of beer cans and empty food containers on the floor that was once just covered in beer and sweat.
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Perfect way to cap off the Soundstage skullduggery.
Meanwhile at Ram’s Head the progressive death metal Kiwis in Ulcerate serenaded all present with positive vibration songs such as “Confronting Entropy” and “Clutching Revulsion” from their newest opus Vermis.
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Packed full of enough angular riffs to make your head spin, and heavy enough to make it flatten itself, they and Immolation provided an ideal closing combo for this year’s Maryland Deathfest. Emphasis being on the death, Yonkers’ Immolation packs a firestorm of riffs that haven’t died down in over 28 years as a band. From their debut Dawn Of Possession to their most recent Kingdom Of Conspiracy, all eras were covered as they burnt the fest to ashes.
Post-Deathfest Shenanigans
Yours truly got kicked out of a hotel (rather, kicked himself out) because someone decided smoking a cigarette in the hallway was a good idea. To be fair, I tried to help them by putting it out, but what’s common sense?  Some people just can’t hang, and those people are hotel security. Oops.
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Then on the walk ‘home’ I found some people being obnoxious and singing random metal songs at the top of their lungs on the front porch of a hotel. Naturally I go over and join them. I found some beers and a girl that’s sexually attracted to snakes or someshit, and she stole the inflatable dinosaur that the guy dressed as a doctor during Impaled’s set gave me. Presumably to fuck it.
Then I drank with said doctor and he showed me the horror show that was his hotel bathtub. Thing was a mess of fake blood and empty beer cans. We drank some whiskey for our faces and peaced out. He had a D.R.I. cigarette case, which was rad.
Thrashers, meet your king, passed out on the steps of said hotel at 6 in the morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still hungover to this very day, because that kid was literally drunk the entire weekend. And I saw him a lot (he was in just about every pit at Edison), so you know I’m not bullshitting.
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Then, just in time for me to get onto a cold 4 hour bus to New York and a subsequently cold 4 hour bus to Boston, my cold reaches fruition, and I die in my seat. Somehow I came back to life to write this review, and all I can say after this glorious headbanging, circlepitting, beer drinking, weed smoking, not-drug-doing, skirt-wearing, awkward-socialising weekend is: Fuck the common cold. Maybe I’ll do this again next year.

Third Time’s The Charm: Maryland Deathfest, Thursday and Friday

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.

Thursday

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Friday

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.

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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.


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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.

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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.


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Think the singer and bassist don’t look PV enough? Here’s their guitarist:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Rudiments Of Matriculation: Full Of Hell @ MIT Senior House

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.

Post-Marathon Monday Marathon Post: The Ocean, Aborted, Ramlord, and Carcass

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

GO!

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.

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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.

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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.

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See that? That’s a mic cord.

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?

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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.

 

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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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RNO3YLQZd8

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.

Representing the 3 faces of metal: Composed, Manic, Fucked.

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.

marathonfuck

But yeah, keep reading. Real books, not this drivel.

Ramlord goes to MIT, Protean Collective’s CD release @ T.T. The Bear’s, and Gangbang #2 @ Church

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.

Slam and glam go ham in hand.

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.