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.

Surfing Constellations with Between The Buried And Me @ The Royale

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.

Yoinked with respect to Chris Romano, because I’m a thief with honour.

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!?!?!?!

Oh.

Shit. Thanks, Chris Martin, for involuntarily helping me illustrate elegantly my point.

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.

Mind Inversion? Sho u rite.

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.

Brooklyn Vegan worships seitan.

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!

When Bad Pigs Do Worse Things. Animals Killing People @ The Dragon Cat’s Den

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.

Happy Birthday to All Uninterested. EyeHateGod at the President’s Rock Club

I’ve only been to the President’s Rock Club thrice, and I can already say this venue has seen a lot of hilarious shit go down between patrons who are too drunk to care that they’re too crazy to be allowed outside. And Quincy is such a sketchy (read: down-to-earth) place that one could (and did) spark up a fat blunt in front of the door.  I met with Rob Williams, (in)famous for his drum talents in foundational Weymouth fastcore crew Siege (83-85), who is almost entirely insane and will forever remain in my mind the guy who was swinging like an enraged welterweight during Fistula, but is still a good guy at heart. The fact that he introduces himself to this day as “the drummer of Siege” was strangely heartwarming to me.

Now may be a great time to mention that aside from The Confrontation, there was no other band that I had heard anything from that I had enjoyed. Fistula were surprisingly okay, but since local sludge bands aren’t normally my bag (sorry, Grief), I just had to make do and bear, and also avoid being moshed upon. They were kind enough, however, to follow Buzzov*en‘s example and throw in some fast hardcore sections, so it was like a calming salve on a festering heroin needle wound. Drugs, haha. Their singer’s definitely on a few.

So the main reason why I showed up was Eyehategod, and understandably, just about the entire audience was fucked up in some way shape or form. It was painfully apparent who wasn’t by a complex equation factoring in how close they were standing to the band and how bored they still managed to look even though they were knee deep in ignorance. Mike Williams‘ first words to the crowd were, and I quote: “I’m fuckin’ loaded”.

A.A. isn’t for everyone, see.  So after making it plain that he hated the fact that there was “football on the thing” (a crowd member said Eyehatesports, ha), the band revved up the trademark ear-piercing feedback that whines miserably with the genre, and instantly a pit formed. Several minutes of this passed, and though pictures fail to capture how Mike Williams truly appeared before the crowd, it was highly evocative of the image of a voodoo swamp priest on the outskirts of their hometown of NOLA, mixing up a foul concoction of critters and apothecarial evils, awash in his own filth and spilled vodka, preparing for a ritual of bloodletting, sexual deviancy, and foul language. Joey LaCaze (R.I.C.) should have been here to witness this spectacle of brutality and scoffed in the face of sobriety with a building full of people who reconstituted liquor for blood. I mean, that was probably just an average day of being in the band, but still, it’s nice to do it with strangers too.

Oh, how beautiful the words ‘White Nigger’ sounded on Williams’ foul tongue, and how frighteningly evil the guitars crunched and trudged through murky breakdowns and soggy blues-made-metal riffs, as the bass intros for ‘Shop Lift’, the ‘Sister Fucker’ duology, ‘Dixie Whiskey’, and a lot of other steaming, similarly fetid and feral creations for people who hate music with an ear for music sometimes. If the Melvins were Satanic instead of silly, this would be them. All that separates us from becoming animals is a thin veil of strong, cheap alcohol, recreational drugs, boredom, and ‘Six Pack’ by Black Flag.

Josh from Anal Cunt, however, has no such boundaries to keep himself from punching people in the head on slight provocation by a fellow degenerate (this being Mike IX himself), and I was (un)lucky enough to see this. From the creeping slums of Revere to the sickened wastes of Quincy, hang yourself. Eyehategod doesn’t care about your birthday.

The Year In Review: The Good, The Bad, And The Unseen of 2013

Damn that rhyme’s dope. Wasn’t even planned ahead of time, either; just naturally came from the flow of universal energy and my own innate cunning. My head’s going to get bigger unless someone tells me I suck.

So, as you may have guessed, this is one of those year-end lists. Only mine will be better than everyone else’s, so don’t read theirs; they probably saw something boring like Wing. Who wants to see a random elderly Chinese woman sing when you can spinkick people? I’m not going to fact-check this, so if you saw Wing instead of a cool show, go screw. Here are the lists now.

Top 10 Shows In No Particular Order, Because I’m Aiming To Be More Positive

1. Boris @ Brighton Music Hall

Need I say more than Flood? I mean, damn. ¾ of an album/song I thought I’d never get to see performed in my lifetime due to Boris having altogether too much material to get to it all at their convenience. The only thing that could’ve made the whole thing better was if they got 3 more hours to just play everything I wanted to hear. Serious. Too bad I was poor, so I couldn’t make the show the night before. Maybe I should be a whore.

I’ll have to see Boris at least 3 more times to have a well-rounded setlist experience, but I can cross off ‘Huge’ and ‘Flood’, at the very least.

2. Infest/Crudos @ ChiTown Futbol

Seeing as I went to the center of the damn continent to view this spectacle, it only makes sense that my expectations were high and would be met without question. Thanks, skydad, AKA god or whatever you call it. It was everything I had hoped, and a burrito on top. Yum. I was especially pleased to hear that singer Joe Denunzio’s vocals have gone full retard; from the strained shouts of their legendary original recordings like No Man’s Slave that would come to be influential to Powerviolence and Hardcore, to the constipated vomiting of Spazz and Lack Of Interest fame. Glorious. Crudos killed it as well; I’ve never seen that many brown kids stagedive or just generally be at a punk show. It was something inspirational.

3. Nails @ Great Scott

Nails are without a doubt one of the angriest sounding bands out there. If you’re not hip to it, get on my level immediately, because the mosh will not care where you are. On a bus, at your desk, in a nursing home, it doesn’t matter. You will be seized by a violent want to hurl heavy objects around when you hear the opening breakdown of “Wide Open Wound” after a ‘get-psyched’ exhale gives the weak an extra second to duck for cover. Early Graves also performed admirably, though the crowd didn’t entirely know what to make of their brand of hardcore, which, while moshable, is kind of like fancy beer; you can get drunk on it, but it’s not necessarily made for that kind of use.

I don’t even want to know what the pit during SoCal’s sludge/doom/beatdown bruisers Xibalba must’ve looked like, though. I’m not THAT crazy. Probably never will be. But hey, they sounded good, so golf claps for calmly listening and avoiding injury like a lil’ bitch.

4. Wintersun @ The Sinclair

I’ll be honest, this show made the list only because I finally got to see Arsis. And they played “The Face Of My Innocence”, unf. Though don’t get me wrong, Fleshgod and Wintersun also rule(d), but my main focus was the Virginian metallions and all of their melodic, sorrowful splendour. I would have dug FgA’s set more if they had included some of those  but real goodies (insofar as they may be called such for a newer band), and hey, Wintersun was Wintersun, so you can’t talk shit.

5. Weekend Nachos/Spine @ The Democracy Center

You just KNEW this was coming. Did you? I don’t care, whatever. But dude, this show was off the hook and a half. If you either didn’t show up on time before it sold out or just didn’t come, fuck you in the neck. Naw jk, it probably wasn’t your fault. But you still missed a heck of a performance from all the bands involved. Even Curmudgeon got a pit, and that like, never happens, man. Old friends don’t mean shit, indeed.

6. Suffer On Acid/Demoralizer/Ira graves @ PT-109 (R.I.C.)

This was what I believe to be the final show at PT-109, or at least for the time being. You know how Allston works; cops come in and ruin everything, and like a nasty wound, with with the application of some care and a generous amount of time, everything goes back to normal. Sadly, Allston’s coming under so much fire lately that it’s become harder and harder to just have a good time there, but at least they went out with a bang, and in the smallest room possible to get a pit in despite the obvious limitations. Pass the blunt, and a beer, and we’ll say farewell to a piece of Boston DIY history. For now.

7. Deafheaven @ T.T. The Bear’s.

Oh no, I guess I’m a hipster. In a strange loop of irony, you are one too, so it evens out. No matter how hard you try to not become one of them, you will be to someone, hence you’re a hipster because someone said so. Fuck all that noise, just like what you like, or something preachy along those lines. I happen to enjoy Deafheaven, and thus happened to enjoy their performance (which was balls-out intense, surprise). The heat and smother of summer rather than the bite of winter is the ideal climate companion for this particular brand of Black Metal. Or as someone in a YouTube comment said, maybe it should be called “Gold Metal”, for its use of scintillating major chord harmonies, limned with poetry in sound. But only hipsters make up terms like that. ATTN: Liturgy, ahem. And just like that, I’m straddling a bandwagon. It’s easy; try it.

It’d be easier to count how many people’s year-end lists DON’T have Sunbather on them. I’d say about 12.

8. Parasitic Extirpation @ O’Brien’s

I’ll put it out there right now; O’Briens is one of the shittiest official venues in Boston, as far as how it’s built at least. They get fine bands playing from time to time, like any venue that you’d be willing to be caught dead in, but the pillar almost directly in front of the stage and the dim-lit bar atmosphere complete with drab grey walls are a few factors that make the place a tad unwelcoming to a lover of aesthetic like I, and it really cramps my style. Call me Oscar Wilde, but that place is in dire need of beautification. But I didn’t start this post to complain about venues, so moving on.

This show was a throwback for me, in a way. Only a few years ago, death metal was what I was obsessed with, particularly a few local acts, including Composted, Dysentery, Sexcrement, Scaphism, et al. Over time, my interests drifted, and the bands likewise have been playing less or just at times/places too inconvenient for me to revisit them. This night in particular, I got 68 oz. of Steel Reserve in me, and was in the right mindset to enjoy some pulverizing slams, expugnisive and geometrically unsound yet artistically valid riffs, and burped/growled/slurped/puked/screeched/gurgled monstrosities of vocals that we call “singing” without blinking. It was nice. I felt 18 again. Only drunk.

Fields Of Elysium were the true treat, having come all the way from New Mexico, presumably to not be in New Mexico for a while, and to also show Boston how to do headfuck technical death metal right; with pizzazz, and a shot of jazz.

9. Ramming Speed/In Defence @ Cambridge Elk’s Lodge

The circle was alive, and the pit was it. How anyone could hear In Defence’s charmingly humorous yet sophisticatedly crafted take on a thrash/punk hybrid and disagree with the sheer kickassery is a concept beyond me. Maybe I’m pigheaded and opinionated to an unhealthy level by saying this, but if you don’t like In Defence, something’s wrong with you, boy/girl. This being Ramming Speed’s last show as a Boston-based band, it was only proper to send them off by drinking some beer and causing some ruckus in rotary formation at high speeds. All while dressed to kill (cops).

10. Between The Buried And Me @ The Palladium

Why? Because Between the Buried And Me played Parallax II in its entirety, of course.

Honourable Mention: Trap Them, Melt-Banana, Wormed, Ultra//Negative’s “last show”, Dropdead (both times), Ceremony, Coke Bust, and Kromosom

3 Shows I Did Not Have a Posi Fun Time At, And Why           

1. Maryland Deathfest @ Former Sonar Compound

I should’ve been elated beyond belief that entire weekend just to be existing in Baltimore while “America’s Biggest Metal Party” went down and turned the city into a giant occurrence of ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’, only with more crusties and less safety. In the course of that weekend, I managed to somehow miss Pig Destroyer due to falling into a kush/beer coma. Among the other things I fell into: a brief but soul-crushing depression; something illegal, white and powdery nose-first; and the arms of a security guard, who hustled me out and took away my wristband for being underage drunk. Yay for beer! No worries, I only missed Ihsahn, The Melvins, Down, etc. No big deal, right? *cue sobs* I justify the ticket price as having paid for the experience, even if I didn’t get to see half the bands, so good enough.

The bands I did manage to see/hear, I did enjoy as best as I could post-mental meltdown, but before that point most things were hunky dory. Aside from getting my life threatened by a blue-shirted middle-aged man, sitting and conversing for some hours with the infamous (but nice) parking lot oogles, and just being in a funk —literal and figurative, as I did not shower for 5 days— the whole weekend due to my expectations being shattered at seemingly every turn, I did win 3 bucks in a game of C-Lo, have some interesting conversations with my fellow showgoers and friendly people, and successfully avoid sobriety. Fuck this gay Earth; I need better luck, and a better brain.

If I taste another drop of National Bohemian, I’ll doubtless have an unfavourable autoimmune/psychologically induced reaction and immediately begin tearing up and wailing incoherently about my failures. Here’s to hoping next year won’t mark the third time in a row I’m sad when I should be moshing.

2. Backslider @ The Democracy Center

You ever get really excited about an upcoming hardcore show, think shit’s gonna be bouncing nonstop like the Hadron Collider only with black-shirted kids, and then find out you basically just saw a mini indoor Woodstock sans drugs? That’s how I felt about this show. You can’t step to anything, nerds.

3. Gay Kiss @ Trouble Ahead (R.I.C. also)

What better way to ring in the new year than to dump on a show that happened on New Years… this year/last? I only bring this up because like the Backslider show, I feel like I was part of an oil-painting of a hardcore show happening in front of a bunch of bored people rather than actually at an event that people were stoked for. Even Ancient Filth couldn’t get people moving, and that’s just wrong. Perhaps that was just not the night to have a show, but still, could we get just a little more energy in this town? Ye gods, I saw more movement at Shonen Knife than both of these shows combined. Hang your heads, Boston standstill punx. Go to a Sox game if you don’t want to enjoy yourself. These guys were a grand in debt, so I bought a shirt from them for five bucks. Coming all the way from New Mexico to be stared at; I felt bad.

Shows I Didn’t Go To For Stupid Reasons And Am Sad About

Six Feet Under/Cattle Decapitation because I didn’t feel like spending money even though I had it.

Suffocation for the same reason.

Dir en grey because I wasn’t feelin’ it.

Cult of Luna because I’m a lazy fuck, and now I shall pay for it because they’re going on hiatus or something.

There are probably others, but let’s not dwell on how I managed to bollocks up life. I already think about that every day. The nightmare continues.

So there you have it, a recap of how my year went, or at least what I remembered of it. How was yours? Oh, and (un)happy New Year. Here’s to 2014, and praying that the streak of bands making good music goes on forever, because good music is… good. Night. Depending on your timezone or whenever you happen to read this. I don’t care, fuck it.

Better Late Than Before I Die. A review of Reluctant Mortem

Some context to establish why this is (sort of?) a big deal to me: I suck. I have sucked for a long time. But in the words of Richard Pryor (R.I.P.): “I really am fuckin’ trying, okay?”.

Back in March of this year, I recieved an inbox from Matt, the drummer of Reluctant Mortem, who will be brutally dissected with my scalpel of linguistic proficiency once I shut up and finish my story. So, he came across my writing somehow, I suppose, and thought, “Hey, this guy seems like he’d be willing to write up my band, and hopefully give us a favourable review even though we only have one song”. I, being a gentleman, told him I’d wait til they had more material out so I could more fully see what they sounded like, and just so I wasn’t writing a dissertation on a single song, which I could do, but it’d be a task, for sure.

A few months pass, and, as promised, Reluctant Mortem summons up three more full length, and eyes turn to me expectantly for my opinion. I take a listen, but being slave to other obligations (read: shows I had to review but didn’t get off my ass and review), I had to keep putting it off and putting it off, ad nauseum. To add to the confusion was the fact that I have done this kind of thing before with no problems, I was in a double bind: Do I say “fuck the schedule and how I normally do things, time to take control and get my responsibles out the way so I can play unfettered”? Nope, I just continue on the same way I did before, insanely expecting a change despite my inflexibility.

So here I stand (or sit), finally about to strike a critical blow to my procrastination. Reluctant Mortem, merry Christmas, and happy new year. I’m finally becoming human.

Long Island, NY, the birthplace of the legendary Suffocation, is a more metal place than one would expect. Famous not only for its iced tea, but one of the founding fathers of brutal death metal? It must be a truly soul-shattering place to inspire such sounds. Reluctant Mortem walks a different, more melodic path, however, taking influence from  modern bands like The Black Dahlia Murder with galloping Gothenburg leads and drums pounding —and occasionally blasting— steadily along through tried and tested song structures that are familiar and weatherworn, but not yet broken, if handled skillfully. They’re not too metalcore, either, so elitists, lower your swords.

“Dying Days”, after a tastefully gloomy piano intro, turns into a safely written melodeath number, with a thrash-inflected circlepit part that wants for nothing but a touch that is uniquely Reluctant Mortem and not simply the sum of years of listening to what we call Melodic Death Metal today. To highlight this, take a gander at their slower track “Embrace Your Sins”, and note how similar the opening notes are to the ending notes of”Songs For The Damned” by All Shall Perish. Don’t get me wrong, they play the songs with that heart that you can’t buy at a store, but without building on their own unique songwriting, how much longer may they keep this up? The world is overpopulated with bands under the Melodic Death Metal tag, and many are destined to either fall by the wayside unsung or be lauded without deserving it. Backwards worlds require backwards folks.

Despite my proclamations of doom and gloom in a world that’s booming with bands that are all starting to sound like a composite of what they jam between jams, Reluctant Mortem’s future looks bright. With 663 likes on Fuckbook, they’re certainly doing something right, and even though number of likes is in no way indicative of quality, an up-and-coming death metal band not yet on Metal Archives spreading their message mainly through word of HTML getting such a number must mean that enough of their own core personality as a band is shining through the layers of used riffs.

Highlights: The drumming, and the self-titled track

Lows: Vocals could be stronger, and an abundance of ‘heard-it-before typical melodeath riffs.

Verdict: I like it,and keep up the good work.

All I’ll say are these last few words of wisdom, and Reluctant Mortem may leave the nest of my negligence: dig deeper, and don’t settle for dimestore melodeath riffs. Y’all can do better than that. Keep your heads banging and your noses clean, etc.

Megadeth Are Pretentious Assholes. Read all about that and Ramming Speed’s last show as a Boston band.

So, I saw Fear Factory opening for Megadeth while total trashed and it was pretty fun, not gonna lie. If not only for the peoplewatching, and learning that for some reason Nonpoint is still a band in the year 2013.  Nu-Metal lives… somehow.

There’s not much I can say except that I wish Fear Factory’s setlist were better (only “Edgecrusher” and “Replica” managed to ring pleasantly familiar), and that Dave Mustaine is still a twat. Bringing up the Marathon bombing for Lemmy knows what reason, AND having the nerve to show Garth’s dunderheaded request to some bitchin’ babe for Megadeth on the same screen that MegaDave loomed transluscently on with the help of what I assume is a handsomely compensated production staff. At least the music was decent enough, though come to think of it, “Sweating Bullets” is campy in that off-Broadway sense, and must have been scientifically designed to get stuck in my head. Fuck you, MegaDouche. I’m smarter than your family.

So on to sadder news: Ramming Speed have left the building like Elvis. Only the “building” in this case is Massachusetts, and they’re not dead, just moving their homebase to Virginia. So sorry if for a quarter second you thought they blew up; they should be touring through here and make awful “homecoming show” jokes sooner than we’ll realise they left.

What better way to say goodbye to one of Boston’s most beloved thrash outfits than a big silly show? This shindig featured local talents in Meth Valley, Disaster StrikesOpposition Rising (now with more new songs that sound like their old ones), and Terminal Crisis, with Yautja bringing their brand of technical grind up here from Nashville to be pronounced incorrectly. Luckily with the taco suckers In Defence in the building, all intellectual matters were irrelevant. I would post a picture of Ben Crew’s costume, which was like if Rob Halford (a.k.a. God) and Martin Sorrendeguy came up with a way to simultaneously look like you came to enslave the Christian Right Patriarchs and also look damn fine.  “Legacy of Brutality” indeed. So here’s the new video for their song “Curbside Dentistry”.

Aw fuck it, here’s a picture anyway. Stolen from I Author My Own Disaster.

Between rants about how all the money the U.S. wastes on terrestrial wars instead of spaceships, laser blasters and  lightsabers, how there actually is a (leather-clad, bald, and bespectacled) god, and some other stuff that only matters to weird people, the Defence busted out most of their recent outing, Party Lines and Politics, and are the prime example of why metal and punk are and should be united in their stand against pizza, politicians, unjust societally constructed phobias of all kinds, and any police not named Sting, Andy Summers, or Stuart Copeland.

Despite the success of the festivities —discounting the near non-existence of a pit during their set, blame it on the sadness— I’m sad to see Ramming Speed go, but fuck them anyway, that’s just more party that we have to catch up on so that it’s like they’re still here in our hearts or something fluffy like that. It’s been unreal.

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