So I may have lied, seeing as Terror/Bane was just this summer, but I wasn’t able to make it out to that, so going with what I know here. Windbreakers, flat-brimmed caps, plugged ears, pullover sweaters, jersies, and square logos over the left breast were out in full force. ‘Twas a sight to see for anyone unfamiliar with the basic HxC dress code, indeed. Having gotten my ticket quite literally at the last minute, I was able to take my place in the mating ritual one calls a Hardcore show. Buckle up, cos this ride’s for alpha males only.
Opening up the festivities just as I arrived were Dysentery, the most metal band on the line-up, which did little to prevent five people from being knocked out, to say nothing of the countless nosebleeds within the first few minutes. Some kids there obviously didn’t really know any Dysentery songs, but still stirred things up during the slamdowns. Such good sports, making total destroy to the soothing ballad-esque “Genocidal God”, and raising some friendly ruckus to the closing song, “Devourer Of The Dead”. Much appreciated by the band, and anyone there who liked to move. Up next should have been Rude Awakening, who had come all the way from Merrimack Valley to play as a local act, but unfortunately the band got into a bit of a kerfuffle with Palladium staff, and as a result couldn’t play at a venue where they had just freshly knocked someone the fuck out. Their loyal hometown fanbase was understandably a little angry, and the fallout would precipitate throughout the rest of the show in the form of crowdkilling.
I neglected to do research on No Bragging Rights before the show, but their combination of stay-positive Melodic Hardcore with heavy chugging breakdowns to wake up any unaware made for an entertaining set. They brought a lot of energy to their stage presence, and even had a little of that clean vocal stuff that was in short supply for the other bands. Following them was Fit For An Autopsy, an example of what Deathcore should ideally sound like; equal parts the blasting fury of Death Metal and breakdowns that make you feel bad for not moving to.
FitFo, as they are often called by real hood niggaz, have exploded in recent times, possibly helped by having Nate Johnson of Through The Eyes Of The Dead fame (ca. Malice) on vocals. Add to this a group of musicians who have a good idea of how to play extreme music and you have a good band overall that both Metal and Hardcore people can enjoy without feeling the guilt I assume most women associate with chocolate while dieting. I’m not terribly familiar with any songs of theirs aside from “The Jackal”, and am moderately acquainted with “The Conqueror”, so I’m not a person to have an in-depth FitFo conversation with. Seeing as they bookended their set with the two aforementioned tracks, I was able to react at the most opportune times, so thanks for that, guys. Aside from nearly losing a shoe in the circle pit, all went well, and we lived happily ever after until I Declare War came and burned down my village.
I Declare War was one of the bands I was actually excited to see despite reports and some preliminary hearings of their new material being unworthy of being listened to even when you’re bored and just want to hear a meaningless breakdown. It would be an understatement if I simply said I was “let down” by their performance. They played “Putrefaction Of The Population” too slow, they played “New Age Holocaust” too slow, and new boy (pictured above) fucked up the vocals with his own improvisations instead of sticking to the semi-growl formula that makes them identifiable. New boy also demanded an old-school circle pit, which was damn pointless because there was only about 5 seconds worth of circle-pit material in the song they played. Definitely not worth almost tripping yet again. The crowd was half-hearted in their reception of IDW, and it’s a bad sign when even an established Deathcore band can’t get an audience moving enthusiastically all the way through their set.
Our saviours in Cruel Hand were there in due time to rinse the bad taste left in our mouths with what I can confidently call literal non-stop action.
Cruel Hand is notorious for their rowdy live set, and I can see why after experiencing it first-hand. Ye gods, it’s one thing to pre-game mosh, but a whole 5 minutes of silent throwdown while the band sets up and has some random symphonic music playing in the background has to be a unique phenomenon. These stretching exercises completed, the Hand came out and ripped their fair share of face, with crunchy Thrash Metal riffing colliding headfirst with the intensity and drum-patterns of New York Hardcore at its finest. If I had been more knowledgeable of the band’s output aside from some songs on Lock And Key and Prying Eyes I would have gone about half as balls-out insane as the rest of the guys there, though I’m considering myself lucky to have gotten out with only the hardest kick in the cojones I’ve experienced. Seeing some people walk out with blood streaked down the front of their shirt and face like a bucket of paint was spilled on them from above did wonders to remind me how fortunate I was in the end. A five-minute sit-down was in order, and I’m proud to report that I did not piss blood that night. Here’s to hoping I can see Cruel Hand again, and if I am indeed injured, that it isn’t facial or genital.
The grand ministers of this whole shindig, The Acacia Strain, proudly celebrating the release their fifth full-length in their home state of Massachusetts, took the stage as yet another silent mosh was underway to establish the perimeter of the killzone.
I’ll start by saying that if you thought The Acacia Strain was heavy before, you’re in for a surprise with the new album. If one had the energy, they could dance all the way through, with pauses only for the moments between songs or transitioning to another breakdown. TAS, being gentlemen and not wanting to wear everyone out or misspend precious time on songs that few would know aside from thieves, only played “Doomblade” and “Dust and the Helix” from Death Is The Only Mortal, and mostly built their set from fan-favorites with quotable lines like “Dr. Doom”, “See You Next Tuesday”, “JFC”, and the like. Along with having a killer setlist, Vincent proved his strength as a frontman by encouraging the crowd to let loose, commanding everyone to stagedive at least once. I, being a gentleman, wouldn’t let the man down, so I did my part in inconveniencing the front-most rows during “Passing The Pencil Test”. It’s a wonder TAS aren’t allowed to play the upstairs Palladium more often, since the crowd simply thrives more under conditions that allow up-close interaction with the hatemonger Bennett himself. In a barrierless setting, TAS not only sound better and taste better, but seem more energized and vital, and Vincent’s words resonate more effectively. There’s also potential for disastrous hilarity, but none of that made itself known.
The Palladium seems to be making more of a conscious effort to end shows early, since JFC ended at precisely 10:30, giving everyone more time to mill about after the show, trade stories of how many scene kid faggitz were knocked out, and just reflect on the good time that was had. For any who stuck around long enough after the dust settled, they could get a picture with Vincent himself, most likely to carry in their wallet and pretend they know him personally or whatever else you do with pictures of band members.
Ah yes, the point of writing this whole review was to relay the fact that I survived, and am able to continue wasting your time for years to come. Until the next review, cheers.