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.

You know what time it is: Reviewvalanche.

Looking at all the shows I’ve been to recently and my inability to review them either to being inebriated, not in the writing spirit, noticing that I fucked up the order big-tiume, or just being inconvenienced from many directions at once in the grand tradition of life, I’ll just leave this here.

Boris @ Brighton Music Hall

Fucking Flood. Damn.

Nomad/Kromosom @ Cambridge Elk’s Lodge

It’s a wonder I somehow avoided injury during this thrashing d-beat noisefuck raid experience. Ye gods. I swear a boot was mere inches from my face, and I also saw a tit.

Coke Bust @ Cambridge Elk’s Lodge

I only saw 10 minutes of Coke Bust, but that was all I needed, because I would have died of exhaustion had I been punctual. A dollar a minute, and eternally late to the point where I missed all the other bands for free Chinese food, sake and beer. No fucking regrets.

Parasitic Extirpation @ O’Brien’s

I’m pretty sure my conduct was unbecoming of my gentlemanly status, but with 64 ounces of Steel Reserve in my system, anything short of getting ripshit was inexcusable for one of Boston’s finest in slamming brutality. Fields Of Elysium from New Mexico were pretty sweet, having made it to Boston for the first time ever, and fialing to disappoint with their PsyOpus meets a more interesting but even more insane Spawn Of Possession.If you’ll excuse me, I have to write some apologetic letters to the people whose souls I ate because I’m a monster.

Nuclear Special Forces (or N.S.F. if you’re lazy and drunk) @ some basement in Allston

I don’t remember a lot of this show because the beer intake was constant, but I remember it was fun. Pornstars For Romney play some form of rippin’ hardcore, and N.S.F. boast some eldritch amalgam of d-beat, crust punk, and powerviolence, with a killer cover of “City Baby Attacked By Rats”, complete with some tasteful blastbeats. I think the opener was Jake And The Infernal Machine, but I can’t be sure. The internet holds no record of this, and I may have imagined that one-man acoustic folk-punkish guy. But then again, acoustic folk-punkish guys own everything from Mission Hill to the outer edges of Lower Allston, so I’m just trying to make this interesting for you.

The Melvins @ Brighton Music Hall

They played a lot of heavy songs, and Buzzo had a get-up reminiscent of some sort of alien from an early sci-fi movie. ‘Twas cool.

Or maybe it was just a robe and I was seeing shit.

Summer Slaughter ’13 @ The Palladium

It was a fantastic show overall. Thy Art Is Murder exceeded my low expectations, Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders signed my palm, I had a pleasant post-brutality chat with some members of Cattle Decapitation, and Unearth was surprisingly good live, if not handicapped by the muddy sounding breakdowns. Curse you, Palladium sound. The main hiccups of the evening were Rings Of Saturn just being silly, Periphery playing for about 45 minutes too long (ha!) getting stranded in Worcester due to some last-minute revocations of a possible ride home and experiencing some wicked sleep deprivation that only being utterly rezzy high can emulate, and, speaking of Revocation, their set was mainly steeped in new material, which is still good, but some oldies would have made it a far more satisfying show. Have they all but forgotten Empire of the Obscene? Oh and Greg Puciato semi almost killed himself. Again. Anyone reading this now should know I put this in here weeks after this article was written. Feel free to comment if you’re one of these lucky souls. Ha.

Backslider @ the Democracy Center

This show reminded me just why I sometimes opt out of going to the Democracy Center, even if the line-up shows much promise and potential for window breakage. Case in point, the wimpiest of Boston’s punk scene gathered singly to not destroy one another while Congenital Death and Backslider destroyed the surrounding air with their clatter of fastcore devastation. Fucking Invincible was just Fucking Boring (the merch reads FI. F. Fucking. I.) and Curmudgeon was another roadblock to guilt-free enjoyment. Despite Logan’s (guitar/vocals in Backslider) goading and pointing out the stand still/keep your arms crossed policy that Boston’s PV lovers adopt, there was nary a twitch more than a hearty shaken fist and some aggressive nodding to the beats to show approval. Plus they played way more breakdowns than I remember being in any of their material. Overall, disappointing, but I’m still glad I at least got to see these nerds. They’re skinnier than I thought they’d be, is all I can say on that last sentence.

Ceremony @ Sinclair

I skipped ALL the openers because I hated their names and descriptions, (with the exception of GIVE, who are just boring psychedelic punk with no aim) and I’m sure I did well to that end. Ceremony’s definitely taken an odd turn since the olden days of Ruined and Violence Violence, which were essentially exercises in how many times a band could rip your face off within the span of under 15 minutes. The new album, Zoo, is more of an experiment in how to travel back in time, record an album in the 70s, and make people think that a completely different band wrote the material. Seriously, go listen to even Rohnert Park, which is somewhat more sober in its approach, and then Zoo, and you’ll swear there are two bands called Ceremony. They weren’t kidding when they basically said they were sick of hardcore punk. Luckily they still busted out a few choice jams from the aforementioned albums, (not like the kids didn’t mosh to the non-core material anyway) but overall, the heavy British accent seeping from Ross Farrar’s gob during those tracks is unavoidably a conscious want to put the olden days behind them. Pack your fist full of love, give a gift to the world.

The Impalers/Vaaska @ The Boiler Room

It smelled strongly of fresh spraypaint, and I swear I’ve been slightly dumber since being in there, but it was fun at the very least seeing d-beat bands and spiky brats all crammed into one nearly uncomfortable spot in a middle-of-nowhere Allston parking lot that probably sees more activity by people looking for a place to do drugs and drink than the local businesses that are only open when you’re completely mentally unprepared for them to be.

Suffer On Acid @ Pt-109

I think this place may officially be murdered by the pig-state, but at least I got to act a damn drunken fool during Demoralizer‘s set even though the space is now no larger than a broom-closet as opposed to a living-room like it was before.

Sean Smash would be my scene name if I were a bigger faggot than I already am.

Infest/Los Crudos @ ChiTown Futbol

Going a long way totalling up to or more than $2-300 in travel expenses for a 10 dollar punk show is something that everyone worth knowing should do at least once in their lifetime. Never knowing if Infest or Crudos, bands that are technically ‘broken up’ despite their recent resurgence in activity (always trust Wikipedia) will ever come even as close as New York or Connecticut, I say it was well worth the trip. Gas Rag played some decent d-beat with just enough energy, Violent End was okay but repetitive and sort of like a 2nd rate Nails, and Hard Skin was equally comedic and badass with their limey British skinhead swagger showing through as they simultaneously mocked and celebrated the whole of punk in all its forms. I doubt they successfully converted everyone from Hardcore to Oi! as was their openly stated aim, but everyone had fun. Punx and skins did unite on that dusty street in Chicago while kids played soccer not a room over.

Infest was on par with a religious experience, though if you replace the wide lanes of a megachurch with a surging pit of crowdsurfing, mic-rushing, flailing bodies, and clothing heavier than appropriate for the warm weather, it’s essentially the same thing. The vocals were equal parts hilarious and rousing, the drums missed not a single beat, and the slowing down of their iconic pre-Powerviolence breakdowns only made for more friendly violent fun. Los Crudos got just about the same fervor as kids thrashed about responsibly but wildly, showing that “that Spic band” is nothing to fuck with. Glory be to me, for I have seen both of Martin Sorrendeguy’s bands within a year, and I’m not even old yet.

I’d like to take a rare human moment to say that I really felt at home in Chicago, before, during, and even after the show. So many brown people in one place, girls pitting as hard if not harder, and streets that don’t say “fuck you” like Boston. Was this the only place designed after the listless meanderings of livestock? Living arrangements are in order. Perhaps Cleveland or even good ol’ Chi-Town will be my next resting place once my earthly body in Massachusetts has grown tired of taking the MBTA and dealing with a mayor that’s nowhere near as hilarious as Tom Menino. Also, ChiTown Futbol has legit the best burritos I’ve ever tasted, and they don’t even put rice in them. I’m ruined forever to all the joints here.

And there you have it, a brief summary of the last few months, as lazily put together as I could manage without cheating you, the reader, out of some verbiage and colourful illustrations that you’ve come to neutrally know me for. Here’s to trying harder to try harder once again, because not having normal internet access AND a job makes it hard to say stupid things for the world to see and me to feel ashamed for writing later.

The only reason I haven’t given up on TBMD entirely is probably some odd sense of duty that I feel to people that like to know about random shit. Well, I’m still here for you idiots, so feel free to not react as I languidly struggle to bring you the most up-to-date news about things that have long since passed, you nerds.

Degradation (Of Mental Faculties). Sick Fix and Coke Bust @ Uncle Crummy’s

Tis the week to wake up and take life seriously. Or at least as seriously as I’m willing to take it without becoming lame, you see. Let’s dance.

The openers of this non-ironic gathering of 40 oz. bottles was Terminal Crisis, a newly formed Boston Hardcore band featuring Krystina of Curmudgeon on vocals and Tom Draize on guitar, and someone else from BearTrap I don’t know by name. Quite solid, I look forward to their continued existence.

Next were No Sir I Won’t, who aren’t big fans of cops and the politic among us.

Pissed, loud, and red in the face, delivering right hooks in quick succession in the form of catchy Punk leaning on Hardcore ferocity, but always staying well in the realm that will subdue any attempts to throw tha fuck down. Not that some won’t try anyway.

Coke Bust, the superheroes of Straight-Edge Hardcore, are best experienced without a barricade, this much is true.

And shirtless

Having seen these strapping lads play at Maryland Deathfest, I was even more stoked to see them in an intimate venue where one may not only sweat on fellow moshers, but also the band themselves. Mic-sharing ensures the transmission of several low-level contagions, and a wrongly timed jump can lead to one nearly crashing into the drumset and being the truest showstopper in the sense of the word. It was manic, there were injuries, and it was a rip roarin’ good time. Coke Bust’s fusion of Powerviolence in short bursts of hepped up punk energy with a rock’n’roll sensibility that can lock into a solid groove and bust out a solo atypical of the genre makes them a sweet deal both in studio and when being headbutted by the vocalist.

One must applaud the drummer of Coke Bust, for he is also the drummer of Sick Fix, who are, as you may have guessed, another SxE outing, but this time joined by a superheroine.

With members of Magrudergrind also leading the charge into your ear canal, you can certainly bet the guitar tone is that sickly, almost wet sounding buzz that brings to mind grind bands like Nasum and Rotten Sound, as well as good ol’ Entombed in their death metal days. Sick Fix’s sound comes out as an amalgm of Nails fury and Weekend Nachos heaviness, with more controlled speed (i.e. little-no blasting) and of course, female vokills. It got rowdy, and several concussions were sustained, both by slipping on the floor slick with all manner of spilled beer, and blows to the head, intentional or not. Err on the side of caution and get knocked into a trash can, or get knocked out.

The transformation of vocalist Michelle from her off-stage (metaphorical stage here) personality and her on-stage mania is something to be seen. Catch them if they happen to roll through your area, buy something, get it signed, wear it every day. I’m nearing the end, and it’s nice.

I Can Think Of Nothing Clever. Revocation at The Great Scott

Ah, the Great Scott, how I thought I missed you. This venue has been the site of many a great show: Toxic Holocaust, Shonen Knife, Ringworm/Nails, and The Red Chord. All massive blasts of great times and home to rousing rounds of avoid-the-beer-spills-so-as-to-not-die-in-a-rather-embarrassing-fashion. It seems that over my times of going to shows there, I can just tell which ones are going to be the type where chubby bearded men stand and drink PBR as opposed to actually showing signs of life. Not necessarily mosh-til-you-drop, but something more than one or two guys who genuinely seem to enjoy the opening bands, y’know? Regardless, there was some great talent to be found here in all forms, as usual, and opening the festivities was the obligatory local band with a strange name, Lunglust.

While Lunglust are certainly a group of good musicians who know a little something about writing songs, their Hardcore meets… something else combo isn’t something that meshes well with my own interests. Some of the songs crawled along too slow, and while others were at a pace more my speed, they still didn’t quite capture my attention for much longer than a few seconds at a time. They have a sizeable following in the Bosotn area, I believe, so I’m probably alone in not nodding along while they perform. So be it.

Following the hometown heroes were KEN Mode, three angry Canadians that play Hardcore that sounds very angry.

Only in Canada can you get red-carpet treatment after expressing your desire to destroy.

KEN Mode’s style of hardcore is one that’s as abrasive as it comes in Canada. If you thought Cursed were a shovel full of soot to the mouth, then KEN Mode are stepping it up to a shovel full of soot on fire to the nuts. It’s no-compromise, it’s sludgy and covered in scars, and it’s mean. KEN Mode weild chugging riffs that seem to come from the bottom of the sea, breakdowns that make your soul hurt, and during one song the guitarist swapped out for a bass, providing even more low-end battery that could make mighty castles crumble. This band’s a take-no-prisoners type, go see them and be wowed. It’s the type of Hardcore that doesn’t even require any pit antics, and pitting would almost take away from just seeing them go about their hateful proselytism.

A Life Once Lost is a band with quite a reputation, and even they would have a hard time topping KEN Mode in their tooth’n’claw approach to Hardcore with their mishmash of psychedelia, slap-chopped prog riffs, and whatever else they feel is appropriate.

Little do fans know, Doug and Bob work in a factory that exclusively produces mannequin torsos.

Though ALOL no longer play what people nowadays refer to as “djent” (the term didn’t exist in the time they were trailblazing), they still bring enough heaviness for the chubbies who frequent this hole in the wall. Beginning their musical trek sounding like Meshuggah meets metalcore, and becoming one of the frequently cited bands of this style, I wasn’t quite ready for the more laid back, ethereal feel that the tunes on “An Ecstatic Trance” offered, with a light-show to accompany the musical goings-on.

Far be it for me to make assumptions, but seeing that they were selling a “Drop Acid, Not Bombs” shirt and now knowing that two members of the band dabble in mild-altering substances, I can guess who, but I ain’t snitching. All I will tell is that some standing on the bass-drum occurred, and the sober mind considers the consequences of such an action.

Moving on, ALOL played a set mainly taken from the new album (I assume), and closed with “Surreal Atrocities” from their seminal release, A Great Artist. Throughout, the band remained focused, andseemed to be enjoying the direction their music has taken, which emphasizes their groovy nature and ditches a lot of the polyrhythmic pummeling, but it still remains in trace amounts. Certainly not a bad direction to take, though some old fans are understandably miffed. I, being a newcomer, see no evil, and will jam An Ecstatic Trance with no remorse.

Last and arguably not least were Revocation, who I’m proud are from here because David Davidson is the mad notes, yo. MetalSucks and hopefully other sites have had him pop up on Best Guitarist list multiple times, so you know that he’s better than Buckethead.

Revocation’s one of those bands that just can’t seem to stop getting better. Since Empire Of The Obscene they’ve just gotten more proficient in their Death/Thrash craft: ever-deepening technicality and melody seamlessly integrated with a heaviness that lets them clear the battlefield of all opposing forces. Their latest EP, Teratogenesis is free, so go steal it guilt… er… free. Though it isn’t wildly different thematically from what they’ve been doing on Chaos of Forms or Existence Is Futile, you can’t argue with a FREE Revocation cd. It’s pretty sweet, and it’s green, go eat it. They sold their souls to Scion to give us, the fans, a little something in return for stealing their albums already and making up for it by buying shirts.

Anyhow, they always boast an energetic and above all, entertaining live show. It’s amazing how much the crowd changed from ALOL to Revocation. Virtually all of the hardcore dudes hightailed it, and longhairs were the kings of the ring. David Davidson being intoxicated and silly is always a great treat to see, and marveling as to how he manages to pull off all those solos while possessing a firm buzz is a favourite pastime of Revocation fans nationwide.

While the band members themselves were in top form musically despite the most queer absence of Anthony Buda (I don’t know the story, someone research it for me), the audience was a whole different kettle of fish. Mr. Davidson, the grand judge, juror, and executioner of the festivities, was eager to see some harebrained knuckle-dragging mosh action, just to see if everyone was alive or an oil painting. While there was indeed movement as per the nice man’s request, it was more like an oil painting running due to a poor mixture of linseed and whatever else oil paint is made of. In short, an uninformed onlooker would think it was a drunken game of football occurring during a Metal show. The sheer clumsiness of the sport closer resembled a 5th grade game of tackletag, it was fucken hilarious to see. Circlepits were a lost cause, since some people don’t really know how to run in a straight circle, opting for hexagons instead. By the honour of Greyskull, it was a sight to see. Mr. Davidson attributes the poor moshing skill to the fact that Converge and Suffocation immediately preceded this show, but I can personally say that none of the attendees of tonight’s show aside from perhaps one were at either, and thus have no reason to be tired. While I was licking my wounds from a knockout, they were probably watching 16 And Pregnant.

Due to the MBTA’s propensity for stranding people in the Autumn and Winter cold after a certain time, I couldn’t stay for the whole of Revocation’s set, though they did play some choice cuts such as “Harlot”, “Re-Animaniacs”, “No Funeral”, “Across Forests And Fjords”, and of course, “Dismantle The Dictator”. Lots of air-shredding and headbanging remained to be seen, but I like to not walk all the way from Allston to Dorchester at 12:30 at night in order to minimize chances of encountering the stab-happy.

How I had missed the dim light and redolence of ages of spilt beer and sweat lingering in the rafters of this old pub. Many a great show I have seen, and many I shall still see. Add this notch to my bedpost, or whatever one does to keep score of shows these days.

とても可愛いですよ!Shonen Knife at the Great Scott

This is going to be bar none, the most un-metal show I’ve ever written about. I shall now vainly attempt to justify it by mentioning that Shonen Knife are fans of Motörhead and have done a song with the warthog Lemmy. Now I have cause to continue.

Opening the show were local rockers, The Moan, who claim to be from space.
From what I can gather, they are a rather new band, and having 75 FB likes as well as no music online, I’m surprised they secured a spot opening for Shonen Knife of all bands. They’re a two-piece that could be likened to Garage meets Hard Rock band The White Stripes, but I hate them so I won’t. Instead, I’ll go ahead and compare them to The Pretenders, a largely British Proto-Punk band fronted by an American lass named Chrissie Hynde, sans the “fuck off” attitude. It was hit-or-miss for me personally, and the stage presence reflected an individual who wished to be anywhere but on a stage, though since they are a fledgling act and certainly not bad at what they do, they can’t really sour their reputation unless they start covering “Doorbell”.

Keeping in the two-piece streak were White Mystery, a red-headed brother-sister tag-team that should have been around long ago so they could have ended up on the Jet Set Radio Future soundtrack alongside BIS’ “Statement Of Intent” and Guitar Vader’s “Baby-T”

Face the flame!

With a mixture of British Invasion-era fuzz, some psychedelic leanings, and an all-American pop sensibility, there was no shortage of catchy songs, so good show by the ginger roots. I definitely would see them again, though I may only get that chance if they come around supporting a similarly old school band like Royal Headache.

Shonen Knife is one of those bands that if you hear them and have a heart, you’ll be fighting to keep a stupid grin from creeping onto your face. Being from Japan, a land that has engineered every export to appeal to the part of our frail American minds that has an insatiable craving for adorable things, and fully embracing the tendency to put cute cartoons and a lackadaisical attitude that would tell you America isn’t currently slaughtering people abroad and oppressing minds at home, Shonen Knife is what one listens to when they just want to be happy. No matter how old, what subculture you hail from, or your gender, you’re not going to resist.

Shonen Knife borrow equally from the poppy surf rock of the Beach Boys, stripped-down Punk in the shape of The Ramones, a distinctive J-Pop feel, and yet there’s a certain low-fidelity atmosphere around it that prevents it from being too squeaky-clean. With a career spanning over 30 years, and being able to boast that Kurt Cobain was a huge fan, one can say with certainty that they’ve led a hell of a career. Live, they’re surprisingly loud, and seeing as the last time I saw a band that made that much noise was New York’s own Sludge/Doom titans Tombs. The only difference being that Tombs was probably not intended to be that loud.

It is a shocking sight when people break out into moshing during Shonen Knife. It was among the last things I expected, being a show headlined by one of the most bubblegum bands I actually enjoy. Alas, once they played a cover of The Ramones’ “Rock & Roll High School”, it was a mess of pogoing, silly dancing, and playful shoving. Ah, to be young. The setlist included four songs from their newest release, Pop Tune, which, as the title suggests, is turning out to be their most straightforward and poppy (go figure) to date.

This coming from  a band who wrote a song about a giant kitty where the chorus is repeating “Big, big. Big, cat!”. I suppose the future for Shonen Knife means less songs about household appliances, animals, sexy bitches, and food, and a bit more about having fun. Well, they were already about having fun, but one can expect the material focus shall dwindle a bit. Shonen Knife is the only band I’ve ever seen that seemed to quite literally enjoy every second they spent onstage, and I’m sure the audience felt the same way. I sure did.

They’ve been around for a long time, and have written many songs, but they’ve never quite mastered the English language. All part of the plan to be cute, I wager. They’re invading our minds, and making us love them, so that when they wage full-scale war on them, we’ll be helplessly drawn to the googly-eyed monstrosities and loud colors that we’ve grown addicted to as a society. Until the day comes where Pokémon is weaponized to its fullest extent (not counting the Porygon seizure inducing test trials), I’ll hope Shonen Knife writes a song about potatoes.

Labrynthian As Well As Sharp. Razormaze at the Temple Of D00M

I know what you’re going to say: Crypter headlined, as this was their tour kickoff, dicks for brains! Well, kindly fuck off, but first let me tell you that the bus schedule prevented me from seeing their set, which I’m sure ripped the poor innocent house a new one. Even earlier, I had suffered a double whammy of missing Xatatax, as well as sporting quite the fat lip from a punch to the mouth, courtesy of the homeless of Harvard Square. In short: Never, ever, EVER, dare crazy people to hit you.

Observe and learn.

I managed to catch Rozamov‘s set, which I’m going to assume is spearheading a movement of Commie Pinko metal because I’m xenophobic. Let’s see how far they get with their odd Sludge/Doom drudgery interspersed with Thrashy bits and a zombie mosh that more closely resembles your usual Thrashers vaguely sporting claw shaped hands. I moderately enjoyed what I heard, but I need more convincing that they are loyal to the capitalist cause. More speed!

Up next is a band that on the other hand, doesn’t know how to slow down, my homeb0iz Razormaze, voted Boston Music Awards’ sexiest band 40 years running, and maintaining a glossy sheen despite the basement heat stench.

Any trve ‘Maze fan was shocked by the news that Dave (pictured far left) quit due to difficulties with the other members. We were aghast, what would they do without his unique 8-string wizardry? The suspense was cut short when an honourable and equally skilled knight Ser Joe Gettler stepped up to the fore and announced his loyalty to the round table of booze and whoring. Dave’s presence shall be missed, as long as we’re distracted by critically scrutinizing Joe’s performance and making sure he hits every note right. SPOILER: He does.

Razormaze have reminded me just how much I missed basement Thrash shows. Must be the familiar scent of stale bread and boar sweat left to ferment in a cask in the Marianas trench, with a hint of cologne for the ladies. That or the fact that the space constraint doesn’t prevent full fledged mayhem. However, one aspect of underground Metal shows I didn’t miss was the aptitude for technical difficulty. Oi vey, the technical difficulties! Eats up time and leaves the audience to sit and bake like a cloth and flesh cobbler. Alex’s guitar was completely fucked, so another had to be brought in from another band’s equipment. In the meantime, Nick and Sam, the most adorable rhythm section in the world, showed off their improv skills and made great court jesters while the swords were sharpened. Due to this unforeseen break, only 4 songs were  played, but luckily they included the mighty Lobotomized as well as the catchier than thou Karma In/Karma Out, so I have no real complaints. A guest appearance by Dan Hammer’s ass (of Skullhammer and Sonic Pulse fame) stole the night, having made itself visible and on the prowl for the greater part of Razormaze’s musical portion. If you were curious as to how much junk Dan has in his trunk, and didn’t attend this show, you missed out.

Overall, despite any hurdles to be leapt, it proved a great night, mainly because I hadn’t seen Razormaze in so long and missed them and their rockin’ tits. One must stop to wonder if they had more up their sleeves that night, though their lack of actual sleeves, being shirtless or wearing tanktops, coupled with guitar failure, prevented any special magick tricks that could have impressed any newcomers to the Slave camp. There is, however, always next time, and the time after that, and the time after that, to get it right, you fuckups.

Post escape from the maze, I was given the distinctive honour of assisting Razormaze with some drum equipment transport, which means I can now lay claim to experience as a worker on a popular band’s roadcrew. Keep a close eye on my exploits as I try to build a career off of this special occasion. In the meantime, I hope Crypter has an unsafe return home, and that they drink themselves into a fiery ditch on the side of the road somewhere on the way back to Worcester. Cheers, you Satan worshipping Metalhead fucks. \m/

Lost Boyscore: Death By Stereo at The Great Scott

It’s not every day I see a band I’ve known about for over 6 years. It’s also not every day that I study up on said band 3 days prior to the show, since that coincides with my discovery of the aforementioned show. A series of coincidences later, here I was listening to three albums by said band to try to at least know what more to expect, having only heard one song by said band for the previously mentioned period of 6 years. If I can make that any clearer, I’m God.

For this here tour, which is apparently the first time they’ve been in Boston in over 3 years, Death By Stereo has been genial enough to drag along the Mathcore supergroup-ish outing RETOX from their region of SoCal. These miserable fucks are headed by Justin Pearson of faslegrind warriors The Locust and Some Girls, the soundtrack to your plane crash. Opening this here festival of rock-against-establishment was local -Core crew Jack Burton Vs. David Lo Pan, which I can’t even say fast in my mind without tripping a bit.

JBvDLP did little wrong in their performance, and as I am quite new to them I can find nothing to critique about how they play without sounding like a right jerk, but something seemed a bit off and I found myself almost wishing they’d be done faster than they ended up being. They wrote songs in a somewhat predictable fahsion, with some dissonance, oddly timed breakdowns that consisted of more than one chord, 2-step parts, etc., but the build of their tunes was a tad bit lanky and dare I say, not muscular enough to hold its own in a live setting. On record they sound fabulous, but on record I’m not waiting for bands I’m actually excited to see.

Up next were RETOX, whose sole existence is to fuck eardrums in a fashion achievable by the most thuggish of decibel use.

Short songs, and even shorter tempers make the bulk of this band’s aesthetic. With their vitriolic mixture of Powerviolence, Grind, Mathcore, and a measure of sardonic wit through good humour and malicious intent, they’re not a band for normal people. But of course, if your band is fronted by the same guy in The Locust, expect it to sound like your Converge wrestling with Trap Them in a washing machine, all refereed by The Dillinger Escape Plan circa Calculating Infinity. Oh yes, it’s a headfuck, but they keep it organized enough that it’s oddly catchy.

RETOX are clearly not interested in writing mosh music, with the crowd more content with watching Justin’s lithe, almost wispy form contort, slither, and find odd ways to force air out of his lungs than causing one another injury. RETOX is a big fan of feedback, as is evident in the above video, and made sure that it sounded like a chainsaw committing seppukku rather than a computer undergoing cellular mitosis. Needless to say, it was damned loud, if the dithyrambic clatter of four men shapeshifting between angular Hardcore to borderline noise is your game, please investigate, and mind your ears.

Death By Stereo, as I mentioned before, is a band I’ve known of for a long time, but never felt an urge to investigate. I made a huge mistake there, and as a result was not ready for a band that actually seems to enjoy every second of playing live.

Now, allow me to preface the actual review of their set (which was awesome, by the way) with Efram and co’s drunken antics. Mainly Efram, but there was scandal on the hands of the other members as well.

• Efram claims that Van Halen stole “Panama” from a song that they wrote called “Boston”, which is only about 15 seconds long. If you ever needed an excuse to hate David Lee Roth, that’s it right there.

• Efram is secretly defending America from the horrors of “Post-Piano Screamo”, which was birthed in Germany by the unholy We Butter The Bread With Butter. The band’s holy water for this most egregious offence to music was a liberal dose of Slayer’s “Raining Blood”. Cross my heart and hope to die when I say it seems his crusade is waged in vain, as the unspeakable Sisyphean curse of Synthcore has already made its way to our shores in the form of Attack Attack!, Abandon All Ships, and Design The Skyline.

• The entire band except for a single guitarist and drummer Mike got off the stage to order drinks while still playing, at which point Efram stood on a stool with a full shot glass while he sang the rest of the song.

            ›› On that note, Efram and bassist Robbo repeatedly got off stage , the former of which grabbed and buddied around with people, regardless of how much they actually seemed to be enjoying the show, the later bumping into everyone within a two-yard radius of the stage.

• Efram grabbed a broomstick in one of these trips off stage and broke the head off on an overhead beam, at which point he tossed the lonely stick down in the middle of the crowd.

• Efram offered oral sex to the first man to buy him a beer.

• Efram frequently two-stepped and windmilled with a velocity that could remove the trunk from an elephant, often dangerously close to other human beings. Luckily no one was injured.

• Efram said Henry Rollins was Black Flag’s worst singer, and admitted that since they both live in California, he could easily be murdered by the giant himself.

It goes on and on. Wikipedia didn’t lie when they said DBS’s live shows are energetic, oh no they did not. With a small group of people out of the approximately 30 or so that were actually in the venue who sung their hearts out and hopped excitedly as the band belted out their paeans to liberation, it became obvious that they are one of the last standing great Metalcore bands. And I mean Metalcore as in a true fusion of Hardcore Punk and legitimate melodic Metal riffing inspired by Sweden’s legion of Melodic Death and Iron Maiden alike. They were one of the bands that actually spawned a lot of the common tropes associated with Metalcore, but it seems everyone’s forgotten who they should thank. If their reawakening in the form of this tour proves anything, it’s that Metalcore isn’t always a misnomer.

What I lacked in knowledge of lyrics, I made up for in appreciation for being able to see a band that I’d always thought had a pretty cool name, as well as having one of the angriest songs I’d heard for a while, entitled “You Mess With One Bean, You Get The Whole Burrito”. Always made me hungry, that title. Death By Stereo are one of those forgotten legends that inspired countless bands but are lucky to get even cursory mentions and play in front of a small audience in a neighborhood whose venues smell like spilt beer on a good night. Good music sometimes just doesn’t hit it big. Actually, scratch that, it almost never makes it big. That’s why Green Day plays in Gillette Stadium and most of the Powerviolence bands from the 90s are defunct.

If you get a chance, even if you don’t know them well, go out and see this band. They’re quite friendly, and care more that you enjoy that show than if you know all their songs word-for-word.That’s the positive thinkin’ that got me a picture with Efram and Dan “The Man With The Handlebar Mustache That Is Straight From An Era When Strongmen Were A Thing” Palmer!

I have also been awarded the distinct honor of having the best shirt of the night, so fucken ace night overall. I just wish I weren’t the only person under 21 there.