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.

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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.

ALBUM REVIEW: BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME

The Parallax II: Future Sequence (Metal Blade Records)

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME are a Progressive Metal band from Raleigh, NC, and what I can confidently call my favourite band. These guys have shown, through both timelessly innovative songwriting that draws from an endless bank of influence (THE BEATLES, PINK FLOYD, CYNIC, CEPHALIC CARNAGE, COUNTING CROWS, QUEEN, and DREAM THEATER to name a few), as well as a commitment to pushing their skill further with every release, they can do no wrong. Aside from the unfortunate mess that was “Roboturner” and a few adorable but lackluster covers on The Anatomy Of, BTBAM have yet to disappoint. So here we stand, the second part of The Parallax series, which shows BTBAM taking on a yet unheard ambition, where Hypersleep Dialogues played more as a continuation of The Great Misdirect, another solid release and a worthy follow-up to the groundbreaking Colors. Parallax II, like Colors, is a single piece of music artfully divided into many, and by Jove, it’s shaping up to be their most epic release yet.

BTBAM is one of those bands that won’t simply rest on their laurels and release album after album of the same material phrased differently. From the breakdown-laden and aggressive self-titled album, the dark and moody Silent Circus, the boundary-breaking and experimental Alaska, the grand and semi-operatic quality of Colors, the decidedly elusive Great Misdirect, and the odd but always welcomed Hypersleep Dialogues, they’ve refused to stick with just one sound, flirting with everything from Death Metal, Grindcore, Bossa Nova, carnival music, show tunes, Deathcore, and of course, Prog, to weave a unique sound that is undeniably progressive. No subject is taboo, no art form too odd, they can make it work. I have suddenly become aware of the fact that I’m borderline hyping this album, but fuck it, it’s living up to it so far.

The Parallax II is yet another splash of vibrance that is the ever-evolving portrait of BTBAM’s sound, from the BEACH BOYS-esque surf of “Bloom”, the punishing semi-Hardcore stomp near the end of “Telos”, the subtle callbacks to “White Walls” seamlessly embedded in “Melting City”,  the world-uniting joyous melodies of “Astral Body”, and of course, the ability to balance all of these elements and more is something BTBAM has proven themselves time and time again to be unfairly adept at. Tommy Rogers’ command of both singing and harsh vocals, perfected on Alaska, and improving even more since, betrays no flaw, to say nothing of his increasingly wacky keyboard textures that provide a bonus for the careful listener. Paul Waggoner and Dustie’s dual-guitar assault with dizzying solos, choppy rhythms, and superb note progressions borrowed largely from Eastern music proves to be one of their most stellar performances since Colors. Blake Richardson is able to change his drumming at the drop of a hat, providing both your punishing Metal/Hardcore rhythms and blasts, complete with complex jazz-influenced sections that demand equal parts creativity and focus. Last but certainly not least, Dan Briggs brings his trusty orange fretless bass to complete the picture, with both smooth rhythm as well as his own unique dynamics proving that not all bassists are just kinda there.

if I gush, it’s only because it’s worth gushing over. BTBAM have outdone themselves with this one. As SUM 41 put it, it’s all killer, no filler. Not a note here is misspent or misplayed, not a single song out of place, no heaviness off-putting, no melody too soft. This album, along with SIGH’s insanely layered Insomniphobia, THE ACACIA STRAIN’s impossibly heavy Death Is The Only Mortal, CATTLE DECAPITATION’s misanthropic Deathgrind masterpiece Monolith Of Inhumanity, and THE CONTORTIONIST’s mindblowing Intrinsic, to name a few, is definitely making 2012 one of the best years for extreme music, as far as I can recall. But then again, I’m not usually the most current person, which calls into question the validity of my making such a statement, but new BTBAM just about tops all else, so go buy it and be amazed. I have seen BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME every time they’ve come through my area, and they’ve been Godly every time. If you’re not into them for any reason, hopefully this album will change your flawed mode of thinking.

Spacin’ out.

The Verdict: Worship at the altar of Prog

Grade: A+
By Sean “That Black Metal Dude” Genovese

Redneck From Hell Presents: Occupation Domination Tour Review

Note, any italicized text with -Ed. next to it are my own insertions. Of course, you’d know that if you read any magazine or online review site more legit than mine. We’re getting somewhere. Now this is getting to be a long note, so I’ll cut immediately to the part where the white guy talks about rock’n’roll.

Occupation Domination Tour Review

 

While it’s cool that the Occupation Domination Tour came to Namshaw, did they really have to pick the one town that’s more Masshole-ish than pure fucking Namshaw? Keene is a college town, which means it contains an abundance of jocks who like doing keg stands to LMFAO better than drinking bourbon shirtless, in a shitty kitchen, with Hank 3’s “Gettin’ Drunk and Fallin’ Down” playing in the background. That being said, the Railroad Tavern is a pretty cool venue, featuring no stage, and Dio on the stereo in between sets.

Oh yeah, I’m gonna give bands numerical scores for this review ‘cuz I feel like it.

I don’t know who the first local band was, and I don’t really care all that much because all I heard from the showroom were breakdowns coupled with crappy growls, so I decided to go buy cheap Chinese food. I respect this choice greatly. -Ed.

Upon my return, Zombie Fighter, a local thrash revival outfit was playing. I’ve actually shared the stage with this band, and they’re a great bunch of dudes. While their music is fun-but-unremarkable, they play with a fierce energy that makes you wanna throw on your ratty pair of Reebok high-tops and do keg stands to LMFAO. I kid. Bottom line is this: Zombie Fighter ain’t ever gonna make it to the big leagues unless they show some innovation, but there’s no reason to skip ‘em if they’re on the bill at a show you’re attending. After all, who doesn’t like the ‘80s? I don’t even want to meet the bastard who doesn’t. -Ed. 7.5/10

Conforza, the final local band, put on a set of pretty solid deathcore with some cool leads and sub-par vocals. There’s not much else to say. If you like deathcore, there’s no real good reason why you wouldn’t like this, especially since below-average vocalists run rampant in the genre (Mitch Lucker, anyone?).6/10

Face of Ruin were apparently only playing a few dates on the Occupation Domination tour, and I had never heard of them before, but they put on a solid set of solid death metal solidly. The band kinda just stood there playing, and the singer looked like a trollbeast, but the music was good, if generic, and the solos were great. I thought about picking up their EP, but decided I’d rather buy McDonald’s for lunch the next day. 7/10

Next up was the first band on the entire tour, crossovery thrash band Battlecross. I had heard of these dudes, but never actually listened to their music, because I spotted their cd in an F.Y.E. and thought the cover art sucked. Well, apparently there’s some truth to the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, because Battlecross kicked fucking arse. They gotta be hiding illegal energy supplements in their van, because they bounced and thrashed across the floor like a bunch of meth-addled bumblebees. The audience was visibly unconvinced at the beginning of the set, given that Battlecross was the only thrash band on the tour (excluding local openers), but over the course of the first three songs, the band slowly won over the entire room, and for me at least, emerged as a rising star in the metal scene; definitely one to keep your eye on. 8/10

Rings of Saturn, on the other hand, despite being over-the-top fun on record, were absolutely hideous live. I was looking forward to a tight, fun filled set of endless arpeggios and breakdowns, but what I got was a sloppy, depressing set of arpeggios and breakdowns. The new singer apparently has a secret love for Suicide Silence (again: Mitch Lucker, anyone?), unlike the previous one, who commanded you to listen with a mix of powerful gutturals and unsettling shrieks. The drums were so sloppy it hurt. If you can’t play gravity blasts, don’t write them into your songs. If you can’t play simple fills, look for a new fucking profession. The bass was non-existent, as even though the bassist was present, he just didn’t play, which crippled the heaviness factor, since Rings of Saturn sticks to high strings unless they’re playing a breakdown. The thing is, none of this would matter if we were talking about a crust punk, grindcore, or even crossover thrash band. But this is technical death metal, and you gotta be on your game. If you ain’t, get the fuck out tha ring! Fucken told ’em! -Ed. 4/10

It’s a damn good thing Aborted was on next, because Rings of Saturn’s set was about as much fun as the Jonestown Massacre. It’s pretty difficult for me to review an Aborted show objectively, since they’re one of my favorite bands, so I won’t: this is unabashed worship prose, that might as well be penned in my fucking cum. Please don’t, you’ll get the servers all sticky. -Ed. Aborted is an amazing deathgrind band that crushes anvils between its metaphorical fingers. This is a band so heavy your eardrums will explode upon hearing one note. The Belgian psychos kicked off their set with the title track from their newest LP, Global Flatline, but they played shit from Engineering the Dead, Goremageddon: The Saw and Carnage Done, and Slaugher and Apparatus: A Methodical Overture too. Their samples weren’t working, but that’s aiight; the crowd just shouted ‘em anyway. “I WILL FUCKING RAPE YOUR SOUL!”. They did, dude. They did. Perfect 10. Jizztastic. 10/10

Technical brutal death metal (I know, over the top genre classification, whatever, fuck you) hippies Decrepit Birth were on next, and their set was fairly predictable until the end, when they busted out a spot on cover of Death’s “Crystal Mountain”. That didn’t really matter, since even though material differs wildly album to album in this band’s canon, it all comes across well live, and Bill Robinson is a great frontman whose dreadlocks make him look kind of like a hippie metal octopus when he headbangs. I was hoping to hear “Solar Impulse”, but I didn’t. It’s cool though, man, let’s just smoke a big bowl ‘o herb and throw on some brutal death metal, maaaaaan. A departure towards the sun (Ignite the bong coil) -Ed. This was just an average set for Decrepit Birth, but that’s better than most of their peers anyway. Man. 8.5/10

California vegetarian deathgrinders Cattle Decapitation are one of the most innovative forces in metal today, combining texturally/sonically different soundscapes to create a genre I have coined Cattle Rock, since I’m that fucking creative. Seriously though: during their 35-40 minute set, one could hear traces of the obvious death metal and grindcore, but also (less obviously) post rock, doom metal, black metal, and slam. None of these styles are portrayed separately like a spazzcore band such as Iwrestledabearonce would do–they are all integrated seamlessly into the rock-solid deathgrind foundation, creating a sickeningly evil vortex of sound, native only to Cattle Decapitation’s members’ twisted brains. That they played shit spanning from their not-yet-released new record (It has since been released, this review was written when it actually happened, ya see. -Ed), Monolith of Inhumanity, all the way back to their Metal Blade debut, To Serve Man, is just a bonus (though “Chunk Blower” kicked arseface). 9/10

Honestly, I’m not as much of a fan of headliners Origin as some of the other bands on the tour, but I’ll be damned if the tech-deathsters didn’t win me over. They played a Composted-style set of silliness, involving a Wheel of Fortune-inspired set wheel that had slots for everything from songs to orders for chicks to show their tittayz. And even though I didn’t know most of the material that well, they won me over via sheer force. It didn’t even matter that drunk non-metalheads came into the pit just to fuck with people and throw them on the ground (said assholes ran into trouble with security and wound up getting kicked out). There’s a reason this band can headline national tours. When your shitty band can command a room this well, you can too. 8.5/10, but only because I’m not all that familiar with Origin.

If you weren’t at this show, you missed out on an incredible night of metal goodness, and one band so bad, they made maximum security inmates thankful they weren’t present. Fuckheads.

Redneck from Hell