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.

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

Dive on into this prime example of what happens when you go to a lot of shows in a short period of time and then save it for a bad joke. Prepare your brains to run some linguistic laps, creatures, this is gonna be long. This post includes reviews of The Ocean (March 30), Aborted (April 1), Ramlord (April 5), and Carcass (April 10). The Dillinger review will be on Ghostcult or something, it’s a mess. Why didn’t I post this yesterday, you ask? Because that’d actually make sense. Now

GO!

The Ocean Collective, Scale The Summit, The Atlas Moth, & Silver Snakes @ The Sinclair

I was a tiny bit disapoointed to find that it was Scale The Summit and not The Ocean headlining, but that’s all small potatoes. If only the ticket itself didn’t lie and have The Ocean’s name over Scale The Summit’s. Blood under the bridge. Let’s talk bands.

Silver Snakes was a surprising treat of an opener. They actually weren’t boring like I assumed they would be, since the general structure of these kinds of shows is that you must first be bored before you can be entertained. Like having to eat a burnt steak to get a glass of OJ. But these guys, quite well cooked steak.

Respectable post-hardcore that sounds a bit like Antenna era Cave In, I dig, I dug.

The Atlas Moth is a band I honestly should probably be more into, as “Holes In The Desert” is infinitely badass in all its mountainous glory. Heavy as a titanic elephant when they want to be, yet still creating an atmosphere above all else. Maybe it was the booze running through my veins, but I did find myself enjoying it more than anticipated. Maybe I should be more positive. I’m sure these guys smoke mad weed, doe.

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Positivity was certainly the word when The Ocean took the stage,since they were the only band you could really start shit to. If you pay attention to my posts on Facebook (and why would you?) you would see the massive knee scrape incurred due to being physicsfucked.

So here’s how it happened: I was gettin’ my thug on in the pit, someone, getting into the spirit of things (kinda) gives me a shove, naturally I fly in the direction in which the force was applied, and fell. No problem. So then I get assistance, and thinking they’ll simply elevate me back to a standing position, get all spry and leap up. Unfortunately, my helpers hoisted me up pretty hard, so the excess force caused me to jump too high, and I, surprised, ended up falling directly knee-first onto the brick floor yet again. My dignity. My knee. Ow.

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But yes, they played Pelagial, their newest, and possibly best, album in its entirety, with some funky video playing in the background, giving us the story of what I guess to be a woman who takes over an hour to drown while she explores the tentacled depths of er… the ocean. But yeah, it was an awesome set, of course. “Bathyalpelagic III: Disequillibriated” (try saying that once fast) was one of the highlights of the set, but I’d say Pelagial in general is just a huge highlight for their career, so it feels weird to play favourites with any song(s) on it.

Oh, and singer Loic Rosetti climbed up to the mezzanine while singing and jumped into the crowd, which I guess is a highlight too.

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See that? That’s a mic cord.

Bands like Scale The Summit are direct evidence that Metal is not all “guys screaming” or a wall of distortion that must be penetrated to see the complexity of the music, or a constant cannonade of pounding, warlike drums. Their sweet, almost airy take on Prog Metal —appropriately dubbed “Adventure Metal— can be both heavy and turbulent, but always expansive and inspiring.

If there was mountain climbing music for metalheads that’s not Black Metal, it’s this. Busting out some choice tracks from their killer new opus The Migration as well as “Redwoods”, plenty of material from The Collective and I think “Age Of The Tide”, or “City In The Sky”. Something good, like all of their songs are, y’know?

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Substance(s) consumed: A 40 of Mickey’s and a tall boy of Natty Daddy. I hate myself.

Ramlord, Spinach, INTHESHIT, NSF, Radical Apathy @ Ask A Punk Because The Jig Is Up

I may have the order of bands for this particular show wrong, but fuck it.

I love how DIY venues get so packed you technically miss bands because you’re standing in the hallway looking into the room due to the sheer volume of people. Such was the reason why I missed Radical Apathy, sorta, but that’s okay, because this marks the third time I’ve been in their presence. And it’s sexual. Check it if you’re into 80s hardcore with an anarcho streak of red in its mohawk. Think Void speed with a little Conflict and female vocals, and you have a rough approximation of their sound.

Struth’s first set of three, so his arms had yet to fall off.

Next up was (I think) INTHESHIT, was Struth’s second set of the night, and John Belmonte’s first. Their sound was fittingly manic for the claustrophobic setting in which it took place. Shredding riffs, schizo vocals, nonstop artillery drums, and a lot of instruments very sad to be instruments, because they were getting banged on roughly for our ears’ enjoyment.

Nuclear Special Forces celebrated bassist Jerome’s birthday the only way they knew how: getting drunk and wearing their own shirts, which have this on it:

Available in sizes Sexy and Awesome.

Nuclear Special forces just get better with each viewing. Here was the first place I saw them, and now look how they’ve changed. Well, I suppose they haven’t changed a goddamn thing, now that I think about it, except that they no longer play their cover of “City Baby Attacked By Rats”. But other than that, you know you’ll get a good time delivered straight to your face. If you’re sober during an NSF set, you’re probably not old enough to drink yet and you should work on that. And if you’re not almost knocking over their gear, you should be, because standing still isn’t what you do in a confined place when loud music about hating people is playing. For fans of J-punk like Kuro and the cheeky powerviolent swaggerings of Charles Bronson or Fuck On The Beach. Eric Struth set number 3 and John Belmonte set number 2, because big boys need love too.

Next up were Spinach, serving up a healthy helping of Fastcore. Shorter, faster, and ostensibly louder than my mom’s gospel albums, they are highly reminiscent of Backslider, and of course, the almighty Infest. Songs so short, Calhoun Tubbs must’ve given them lessons. Good times, though, can’t get enough Spinach in your musical diet, especially since it’s this gnarly.

Ah, Ramlord. Now off the relentless new album cycle and back to playing golden oldies and even their amazing new track, “The Breaking Of the Swans † The Eulogy Of The Crows” from their split with Nuclear Devastation. Time to git it, nigga: First time in so long I’ve heard “Total Doom” live, and first time in general seeing “Affliction Of Clairvoyance” live, which is my fave track. Twostep and pitcross for days.

 

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Don’t get me wrong when I rejoice at the sidelining of the new opus, Crippled Minds rules, peep the review and then go listen if you haven’t already, dude. The last few times I’ve seen them have been mostly in support of the new album, so multiple sets consisting entirely of it will make my old soul yearn for the more familiar sounds. Glad to see the triumphant return of the old Ram, with a solemn eye to the future as the cult grows anew.

 

Substance(s) Consumed: A 40 of Colt 45, and I forget what beers after that, but I was turnt, don’t worry.

Aborted, Pyrexia, Forced Asphyxiation, and Totality @ Middle East Upstairs

April Foolin’ up in here with Totality, a band I can’t get into (sorry) and Forced Asphyxiation, who I enjoy but can’t see myself becoming a huge fan of. Death Metal by numbers, perhaps, but everybody needs a hobby, and some peoples’ hobby is writing brutal music, so I say let ’em, they ain’t hurtin’ nobody. Yet.

Pyrexia, wow. That logo reminds me of a lot of nights spent in front of a bone Compaq computer printing out fake fliers for bands I idolised when I was 15. Someone couldn’t doodle them something drippy or splattery for appearance’s sake? After all, they do play slamming death metal with some bro-ish breakdowns, so they’d certainly be well off with a logo that looked like this:

Rather than Morpheus (or should I say “Morphevs”?), a font that calls to mind a lot more cheesy images of Goffick dating sites like vampirefreaks than it does pig squeals and XXXL shirt wearing bouncy slamdowns. Yes, I knowvampirefreaks not a dating site, I’m internet humoring. It should be, though.

See how I just took a huge diversion and talked about their logo instead of their music? Never do that, kids. It makes you look like a bad reviewer. That, and not posting things until like weeks later, but we’ll solve these problems one at a time.

Anyway, Pyrexia was aight, nothing to write the U.N. about. Aborted on the other hand has music like WMDs for your ears. I don’t know how long they’ve been going with a uniformed look, which comes down to black dress shirts with patches on them that bear an odd insignia that I don’t know the meaning of and could probably research, but nobody reads this anyway so why bother. Carrots.

I’m glad I finally got to see Aborted after like fuckin’ years of missing them at every turn. Hell, I’ve seen his side band System Divide, and they were pretty cool, but this is Aborted, dawg. If you’re not moshing during the final breakdown(s) of “The Saw And The Carnage Done”, consider yourself a fuck nigga. Sadly since Aborted does have a lot of albums and I haven’t paid attention to them all equally (Strychnine.213 is my fave, fight me), I felt I was unable to fully appreciate every gore soaked moment as well as I would have if I’d at least known the structures of most of the songs. And no “Dead Wreckoning”, aw.

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Substance(s) Consumed: I think I was stoned, but I don’t remember, ha.

The Decibel Tour 2014: Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts and Noisem @ The Paradise Rock Club

 I can say I’ve seen Carcass twice in the span of a year. Word.

Opening this fest up right were Baltimore’s youngest of youngsters in Noisem, and when I say ‘youngsters’, I mean these kids are actually kids.

Their oldest member probably still can’t drink legally, if I’m going purely by appearances. Don’t let their baby faces fool you, however, because these guys make some pretty nasty music for freaks whose hobby is mistreating their neck muscles. From the nods to Slayer, Death Angel and the like in their thrashier riffage, to the robust canned chaos of drumwork reminiscent of old death/grind Repulsion and older Morbid Angel, and even some modern hardcore influence in the form of the occasional breakdown, there’s a lot to work with, and it’s good. These lads are barfing out something to be interested in, and will talk to you as if they didn’t just play in a band on a stage for $38 a (severed) head.

Next were the ancient vvizards in Gorguts, who I’ve honestly not heard a terrible lot of material from. I’ve heard Obscura, had a love/confused relationship with it for a while (I eventually decided to make it my occasional fuck buddy), and I’ve heard some of The Erosion Of Sanity, which was more straightforward, at the cost of diversity. So with this and having checked a song or two from their newest opus of non-Euclidean dissonance, Colored Sands, I saw Gorguts. And while I was impressed, I feel as though I wasn’t familiar with enough material to get the most out of it.

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

Indeed, when listening to a band that chops and screws music just to reassemble it artfully disfigured, it’s probably best to know what to expect first, otherwise you’ll just be standing there thinking “This is cool and I dig it, but I’m still lost”. It’s kinda like reading an article on neuroscience, but with riffs. The vocals also seemed kinda iffy, but one doesn’t really focus on the vocals in music like this, which are more a vehicle for concept rather than meant to wow us, I guess. Luc Lemay does do some pretty interesting things with his guitar, though, that much I can say with certainty. I feel as though they got robbed, having such a short set, but it’s all a popularity contest, and The Black Dahlia Murder played Warped, so.

It’s almost unbelievable that this marks only the second time I’ve seen The Black Dahlia Murder. All other times I’ve missed them for dumb reasons or someshit, so I live with great shame on my head. I’ve not contemporised myself yet, meaning I’m still in the dark about how great Everblack is, even though Ritual was one of my top albums of 2011, and all their other albums hold a special place in my heart, so the fact that I haven’t listened yet means I should be beaten. I mean, let’s face it, they’re fucken great, what with being total stoner/drunkard goofball fucks —watching the Majesty DVD will make you smart— and yet still writing some of the catchiest and still legit and epic melodic Death Metal this side of Sweden is a testament to their commitment to the music.

The setlist consisted of, you’d imagine, new material, and songs from the more recent albums, these being Nocturnal, Deflorate, and the mighty Ritual. I suppose they won’t be going as far as even Miasma for a little while, but we’ll just have to deal. Much like I have to deal with my tattooless belly.

Need context? Well, lemme tell ya a story, kids.

So one day, after a heavy metal concert, the singer of one of the music groups, named The Black Dahlia Murder (kids and their rock’n’roll unsolved crime fascination) was drunk and hungry, so he proceeded to order one of the most obscene displays of American restauranteuring that isn’t just combining two deep fried and incompatibly heart-breaking foods. No, it was a sea, an ocean, a vast infinitude of french fries, complete with a hot dog and a cheeseburger. I bet even the Krispy Kreme donut would quiver in its calories seeing all that shit on a single plate. So I forget how we got to comparing belly tattoos —or in my case, lack thereof—, but my dad started it. Members of Gorguts and Noisem also bore witness to the silliness, so there’s a conversation starter if you read this and think it’s worth bringing up. You won’t. But Trevor likes my Despise You shirt so I win the game anyway, loser.

Oh, and Carcass played, it was awesome yet again. Their first Boston show in 20 years? Welcome back, lobsterback tea slurpin’ limey loo using Brit bastards.

If you want to get technical —and this is the show for it—, I suppose you can say this is half of Carcass, and two guys who are skilled enough to pretend that they’re Ken Owen and Michael Amott, but nonetheless, a phenomenal outpouring of death metal the way people have grown to love it. From the familiar clamor of “Symphonies Of Sickness”, the so-sicc-you’ll-throw-up “Exhume To Consume”, the catchy bounce of “Corporal Jigsore Quandary”, the tasty “Blind Bleeding The Blind” and some new sounds from the new album, Surgical Steel, which kinda sound like a continuation of what they were doing on Necroticism, which means it’s good, if not derivative, though we’re just happy Carcass exists again.

In addition to being one of the granddads of Grind, Jeff Walker’s also a funny guy. I’d probably be willing to see him in a shitty comedy club somewhere for £5 or whatever, because this guy’s got jokes. He threatened the crowd with Swansong, and the band even went so far as to tease us with a graphic of that weird patchyface monster and the opening bars, complete with Walker telling the crowd to prevent people from escaping. By the time the first verse was to kick in, they switched into “Keep Rotting In The Free World”, I think, which was actually a bummer for me, because “Black Star” is actually one of my jamz, yo.

Jeff’s also short. Like, really short. And he sounds like a leprechaun. He was built to blast.

Yes, that is my default facial expression for every picture now. No, that is not true, because then how would I have a LinkedIn account? Ha, just kidding, I barely use it. What’s responsibility?

Substance(s) Consumed: Spinach.

 

You’ve reached the finish line. You’re brave. Were you expecting something cool for reading all those words to the end? Fine.

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