Surfing Constellations with Between The Buried And Me @ The Royale

Let me just say first and foremost: I HATE THE ROYALE. I mean, it’s got fine shows (Converge, Title Fight, some shows I didn’t go to so I won’t list them, etc.), and the staff seems nice enough. But by Jove, the dance floor kills me; it’s a monument to fucked architecture and careless nightclub floor planning. Normally I can stand behind a pit, no problem, but it’s quite another thing to have to step down and find a safer locale, or get knocked down, which I’m sure hasn’t happened yet, miraculously. Harshes my mellow big time, bro. This show was sold out too, so you know it was sweaty and all kinds of precarious. Proceed.

Speaking of things I can’t stand, I’m sorry; I just can’t get into Ottawa, Canada’s The Kindred.

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

Just look at this picture, and I’ll give you 5 seconds to tell me why you should already be suspicious.

Okay time’s up.

The frontman’s pose; look familiar? Like perhaps that of the frontman of the band THEY WERE OPENING FOR!?!?!?!

Oh.

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

Now, I’d be able to overlook this fact if the singer didn’t also have a markedly similar handsome-prog-metal-guy haircut that Tommy Rogers has, and also be in a band that sounds shockingly, nay, appallingly like BtBaM, Protest The Hero, The Contortionist (sans black-hole chuggz). Their main saving grace is that they’re not djent, but I’m still unmoved by their lack of creativity as far as writing songs with a tendency toward intermittency. Also, that “Eyya eyya eyya ehhh!?!” chant during Heritage just kinda annoys me, dunno why. Though I do appreciate that the frontman is willing to jump into the crowd not once, but twice, to bookend the energy level. Charisma ain’t all it takes, though, boys.

On to the part of the show that I paid for; Intronaut. More like IntroNUTS, because I was bustin’ em.

Mind Inversion? Sho u rite.

Heavy as a ten ton rock, smooth as a carven ancient megalith of strange, lucid stone. Intronaut’s ability to capture smooth jazzy sensibilities and fuse them with chunky polyrhythmic battering is universally liked, and that’s a fact. Though if you do dislike Intronaut, please tell me, I’ll just ignore you.

I’m not really huge into Post-Metal but Intronaut is one of those bands alongside perhaps Jesu that I can find myself getting the urge to jam. In fact, I was briefly but fiercely obsessed with their single “Australopithecus” off Prehistoricisms, which is rather ancient now, I suppose, so fitting title. They were genius then, and it seems they still are, even if they’ve dialed back the heavy element considerably and seem to be focusing entirely on clean vocals and expanding their more Gordian Knot/Cynic tendencies. Needless to say, I dig it, and I’ll be giving Habitual Levitations a good hard listen til my ears are burnished into sensibility. Maybe then I’ll quit listening to Papa Roach, because that rots my brain so much I can sometimes scarcely type these worfs.

They had lazers and fog, too, which made me wish I was high as fuck, but maybe then I’d enjoy it too much. I was happy to hear they pulled out “The Literal Black Cloud”, complete with some newly added cleans, because they’re hepcats now.

Giving us a menthol blast of blackened major key warmth was our favourite band to either pretend we’re not hip to the hype of, or suck the dick of unconditionally, or just fold your arms and scoff at while you busily put spikes into your kvlt battle vest. Obviously, you fall into one of these three extremes in a world of no moderation. Deafheaven.

Brooklyn Vegan worships seitan.

If My Bloody Valentine listened to Heretoir, they’d become Deafheaven. If a group of bored indie/punk kids got ahold of some Burzum records, they’d become Deafheaven. If you take acid and stare into a glass of Sex On The Beach while wearing an Oakland Raiders shirt, you will see with stunning clarity the colour scheme of Sunbather. And if you have an internet connexion, you won’t go a day without seeing that name. I suppose they know that their brand of harmonious, uplifting, shoegaze inflected post-black metal isn’t for those who take black metal as seriously as Catholics do, and they’re fine with that. The massive, surging pit is a testament to how stoked everyone is on them, if anything. Though I must say, less arm flailing during blastbeat sections would probably make more sense next time.

It’s amazing; George Clarke actually talked this time. I didn’t know he was capable of being anything other than an überfancy black-shirted black-gloved maestro when in front of 50+ people staring at him. He’s a nice guy, though, trust me. It is blissful.

And now; Between The Buried And Me. Gee, I guess I already posted a picture earlier, huh? Well, I suppose you can scroll up and we’ll pretend I actually have a clue in this life.

I suppose his marks time number 9 or 10 that I’ve seen these guys, and I don’t forsee it ever getting old. Let me not ramble nonsensically and just wonder why there’s a gigantic space bird thematically representing this prog flagship for this tour? I ain’t sure, but all I know is that Dan Briggs went from the most plain looking member to a straight up superhero.

Actually, the whole damn band seems to have just… evolved. Not just musically, because that’s basically a given if you dig their Wishbone Ash meets Cynic meets The Red Chord or whatever wacky triptych of seemingly incompatible music styles means to you. But they’ve all just shifted from dudes to superdudes.

“Selkies: The Endless Obsession” being the highlight of the set, the only party foul was when someone threw a bottle of water (accidentally or not, I’m not sure) at poor ol’ Dustie during “Obfuscation”, which made him stop playing as he checked to see if he would be electrocuted or if the guitar would continue working normally. As you can guess, since this isn’t an R.I.P. Dustie post, he continued playing, albeit with a slight “the fuck was that?” face for a few minutes as he continued to rock into the night. Welcome to Boston; it sucks, sorta. Okay, a lot. But it was a great show, and that’s all that matters, because I’m sentimental like that.

Substance(s) consumed: Sadly only one PBR, courtesy of Mike Gavin, who exists on the internet and apparently, real life. Cheers to that guy, motherfucker!

The The The The The. Between the Buried and Me at the Palladium

How does one classify Four Loko? It’s certainly not beer; it tastes far too good for that. It’s not vodka; it’s got the telltale fizz and lack of gasoline aftertaste. It’s certainly not whiskey because it doesn’t taste like hellfire. I’ll just say that it’s the blood of Dionysus and leave it at that. Boy, is it good. Especially if you haven’t eaten, then it just goes straight to your damn face.

So in the entirely wrong mindset I went to see Between The Buried And Me. In a familiar moment of brilliance I realised that every band on this tour has the word ‘the’ in their name. Wow. The definite article is king. Some grammarian make a punny joke about that. I digress.

There was no question about my attendance with this one right here. I had the funds, I had the time, and I still have a huge space in my heart for these North Carolinian wizards whose music is like off-Broadway musicals meet Opeth meet Pink Floyd meet Cave In meet João Gilberto meets Dream Theater if they were good meets Botch meets Freddy Murcury. It’s a clusterbomb/fuck of influences that all somehow manages to make writing 20 minute songs excusable in my mind.

But for the openers, because a good review is chronological, should the universe allow me to experience it in such a fashion, and it normally does. The Safety Fire from London (like you didn’t assume they were already, because I sure did and I was right) were an okay primer for what was to come. They play a relatively inoffensive kind of prog metal meets metalcore and some poppy-esque sensibilities. This we call ‘djent’, usually, but some people would rather me not. If I see a duck, I’ll have to call it a hang-glider, which I suppose is technically correct if you feel like a duck while hang-gliding. Don’t be obnoxious to wildlife.

They’ll drink to that.

After that little musical handy wrapped up, The Contortionist, now officially rollin’ [blunts] with Mike Lessard of fellow progressive and high-minded –in both ways– Last Chance To Reason, stuck entirely to their mindblowing new album, Intrinsic, which just about raised the bar on everything they’ve done on Exoplanet, which was marvellous in its own right. It’s like if elevator music were heavy, but in the best way one could possibly mean it. Simultaneously light, airy, and melodic, yet crushing at a moment’s whim, without the gaps and awkwardness that could come from a lesser band trying to transition from asteroids colliding to doing heroin on an armchair. Hearing “Cortical” live was just too good of a treat, and I hope that while they bring back the oldies on future tours, they keep dazzling my ears with their introspective steaze.

The Faceless have dropped into odd territories with their latest album, Deconsecrate, and have essentially become the fat fedora atheists (FFA’s) that one oft encounters vomiting pseudo-intellectual babble onto a forum somewhere, and making themselves hard to agree with even if you share their general viewpoint. I’m all for hailing science, but I wouldn’t write a song or make a shirt about it.

Come on.

But despite this, I’ll always still hold a soft spot for The Faceless on the basis that their first two releases were just sooooo good. And “The Eidolon Reality” was a pretty killer track before it was fucked with until the chorus was so unrecognisably cut up by the dull blades of an overzealous audio technician that it is now the audio equivalent of Joan Rivers’ face. And in that statement I believe I am somehow implying that there was ever any good to be found in JR’s mug to begin with. Other than that, I just found myself patiently appreciating the actually heavy parts of the new songs and revelling in nostalgia during “Coldly Calculated Design” and “Xenochrist”, but still sad to see a band I once obsessed over become just an auxiliary band that will play second hurdy-gurdy to something I’m actually stoked on.

And how could one not be stoked on Between The Buried And Me, who are probably one of the three metal bands out of North Carolina that aren’t sludge or doom?

Busting out the entirety of Parallax 2: Future Sequence? Why yes, I’ll come down and peep that right quick.

There’s no such thing as a ceiling when it comes to BtBaM’s sound. It will always continue getting weirder, and the concepts progressively more spacey. They are spacemen. At least I say they are. It’s a marvel that they do this without prolonged exposure to LSD and/or shrooms or just really potent weed.

Regardless of nonexistent narcotics, they’ve still got grandiose compositions swirling around in their collective head, with enough artistry as warrants growing a scraggly beard and maintaining a mellow aura despite the music being a mad mix of progressive death metal, hardcore, and cosmic soft rock textures that would send any lesser man cackling into a garret. Scoff with thinly veiled derision if thou may, but taking this whole (awesome) new album to the face in a live setting has just reminded me how much I love these guys. From the metallized surf of “Bloom”, to the powerbombing breakdowns of “Telos”, the epic headbang territory of closer “Silent Flight Parliament”, etc. etc. I’m going to not nerd out, here. It was a good show (great show, even), and we’ll leave it at that.

And Fizzle.

Hey Bob, What’s Up? An interview with Bob Meadows of A Life A Lost

When you guys first started out in 1999 where did you guys expect to be about 10 years from that point?

I guess I just expected to be more on a different train of life, y’know? You don’t really expect ever to start a band with a bunch of kids and then eventually it kind of unravels and unfolds into something 13 years later. It’s just kind of a surreal experience in a way. But man, it’s pretty awesome, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Actually, a lot of other friends of mine are moving along, moving past, and kind of starting these new lives and here I am, still chasing down this thing, this dream that I call music. It’s pretty wild, man, I never really expected it all.

Right. So what are some of you guys’ main influences, and what are some artists or bands might be surprised shaped your sound?

You can hear the Black Sabbath and the Meshuggah influence for sure, but in the An Ecstatic Trance record there’s definitely other influences we’re pulling from, anywhere from Fela Kuti, and Ti Peyi A, and Orchestra De Polyrhythmo from North Africa, to the German Krautrock scene, bands like Can, Kraftwerk, Aman Duul, things like King Crimson. Anything within that little hiatus that we took where we ended up exploring a lot of different things in music. It’s always been an interest of mine with music; the more obscure, the more different and weird it was, the better it was for me, that’s kinda what I got off on. Being able to pull from those influences, and finally being able to let it hang on my sleeve, it’s a pretty cool thing, it’s definitely very unique, and I definitely think we’ve developed a unique sound with the An Ecstatic Trance record.

Let me ask you something that I’m sure most people probably ask you; What are your attitudes on the “djent” craze, as many cite you guys as innovators of polyrhythms in Metalcore and related genres. Have you any love for bands like Periphery and After The Burial that are expanding on that formula?

I don’t have any feelings towards it. I’m not really interested in that music. When I listen to music, I kinda wanna be floored. When I was younger, when I was 19, that kind of music would be more appealing to me. But since I’m older now, I find more satisfaction in something that’s more soothing, and it’s not really soothing. I hear it all the time, people referring to us as a band in that scene, and I agree to a certain extent, but there were bands before us that were doing it, and there are bands that are still doing it, and those bands deserve more of the credit. When we started doing it, we didn’t do it to fit into a “scene”, like these other bands, these younger kids are doing, but the youth of America is a very impressionable group of individuals, and they feel the need to be able to fit in somewhere. Maybe this new “djent” thing is the new Deathcore, the new Pop Punk or the new whatever. It is what it is, it’s popular, those dudes can play. Misha’s a cool dude; I don’t like his band, but I think he’s a cool dude. I can be friends with someone and not enjoy their band, and that’s the case here. The After The Burial, Born Of Osiris guys, I really don’t know them. Michael Keene, Evan Brewer, those guys in The Faceless, awesome dudes, but I just can’t get down with the tunes, y’know? Doesn’t make me less of a man, but more of an individual, I guess.

Yeah. I noticed you guys were selling a shirt that says “Drop Acid, Not Bombs”. Is this a hint at some of the creative process behind “An Ecstatic Trance”, since there are a lot more psychedelic influences, as you may have mentioned before?

You can look at it as that. One of the main things was to explore that world of music, like psychedelic rock, I definitely think we’ve succeeded with this, and it’s definitely a great introduction to unravel into something that’s gonna be bigger in the future with our sound. With hallucinogenics, there are only two of us that sorta dabble in that, haha. I think it was more like a goof shirt. We had this Rolling Stones rip-off tee goin’, with some dude with fucked up teeth, and we were like “We should totally put an acid tab on his fuckin’ tongue, just throw in “Drop Acid, Not Bombs”, it could be funny”. So we ended up doing it, and I think the design turned out pretty good. And it’s funny, the people that actually come up and buy this shirt, they’re so weird, haha. We had t-shirts of a “World Bong”, something like that, and we were on tour with Norma Jean. We printed the shirts on yellow, red and green, kinda like a Rastafarian, Jamaican color scheme going on. Then you had these impressionable youth, the Christian kids buying the shirts because of the colors, not necessarily knowing what was going on with it. But if it’s funny, it’s funny, it’s fun to be in a band and do shit like that. But yeah it’s more of a goof, haha.

Since you guys recently replaced half the band and have been experimenting with some new sounds on your last two sounds, some fans have expressed that they’re not entirely happy with the direction you’ve taken. Do you have anything to say to them?

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. There are kids that don’t like my band now that probably really love Periphery and After The Burial. That’s the beauty of being a person, you’re entitled to your own opinion, likes and dislikes, and shit, man, if you don’t like my band, you don’t like my band! That’s fine, just don’t base that on my character as a human being. I’m sure my conversations are ones of humour and also interest. If A Great Artist is the record you wanna hear, you can pop that on while you’re driving and punch the steering wheel. But if you’re coming to our shows, that’s what to expect: We’re gonna play what we just put out, what we believe in. An Ecstatic Trance is that record we believe in at the moment.  When we go into the studio to do more things, that’s what you can expect. You’re either with us or not with us, it’s no sweat off my ass, y’know?

Yeah. Going on with that previous question, do you believe you’ll ever make another album like A Great Artist or Hunter, or has the musical environment in the ALOL camp and the general Metal/Hardcore scene has changed to the point where you have to leave those concepts behind?

We were never a band to repeat anything or fall into sequence, or an order when it comes to writing music and songs. We had a very large gap of aggression between A Great Artist and The Iron Gag. It’s a small gap, but there’s progression nonetheless. Once you step back and rewrite something like that it’s regressing in a way. For us to constantly evolve and grow as people, I think the only thing we can do is continue to move forward and develop on sounds that we created in records past. You may see me doing another band in the vein of the older stuff, but never in replication. I would say the likelihood is very slim at this time, haha. But you can never really rule out the elements of pure brutality and heaviness mixed in with the music.

Alright, this is probably the most important question you’ll be asked within the next 6 months: Was math your favourite subject in high school, and if so, what type?

I actually like math a lot. I like algebra. I wasn’t a geometry guy, but number solving, shit like that was always a big interest of mine, haha.

Alright, well thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview, Mr. Meadows, and I hope you guys have much luck in your future endeavours: tours, albums, stuff like that, and I hope to see your band again, hopefully with a crowd that’s more energetic?

Ah, see, that shit never really matters to me. I think that it slowly morphed from people going crazy like it was with A Great Artist and with Hunter. With Iron Gag you saw people just more there to experience the show, experience what we’re doing, and that’s actually kinda cool. It takes the Metal that we’re writing and evolves it so that you can sit back and enjoy it whether you’re a fuckin’ stoner, you’re drunk, you’re a cokehead, you’re fuckin’ trippin’ on acid, or you’re straight-edge. You can step back and watch the show, enjoy the show for what it is, and that’s the place where Doug and I are trying to take the group now, make it a live experience, not just an experience for the record.

Hmm, that’s actually a pretty good way to look at it. Well, once again, thank you very much, and I wish you luck.

Thank you very much, bro.

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

Good Times, Bad Times, You Know I’ve Had My Dying Fetus at the PVD Social Club

I haven’t been fucked like that in months. I’m sorry, I meant I haven’t been to a show that intense that wasn’t in such close quarters as to render all sensible movement impractical. There we go. I did pop into a free Punk show this sunday but had to leave only two bands deep, so that shall not be written about, as great as Ancient Filth were in a pure burst of Punk energy that threatened the demolition of the Midway. This here is my first time properly slamming it down in probably months, and the pains in my back, chest, arms and neck say “welcome back, faggot.” I almost didn’t make it in, but with some simple math and the fact that I kicked logic out and did the impossible made it all the better on Leap Day Eve.

Last Chance To Reason

Somewhere in a distant land, Powerglove is crying.

Notice how I skipped the random local bands. Right. Anyhow, Last Chance To Reason are a fucken good band, but their lack of keyboards and the vocal effects on their album make them cunts. The atmosphere they had at Metalfest was missing almost in its entirety, and instead of feeling awash in the sound, I was merely being beaten over the head with it. Luckily LCTR are great musicians on their own and their vocalist can still hold a tune even without the Masvidal effects, but it just felt a bit naked without at least some programming in the background. I’m not sure if they’re working to decrease reliance on the effects, but I kinda want them back, please. It’s just not… gamey enough. That being said, they were on point and had a nice flow, pumping out their normal blend of Progressive Metal, airy synths, and Metalcore with relative ease, smashing through boulders like it’s a breeze, you know the dealio. Now to pretend that their vocalist is still a machine and see what happens when they reach Level 3.

Volumes

Play chess in my white T, git crunk in my white T

Whether or not you like Volumes, it’d be a bit mean to say that they’re a shallow band. Sure, they’re doing the whole djentcore thing, but they’re doing it well and with feeling. The crowd certainly seemed to respond well, throwing their hearts and souls at Volumes while they threw theirs back. It was like a big ol’ lovefest but with more sweaty fat men, and we liked it.

Aside from almost having a couple front teeth knocked out by the more energetic partygoers with enormous logs for arms, I’d say their set went without a hitch. Where a lot of bands that rely on chugging riffs would fall apart at the seams —the proof being some of the local bands— Volumes could hold it together through entire songs, and that’s definitely worth mentioning, especially when you wanna get your dance on and need an actual rhythm to back your rompin’ and-a stompin’. Wake the fuck up, but try not to lose an eye while you’re in a Volumes pit, eh?

Job For A Cowboy

I love Jesus, best of all the messiahs!

Goddammit, Job For A Cowboy, you’ve had many years to get this playing live thing correct. If I were one of the Hahdcoah kheds, I’d be a little saddened that they teased with the beginning of Entombment Of A Machine, but it simply became that much more comedic when they gave the proverbial “Fuck you” to the crowd by swithching to Embedded after the high pitched squeal, which Johnny Davy didn’t do —sly devil, probably allowed himself a second to chuckle— but instead let the crowd simply yell ARRRRGH! as if they braced for pain in advance, predicting the bitchslap to come. I do like that song, but tell me this; where the fuck were the leads? Why was the solo 100% improvised (and badly at that)? Hell, why were there no leads in the whole set? Why was the sound so shitty? I’m not even a huge audiophile and I know little to nothing about mixing on a soundboard, but I know diarrhea when I hear it.

I’ll go so far as to say that the rhythm section and Johnny Davy’s steadfast refusal to point back when I pointed at him before their set were the only things done well. The vocals were er… okay, but it’s Job For A Cowboy, so you can’t expect the best of the best. I am sorely disappointed, but since I expect it, it all evens out to a solid meh. Job For A Cowboy stopped being interesting when they decided they were too cool for -core, and just to heap onto the monumental failure they’re carving in ice and the steady downward course their career has taken, they’ve somehow roped in Cephalic Carnage’s bassist to endure this torment alongside them. And he’s doing it all with a straight face. Though nothing is funnier than watching people try to relive JFAC’s glory days by hardcore pitting to their straight up no-bullshit Death Metal material, and from that I gleaned some form of enjoyment and distraction from the ball-peen rhythms to my eardrums that they referred to as guitar. Now I’ll let you go back to your scheduled Black Dahlia Murder copycatting.

Dying Fetus

One of these men is not quite like the others.

These fuckin’ guys. I think I could see them once a month and never get bored of the energy they consistently put out. For only three guys, all of whom being rooted to the spot due to having heavy instrument/vocal duties, they still manage to get a crowd willing to kill at the drop of a dimebag. These are the grand daddies of Deathcore. And by Deathcore I mean Death Metal with Hardcore, not what we call Suicide Silence and Emmure just because we can’t think of a better name for it. The fact that they were A) on such a strange tour with bands that would have a hard time competing with them in terms of impact on the music scene and B) in such a small venue was a bit jarring, but it’s always great to see a band outside of their comfort zone, provided Fetus actually got comfortable playing larger places like the Palladium in Worcester, and to be honest, I wish I could see more bands of their status playing venues this size all the time. Suffocation playing the Crazy Donkey, which is just a few levels up from being a dive, was probably the best I’ve seen them at in all the three times I had seen them. But I digress.

So call me crazy, but Your Treachery Will Die with you has got to be one of the best choices for an opener that they can go with at this point. It’s got everything quintessentially Fetus; groovy Death Metal riffing, challenging technicality, slams, and a love for Hardcore rhythms that’ll get the Metal and Hardcore fans trying to rip each other’s faces off. It just got better from there as slab after slab of aborted offal flew at the crowd in the form of One Shot One Kill, Killing On Adrenaline, Schematics, Shepherd’s Commandment, Opium Of The Masses, Homicidal Retribution, and the all new bruiser From Womb To Waste. How they didn’t already have that song title at the very beginning of their career is a bit of a baffle, but fuckit, they went there.

It would have helped the atmosphere tons if some people knew that Dying Fetus approves more of people throwing the shit down instead of shoving matches akin to how you’d try to take on the rival sect in the elementary school playground, but we powered through, planted our flag in the ground, knocked a few people over, and had a gay old time with the sultry smooth lyricism “Can’t these fuckers leave the shit alone? Always trying to start some stupid shit.” Dying Fetus aren’t there to make you feel comfortable, folks, unless your idea of comfort is in a forest of swinging fists and ducking acrobatic hardcore attacks from all sides, then by all means, please jump in. A couple of ways that the set would have been even better would be if they had actually played Grotesque Impalement —as unlikely as it was, as that release is encrusted in layers of neolithic waste— and if they finally played Kill Your Mother/Rape Your Dog. Only an extra minute, and it’s easily one of the least Technical song in Fetus’ entire discography with the exception of their cover of Next Step Up’s Bringing Back The Glory. But you get what you pay for, and I’d probably need to pay at least 30 for that. Though no admission price guarantees an unofficial meet’n’greet with John Gallagher. Stoners beware, he might ask to bum weed off you.

More like Kill Your Dealer/Steal His Hash.

Wacky Band Tuesday: Akphaezya

And now for something completely different. Or rather, something I haven’t done in a while, thus creating an illusion of difference as I go about my textual ministrations. I present,Akphaezya, France’s finest in Avant-Garde Gothic/Progressive Death Metal/Funk/Blues/Lounge Jazz/Swing/Salsa/Big Band since Deathspell Omega, or “Eklektik Metal” as they call themselves. With a female vocalist/pianist by the name of Nehl Aëlin to boot, for all you uncultured cuntswabbers out there.

Yes, Akphaezya have all that, and they manage to sound fine while doing it. I found out about these guys whilst perusing Metal Hammer, back when I found Metal Hammer worth perusing, which is no longer the case. They gave it a low score of 5/10, saying it had no focus and lacked direction. Well kindly screw yourself Union Jack, because yes it does take a bit of time to wrap one’s mind around initially, but it’s not all that confusing when you give it a good listen. The problem with professional Metal reviewers is that they can’t give deserving Progressive albums the right score since they’re too busy circle jerking over familiar names to give new or obscure ones a listen, unless they happen to specialize in that field.

Having read Metal Hammer’s review and being an impressionable youngster with a deathwish, I looked them up, and I was pleasantly surprised at what I heard. It wasn’t a jumble of noise that attempted to be Mister Bungle on er… whatever drug you want to insert because I’m sure Mr. Patton and Co. have done it all. Chrysalis is actually quite well-crafted, going effortlessly from grand piano interlaced Metal of an unidentifiable genre, simmering down to a piano, drums, and bass, before exploding into a flurry of tremolo picking, blasting, and growling that only lasts for a few seconds, and then back to the melodic Progressive Metal and then negligently (though beautifully) clambering into a number that could easily climb the Latin Music charts if they built a whole song around that, then settling into a sleazy 30s nightclub tune, all in a minute and a half out of the total 6 minutes of the song.

Akphaezya is the result of throwing Arch Enemy, Angizia, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Moonlyght, and Gonin-Ish into a cement mixer. Angizia and Gonin-Ish are, in case you’re unfamiliar with them, two Avant-Garde Metal bands who put more focus on piano than heavy guitars, thus lending themselves comparisons to the band at hand. Holy balls, and they’re coming out with a new album soon, which, judging by the new song, promises to be just as good, if not better than Anthology II. And I’ve still no clue why their debut is entitled Anthology II, which is supposedly going to be a series of five, but that just adds to the colour I suppose. Now I’m gonna brush a banana with a squirrel.