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.

My God, It’s Full of Slams! Wormed at the Cambridge Elks Lodge

Best Death Metal event in Boston this year, they said. I’ll say, that’s about right. All I know is that after that night I wanted war with the makers of Busch Light for calling what they sell “beer”.  One could be hard-pressed to say that even Morbid Angel, happening right now as I suffer from burning eyes as a predictable aftereffect from David Firth cartoons and the imminent, if not already occurred, passing of my own grand-mère, will not top the sheer international wow-factor. Bands from both Spain AND Japan stopping by a venue the size of a rich man’s living room to absolutely level it with slabs of riff that the old masters couldn’t have imagined being a thing in our world. Come a long way from Ripping Corpse and Possessed, we have. And now the monsters of the past have something to growl in approval of.

Opening were hometown heroes and probably one of the more interesting acts around, Parasitic Extirpation, showing all the nerds that technical and unrelentingly brutal can be a combination. “Vertical Human Splicing” and “Drifing With The Dead” brought it straight to the face, and a whole host of other tracks I don’t know the name of because I don’t speak brutal growl were also delectable sides to this meaty music mountain. I was quite hungry at the time this was written.

Cognitive of New Jersey were aight. A brief melodic moment during their first or second song was the most captivating thing they played, but otherwise they were relatively inoffensive death metal filler. Kind of like a disappointing entrèe (there we go again) to fellow statesmen in Condemned, whose heaviness and tightness of sound had me altogether quite engrossed. They’re so radiantly good at death metal that one of their guitarists, who is bald, had on a Gold’s Gym sweater and I could still tell he was at least going to the show. Vocalist Angel was also funny, but I forget what he said, so take my word for it. Their most recent outing, Realms of the Ungodly, is an exercise in slamming brutal death metal done right. “Embodied In Elms Of Eternal Misery” and “Forged Within Lecherous Offerings” in particular are what a lot of modern DM bands should take notes on. Legit. Cephalotripsy (Angel’s other project) would do well to either start sounding like Condemned, or just stop existing. There’s no turning back.

String theory is all the buzz here

The “surprise” of the night, not because they were good as expected, but better, was Tokyo’s Infernal Revulsion, bringing some Japanese brutality and sickness that fucks with deathcore, meaning that old-school mashup of hardcore rhythms and Dying Fetus-esque technicality. Hell, one of their songs almost sounded like a rip-off of the aforementioned in its beginning bars, but that’s beside the point. While it would be easy to catch wind of their existence and cast them off as another J-Waking The Cadaver wannabe a-la Gorevent, one of their guitarists does sport a Between The Buried And Me Shirt, and their sound could be likened to Vomit Remnants, who are tight as hell. Plus, they’re from Japan, and it takes a special kind of lacklustre to say that any band hailing from that magnificent land can be anything short of “pretty sweet”.

And for the crème-de la quantum-crème, Wormed, with their entirely atypical yet righter-than-many style of progressive death metal caving in your skull. The weapon of choice; a hardcover version of The Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson, because it is as mind-bending and maddening as it is enlightening.

The main factor separating Wormed from their similarly heavy peers in the genre is their lyrical subject focus. Most Brutal Death Metal bands speak lovingly of torture, (oft violent) non-consensual sex, necromantic activity of the amorous kind, sickness (spiritual, mental and physical), and of course, good ol’ fashioned homicide, to list just a few key topics on which one may base their criminal thesis. Wormed, however, looks to the sky and in theoretical textbooks for their inspiration, and are concerned with much more frightening subject matter. When one stops to consider it, life in an environment as hostile, unpredictable, and everchanging as space would be much more scary than the idea of being disembowelled, because at least then you canimagine the type of torments you will undergo before a slow and painful death. Maybe in space you’ll be doomed with the responsibility of rebuilding humanity or being sucked through a black hole to pop into another universe, where untold horrors and wonders await.

So moving onto the actual music, it fucking crushes, and is progressive, but doesn’t dip into any noodling to get the point across that the music is challenging. After over a decade of waiting for the true successor to the already ear-opening Planisphærium, came Exodromos, and the abyssal madness has been able to continue. Breakdowns and slams that hearken back to Suffocation and Cryptopsy, inspiring moves of fist completely independent of any book learning; drum patterns as dense and chaotic as those in Defeated Sanity, though with a more scientific and measured; all interspersed with samples and atmosphere that makes one visualize cold holographic displays and the burnt out husks of spaceships, the beeping and flaring of control panels, and the unintelligible gurgled colloquy opened by uncanny, fibrous monsters, supplied in vocal form by vocalist Phlegeton. If the sci-fi/horror game franchise Dead Space were a metal album, it’d be written by Wormed.

The female robotic voice naming each track only helped one feel as though they were like Major Tom in “Space Oddity”, floating without hope save for a disembodied vocal presence.  If any band can claim to have captured all the uncertainty and violence of physics in empty cosmos, then it is Wormed. One can only discover what awaits by listening. Highlights of the set included “Undeciphering The Inquantificability”, “Geodesic Dome”, “Tunnel of Ions”, and the whole new album. Everything else was just a bonus.

So after being mathematically flattened and then multivectorally ionized, I returned homeward with the true Spaniard in tow, and we both regretted our neglecting to try for a photo op. A Spaniard With The Spaniards deal, perhaps. Better luck whenever, perhaps.

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.

Take off your thinking caps, it’s time for Forest Of Remorse – Lashed To The Altar Of Fornication

Let’s get stupid up in this piece. Or not, because it’s hard to decide when dealing with Forest Of Remorse, a band that can only be described as “coming from New England”, with members from Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire, though they convene in NH, so let’s just say Namshaw. So, Forest Of Remorse is a Death Metal band from Namshaw, and this is their EP, boasting 5 songs of sonic headfuckery that doesn’t know what to do with itself, but will punch you in the mouth and then saw you open. If you smell a track-by-track treatment, you’re correct.

Opening this pus-filled cadaver, one is immediately treated with “Atlas Resolve”, and immediately given a good idea of what to expect from the rest of the album. Starting out with some Technical Death Metal to rip your nose off, it then descends into a massive slamdown that’ll open up the pit, before a surprisingly melodic injection followed by a catchy jazzy djent section. It’s as if Devourment began jamming with Intronaut, pretty cray. In step with slam tradition, the song ends with a shovel beatdown of distorted, damn near sludgy crawls, backed by RJ’s sewer gutturals and Blake’s earthsplitting drums. It’s time for hyperbole, so put your thinking caps back on.

World Of Industry, oh man. What is that sound RJ makes after the circlepit section? It’s like the female vocalist from Despise You having an aneurysm. After that the music takes an odd turn, becoming a windmill-headbangable blast-beat and tremolo section, followed not by a slam, but a groovy pseudo-breakdown and a return to the semi-thrash. It continues in a fashion that sort of fizzles out, but it maintains some heaviness, though a megaslam would have really sealed the deal.

Every great EP needs a throwaway track, and the backwoods boiz in Forest do just that in Chicken Lover. It reminds me of Thou/EyeHateGod type sludge, but instead of screeched or even growled vocals, a symphony of clucks, yipping, and X-rated dirty Southerner howls for your chicken fucking pleasure. Makes me hungry to no end, I tell ya what.

Frail is an old track, re-animated from Forest Of Remorse’s salad days of being a doom/deathcore band, but given a little more vitality from RJ’s vokills. It’s certainly a crowd pleaser, much to Blake’s chagrin, who regards it as a prose unworthy fecal nightmare. Okay, that’s not true, but he’d prefer that it be a little more complex, or something. I’m not getting paid for this so I don’t care. It does end in a grindy freakout that would please Fused-era The Red Chord lovers, so that’s also an option.

Ritual Penetration just may be one of the best tracks on the EP for its sheer simplicity and heaviness, following the kooky opening that makes it truly stand out. So, next time you’re at a party and somehow forget the track’s name, you can just say it starts like “doo-dee-doo-doo-dee-doo-dee-doo-doo”, accounting for pitch, of course. But anyhow, this track is bottom-heavy to the max. Chris and Alex dispense with notions of technicality for the greater part of the track, and slam til they can’t slam any harder while RJ voids himself of his pancreas. If you tryna git ignant in the pit, this is your dream track. Despite the relentless chugs, RJ keeps it fresh by not allowing his vocals to become a single monotone slime monster purr, and Blake’s drumming is of course, rhythmically tight but not unremarkable.

Serotonin Hell brings back some of the technicality that was showcased more in the beginning of the EP, and has a catchiness that you can shake ya ass to, but watch yourself. It’s not the most interesting track, but you can tell the boys put some actual songwriting into this one, though that’s not to say the others are poorly written. The ending slam, I feel, could have been much heavier and de-tuned, but the melody on top of it was a nice touch and brought some balance, so perhaps it would have sounded silly otherwise.

And that there is my take on this EP that’s been bouncing around for a few months. It takes me forever to do a lot of things, even if I like them. Something’s very wrong. All I’ll say in closing is that this is a very promising start for the band, and despite some obvious recording quality limitations and some songs that could use improvement as far as structure, it’s a damn fine release that’s good for ages 8 and up.

The Verdict: More Popeye’s.

Grade: B+

Grand Saturday Slam feat. Dysentery and Other Queer Breakfast Items At Club Oasis

Apologies for running at the speed of Virginia Woolfe, but writing essays hurts, and sometimes renders my fingers immobile for hours at a time, regardless of difficulty or word count. Maybe my brain is going stale.

Excrecor

Fuzzy hair negates fuzzy tone

I’ve heard it pronounced right, and I still don’t know how. So yes, this band was pretty decent, I must say. I’ve kind of grown wary of any band that’s in the Melodeath arena, but they’re good enough not to be avoided, yet I personally am not scratching my arms nervously for another chance to hear them. Is there a new rule that states that every Death Metal band with a fair amount of melody must have no less than two Alexi Laiho signature style guitars?

These guys are what I’ll refer to as Technical Word Metal. They’re technical, melodic, maybe a little blackened, and have an affinity for sesquipedalian loquaciousness. Seriously, just look at that title. Sting is somewhere counting his millions and simultaneously overcome with a mysterious paroxysmal fit of pure lucid ecstasy.

Naegleria

The physically largest band from Massachusetts.

Purple Rayne is a fucken good vocalist, and he filled in well for Joel Slamtzy Pants while he hacked up black bile on the side. I really must question why Rayne doesn’t do backing vocals and stuff, unless he does, and then I look like a right cunt for being wrong. The whole band functioned well as a unit, and told odious tales of old ladies going on shotgun rampages, penis shrinkage, and the amoeba who generously bequeathed upon these gentlemen its fair title.

Mister Pantz stepped in to “guest” on one of the songs, I don’t remember and I’ll not even bother trying. I say, he should rejoin the band full time when he stops dying of syphilis.

Goreality

Hair plugs were a bad choice.

Shame on everyone who didn’t stick around for these hearty noble men’s set. I had only seen these guys once almost two years ago, it was a relief  to see them again. I been away too long, and it flattened my nose.

Slamming on occasion, Goreality may not look like much at first glance, but man they pack a punch. Every member is on point (the drummer fudged a couple bits, but the less said the better, I may have imagined it), though their stage presence needs a shot of adrenaline. Perhaps the lack of audience is due to some stiffness while playing, although I really don’t want to use that as an excuse. Fuck.

Composted

Br00tal Moo Cow

Going to the Slam show, gonna wear a lot of party hats. Oh the dances that were done, the battles that were won. Glorious bloodshed in the name of Composted at water parks, hardcore two-step rhythms, and eating pastries containing infant meat in a fanciful structure of human flesh obelisks.

Dysentery

Invisible Dragon Ball

Instead of a review, I’m going to express my contempt for Dysentery quitting their headlining set after four songs because of a broken bass, which did absolutely nothing to their sound, may I add.