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!

Melt-Banana at the Sinclair, and Death Angel at the Middle East because I got there late

Art, man. That’s all I could think of.

I mean, damn, Neptune. That’s some art rock right there for ya. Imagine if The Boredoms were even more profoundly disturbed? Neptune is an appropriate name for them, as some of the more atmospheric and groovy passages bring to mind the gaseous cerulean winter waste of the aforementioned celestial sphere. It sounded like music made for garbage disposals with a taste for Mike Patton’s Pranzo Oltranzista, which was essentially an experiment with musique concrète that could be what an alien would consider good fuck music. I didn’t hate it, I was just a little disillusioned by the sheer ART of it all, what with the weird for weirdness’ sake home-made instruments, which included (but were not limited to) a guitar that seems to be made of little more than a few wires and transducer thingamabobs, a keyboard that appeared to have been made with an old lunchbox, and hip attachments that, when struck with a bowstring in a similar manner to a viol, will produce an abhorrently eldritch sound.

These men walk among us. It was interesting.

Next were a band that was somehow less weird even though they’re called Brain Tentacles and consist of a saxophonist and a drummer. At least Neptune had sort of a guitar, drums, and keyboard setup. However, since it appears the dudes in Brain Tentacles are wicked into metal, brah, they actually pulled off some pretty straight sounding Shining/Ihsahn-esque prog experiment with enough extreme metal tinges to make you nod aggressively at points. More catchy grooves to be found, and Gunface of The Red Chord (R.I.P.) made a guest bass appearance for the last song. Handsome guy hardcore hairstyle, well-maintained beard, and later-era Ulver shirts are the new black (metal).

And to top off this Dada sundae were Melt-Banana, though in a more adorable and lightweight duo format, consisting of the core members:  singer/squeaker Yako (also in control of the drum tracks and non-guitar effects) and guitarist Agata, and a short wall of speakers that made the lack of a drummer seem completely normal, as all the thump and thud was still there.

melt

That glowing thing is I suppose the device that controlled the audio fireworks. The setlist was (predictably) made largely of songs from the new album, Fetch, with some oldies tossed in like grenades of familiarity. Notable in my mind were the more recent “Chain Shot To Have Some Fun” off the catchy Cell Scape, the punk-meets-glitch of “Cat Brain Land” from Bambi’s Dilemma, and a handful of noiseballs from the artgrind classic, their debut Speak Squeak Creak. You can bet this was at least as crazy as when I saw them last at T.T. The Bear’s. A constantly undulating mass of excitable humans who had stood in wait since the beginning of the show to get ripshit. And how could one not wish to thrash about in response to the blasting, beeping, scratching, crashing dithyramb of constructed noises like a demolition of a nightmarish acidscape? Art, man.

As for the next one, I was busy making jam from sound waves up until I arrived in time to catch the later half of Revocation‘s set, smack in the middle of “Invidious”, and then coasting from “Dismantle The Dictator” to a lofty end at “No Funeral”. And all were at peace.

Then came 3 Inches Of Blood to make war with everyone’s brains, concentrating mainly on the newer material that sounds much more rooted in the epic and grand stylings of ‘Maiden and ‘Priest (who else?), rather than the raging power metal of their earlier releases. If anything, they found a way to make their songs even catchier than before, which I couldn’t have fathomed was possible.

Damn.

“Deadly Sinners” and “The Goatrider’s Horde” are the classic and mandatory tunes, of course, but the new tunes weren’t at all frightening or offensive, so I feel it was well worth the experience.

Snowcapping this event were Death Angel, who I haven’t familiarised myself with aside from tracks off The UltraViolence and Relentless Retribution. I know, I fucked up. So I was underprepared, and the only song I recognised was “Truce”. But hey, it was good to see one of the underrated titans of thrash in a cozy venue at the very least.

Thanks for the ticket, Scott!

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+

Norway is empty and the vikings are here. Nervous Condition, Hivesmasher, and Eluveitie

Distort Til Deaf Gig 63: Nervous Condition, Cauldron, & Stagger @ Trouble Ahead

I’m feeling lazy so I’ll sum up the Nervous Condition show in three sentences, one for each band.

Stagger: Shortest set I’ve ever seen, call it Doomviolence.

Cauldron: Slayer on coke, not to be confused with the Trad Metal revival band from Canada.

Nervous Condition: Shovey womyn-fronted hardcore.

Gutter Choir CD Release (that foiled the end of the world) @ The Great Scott

First I shall start off by saying that Gutter Choir is an absolutely fantastic release by the boys in ‘Smasher. They’ve truly outdone themselves with this record. Despite the production being a tad bit too clean (particularly the less filthy version of “Vomitouch”), it’s explosively technical, yet not afraid to get its claws steeped in gore. Though it does clean up after itself fine. But I’m not here to review the album, as I missed that chance when 2013 rolled around and it would just be silly now. If you like The Red Chord, Discordance Axis, and/or Pig Destroyer (ideally all three), and you haven’t checked these guys yet, you’re fuckin’ up.

Opening this feast was Astronomer, a heavy Hardcore band leaning a bit on spacey post-rock influences that add some much desired atmosphere. If you’re into shit like Northless or Nights Like These’s second album, Sunlight At Secondhand, give ’em a listen-see.

Next up was Vattnet Viskar, whose name and aesthetic scream Norway, but really they’re from Namshaw.

To say Vattnet Viskar are atmospheric would be quite underwhelming. It’s certainly “walk in the woods, but beware of wolves” music, with effects to create the feeling of a wide, oceanic expanse that is at once beautiful to witness, and yet frighteningly reductive of the human ego. It’s a wall of noise (quite possibly one of the louder bands I’ve seen), but moving away from the stage was not an option. Roaring vocals from the abyss, ethereal yet at once material guitars, and gracefully handled drumming all came together to make something quite sublime in nature. It also helps that they’re really down to earth, humble guys, no pretense. For fans of Wolves In The Throne Room (obv.) and those who wish that Alcest had more balls.

After VV were Family, who I must admit I wasn’t a big fan of musically, if not mainly because songs that could have been quick bursts of Mastodon-y rock’n’roll inflected Heavy Metal were drawn out to 5-6 minute territories, and began to grate a bit on the senses. They were energetic, I’ll give ’em that, but condensation is needed.

At last, the coup de gras and world-savers extraordinaire, Hivesmasher, pissing off bees since 2007.

Since their debut album “Ascension Into Dismal Stages”, Hivesmasher’s been a decently large force in the New England Metal/Hardcore scene. I’ve probably seen them around 9 or 10 times, which just goes to show how much work they’ve put into getting themselves out there as a band. Since they’ve been playing setlists comprised largely of songs from Gutter Choir in the years leading up to its release, I say it’s about damn time. Tracks like “Vulture Assassin”, “En Route To Meatland”, and “Send Me To Satan” (sans the half hour of ambient noodling and “Everlong” cover) needed to be heard on record, along with some other sluggers like “Bye Bye Baby” and “Can Of Awesometism”.

Signing with Black Market Activities was certainly a good move, as was attending this here grand opening to proving 2012 nuts wrong. Damn near went deaf, I say, but I already sold my soul to rock’n’roll and may as well also give them my ears.

Eluveitie & Wintersun @ The Royale

I haven’t seen that many dorks in forever. I really haven’t. Go to a Folk Metal show and count guys that look like fauns, it’ll really knock you out. I mean, damn. Lots of ugly mugs.

Opening this heathen’s playground was Germany’s Varg, a pronouncedly anti-racist band, though I suspect this is only because a certain mister Vikerness shares a first name with them. They’re also anti-pedophile child fuckers, which is cool too.

While they may be like Turisas in that they all look like Darth Maul cosplayers with a Nordic touch, they’re a different beast musically. They are “brutal”, you see. They play an accessible form of Black Metal tinged with some Death Metal, no accordions to be found here. Of course, to further this warlike aesthetic, they askled the crowd where the viking warriors are, because “dorks and nerds” would have gotten a slightly weaker turnout of enthusiasm. It wasn’t bad, but it could have used a bit more chunky heaviness, because in order to claim Viking status, you must be rapists, but only of grown-ups.

Up next was Wintersun, in a very TIMEly fashion. Hah. I kill myself.

Always Jari’s more serious outing, since I consider Ensiferum more goofy Viking Metal songs to get drunk and bop people with inflatable Medieval weapons to, Wintersun’s a band that you either enjoy or take a nap to. Boasting long songs that blend Folk, Death, Black, and Power Metal that are mini epics in and of themselves, postponing an album’s release for 6 years, and going on their first ever U.S. tour is the ideal crucible for some excitement among the longhaired and nerdy.

Of course, you’d be quite let down if you had been wanking for years about a full dose of Time, only to find that it’s just one of two installments. Dirty Finns, always finding ways to fuck you over. It’s the same deal as Norther hiring a  new frontman just to die. Can’t win with the Finns.

So anyway, Wintersun’s set was fantastic, verging on bombastic. The band played new stuff that was massive, and oldies but goodies that have been bouncing around for nearly a decade, totalling up to less than 10 songs in all. It seemed so short at the time, since they’re well-crafted enough that you’re not checking your watch and considering buying a gun.

Eluveitie headlined this show, which was an unforseen complication on everyone’s part.

Eluveitie have made a career of sounding like middle-era In Flames  swapped out techno/electronic fiddling in favour of real fiddling, a hurdy gurdy, several flutes, and female voices. While certainly not an intrinsically bad idea (I do enjoy them and had a blast when they played in Worcester a couple years ago), it does have an expiration date, and I smell something sour. On this tour they played Helvetios in full, which explains why many of the songs sounded just like this.

A few songs in I found myself praying for “Inis Mona” or “Of Fire, Wind, & Wisdom”. Anything to break the growing monotony that was setting in as a terminal disease of endless flute solos and Gothenburg riffing. It shouldn’t be an endurance round of “how many songs can we stomach that have the exact same jumpdafuckup riff”, but an actual musical journey, which is one that our Celtic friends have forsaken in place of some fancy shades. The real highlight was when members of Varg sans war paint came onstage, dived a few times, and had a few beers. I see they got more enjoyment out of goofing around than I did idly standing and realizing that Eluveitie has been doing the exact same thing since the demo days.

I suppose it can be blamed on the fact that I’m not as big into Folk Metal as I once was, which was not a great deal back then either. But the days are over where I would sperg out to Korpiklaani or get pumped about possibly seeing Tyr. It’s a greasy horror show of bad teeth and bad hair. Maybe one day I can enjoy it again, but that will require getting smashed, so 6 more months until I dance ’round a campfire to Svartsot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I Am No Longer A Metalhead

Or at least in the most traditional sense. Now before you go nuts and say “DEN Y IS UR BLOG NAMED DAT BLACK METAL D00D DEN?”, I actually have a few okay-ish reasons lined up. Whether or not they’re good depends on if you’re a meanie. I simply have discovered in the recent months that several of my friends were not wearing their Metalhead tags, and blatantly refused to be called one, or listen to metal frequently enough but don’t like to use that “M” word. Well more power to ’em, and I wish to share.

1. I Like To Throw Down

“The fuck, bitch, I was tying my shoe!”

I’m well aware that the ultimate form of “Metal Treachery” aside from not being vocally part of the contrived “Justin Bieber Is Gay”  Movement is unfurling your folded arms and making like a drowning otter in a space where others are well at work rehearsing Revenge Of The Shinobi Meets Tekken’s Eddy.

Muthafucka can slam it down.

Here’s the facts, push pits are fine if they’re so intense that even the more-stoic-than-thou types feel like they can come in. For instance, one time when I saw Decrepit Birth play The Infestation, it was off the goddamn charts with medicated zombies trying to eat one another. Otherwise, you get three or four dudes wearing their most “br00tal” Death Metal shirt or patch jacketed Thrashers playing Red Rover. I’ve lost the sense of fun that comes from pretending the pit is a large hadron collider, and have ceased trying to make black holes.

2. Metalheads Have Too Many Rules

“WHO WANTS TO HEAR AN OBLIGATORY SLAYER COVER!?”

I once deluded myself into thinking that because I followed metal’s amorphous and unreliable rule set(s), I was a free-thinking individual. Almost like a religious apostasy where you come to realize that maybe there’s more to music listening than numbly reciting the lyrics of Slayer songs and putting energy towards hating poser Black Metal. Here’s some rules of my own design that sum up what Metalheads think.

1. SLAYER

2. TRVE KVLT BLÅKK METAL

3. Power Metal is gay unless it’s from Germany

4. THRASH TIL DETH. 

5. Karate Mosh is gay. PUSH IT! 

666. No more than ten non-metal artists in your iTunes allowed. One J-Rock band counts for 6. 

7. Absolutely no radio-friendly artists! OR WE WILL CRUCIFY, DISEMBOWEL, AND SET YOU ON FIRE. 

8. Always threaten posers and non-metal fans with sharp weapons! Instill fear in their red normal sized hearts!

9. Always wear Black. Or white. Yellow is okay if it’s a Thrash band shirt. Red is okay on some occasions. All other colors are always gay.

10. SLAYER 666 \m/

Topless Robot frowns at your idolatry.

If you’re not good enough to meet the rules and requirements of being a Metalhead, then you are simply a “Metal listener”, which is like saying that if you’re missing an arm you’re not a human, just a human shape that happens to have a little less body mass to throw around.

3.  I’m Not As Enthused About Listening To An Unfamiliar Metal Band As I Once Was

LE WHY!?

I’LL TELL YOU LE-WHY! Because while all genres adhere to Sturgeon’s Law that 90% of anything is shit, I believe that (brace yourself for this) Hip-Hop and Metal are the worst offenders. Rally together with your pitchforks, barbarians, but it’s true.

I can run into 5 shitty Metal bands faster than I could run into one shitty hardcore band (Hardcore meaning real Hardcore Punk, not whatever you call I Set My Friends On Fire[even though I like them]). Truth be told, a lot of Metal bands are a group of friends who got together —not to speak of bedroom Black Metal— and wanted to make music that wouldn’t get any radio play. Hell the earliest Metal bands formed from Rock bands who got bored and decided to play louder than their contemporaries, to varying success. Every other band that came out in the early 70s was just a Black Sabbath cover band in the end, and while we still have those, the problem back then was that not enough bands actually had the talent to make it or even stay interesting. These days, with the internetz and all, your band better be damn good to make it amongst the swarths of shitty ones, and that’s just an insurmountable task for any band of Maiden-loving 15 year olds to accomplish.

Remember these guys? I hope you don’t.

In short, too many Metal bands think that they’ll be the next Slayer, the next Metallica, the next Suffocation, the next Judas Priest, the next Sabbath, etc. etc.

4. Slayer Is Not The Pinnacle Of Metal Achievement

Now while SLAYER certainly are by no means a bad band, they’ve become more of a merchandizing machine than an actual band. Yes they still put out albums and play live, but c’mon, when’s the last time you’ve been to any gift shop and didn’t see something that had Slayer for any casual rock/metal fan, or been anywhere and didn’t see at least one person wearing a Slayer shirt? As a matter of fact, count how many shows you go to where you don’t see two smartasses who look a bit confused because they thought they’d be the only one to go out wearing the ol’ Eagle logo or Wehrmacht helmet with a Slayer insignia. No harm intended against Slayer or their fans, but they’ve simply grown too large to be taken seriously. They are certainly far from Metallica, but like I said, it’s just a name to throw around when talking Metal as opposed to a band anyone listens to for their artistic merit. They’re just not that great, guys. Plus, Kerry’s whole tribal tat thing just seems to be ignored by a fanbase who HATES that shit.

Now THIS, I would pay for.

5. Any Random Prog Metal Band Is Not The Pinnacle Of Musical Achievement

Ye Gods, that’s 4 full servings of each drumming food group.

Now Prog Metal fans, you like some good stuff, and you like some overrated stuff. Deal with it. Dream Theater aren’t the best Prog Metal band, in fact they’re quite hit’n’miss. 20 minutes a great song does not make. If a band can condense awesomeness into 46 seconds like this:

They’ve done their job infinitely better than any band who insists that unneeded time-signature changes are what legitimizes music. I love a lot of Progressive bands, hell Between The Buried And Me are just about my all time favorite band ever, but I’m in no way going to insist that they’ve completed musical ingenuity for generations to come. Symphony X fans, mark my words: They’re okay. Not great, just okay.

5. “True” Metalheads Are Er… Dorky

I remember when I used to post 666 \m/ YEAH METAL RULES on things not even a matter of years ago. I was about as dorky as they come, trying to fit into a subculture that was oh-so individualistic. But take a closer look at how a lot of “True” Metalheads act, and you see a gathering of nerds who simply happen to like cool music. It’s all a dog-and-pony show in the end, where bands that try to be extreme are just making themselves look foolish, with Black Metal being the number one export of unintentional hilarity since the late 80s. Peep this.

“Now don’t get me wrong. Black Metal is pretty badass. But you spend more on corpsepaint than a truck driver does on gas.”

Which brings me to my next point.

6. Metalheads Care Too Much If Others Are Metalheads

I bet you remember high school, where you didn’t really fit in with all the “cool” kids and had to form your own clique where everyone listened to Rock/Metal and was just generally a bit of a dork. Dorks can’t hang out with anyone but fellow dorks, and thus is the social food chain. But those who don’t really care what subculture another identifies with are a bit more socially pliable. I myself have Metalhead buddies (or those who call themselves that), Punk friends, a couple Hardcore people, etc. Metalheads are infamous for taking a stance against hanging out with non-metalheads, and I say why bother? Just because someone doesn’t think that the German Teutonic Thrash Metal movement wasn’t the best thing to come out of Germany, or  that Slam Death Metal can be legitimate, likes Punk, Hardcore, and all its offshoots, or that a couple of rappers can actually be good, does that mean that you can’t associate with them? Fuck that. I’ll go on being a “Metal-listener”, I suppose. My table is all-inclusive, except for Christian Crunk artists. God-awful.

What I mean to say is go hang with a bunch of punk kids, edge or not edge(but not FSU), because they know how to party. I will love Metal til the day I die, but please do not call me the “M” word, I’ll take slight offence. Nah, go ahead, it doesn’t matter.