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

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

GO!

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

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

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

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

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

atlas

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

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

shreddedknee

 

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

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

ocean

See that? That’s a mic cord.

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

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

scale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Available in sizes Sexy and Awesome.

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

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

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

 

ramlordedit

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RNO3YLQZd8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Substance(s) Consumed: Spinach.

 

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

marathonfuck

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

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Megadeth Are Pretentious Assholes. Read all about that and Ramming Speed’s last show as a Boston band.

So, I saw Fear Factory opening for Megadeth while total trashed and it was pretty fun, not gonna lie. If not only for the peoplewatching, and learning that for some reason Nonpoint is still a band in the year 2013.  Nu-Metal lives… somehow.

There’s not much I can say except that I wish Fear Factory’s setlist were better (only “Edgecrusher” and “Replica” managed to ring pleasantly familiar), and that Dave Mustaine is still a twat. Bringing up the Marathon bombing for Lemmy knows what reason, AND having the nerve to show Garth’s dunderheaded request to some bitchin’ babe for Megadeth on the same screen that MegaDave loomed transluscently on with the help of what I assume is a handsomely compensated production staff. At least the music was decent enough, though come to think of it, “Sweating Bullets” is campy in that off-Broadway sense, and must have been scientifically designed to get stuck in my head. Fuck you, MegaDouche. I’m smarter than your family.

So on to sadder news: Ramming Speed have left the building like Elvis. Only the “building” in this case is Massachusetts, and they’re not dead, just moving their homebase to Virginia. So sorry if for a quarter second you thought they blew up; they should be touring through here and make awful “homecoming show” jokes sooner than we’ll realise they left.

What better way to say goodbye to one of Boston’s most beloved thrash outfits than a big silly show? This shindig featured local talents in Meth Valley, Disaster StrikesOpposition Rising (now with more new songs that sound like their old ones), and Terminal Crisis, with Yautja bringing their brand of technical grind up here from Nashville to be pronounced incorrectly. Luckily with the taco suckers In Defence in the building, all intellectual matters were irrelevant. I would post a picture of Ben Crew’s costume, which was like if Rob Halford (a.k.a. God) and Martin Sorrendeguy came up with a way to simultaneously look like you came to enslave the Christian Right Patriarchs and also look damn fine.  “Legacy of Brutality” indeed. So here’s the new video for their song “Curbside Dentistry”.

Aw fuck it, here’s a picture anyway. Stolen from I Author My Own Disaster.

Between rants about how all the money the U.S. wastes on terrestrial wars instead of spaceships, laser blasters and  lightsabers, how there actually is a (leather-clad, bald, and bespectacled) god, and some other stuff that only matters to weird people, the Defence busted out most of their recent outing, Party Lines and Politics, and are the prime example of why metal and punk are and should be united in their stand against pizza, politicians, unjust societally constructed phobias of all kinds, and any police not named Sting, Andy Summers, or Stuart Copeland.

Despite the success of the festivities —discounting the near non-existence of a pit during their set, blame it on the sadness— I’m sad to see Ramming Speed go, but fuck them anyway, that’s just more party that we have to catch up on so that it’s like they’re still here in our hearts or something fluffy like that. It’s been unreal.

rammingdie

Labrynthian As Well As Sharp. Razormaze at the Temple Of D00M

I know what you’re going to say: Crypter headlined, as this was their tour kickoff, dicks for brains! Well, kindly fuck off, but first let me tell you that the bus schedule prevented me from seeing their set, which I’m sure ripped the poor innocent house a new one. Even earlier, I had suffered a double whammy of missing Xatatax, as well as sporting quite the fat lip from a punch to the mouth, courtesy of the homeless of Harvard Square. In short: Never, ever, EVER, dare crazy people to hit you.

Observe and learn.

I managed to catch Rozamov‘s set, which I’m going to assume is spearheading a movement of Commie Pinko metal because I’m xenophobic. Let’s see how far they get with their odd Sludge/Doom drudgery interspersed with Thrashy bits and a zombie mosh that more closely resembles your usual Thrashers vaguely sporting claw shaped hands. I moderately enjoyed what I heard, but I need more convincing that they are loyal to the capitalist cause. More speed!

Up next is a band that on the other hand, doesn’t know how to slow down, my homeb0iz Razormaze, voted Boston Music Awards’ sexiest band 40 years running, and maintaining a glossy sheen despite the basement heat stench.

Any trve ‘Maze fan was shocked by the news that Dave (pictured far left) quit due to difficulties with the other members. We were aghast, what would they do without his unique 8-string wizardry? The suspense was cut short when an honourable and equally skilled knight Ser Joe Gettler stepped up to the fore and announced his loyalty to the round table of booze and whoring. Dave’s presence shall be missed, as long as we’re distracted by critically scrutinizing Joe’s performance and making sure he hits every note right. SPOILER: He does.

Razormaze have reminded me just how much I missed basement Thrash shows. Must be the familiar scent of stale bread and boar sweat left to ferment in a cask in the Marianas trench, with a hint of cologne for the ladies. That or the fact that the space constraint doesn’t prevent full fledged mayhem. However, one aspect of underground Metal shows I didn’t miss was the aptitude for technical difficulty. Oi vey, the technical difficulties! Eats up time and leaves the audience to sit and bake like a cloth and flesh cobbler. Alex’s guitar was completely fucked, so another had to be brought in from another band’s equipment. In the meantime, Nick and Sam, the most adorable rhythm section in the world, showed off their improv skills and made great court jesters while the swords were sharpened. Due to this unforeseen break, only 4 songs were  played, but luckily they included the mighty Lobotomized as well as the catchier than thou Karma In/Karma Out, so I have no real complaints. A guest appearance by Dan Hammer’s ass (of Skullhammer and Sonic Pulse fame) stole the night, having made itself visible and on the prowl for the greater part of Razormaze’s musical portion. If you were curious as to how much junk Dan has in his trunk, and didn’t attend this show, you missed out.

Overall, despite any hurdles to be leapt, it proved a great night, mainly because I hadn’t seen Razormaze in so long and missed them and their rockin’ tits. One must stop to wonder if they had more up their sleeves that night, though their lack of actual sleeves, being shirtless or wearing tanktops, coupled with guitar failure, prevented any special magick tricks that could have impressed any newcomers to the Slave camp. There is, however, always next time, and the time after that, and the time after that, to get it right, you fuckups.

Post escape from the maze, I was given the distinctive honour of assisting Razormaze with some drum equipment transport, which means I can now lay claim to experience as a worker on a popular band’s roadcrew. Keep a close eye on my exploits as I try to build a career off of this special occasion. In the meantime, I hope Crypter has an unsafe return home, and that they drink themselves into a fiery ditch on the side of the road somewhere on the way back to Worcester. Cheers, you Satan worshipping Metalhead fucks. \m/

Churning Satan’s Butter: Amish Noise

It has been several months since Maryland Deathfest, and since I promised the soulless fiery hued gentleman who comprises one half of Amish Noise’s orchestra of cacophanous calamity a write-up, I’m going to finally buckle down my hat and give it a proper overview, dammit. I’ll consider this a birthday present to myself, since any other excuse would just mean I actually care. Now, let’s get on with it while I still think it’s a good idea.

This here shall be a mini review of their release, “Only The Devil Wears Buttons”, which really explains why corporate lawyers are the bloodsuckers we know and love. As the About section on facebook proudly declares:

Your genres cannot contain us, your scenes cannot drain us, we thrive on human disgust, please enjoy our musk.”

The description continues on this theme, as you shall see:

We do not fit into your genre’s, we only live to destroy your concept of music and make you pay for having ears.”

What gets me hot and bothered more than anything is genre bending. I’m still unsure what to call it to this day, so we’ll go track-by-track and play it by ear.

“Get Up N’Get” is the soundtrack to taking a motorcycle for a joyride while swilling cheap gin made in a basement. It’s got the speed of Thrash, maniacal vocals, and at some points near the end, a groovy Jazz influenced bass riff that borrows its tempo from Count Basie, pinned underneath a guitar screaming the same riff as though suffering a bad acid trip and fighting its cat until it fades out, not quite knowing how to end. All of this and I can’t exactly pin what sort of Metal this was supposed to be, if any at all.

“Keeper Of Gates” follows a more straightforward sound, melding the rock’n’roll worship of Black Metal supergroup I (featuring members of Immortal and Gorgoroth) with a tiny bit of Melodic Death Metal influence. This is the moment of lucidity on the relsease, if you’re discounting the vocals layered so as to sound like tortured denizens of Hades.

“Monsters!” brings it back to the amount of crazy I was promised, with vocals taking equally from Mike Patton at his least whacked out, King Diamond, and Hank III sans sounding like a mountain goat eating hallucinogenic weeds. This track sounds a bit like the title, a sudden invasion by Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, and Arsenio Hall.

“Knuckle Kids” opens up immediately with a swingin’ groove that makes you wanna just get up and dance, showcasing a little old school Punk influence but always verging a tiny bit on the Metal side so you don’t forget that you’re supposed to be confused while listening to this. The lyrics are still odd, so that constant is still in play,  and the vocals are still treading the line between vocalizing and “Missed-My-Pill” yelling.

“Night Of The Living Bread” opens up like a Dollar Store version of Ihsahn’s solo project, so the Black Metal influence has crept back in, but only momentarily, soon to be shoulder tackled by a schizophrenic Thrash attack. Once the false Ihsahn regains his breath, he gets back to his feet and busts out a rippin’ solo over a surprisingly calm bass and drums, only to be assaulted once again. Ihsahn gets fed up and kills the naughty Thrasher, but is severely wounded, so drags off into the woods slowly, and dies, leaving only a bassist to mourn.

“Suggestive Apricots” wins best song title of the decade. As you may have guessed, this song is gonna be another trip through the deranged psyches of the beardos who make up this band. This here is a compromise between Nuclear Assault style goof Thrash and more Rock infused Black Metal. It all quiets down to explore power chords and what sound like some strange breathing exercises interlaced with whispers and whimpers. After some melodic noodling, drums back up the vocalist(s) simply chanting (in a shout, mind you) “Suggestive… apricots!” until the bass kicks back in, and then the guitars, with the chant becoming more manic as it goes along, simply exploding under its own fruitiness.

And there you have it, strange descriptions for stranger music. I’m starting to like this job, even if the pay isn’t that great. Steal their music here.

It’s A Double Header! Face To Face at the Brighton Music Hall and Corrosion Of Conformity in Saudi Iraqistan Downstairs

I’ve been getting lazy with writing, and that’s all your fault, so let’s get down and dirty, then shower together after.

I’m gonna go ahead and say that on June 17 of our Lord’s year 2012, I went to one of the most unique shows I’ve ever been to.Yes, this is keeping Lights in consideration, who is electropop, a genre which I haven’t experienced much of, but c’mon, how many people can say they’ve seen a band play an acoustic set of an album they absolutely never have touched live before? You’ve got a double whammy of unusual circumstances which add up to a show you’d be a fool to miss, mainly because Face To Face’s best album is Ignorance Is Bliss, bar none. Stripping away their Punk sound for a more Alternative approach, it was a lot more accessible, but did get a bit of flaming from lamers. Some of those same lamers actually showed up, having grown warm to the album, so that was good to see. Opener Nat Rufus was a nice blend of Against Me!/Rise Against styled punk with a little bit of a country spice thrown in, all done acoustic for good measure. His music has been featured on Sons Of Anarchy, so it’s pretty badass. Face To Face took the stage soon after, and it’s quite clear from the start that they’re chill guys before they’ve even said a word.

So that shitty cellphone picture is just what I saw the whole set; two guys playing their hearts out in a terrible venue because they love us. Sersiously, the Brighton Music Hall has no decoration, and I’m betting it did when it was still Harper’s Ferry. No matter, they sure were a bright light in the murky water that seems to be that venue’s concert line-up. Though I digress. It was up-close and intimate, with myself being second or third from the front and intently watching Trever and Scott’s fingers glide across their guitars, occasionally stumbling, as humans are wont to do, but that’s all part of the stripped down, organic nature of transferring punchy electricity to the once breathing wood. The highlights were my favorite, Everyone Hates A Know-It-All, Lost,  and Maybe Next Time. Primo cuts from primo beef. Another advantage of this show being at such a small and intimate venue is I got to meet Trever, shake hands, express gratitude at playing such a wonderful album in full, etc. Check it out!

[insert picture here]

Oh yeah, my idioteque phone decides to delete pictures instead of saving it like a smart phone because I make one small slip-up. Well, at the very least I still have the memory.

Now this here show I wasn’t expecting to be too off the wall, since it’s the Middle East, a venue that has become infamous in my mind for its almost telepathic no mosh policy. Why the fuck wouldn’t you move when Gaza‘s on, dammit? Inb4 jokes about Gaza being in the Middle East.

Putting the fear of no God into a Godful nation.

Hailin from SLC, Utah, these punks make Sludgecore interesting. The trick is to add some angular mathematics, a healthy dose of schizophrenia, and a genuinely formidable sound/stage presence combo that’ll make the nonbelievers sing “Hallelujeracunt!” while devolving into an orgy of violence. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, this venue is full of squares, and if you’re looking to punch someone in the nose, go to the Palladium. It’s still great to see that Jon’s mannerisms have only gotten more insane, with him at a few points abandoning his microphone to infiltrate the crowd and bellow from within, and even before that he had jumped down into the crowd area to get more of a “punk rock vibe goin'”. Attaboy.

DESSSSTROOOOOOOOOOOY YOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

While many audience members looked confused or scared at Jon prowling around menacingly while the band continued to blast their warning message to everyone’s unready ears, I and the other Gaza fans took delight in knowing what would happen. From dragging his microphone along the ground to create an odd homemade doomy ambiance to him sounding like a raving, drunken preacher denouncing the world’s ills, it had all the hallmarks of a great Gaza performance. The only problem was that about 5 out of however many attendees seemed to enjoy being touched, pointed at, yelled at, or generally graced with the chest of (since Jon’s always taller than everyone) a monster. The new material promises to be as punishing, if not more so than previous outings, and if they ever do decide to go soft, it’d still sound like fellow Sludgecore band Imbroglio’s ugly little sister on heroin mixed with gunpowder for extra kick.

Following these titans were a relatively smaller band, both in size and I dearly hope influence, Black Cobra. Since they drove me damn near to drowsiness with a lack of actual songwriting dynamics and also-ran performance in general (or maybe their songs actually were that badly written), then I’ll make my review the same. Suck it. And the guy in the white Baroness shirt who was actually into that band can suck it too. I’d assumed they’d be boring because of their name, and it saddens me to know I was right.

Torche broke the monotonous smoky fuck cloud created by the cobra with their mixture of heavier than thou Sludge Metal and a poppy sensibility that can only come from being from the flowery state of Florida.

It’s a guitar party, and you’re invited.

Torche have somehow found the exact right balance between heaviness and melody, perfected by similar bands such as Canada’s Bison B.C. and Boston boys The Proselyte. Just note how this song here, with the assistance of some neato effects, goes from being a moderately heavy Stoner Metal number to sounding like a depth charge in your speaker.

Like frosting on a supple cake, they know how to perfectly accent their songs with interesting elements so you actually feel like you’re participating in the listening experience. People reacted well to Torche, as they’ve been here several times and have built up a small but dedicated base in Boston, including some non-Metal folk, which just goes to show their versatility. Here’s to hoping Torche keep up the great work as the superheroes of Stoner Pop.

Raleigh’s own Corrosion Of Conformity have been around a long time, and can actually claim that the birthing of Crossover Thrash and some of the popularity of Sludge Metal belongs to them, which one of their new songs, The Doom seems set on demonstrating.

They’re also dirty mothafuckas.

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They just put out a new album, and recently came around recently in support of Clutch, who are also dirty old men who like their drink. If you’re from the South, it’s impossible to be Edge. C.O.C. might be some low-down dirty dogs, but their music is actually quite technical and dare I say… mildly Proggy, and is nowhere near as lazy as a good dose of Southern heat normally puts bands anywhere below Virginia. With this odd combination of technical Crossover and groovy Sludge, one who’s not all too familiar with them may just look in awe at how they can stand with their bodies being about 65% liquor and dirt, and then be awed at how they seamlessly go from one style to another.

It’s clear how they got to be so influential, because it causes a reaction in the vagina of every lesbian. A couple of girls who I’m sure had never seen each other before that night decided to bust out some PG-13 action for all to see. It was… peculiar to say the least, but there were no children around to complain, since this band’s for grown folk. Go see them and hopefully you’ll score too.

ALBUM REVIEW: ANCIENT VVISDOM

A Godlike Inferno – (Prosthetic)

ANCIENT VVISDOM, pronounced ‘Wisdom’, unless you’re German. This here be the semi-acoustic project of Jake and Nate from INTEGRITY, along with Justin from a band named IRON AGE, which I haven’t heard yet. With this supergroup-esque gathering of guys from some well-respected Crossover Thrash/Hardcore bands, you’d be forgiven for assuming this project would be a brainchild that shared at least some trace of DNA. What we have here is, in the parlance of our times, a curve-ball from hell in the form low-key paeans to the “Dark One” ideal for a drinking circle with wild woodsmen around a fire rather than a circle of moshers.
“Alter Reality”
As I mentioned earlier, with members hailing from Metallic Hardcore bands, one would be fooled into thinking this is one of those “calm before the storm” tracks. After all, this album is called “A Godlike Infucken’ferno“, so it’s gonna be a firey hellstorm of blazing riffs, machine gun double bass, and larynx punishing shouts, correct?
Instead you’re treated with some softly sung, yet eerie vocals over a steady mid-tempo guitar riff. To use a clichéd word, haunting lyrics take the stage, and soon after comes an electric guitar playing a riff that you’d probably hear on the radio had it not been accompanied by lyrics that are definitely a bit too Pagan for your local Rock Block.  Some odd metallic clanking chimes in with the electric guitar almost like pickaxes hitting iron or a sword being forged, along with a sort of marching drum cadence to seal the deal as far as the militaristic vibe goes.
“The Opposition”
Continuing along in the wooden direction, we have our second in a line of 8 songs about challenging God to a rock’n’roll showdown and being damn proud of being a sinner. This one’s a tad bit heavier than the last, with a bit more of a stomp’n’clap set-up. Where the last was a march to a battlefield, this is a rallying cry to Lucifer, unabashedly Satanic with lyrics like “Hail to thee, God of the Underworld/I sing praises to thee, and I suffer no more.” Not exactly grade-A poetry, but it gets the message across. Boasting a larger hook than “Alter”, this comes across as a hit single gone to the dark side.
“Necessary Evil”
A bit more of a dusty, sun-burnt country vibe opens this track, with a little bit of tambourine giving an out-of-place celebratory feel. The atmosphere just screams abandoned old-Western town, and I dig how well they managed to capture both the spooky and accessible, making combining them look easy. If BIGELF didn’t employ weird accents and made morose country, this is probably how it would come out. Completely eschewing the electric guitar this time, it maintains an organic body throughout, allowing the rumble of bass drums to resonate all the more clearly.
“Forever Tonight”
What could this track possibly sound like? Folksy acoustic guitar driven Blues rock with lyrics about Satan and the occult? Perhaps, but let’s not jump to conclusions, and move on to uncovering Atlantean ruins.
“Lost Civilization”
This song makes no bones about opening up with a rockin’ riff and a plodding drum beat. My one complaint about this otherwise very catchy and well-done track is that the lyrics are so base that you’d be better off ignoring them. If you can get past that, then you may enjoy your reward of the first guitar solo on the album, which comes as a pleasant surprise after the release was starting to drag into the Doldrums of monotony and tunnel visions of Satan. Too bad it’s the track that’s written in such a way you want to sing along. Even though it’s half a minute shorter than “The Opposition”, which is the longest track, it feels like it drags on for a couple too many.
“Devil Brain”
Oh Satan, how I missed you for five minutes. This song continues the hard rockin’ formula of the last one, and with even cheesier lyrics, and a cheddar-drenched title. I really hope they didn’t just run out of ideas for good songs near the end of the album writing process, because that would be a huge disappointment. The chorus riff reminds me a little of the main riff from GEORGE THOROGOOD’s “Bad To The Bone”, so I get some odd imagery of Satanic biker gangs.
“VVorld Of Flesh”
Another guitar solo, though nowhere near as bombastic as that on “Lost Civilization”, opens up under some chilly acoustic noodling. The vocals on the chorus kind of hearken to another Doomy rock’n’roll band, GHOST, with the same chilling effect. ANCIENT VVISDOM’s strength is in the slow and brooding songs, though there is some heavy riffing and pounding drums, but it’s never allowed to rev up too high for its own good. Around the 3 minute mark the song speeds up a bit, and manages to not topple over itself. Another searing solo, this time piercing the heavens! Starts strong, ends strong, is strong, like Mother RRRussia.
“Children Of The Wasteland”
With a completely mellow closer, a real ‘one sad man and his guitar’ feel takes over for the conclusion. If COREY TAYLOR were a better musician, this is the song he could’ve written for SLIPKNOT’s Vol. 3 album instead of the excessively wimpy “Vermilion Pt. 2″.
THE VERDICT: A strong release with a lot of potential, with room for improvement, mainly in the lyrical department.
GRADE: B+
The VVisdom is all in the facial hair.

Ramming Speedwolf at What We Talk About When We Talk About Scraping Your Knee

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Well thank you very much, WordPress, for changing the layout of the posting thing while I was away for over a week. Now you’ve made this about 3 times as hard, yay! Grumblings aside, I solemnly swear I was up to no good.

Led To The Grave

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Led To The Grave plays Thrash/Death Metal with a touch of Black Metal, and that’s about all there is to know, really. Nothing spectacular or mindblowing, you’ve heard it all at some point. If you haven’t, then make these guys your number 1 until you hear Revocation. It’s a simple blend of extreme metal styles, with tremolo picking, blasting, chunky headbangers, etc. I’m not saying discount them altogether, but don’t despair if you’re not entirely wowed by their fare. See, I can’t even come up with anything amusing today, so let’s keep this rock block rolling. If blocks can roll.

Ancient Filth

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ADAMANTIUM RAAAAAAGE!

Oh fucken’ hell. Is there ever gonna be a show where the band themselves or the crazed punks don’t destroy at least one thing? At least this time the damage was minimal, with only a bag of discarded newspapers being kept in the bass drum being ripped open by the rabid wolverine they call a vocalist. And I can officially say that I’ve scraped both knees from this place, the first time being two weeks ago during Barn Burner. I bungled a jump hardcore, but it don’t matter, cos it don’t need no water.

Yes, this band always brings the fuckin’ ruckus, in case you haven’t heard. Listen to me for a change.

Speedwolf

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F is for Friends Who Take Silly Pictures Together

 Speedwolf is Motörhead on some form of stimulant drug. It’s hard, it’s raw, and it makes you want to drink, but from joy and not sadness. Speedwolf live up to their name quite well, as they’d go great on a mixtape with the words “Break The Speed Limit” scrawled messily on it in sharpies or the blood of some clown that made the mistake of challenging your manly self to a bottleknife fight. WWTAWWTAU is a tiny space with no cooling or ventilation, and a lot of people were moving around as though in a non-lethal blender, so naturally following the intensity of Ancient Filth with the non-stop crowd-surfery and headbangery of Speedwolf made the air become too soupy to breathe. Damn human meatbags producing heat and such. This is my first exposure to Speedwolf, and I think I’ll allow the infection to spread further through my nervous system.

Ramming Speed

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Positively electrifying

I missed Ramming Speed since I saw them open up for something at the Great Scott. Yeah, I can’t remember, and I’m too lazy to go look, so fuck off. All I know is that I’m glad to report the energy level here was enough to fry a few land mammals, because when I saw them the most they got was a bit of headbanging and a few superstitious folks warding off the evil-eye for Jove knows why. This time around it was crowd-surf fest 2012, and there was rarely a moment where I was able to just rest without having to worry about a Doc Marten to the back of the neck.

Ramming Speed are either one of the thrashiest Hardcore bands or the most hardcore Thrash bands, mixing Thrash and Grind with skank and circlepit rhythms that would make D.R.I. and Napalm Death brofist with pride. Speaking of D.R.I., I have perfected the art form of the Skankin’ man. I nearly fell and broke my neck slipping on beer while doing it, but that must be the all-important secret. Near death experiences are a must if you wanna be hard.

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Protective bubble not included

We laughed, we cried, we avoided arrest by the Boston Pork Division, and all was well. Here’s to hoping this venue survives to see the fall of civilization.