This is a little delayed because I had to spend all of yesterday going to Texas, but it still doesn't impede the fact that this was an awesome show. Unfortunately, I got in late due to having to prepare to travel Monday, and missed almost all of Abnormality.
I hate giving bands a null rating. This isn't because it gives my life some perverse obsessive-compulsive critical meaning to assign relative weights to bands' sets, but because it means that I saw the band, but not enough of them to give a fair assessment. In this case, I got in to the Skybar just at 8 PM, just in time to see Abnormality's last song, which turned out to be just enough to get me disappointed that I couldn't get there sooner. Despite the absence of a bass player (no idea whether this is their normal configuration or not), the death metal sound was nice and thick, not quite as dense or frenetic as Goreality, but still pretty crushing all the same. I've got to try and see a full set from this band sometime.
After their set, I got a beer and hit the Pathos table; as usual, Dwyer had about 87 time more interesting or cool-looking records than I actually had money for, but I was able to pick up some Horn of Valere and Cianide that I didn't have, and he recced me two more cult German albums....none of which I've listened to yet, or will listen to for another week, because I had to keep the weight of my gear for this trip to a minimum.
Assuming that Abnormality usually has a bassist instead of using their guitarist's 7th string for the low end, this was the second band of the night to show up without their nominal bass player. However, unlike the last time, I saw Hekseri without Jason, Larissa switched over to bass, presenting yet another version of their sound. It looked like she was mostly just transposing her normal rhythm lines down rather than duplicating Jason's more gymnastic attack, and the result was a slightly simpler sound, but one that in its evolution of folkic melodies out of ripping noise recalled the best of true black metal. The best part, though, is that this is still a band that can evoke Dissection as easily as Darkthrone, and even though recent shows have shown that their sound is still very much under development, they're still creating quality music and putting up kickass sets.
The reason that Hekseri played second, despite setting up the show and nominally having top billing, was that Goreality's singer didn't show up until the end of their soundcheck. The Skybar is a little difficult to get to, but only the Harvard rotary and the turn at Porter Square are technically challenging, and the band has actually played here before (with Godless Rising, back in January). Be that as it may, though; the band did get in place with their full lineup, just in time to start blasting.
This was not as superlative a performance as the last time I saw them here. However, it was still completely awesome, both in music and in the audience reaction, and so simply well-refined that you really have to wonder how on earth this band is still toiling in such relative obscurity. Of course, ultra-brutal gore-death is never going to get you on the Billboard 200, but people on other continents into this scene should know who this band is; hopefully, their new record will get them over that mark, especially if Dwyer is able to get it out in good distro channels and reviewed by some high-profile sources. The new stuff that they played is just as awesome as the older material; all that remains is to get it out into people's ears.
The audience reaction mentioned above is no joke; the Skybar is not generally a huge moshing venue, but it's also not a no-mosh venue either, and the front got pretty turbulent for Goreality. I did my best to keep people from flying into the tables, and while this wasn't completely successful -- though I was able to catch the two guys who knocked that one table over before they fell down on it and its sharp-cornered metal foot -- it was still fun as hell and a great addition to the music. There were also a good number of people in throughout the show, and hopefully more of them will start coming regularly to Sunday gigs. The genres vary, and some shows are more awesome than others, but it's still always a cool time, and always gets out in plenty of time for people to get home and get enough sleep to face work (or a plane ride to Texas) on Monday.
Next show, presuming I don't get held up here, is on Friday at the Palladium, where I'll finally get to see DT; next underground show is on Saturday up in Haverhill, with Shroud of Bereavement, Hekseri, and probably some other Merrimac Valley bands that I ought to be keeping better tabs on. Of course, I have to complete my mission here and get back out of Texas, but it's some pretty simple stuff that I have to do...as long as things don't go sideways.