Despite Zircon scratching late due to injury (if you're an extreme-metal drummer, you kind of want both your legs to be in perfect working order), this was still a killer show with the great atmosphere that people have come to expect from Metal Thursday. Zircon scratching meant that the likely start time was pushed back, so I was able to both drive in a little later -- missing a lot of the traffic, but not any of the funeral fog that's been hanging over the whole of the North Shore the last two days -- and survive the delay from multiple backups on both the Pike and 290 where the cops had brought everything down to one lane. As it was, I made it in plenty of time to get a beer, pillage Aura of Aquila's merch table, skin some obscure stuff off Jeremy, and read a few bits of a recentish Grimoire of Exalted Deeds -- I think the zine relaunch after the glossy folded, with Bill, of course, as zany and self-obsessed as ever -- before the music started. Since I'm going to be going to Texas Sunday, both the Grimoire and the copy of Enslain mag (bonus points for metal crossword puzzle in the back) that I picked up were going to be rolled forward as terminal reading material...and plus, if you sit around a more or less unlit bar trying to read while bands are playing, you are a huge bozo.
This was a significant step up from the last time I saw them, where Dan wasn't playing bass yet, and the addition of the low end really filled out and enhanced the sound. Most of the set was death metal, with its influences more or less obvious, and the band's original essence working in around the edges, but this took a significant turn on "The Wolf of Man", a new one, which was straight-up Black Circle violent black metal. Dominatus definitely has the potential to develop further into a kickass original death metal act, but this bit showed that they could concievably also pull a Darkthrone and change fields with equally good results. This is a band to watch, and not only because their future course is apparently wide open, but because they are really good at this extreme metal shit.
Aura of Aquila [6/7]
Apparently the sound was really crappy the last time I saw this band, up at Mark's, because there they did not immediately bring to mind Forest Stream, as they did here. Of course, there's the usual course of artistic development to be considered -- and the fact that Jim and Chris had to replace their bass player again in the intervening time. Since there were only 3 bands playing and sets were longer, they were able to do, like, six or seven songs, which if you're familiar with this school of flowing, doom-influenced black metal, is a hell of a long time covered. While they aren't going to be to everyone's tastes, if you can handle a bit of necrotism in the sound -- keeping it true with small, heavily overdriven gear -- and the fact that these pieces go on and on and happen to like, well, music, you should be glad that you don't have to go to Russia to hear a band like this. A great set, and on its own well worth coming out for.
I'd gotten their demo a long time back, and dug it, so I was definitely interested in seeing them live. Whether it was bad memory on my part or additional development on theirs, they came off as more experimental than I was expecting, but this was definitely to the good. They had the scream-and-blast side of black metal down pat, but also branched off from established forms with some interesting digressions in both form and tone. Some of them didn't really work, getting to someplace where it was difficult to see how the music could be tied back to the main thrust of the song, but most of them did, which means that whatever they release next (obviously, they overran their sole 4-song demo to date) will be really worth looking out for -- and the band is worth going to catch live in the interim as well.
I don't know if they're quite worth going three hours' drive to see, though, even in support of Enslaved (and potentially also Zyklon and Daylight Dies). That bill is pretty fuckin' killer, though, and up at Mark's Screwplace all we're allegedly getting is Arsis (good) and The freakin Agonist (who keep getting on tours for NO APPARENT REASON). If it wasn't in November, I'd have to entertain the idea more seriously; unfortunately, that month, I've got books to write.
I got back from the show in good order and finished cleaning up the first stage of the stuff I needed to handle before going to Austin, and happily also saw that the Sox won. There may be a correlation between "game on the tevilission at metal show" and "good guys win" (sorry Cleveland, reflex; I've been through north Ohio and know I really shouldn't be piling on) that needs further exploring -- and continued metalhead eyeballs at After Forever (not going to due to family commitments) and Overkill (not going to due to Dudes^3 XOR resting up for Texas) at Mark's.
If Dudes 3 is on, I will be there (provided I can find the new locale); the previously planned location has gotten dusted due to neighbor issues, but they're looking for an alternate venue. If you're in the Boston area and you like thrash metal, you should be there too -- and you should go to Newbury Comics and pick up Ramming Speed's 7" in advance so that it doesn't get broken bouncing off walls or other doods. After that, I'll be in Austin spamming restrooms at rock clubs on Sixth Street when I'm not at work (got a bunch of Open Grave Records cards, and the stuff from Hell's Headbangers I haven't passed out yet), so if you have flyers you want spread in the cool part of Texas, find the guy in the crazy jacket.
In case you didn't know, At The Gates is playing Wacken this year...in addition to Carcass, and Kreator, and Iron Maiden with their Golden Years set. Just thought you might want to know. Tickets are here, a good place to start looking for flights is here, and you want to get in to either Frankfurt, Amsterdam, or Berlin and buy your train ticket to Hamburg after you hit the ground. I may do an updated Wackenguide this year given the huge interest in people from this area going; some things changed with the attendance cap, and these should be noted.