Monday, January 14, 2008

Ehnahre with Cyaegha, Revocation, and Dysentery [O'Brien's, Allston, 1/13/2008]

I almost didn't go to this show; the weather was threatening to start getting shitty when I would be driving back, and my left front tire was so low that I thought it had gotten damaged (no, it just is the closest to where the sole weight is in the car when it's moving, and I'm in the car about another 8-10 hours a week with the new commute). I was going to just go home after getting money -- where I saw how fucked up the tire was -- but the air station was being hogged at that gas station, so I went to the one up by the highway. The tire filled right up and looked good, and at 8:30 I had a choice to make: left and go home, or right and go see metal. Damnit, I thought to myself; you're a metalhead, man up and act like it. I turned right and didn't look back.

It was about 80 minutes later when I got to the venue, which was split almost evenly between driving and walking in from Cambridge; if I didn't hate driving in Boston so much, I wouldn't park two miles away and have to go over a river and an interstate to get to this place. Unfortunately, I do hate driving in Boston, and this is the most straightforward way to go, so I can deal with the exercise.

Dysentery [5/7]
I was afraid that I'd end up missing their set due to coming down late, but fortunately this was not the case, and I got to see most of their performance, even though they had started at least by the time I got into earshot of the venue. They put up a solid performance of slamming death metal, and definitely impressed with their cohesiveness for how long they've been playing together (Dysentery in this iteration is pretty much is a new band, even though they're composed completely of long-time scene veterans), even if there was more brutality than variety in their set. Dysentery's music is reminiscent of getting a house dropped on your face; it's brutal as all fuck, but there's only so many different ways that you can manage to do it. There's definitely a place for this kind of music, and I was bummed that they closed up their merch desk before I could pick up a CD, but my preferences run a little more technical. Still a solid set, and they probably had the thickest crowd of the night.

Revocation [6.5/7]
Revocation is currently in the studio, recording their debut full-length -- and none too soon, since they are now sold out of Summon The Spawn and have only the Cryptic Warning album available -- and favored us with a couple cuts that will be on the new one. In contrast to their older, more death-influenced stuff, these new tunes show that there's been some Realm, Imperium, and/or Toxik floating around their practice space recently; since two of the songs in question weren't performed with lyrics, it'll be interesting to see what they do with them at that point, as Dave and Anthony's voices aren't really suited to the kind of singing that you got from that sort of thrash back in the day. On the music as demonstrated here alone, this is going to be one of the top releases of the year, and the fire that they showed on their older material also demonstrates that the final recorded product will continue to show an evolution of various strands in classic thrash, rather than a straight revival. It's due out sometime in the spring, and while the band isn't letting on as to whether or not they've got a label lined up, the quality of this performance would definitely make a neutral observer question if there's an extreme-music label that wouldn't want these guys on their roster.

This show also saw the IRL-sales debut of Revocation's two new shirt designs, of which I bought one. They're both high-production, vibrant designs that stand up ahead of most of the monocolor prints that you see from local bands, which seems to indicate that they may be doing some more extensive travel to get their profile up -- though that in itself is a loss leader, and a more intensive commitment than the shirts by far.

Cyaegha [6/7]
Up from Virginia, these guys continued the technical attack with some sick and complex death metal, including a cover of Decapitated's "Spheres of Madness" that they not only pulled off flawlessly, but also integrated tightly with the rest of their material. Their locked-in precision and twisted riffage weren't the only things recalling Carcass, though; their singer's "death metal voice" carried with it a West Country/Welsh accent reminiscent of Xentrix...though this is probably my take mostly because I have live performances from a really weird selection of British bands. This was a kickass set, and unfortunately for the band, they didn't have any merch available; the crowd devoured the free CDs they had (I got one, but haven't listened through it yet), and many of these people would also have grabbed the disc had it cost the usual $3-5, and possibly picked up a shirt or button or something as well. This was more of a test-the-waters outing, though, and the band will hopefully be out again soon for a full run with some stuff for people to buy to offset their expenses.

Ehnahre [6/7]
I was interested to see this band, just from their other projects; when people formerly in Biolich and Kayo Dot unite to revive a grind band as a doom project, anyone who can tell you how it's going to shake out beforehand is either in the band or lying. Playing slow on a lot of their tunes, they were a strange fit to the bill, but definitely more than heavy enough, and as a former brass player I was really pleased to see their trumpet player being used effectively and creatively. It seemed like they ended a little short, but this may have been due to the amount of time that they put into long drone sections that seemed to a certain degree not to count. If you like drone-doom, or can get through these long drone sections without falling asleep, Ehnahre is definitely a band to check out.

Despite the stated prohibition on hipsters at this show, there was still some talking amongst the crowd while this band was playing. Seriously, shut up and eyes front. They may be boring right now, but they're also extremely cool in much of the rest of the set, and there is enough time to talk when the rest of us aren't trying to concentrate on the music.

I wanted to get some stuff from Ehnahre, but looked up at they sky outside, and decided that it would have to wait till whenever I see them again; the clouds were filling in, and I had two miles to walk before I got to my car and could start trying to drive away from the snow. I made it back without issues, but am pretty much snowed in right now; let's hope the weather breaks soon, so that not only I can go to work like normal tomorrow, but also make it out to Worcester for Summoning Hate and Composted at Metal Thursday.

Just a note, but as of right now, I'm on pace: 13 bands in 13 days this year. I fell short last year by about 80 sets, but with less short-term international travel and maybe a trip to MDF if Carcass ends up playing there instead of NEMHF, I'm hoping that I can finish with 366+ in 366.

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