Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Impaled with Phobia, Kill The Client, Illogicist, Maruta, and Defeatist [Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, 9/9/2008]

Eighteen bands in six days is a hell of a lot of death metal. Fortunately, this concluding segment to the very-long-weekend that began with Boarcorpse on Thursday was just as eminently worthy as the previous two.

Because the show was a bit of an early start, and I was concerned that I'd miss bands as well as waste gas if I went home, I worked a little late, then drove right in; it ws a little bit of an early start, but between traffic and other built-in delays, there wasn't that much latency between when I got in and when the bands started. Unfortunately for my wallet, there was almost precisely enough time to find the one Sear Bliss DVD in the Pathos table, which predictably looted 15 bucks from my wallet and immediately handed the money to Dwyer before jumping into my vest pocket and zipping itself in. Beware black/death metal with trombones; they'll jump you and make you purchase them.

Defeatist [4/7]
Defeatist opened the proceedings with a decent, fairly standard-form grindcore set. As I'm not really a grindcore fan, there wasn't a lot in it that really stood out for me, but the execution was front-to-back solid, at least; grind basically is as grind is, so those who were here for the more grind half of the bill probably dug the hell out of this band. Other mainly-death-metal-fans, maybe not so much, but it was a decent set, and I'm sure that nobody minded their presence or anything.

Maruta [5/7]
I missed this band at the NEDF because I was a goober and didn't go to the first day, and while people who'd seen them earlier ranked this set below their prior performance, it was still a nice sharp deathgrind outing. Sure, they don't have a bassist, but they seem to be getting along just fine without one; the guitarist showed a lot of chops using his seventh string to build low-end while not letting the lower notes dominate over what he was doing on the higher strings. Solid grind, with nice tech chops on top; good stuff.

They had jacket parts, so I ended up picking up a patch in addition to their CD; it'll take some arranging to place and sew it in to maximum effect, but it'll look pretty cool as a finished product. Now I just need to get those other parts from Hell's Headbangers and order that Celtic badge...

Illogicist [5.5/7]
These guys put out a good set, but in any other city, it probably would have rated substantially better. Why? Because in Boston, we have Revocation, who do basically everything that Illogicist do in the line of tech-death, only better and at bar shows like, every other week. This isn't a knock on Illogicist, who played some great tunes, but just an assessment of bad luck that they may have had with their audience selection. If you could get past the "wait, Dave and Phil are down here in the audience, so how are they on stage too?" angle, this was a good set, and if they brought coals to Newcastle, at least it was some nice coal that contrasted well with the grind-heavy balance of the bill.

Kill The Client [6/7]
Nothing but high-quality, straight-from-the-shoulder grindcore. Where Phobia and Maruta did some balance of deathgrind/grind-death (yes, there is a difference, though you may need to own all of Carcass' demos on tape and the entire Swans back catalog to determine exactly what) and Defeatist had a fair salting of death elements, KTC just went straight for the throat with loud, violent, grind. The motion started to pick up in the crowd at this point, maybe because there were more people in, and likely partly because the vocalist dived off the stage a couple times to get things brewing himself. In addition to the rampage through their own material, they also did an Infest cover, which I didn't recognize because the top patch on my main jacket is from Running Wild. (If you're concerned that you may be automatically disqualified to comment on grindcore, don't worry; you already are. Fortunately, nobody cares.)

Phobia [6/7]
It's been a while since I actually listened to the one Phobia record that I've acquired over the years, but though I couldn't recognize any individual songs, the overall sound, grind with a ferocious death punch, was completely familiar. The band killed as could be expected, with the final result being the best grind set of the night, a hard mark given the competition, but seriously, this is Phobia, and excellence is expected. Were this just a grind tour, and they the headliners, I doubt that anyone would have been bummed about this as a headlining set -- though a pure grind tour involving fewer bands would also likely mean longer sets for everyone, and a couple more tunes couldn't've hurt here.

Impaled [7/7]
Impaled, though, crushed all; part of this is that my tastes play into their thrashed-up death style, and part of it is that they kicked ass on a lot of strong material over a nice meaty set. The uniforms were a touch gimmicky, but like other costumed bands that I could mention, they were having fun with it, though perhaps a little subdued to avoid rubbing any of the 'no fun - no mosh - no core' crowd who might have showed up at this show the wrong way. (Though, seriously, who believes in that stuff and goes to a show with Phobia this high on the bill? No idea.) As might be expected when you have six bands and a hard 12:15 curfew, their set was a little shorter than most people might have wanted, but they recognized the time limitations and announced that they were skipping the "let's pretend to walk off the stage lolz" bullshit, and just going straight into the encore portion of the set. Good music, and better honesty; I'm sure that most metalheads would gladly put the planned-encore phenomenon to death in order to get another song in the three minutes the band usually spends jacking around waiting for the crowd to make enough noise.

Alas, shows at the Middle East have to stop the music right on 12:15, so this one did have to come to an end. I headed north and made good time, assisted by not hitting anything; come Saturday, I'll be back down for Wargasm's reunion, but until then, just resting up.

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