More than either a tuneup show for Carcass -- or a trap show, depending on your perspective -- this was an excellent reminder of why we like death metal so damn much, a vindication for the concept of living close to a metro area large enough to do diverse DIY shows, and a mighty fine time for a Thursday night that for once didn't involve driving to Worcester.
As usual, I mis-estimated how long it takes me to walk from Cambridge to Allston, even on a bum leg and with traffic, so I ended up getting in well before the bands started; this was a decent opportunity to sit around, drink beer -- well, PBR -- and get bored with the lack of action or entertainment value in the Giants-Redskins game. When you're not emotionally invested in an American football game, it's a little easier to see how little of the time spent watching it is spent watching live game action rather than slow-motion replays of players you don't care about. At least in a soccer game that you don't care about, there's something going on all the time, even if relatively little of it translates directly into scoring.
Also, a bunch of old white people were having some kind of party in Minnesota that they kept cutting away to. Seriously, what the hell is that.
Fortunately, the bands started, and Boarcorpse provided a more than adequate opening. Their lineup for this gig, one of their first if I recall correctly, was the same as when the band was called Ouch, but it's definitely clear that this band is a different animal. They still don't quite have it together to the point that they'd probably like to, but the experimentation was more focused and brutal here, the material tighter, than on the demo that I'd gotten from them last year. This was a solid if short set of somewhat grindy death metal with a few modern-rock touches; good stuff, and as this band continues to develop and get a feel for their sound, they'll likely continue to improve.
Parasitic Extirpation [6.5/7]
Yes, this was total Suffocation-worship. However, when a band can pull off Suffocation's dense, technical brutality and really do it well, they're worth listening to, and seriously, the next time Suffocation plays a local bar show for seven bucks, I'll be there with bells on. Seriously. I will straight up sew those little Christmas jingle bells onto my rig in strategic locations in order to emphasize correctly how awesome such an occurance would be. On topic, this was not quite as slambolic as might be surmised from seeing current Dysentery and Proteus members in the lineup, but even those who may have come down solely for the slam couldn't've gone away unhappy with the output. It may have been by a narrow margin over the two to come, but PE did put on the best set of the night.
I hadn't seen Hirudinea in like forever -- actually, since 2007, probably in like June at the Skybar, which feels like it's been dead and gone for ages, but what the hell -- and initially wasn't sure if they'd changed their lineup around, until, of course, they kicked it up with some good old raw grindblack, and I stopped caring in preference to just enjoying the music. The phrase "locked up with a Burzum tape" is overused as a throwaway signifier for bands that use lo-fi droning and want to add some underground cachet, so there has to be another way to express how strongly the black metal portion of Hirudinea's sound is rooted in Burzum's and Darkthrone's demo phases, while still pointing up that they use this sound to create really cool music. I don't listen to enough grindcore to capture the other sources in the mix, but any time you have a band opening up with riffs that sound cribbed from Kreator's "Phobia" and "Bomb Threat", this should be sufficient. The sound seemed a little low for them throughout the set, but nothing was buried, and the mix allowed every instrument to come through....except the backing vocals, which kind of got lost in places, probably due to equipment issues with the mic.
This set also felt foreshortened; at a DIY show, especially one where load-in and load-out have to go through the crowd and through one door, there's not a lot of room for cracking the whip, and Boston apparently has a 12:15 curfew to keep these gigs from running longer, but the quality of all the bands on this one really makes you yearn for those slightly longer opening slots on national shows, and also for a venue outside the city where the bands can get to play a little longer.
Summoning Hate [6/7]
The crowd had dipped a little after Parasitic Extirpation, an unfortunate side effect of having a nice diverse show like this, where bands draw largely from different bases, on a Thursday night when most people have to work in the morning, but came back up as the Summoning Hate crew arrived in full force. The band rose to the occasion as well; this was the first time that I'd seen them since Juan left and they added the second guitar, but the sound was still thick and thrashy, and definitely up to prior standards. Their set seemed to run a little longer than the bands that preceded them, but still felt too short, despite the tons of thrash-death that they put out, including a couple tunes with Juan back on vocals at the end. Good music, a good bit of movement, and a great cap-off to a great night.
On my way out I hit the Parasitic merch table as Blue was packing it up, and picked up some pins and a Dysentery sticker; because I was more concentrating on the two miles I'd have to walk to pick my car back up, I didn't notice that one of the pins didn't have any actual pin in the back. This isn't much of a problem, though, as I still did get a couple complete ones, and better I take the un-assembled one than someone who only takes one and then finds they can't pin it anywhere. Next, tonight, is of course CARCASS! -- and Necrophagist and 1349 and Dying Fetus and Aborted and allegedly Rotten Sound as well, but the real draw is the scousers slinging the Tools of the Trade once again.