Saturday, October 04, 2008

Amorphis with Samael, Virgin Black, and Hypersolid [Worcester Palladium (upstairs), 10/2/2008]

Second verse, not quite the same as the first; as per the day before, I left right from work, but there were a few contributing factors that slowed down the ride out, and as a consequence, I got in right after doors rather than right before. With the lack of a lineup, I got "VIPed" in; security at this point knows my ID by heart and is pretty confident I'm not going to stab anyone, but as professionals they're not going to wave 'regulars' through while they've got a lineup to process correctly.

As on Wednesday, the attendance was a little sparse, especially at the start, but it would pick up as the night went on. I picked my way through the few there and picked up a couple CDs as well as a first beer, then tried to finish up the text I was writing to avoid being "that guy" for Hypersolid.

Hypersolid [5/7]
Unfortunately, I wasn't completely successful, and I was a little zoned for their first song or two. Once concluded, though, they cetainly didn't disappoint, and in contrast to the last one, there was a lot more late Carcass (mostly Swansong, but some Heartwork too) in their prog-thrash sound than I remembered from before. Their overall execution level's come up since 2006 as well, despite the fact that they were working out a new guitarist; if you missed them here, you can see them with Edguy in a week or two, and marvel that with the change in their sound to more prog-thrash (which fit better here) than prog-power, they're still able to get opening slots on power metal bills.

Virgin Black [6/7]
The crowd was still a little light at this point, and between the volume and the band's sound, it definitely felt like this would have gone even better upstairs at the Middle East. The only really cult band on this tour, they made their presence felt with a deep, solid set that closed with a shattering rendition of "Walk Without Limbs". In contrast to the more accessible bands at the head of this bill, Virgin Black's vicious blend of gothic black metal and funeral doom was pitched straight for the undergrounders in the audience -- which on a Thursday, and at the start of the touring bill, was maybe more than a significant minority.

Samael [6/7]
It's hard to find a dedicated Samael fan these days, and the balance of this set definitely testifies as to why; the black metal in their sound is deprecated in favor of more mainstream, accessible, stuff, and while this was a decent time, Samael have been better than this. Those who missed it, though, missed out: not only is Xy still about the best live drum programmer going, but they did "Into The Pentagram" for the first time in the US (allegedly), and for the duration of the song, new Samael was old Samael again, just with the instruments a little changed up. They did a couple more after, and while they should have just closed up after "Into The Pentagram", the little extra blackdustrial is to be forgiven since we, y'know, got "Into The Pentagram" out of the band.

At one point, Vorph referred to Passage as an "old album". It is, but that makes me an Old People -- what the hell is Ceremony of Opposites then? Well, besides 'awesome', but you get the idea about how this band currently looks at their catalog, and how that varies from how we see it out in the cheap seats.

Amorphis [6.5/7]
There'd been some scuttlebutt before the gig that Tomi had lost his voice earlier on the tour, but he'd recovered enough by this gig to put up a stellar performance. He was still swigging tea rather than water or beer throughout, but his voice held up all the way through a long and diverse set covering a bunch of tunes from the last couple albums, but also more early stuff than likely anyone was anticipating. It was a better outing than I saw last year at Wacken, and on the music rather than just on the minimum qualification of the venue not catching on fire. Like Samael, Amorphis may get written off these days due to the changes in their style, but more unambiguously than the band that preceded them on this bill, they've improved as well as changed. Another Thousand Lakes tune or two instead of taking a break before their encore, and this might have gone full marks; regardless, it was a great set to cap off a great show, and a great two-day stand at this venue.

The trip home wasn't that difficult, and the next show promises to be awesome; Watain Tuesday night in Boston with six other bands including CNV and Revocation. After that, free time to take care of personal matters, and then something like 6 or 7 gigs in 8 days. We'll see how many of those actually get attended.

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