On this night, the choice was either this show or hang out back home and be social watching the Red Sox (ultmately lose the ALCS to the Rays). Naturally, I went with Master and a ridiculous walk in, despite feeling a little under the weather. I'd missed the Amon Amarth gig the night before resting up, which sucked, but those bands tour, generally, and Master pretty much does not.
Despite the aforementioned ridiculous walk -- I parked back in Cambridge again and hoofed it down to the Fenway -- I got in a little early, in time enough to drink a couple beers and do my merch (a bunch of Master swag, and CDs from Estuary and Sexcrement) before the bands started. This wasn't the most well-attended gig I've been to here, but there was a good feeling all around; an Ibex Moon tour is about as interior death metal as you're going to to get, and those who came out were there for mostly the same reasons, and mostly for all of the bands.
Summoning Hate [6/7]
Summoning Hate continues to blast out solid, high-class thrash-death metal; this set was no exception, though it took a song or two for them to get properly cranked up. This was a nice long, filled out set, including a couple of tunes with Juan back on vocals, and high-quality front to back. At this point, the band's main or perhaps sole problem is that they don't have anything recorded available, and it's only so often that they play live. They were a really good match for this show, their style fitting in well with Master's, and they did a hell of a job opening up.
There was a bit of lag going into this set, as Sexcrement had to get their new bass player in; Blue (of Dysentery, Parasitic Extirpation, Porphyria, and it seems like every other slam band in eastern New England) had played another show with PE up in New Hampshire and got down pretty much just in time to load in. Despite working out a new 1/4 of the band, Sexcrement came out hitting on all cylinders, and turned in a thoroughly awesome performance. This band always puts up a good show, but in this case they seemed maybe a little tighter than usual; maybe because they were working out a new member and hadn't rehearsed together enough to play off each other as usual, or maybe because of the brief reunion stint that Goratory recently did in Europe -- whatever it was, this was as good a Sexcrement gig as I've seen in a while, and another indication that this was building towards a truly classic gig.
This was the most significant surprise of the night; I hadn't heard literally anything from Estuary before, and had bought their CD basically solely on credit, on the idea that if the guys from Incantation had set them up to tour with Master, they had to at least know what they were doing. This hypothesis was vindicated, and then the expectation thoroughly exceeded. If it wasn't Master closing up, Estuary definitely would have stolen the show, blasting the audience with an appropriately old-school but still fresh-sounding blend of thrash and death metal. They got a hell of a reception as well, likely from people who similarly had their minimal expectations shattered; here's hoping that they come back, as the stage height may have been a limiting factor that wouldn't be present at O'Brien's, and, regardless, we'd get another Estuary set.
This was the reason that we turned out, and Master certainly didn't disappoint. Master is past their peak at this point, though some of this may be attributable to the fact that Paul built a new American band for this tour rather than trying to bring over the Czech guys that he's been playing with since going into self-imposed exile. There were a few minor flubs, and this obviously wasn't what we'd've gotten had this been 15 years ago, but what Master did then, they still do, and if Master today is Paul Speckmann dragging his sidemen to greatness by pure force of will, he's still certainly able to do so. Just crunching, thrashing, no-nonsense brutality that took back the audience after Estuary's crushing set, and if there was a little grousing about the crowd being run-down on a Sunday night, it didn't lead to an impeded performance. They closed with a Death Strike tune, but it's been so long since I listened to Fuckin' Death that I didn't pick out which -- and it's debatable as to how many others here had managed to reel in that demo out of the dark recesses of the internets to catch the reference.
Slowly, things broke up; it was still an atrociously long walk back to Cambridge when I could have parked closer and I may have picked up a tweak in my left ear from standing up close and unprotected again, but this was the kind of real true, interior death metal gig that only comes around once in a while, and there's no regrets to be associated with what's probably going to come out as one of the best gigs of the year.