After a long layoff, this was the first show of the new year, and a hell of a way to kick things off in 2009. I got in, as usual, a tad early, because Church was advertising a 7pm doors, and though I came right from work, I didn't make that mark. I did, however, wash up about an hour before the bands actually started, in time to drink some beers, buy some merch, and get complemented on my CD and patch selection by some of the Tombs guys. Huzzah scene points.
Soon enough, though, the music started, which was the reason that we'd all stumped out to this place on a Monday night the day after the Super Bowl.
Led To The Grave [4.5/7]
An odd fit to this bill, this band ranged around stylistically; now more death, now more black, now more thrash metal, and while they were decent throughout, the lack of a unified sound hurt the songs as well as the set, and the composition came off as uninspiring. They were decent enough, but 'decent' isn't how you want to come off when you're opening for Dysrhythmia and a bill otherwise kind of lacking in the metal dimension. They'll do much better on something like Metal Thursday, and there's every indication this band will get better, but this band on this bill is, like Mouth Sewn Shut opening for Hirax, pretty much an indicator of Robin's penchant for eclecticism getting the better of him.
Post the metal band, the post-metal bands started; Monera, though, fell much more on the lines of post-hardcore rather than post-metal or post-rock. My appetite for this style is a little diminished, but they put up a good performance, decidedly original while still bearing witness to their HC roots. Of course, I know nothing about this band or its members, but I've been around long enough to recognize signature NE hardcore tropes when they're being thrown about left and right. Decent, again, but unlike the other bands on this bill, these guys probably wouldn't draw me, as someone who was wearing Sodom's s/t cover on his back to this outing, out to a show on their own.
Izzi Creo [6/7]
Though the backline stayed the same from the previous band, the style took a bit of a bend; Izzi's set was instrumental-only post-rock/post-metal in the vein of a cut-down Pelican. I'll take the real Pelican any day, but playing in this slot under Dysrhythmia, a decent impression thereof was plenty cool. Because of the cultishness of this genre as a whole, it's odd to see a band in this style that doesn't blow you away with their originality; these guys were good, and the indication is that they'll keep improving, but their absence from Hydra Head's roster at this point probably isn't a lot to get bent out of shape over.
At this point, the brutality got added back into the progression. Tombs had warmed up with some Celtic Frost during their soundcheck, and in their full performance, they were a spitting ball of noise fury, Neurosis fused with Scorn (Mitch from Napalm Death's industrial project, remember?). The result was a smashing, aggressive set that reset expectations for the headliners and reminded those who may have dozed off over the last two locals that this was a Relapse show, and things were going to get violent.
I don't know when Colin from Behold...the Arctopus joined up with the band, but while he was on a conventional six-string bass instead of some of the weird axes he's slung in the past, this was a definite positive; they announced that they weren't "going to play anything you like tonight", but blasted out a killer, pulverizing set regardless. Everything was dead-on, and the sound clicked all but perfectly, though there were some issues getting everything set up correctly to start. This is kind of a weird band, even so, and they have weird micing requirements, so kudos to the soundguy for letting this all come through. As some dude in the audience said after the show – while we were all standing around waiting for the band and crew to start tearing down, because you don't want to accidentally walk out on a Dysrhythmia encore – this band is now Behold...the Dysrhythmia, a fusion of two of the absolutely top bands in this niche of technical extremity, and the new record that they're working on with this lineup is going to be beyond killer.
They did a song "inspired by Metal Church" -- and while most people probably picked up on the "Ton of Bricks" sting-riff at the end, I'm not sure that many others caught the stuff from "Beyond The Black" woven into the middle. Go go metal nerd power!
Eventually, though, we got the idea from the venue keeping the lights on and the band bumming around in the audience that the show was over; some stayed to drink and hang out, but I'd walked two miles and more to get down, and additionally had to work in the morning. I left, and walked back through the lonesome streets and across the windswept bridges above sprawling fields of ice. Utterly unsurprisingly, I picked up a vicious cold and munged up my feet, and thus missed work. There is a knock-on effect from this, and it is a large part of why this review is so atrociously late. The rest is that work has been absolutely deadly; there's a late Metal Thursday review coming down the pike as well, hopefully tomorrow if I get the time after writing up the Destruction gig tonight.