I'm not sure that I've ever seen the same band twice in the space of a week, local or national; this would make this a first, but even without it, it would grade out as a hell of a gig.
I got in a little early, relative to the normal start time, even after refueling on the Pike with the godawful slow gimped pumps that must allegedly let them catch you stealing fuel or just let them spam you to buy all kinds of useless bullshit in the minimart, a fact that will become salient later. Back in reality, I stood around, drank a beer, bought Shadar Logoth's CD since it was then, and would be later, the only record available for sale that I didn't have already, and waited for the bands to start.
My bassplayers'-union skepticism was quickly laid to rest as this band came right out of the gates and flat dominated. They've improved significantly since I last saw them, and they also happened to be in a much better venue on this go-round. They had some slip-ups, and if I was one of the real ultra-grvm stick-in-the-ass types, I don't know how I'd've reacted to the singer's somewhat goofy banter and mannerisms, but where it counted, on the music, Morgirion was pretty badass. They're not quite on the level of the very top black metal bands in New England, but they're close, and if you're looking for black metal to get keyboarded up without getting gothed up, look no further. They set a critically high bar for the rest of the night, but most of the bands to come were able to meet that standard.
While they were setting up, Ryan (Ipsissimus) told me to especially watch their drummer, and I agree wholeheartedly with his assessment of the guy as a truly top-flight musician. He does a fair bit of triggers, but his cymbal work wasn't triggered, of course, and that was jaw-droppingly tight and consistent as well as the requisite fast and heavy. Not Marco Minneman quite yet, but still definitely a highlight in a band with high instrumental execution all around.
Shadar Logoth [4/7]
It's hard for me to stay objective here, as I tend to cut bands from Maine breaks on the basis of an exceedingly ephimeral gonfallon, especially these days, and I'm concretely prejudiced towards huge Borknagar fans, as these guys evidently are, but this is the performance that we heard. They were either victimized by the sound mix (i.e., the singer couldn't hear himself) or the vocalist has severe problems staying on pitch when singing clean outside of a fairly narrow range, and the composition of their tunes wasn't as smooth as might be desired, still relying in large part on tropes that have become worn out even in Maine thrash in the past decade. I'm interested to hear them on CD to see if the more controlled environment improves the material; more likely, though, is that this was a fairly average performance (if a little more nervy due to being so far afield) from a band still figuring out their style, their identity, and how they're going to develop their potential.
While Ipsissimus was setting up, the dominant lighting of the stage area changed to green. One really wonders whether this was due to coincidence (it was also easier on the eye, less glare), or to the sound/light guy overhearing Ryan describing his somewhat unorthodox method of mixing chaos and rigor in composition to Chris (Zircon; also the promoter if you're totally unfamiliar with this concert series). In many dimensions, this show was nearly as 'green' as 'black', but that's really neither here nor there.
No matter what you were fueled by for their set, though, Ipsissimus definitely impressed. The cumulative effect was a little less than at the Midway, but still badass, the debits being not a relative paucity of beer, but more occasional technical problems with the sound system that got certain parts lost. During their set, whether due to critical levels of collective alcohol intake being topped or because they somehow have the ability to play breakdowns and integrate them seamlessly into twisted, true, black metal (seriously!), was when things started to get seriously violent and chaotic down front. At least two beers got blown up all over the floor, and I think it was here that Chris and Crazy Dan started helicoptering people. True filthy black metal, till you nearly can't see through the haze of evil.
While setting up, Fires of Old declared their intent in unmistakeable fashion: instead of a normal mic stand like all the other bands had used, Fires brought their own, a five-plus-foot-tall steel monstrosity covered in spikes, formed into an upturned cross with two more upturned crosses attached at angles, and finished off with a couple loops of razor wire hung off the front. Looking at this thing, you immediately get the sense that this band doesn't fuck around, and you also marvel that nobody was seriously injured while removing the wraps from it. Seriously, even Mayhem didn't fuck around with razor wire back when they were putting straight blades in with the liner notes of their demos. Nothing says "we really don't care if we or someone else gets slashed up" like a coil of razor wire, and this message is pretty damn black metal.
Fires of Old [6/7]
The only violence and injury here was aural, though, which was pretty lucky as this set included people getting literally flipped head over heels in the pit. This was a first, even for Metal Thursday. Fires definitely delivered on the promise of old-school, violent music, inheriting heavily from old Satyricon and laying out a positively punishing set. There were a couple points to pick with the sound overall, and the sound guy apparently flat lost their intro, but they overcame these and finished strong. They, like Ipsissimus, could have easily gone on for a couple more songs, but in addition to the lateness of the hour, it was probably an even proposition that someone would get their skull cracked if things went on in the pit as they'd been going. So much for the "no mosh", "no fun", "no friends" parts of that old saw -- not like it had much currency around here anyways.
Still having to work in the morning, I cleared out shortly after Fires of Old closed up, then drove back along the pike through the fog. In with the usual dimension of otherworldliness, though, there was a hidden trap that I ended up having dodged heading out. The sole gas station between Worcester and Lexington not involving an additional toll was out of service, so while I was able to pick up some eats going through, it was lucky that I'd filled up on the way out, or given the fact that the fog cut into my max speed and hence my fuel efficiency figures, I might have ended up stuck on the side of 128, in no shape to work or to write this up.
Next gig is after I finish my on-call shift: KREATOR!!!! A THOUSAND FIRES BURN!!! IT"S TIME TO RAISE THE MOTHERFUCKING FLAG OF HATE!!!!!