Though the huge multinational trip is looming -- need to get some groundcloths in stat -- there are still local shows that need paying attention to, like this one, which was pretty much as awesome and as ridiculous as might have been expected going in.
I left right from work because I had some crap to take care of that ran late, but was pretty much on time until I got to the part where some idiot had thought it was smart to close 33-50% of Storrow Drive westbound for concert parking, instead of making people take the train and use their feet like they ought to. This wasted everybody's time and led me to hustle a bit after caching my vehicle, because I didn't want to miss Macerated. Fortunately, I got over with time to spare, and had the chance to drink a beer with a nice high water:chemicals ratio, apologize to Mark for not letting him know I was coming down in advance, and buy a CD off Rich before the bands started.
I have a history of prejudice against bands without bassists; such is well-documented here. Despite this drawback -- as mentioned in some other venues, Macerated's sound wasn't maybe as tight as might have been desired -- the actual music offered here was pretty damn cool. Their set was relatively short, but they kept up at a high level throughout, with a lot more of an old-school brutal sound than might have been expected on this bill, or with this kind of lineup. Part of this may have been the equipment; the guitarist had at least a seven-string, maybe an eight, and did a really good job of keeping a thick low-end going as well as slashing out the riffage.
As mentioned previously, this band had some good merch, but didn't charge much for it, and additionally spent a lot of time away from their merch table during set breaks. While this is understandable (nobody's going to begrudge band members the right to pack up, watch friends they see two or three times a year via tourdate trades, and get some food down), this may have led to decreased sales, which would be a shame: good bands from 500 miles away need and deserve a hand getting to their next gig.
Embryonic Cryptopathia [5/7]
There have been rumors that this is an active band about as long as I've been actually going to DIY shows in Boston. This, though, was the first time I'd actually seen them play, and the first or maybe second time I can recall seeing them on a bill. Though the set was far too short, EC executed masterfully, with short, sharp, heavily blackened bursts of death-grind pummeling the audience. You might not expect the black metal elements at a show like this, but that's before you notice the large numbers of Hirudinea and Witch Tomb members in this band; then, it becomes clear that this is the other side of that coin, the more grind-heavy side of that absolute blackened worldhate music. Hella good stuff; no idea when they're playing again, or if they'll have anything recorded by then, but a band to watch for in any case.
If there was anything odd about this set, it was that EC was debatably more costumed than Composted; while the "sports" theme the latter band had going on wasn't the most well-implemented themegag the band's ever done, this is still something.
Rampant Decay [5.5/7]
Mr. Rich Horror has put on, in concrete and scientific terms, a metric fuckton of shows, including this one, since I returned to the Northeast from overseas. I have been to many of these shows. He has also had an active band throughout, whether the name be It Will End In Pure Horror, Rich Horror and the Screaming Nervous Breakdowns, or at this point, Rampant Decay. Despite this guy running a large part, if not the lion's share, of heavy music in eastern Massachusetts, I had to date never seen his actual band, for three years either missing shows due to illness, schedule conflicts, or outside commitments, or going to shows and being bummed that his band had to cancel. It boggles the frickin mind.
So I eventually do actually see Rampant Decay, and what is the upshot? A hella good band that makes Rich's commitment to promotion entirely understandable, thickly slurrying the line between metal and punk to the point where other promoters might not book them on punk or hardcore shows as being too metal, or metal promoters give them a pass as too punk. This is, of course, dumb, given the quality of the music, which mixes the best elements of Carnivore and a moshpit fistfight to create high-class DIY music that doesn't care nearly so much about genre as it does about getting wasted and headbutting somebody in the jaw. Rampant Decay could also have gone on longer than they did, but it was a good set regardless, and hopefully this ridiculous streak is over and I won't have to wait another three goddamned years to see a very active band from my home area again.
On this sad occasion, two members left the Composted family: Eliot "the BlackNess Monster" Bayless, who separated amicably from the band to pursue a career in actually getting paid to do music stuffs, which was taking off to the point that playing in an active death metal band was starting to interfere, and Leo the inflatable fish, who was beaten, stomped, and eventually hit by a car while trying to cross Harvard Ave. Yes, seriously. (Photo credits to Rev. Aaron, obviously.) That Leo survived to that point was something of a miracle, and may be a record for a Composted inflatable prop; practically everything else that gets thrown into the audience dies in a matter of a song or two, but Leo kept on trucking the whole set, flying through the air, getting punched and sat on, bouncing off everyone and everything, and helping Composted demonstrate that they are, yes, among the best slam-death bands out there, because while everybody may be able to lock in and drill siqq breakdownz khed, there's only an elect few that can do this while getting hit in the face with blowup fish and not miss a beat.
I'm pretty sure that this wasn't the best Composted set I've seen, but it was damned high quality, with solid slam-death making up for a slight decrease in gag volume. More so than for Rampant Decay, people got moving and violent -- towards each other as well as the inflatable fish -- but nobody got facewaffled and Eliot (on the floor because O'Brien's only has so much stage area) didn't even drop his guitar after he got run into, despite the strap separating from it. Good times, to be sure.
Eventually, the music stopped, and the band packed up, and people danced and made gang signs to the first Body Count disc, which was somehow on the club sound system, and then I hit the trail, saw Leo bounce off the windshield of some totally oblivious motorists, and hiked back to pick up my car again. Having gone right from work, there was no downtime, so I was feeling pretty beat, and as a result didn't pay attention on Route 1 and ended up detouring through Lynn and Swampscott for no discernable reason in the process of getting home. Three or four shows left, then it's off to Europe with whatever I end up hauling.