Friday, July 17, 2009

Darkwor with Cursed For Eternity, Ov Dust, and Shabti [Ralph's, Worcester, 7/16/2009]

When I went out to this I was still fatigued from the previous night's gig. Right now, I'm about 87% dead and taking significant advantage of the fact that my place of employment, being full of French people, has a DIY espresso machine. Six hours' sleep in 50+ and counting -- I'm already in festival mode, and got to see a second awesome black metal gig in the process.

As has been all too usual lately, I left right from work, navigated the Pike out without getting killed, and got in to Worcester just as the rain -- coming from the opposite direction -- was arriving. This was right about doors, so I got to stand and sit around for a bit and generally decompress. At this point, it looked mostly like a lot of Metal Thursdays do early on; not a lot of people, and many of those who are there are in the bands or traveled out with them.

Shabti [5.5/7]
This was a seriously impressive performance from a band that people in New England should definitely start paying attention to. The songs are not the most fully developed in the world at this point, but the musicianship that they displayed has to be acknowledged, as does the originality of their sound. Trying to sum it up for Matt from Faces of Bayon, who didn't get in until their last song, I couldn't do much better than the leftovers of a collaboration between 1990-vintage Cynic and 1991-vintage Dissection: a more or less even blend of tech-death and second-wave-black-metal elements that still felt raw around the edges. If they had CDs, I would have picked one up; unfortunately, all they had were shirts, and I'm not sure that they're "shirt-level" yet. I like the band, and will make a point of seeing them the next time they come around, but I already have too goddamned many shirts at this point.

Ov Dust [5.5/7]
I was wondering what band I'd seen the singer for these guys in before, but figured out while they were soundchecking that it was "none of the above", and that it was just the blown-out platinum hairdo, which you tend to see on about every third or fourth dude involved with a German folk/goth/Mittelalter-metal band. So we're clear, this guy is not the same as the dude from Subway to Sally. Similarly, Ov Dust is not the same as Celtic Frost, though the similarities are a little closer in that vein. They opened up with "Dethroned Emperor", which I didn't recognize at first, just thinking, man, these guys are just all over CF's knob, aren't they. Then the lyrics come in and I realize they're opening with another band's song. To their credit, they did play originals for the rest of the set, and got to a point where they just liked Celtic Frost a wicked lot rather than wholesale biting of their sound and catalog with huge gnashing fangs. They also strongly promoted their Myspace and covered the floor in flyers, which was a good thing, because there was a lot of beer spilled during Darkwor's set, and the extra absorption on the floor probably helped the staff with cleanup.

Cursed For Eternity [6.5/7]
This must have been Witch Tomb offspec week; Bone Ritual the night before, then this outfit similarly crushing all a day later and about an hour to the west. Here, though, the return to the primitive took on a different form: this was pure Black Circle music, neither Pure Fucking Armaggeddon (despite ending with an annihilating cover of "Deathcrush") nor Wrath of the Tyrant but somewhere in the middle, solidly within that musical continuum. It was also by far the best set of the night -- maybe only "by far" because of Darkwor's guitar amp issues, but whether you want to play the comparison game or not, the simple fact is that this set killed.

As mentioned, there were not a lot of people in this venue initially. However, that number steadily increased, to the point where, looking around after CFE finished, the entire frickin place was packed, and at about a 60:40 m:f ratio, which is absolutely unheard of in underground metal. This is, one supposes, a contributing factor in why Metal Thursday is where it is: there were more women in attendance by the end of this gig, nearly all of them actually interested in seeing and into Darkwor, than there were at the end of the EoN gig the night before, counting the posse that showed up from Wonderbar and wherethefuckeverelse solely to ambush Nicholas Cage. This isn't a "dude the CHICKS go to this show!!1!" selling point; it's an indicator of a healthier and more diverse which this long-running and successful concert series is also probably a contributing factor.

Darkwor [6/7]
Originally I thought that I couldn't hear the guitar because my ears were blown out after Cursed For Eternity. Then other people, some of whom I'd seen wearing earplugs at the show, confirmed that there was a problem with the amp at the start. Either way, Darkwor didn't get off to as clean a start as they might have liked, if only due to technical reasons. They did get cranked up over the course of the set, though, and did up some killer music...that I now don't have the most concrete recollection of, because they didn't have CDs (in "tiny jew cases" or otherwise) available, but mainly because I was pit-tanking throughout their set, which is always a challenge at this place. The usual supsects (modulo Chris, on IR at the bar for this one with a concussion) went completely nuts despite the large crowd, and the janitor/assistant bartender for the club was motivated to climb up one of the poles on the floor and hang upside-down from the light rigging before jumping off and getting circus-carried around the pit by Dan. The dude in question always gets into the bands, but this was a lot more over the top than I've seen before.

Somehow, when they finally finished, the conclusion was universal that it was too soon, and there was much bellowing of MOOOOAR! at the band, but the damn lights went on anyways, and the show was concluded. Already having a belle copine and definitely, in any case, having to work in the morning, I did not stay to work the room but hit the road, and despite extensive construction and humidity high enough that I had to run the wipers to keep the windshield from fogging up, I made it back in time to catch a two-and-a-half-hour nap before the alarm clock rang and I had to be moving again. Show was worth it, though; they usually are, as you can generally leave the sucky ones long before you have to sacrifice anything in terms of rest or stress.

I may or may not be going to Summer Slaughter; I go on call tonight for the next week leading up to when I hit the tarmac at Logan, and I may have other commitments as well tomorrow. Other than that, maybe hanging with the perpetually-expanding-their-universe-of-affiliated-bands originally-Downfall/Summoning-Hate crew Tuesday night, and definitely that last-chance show in Revere Thursday. And somewhere in all this I get to walk a 1/4 marathon, finish packing, and hack up a pair of BDU pants for overseas use.

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