Because I wanted to be sure that I found the place and could deliver correct directions back to some people who'd hit me up to potentially lug stuff over to Europe, I left right from work and picked my way carefully in through the rain and backroads traffic. The venue was exactly where the map said it was, and the tricks needed to get turned back around were pretty straightforward. I got in right about doors, and got my entry comped by Dave, which was unexpected. I had qualms about writing the show up afterwards; the experience you have as just someone who sees a flier and comes out is necessarily different from someone who just gets handed through by the promoter, if only because mine is missing that important arm of “value for money”. Ultimately, though, this massed out as pretty academic: this was a fucking awesome show in a hell of good venue, providing so much total value that the $5 entry charge effectively goes to zero in comparison.
The venue is a Colombian-operated (allegedly; doesn't matter, so I didn't check) Mexican restaurant with a good stage, a decent PA, TVs that follow the fitba, and a reputation online for bad margaritas and general gunginess. None of this was in evidence here; some people complained after about the price of drinks, but not the quality. One expects a certain amount of “yanqui go home” may have been poured out on the negative commenters, probably with reason; if the staff are cool with a bunch of death metallers thrashing out, spilling beer, and otherwise being death metal fans, you've probably got to be a real A-line jerk to get bad service out of them.
Though the music was slated to start sharply at 8:30, this was delayed a little; maybe part setup, maybe part Dave holding the start until the Gold Cup semifinal finished. Despite the US defense, as usual, doing their wet paper bag impression from about 55' on, Honduras proved themselves unable of punching through said wet paper bag, and the US stole a late reinforcement to make it 2-0, where the game ended. It was a crappy match, and I, a USA supporter, was nearly as mad as the Honduras fans in the bar at a generally incompetent display of football. And yeah, maybe not everyone knows everyone going in, but no matter who you are, if you stand next to Juan (Untombed) and rant about bad performances in the current game with him, you will, shortly, be in with all and sundry at this kind of show. (Well, as long as you don't run down Mexico too much.)
Beer, metal, fitba, and good company; I thought I wasn't getting over to Europe till Saturday?
These guys had a couple false starts, and took a song or two to get cranked up and dialed in, but when they did, they laid out a nice performance mixing a lot of elements of Dissection and Hypocrisy, melding melody and brutality in a way that you don't see much any more. It also needs to be said that they either explicitly or just by association pull some influences from Revocation as well; only Dave Davidson is Dave Davidson, but the guitar player in this bunch is cut from the same cloth, even if his style and skills aren't quite as developed. It could be mutual influence or parallel evolution, but regardless, it made for some cool-ass guitar work, and a killer set overall.
Blessed Offal [6/7]
I hadn't seen these guys since the Skybar was still open, and they've substantially revamped their lineup since, but if anything this hasn't affected their provision of high-quality, dirty, blackened death metal. This was about as black as the bands would get, but each of the bands represented a maximum outlier on some axis: melody, blackness, slam, brutality, thrash, and all of them tied back in with the provision of fundamentally worthy death metal in the bargain. Hopefully, this lineup will stick, and it'll be less than two years before I see Blessed Offal again.
If you are lazy and just like to look at scores rather than reading about what the bands did to pull those marks, you will see an extremely limited range on this show. If you're also wicked anal, I'll cut to the chase and note that Dysentery's set was probably the top among equals. The band does what they do, and they did it extremely well here, locked in, mountain-thick, perfectly clicking for an avalanche of audio destruction that meshed well with their crew thrashing the fuck out in the pit. Only one person got injured (busted knuckle, self-inflicted), Paul (Proteus R.I.P.) didn't spin-kick the head off any of the normal patrons, a couple of whom were up front and into the band, and everyone had a good time or a piece of ballistic-rated cover to stand behind, which is as close to a success criterion as you're going to be able to encapsulate for a Dysentery performance.
This may be the lowest score I've given Goreality (still without bass, but no marks off); if they'd gone on, this might have gone up, as they started slow and cranked up through the course of the set, perhaps an adjustment process with their new/fill-in singer, who had a good command of the material, but, as any rational person should have expected, was no Dan Pevides. From the sample at the end of the set rather than the start, she's definitely good enough to stick full-time if needed; we'll see if she's still out front (and if they can recruit a capable bass player in time) on the NEDF.
Yes, “she”. It's perfectly possible for a woman to front a brutal death metal band and do brutal vocals, ande Scariel definitely filled her role capably. Not Arch Enemy style; think of the old Russian band Mary....or not, because nobody fucking knows them except absurdly underground 1%ers who didn't have a problem with the initial idea in the first place.
It should also be mentioned that this show was effectively backlined with Goreality's Vader cabs (Steve and Mark are Vader endorsees), and this may have played a part in the uniformly high scores. While crap still sounds like crap when played through good equipment, good music will only sound better when pumped through two to four Vader 4x12s.
There was a bit of a break here while the Mexico – Costa Rica game wrapped up. Mexico stole an absolutely brilliant winner in the 88th minute with an attack that resembled a hxc VFW show, half their strike force ending up in the back of the net before one of the midfielders volleyed the ball past the goalie at last. Go find this goal, it's awesome.
Summoning Hate [6/7]
They came off as a lot more together than their last outing, which will go to rehearsal more than anything. Even though Marco's bass died in the middle of their second song, they soldiered on and smashed out a badass set of thrash-death metal, closing up only after pleading with Dave and the ownership to give them a last song. Maybe not a whole set, and maybe not a full band for most of it, but Summoning Hate still makes some quality metal, and though the crowd thinned after Goreality, they had as much a claim to a legit headliner-quality set as any of the last three bands.
NB: Though the last two bands were effectively bassless, Drew's bass attack in Dysentery provided enough low-end awesomeness to compensate. Pure annihillation.
In the end, it was time to go, as I had to work and then fly the next day. I picked up some Parasitic Extirpation, Dysentery, and Goreality stuffs, both for personal use and general distro in the eastern territories, and made my way out into the downpour to wend my way home.
Written in the Logan terminal before boarding for Iceland; next is German fests, which will probably not be digitized and published till well after.