The lateness of this post has nothing to do with this show and everything to do with being sick over the weekend following from it, probably due in large part to gobbling communally-prepared foods heavily dosed with booze on Saturday. No idea how the Swiss do it -- though not dumping in half a bottle of cherry liqueur is probably a good start.
I ended up having to go home before heading out, but got turned around in time and despite the snow got out to Ralph's shortly after We Met Aliens started. Straight into it; how to do a Metal Thursday, even if it means one less beer.
We Met Aliens [5/7]
It's difficult to put up a concise description of this band - "deathcore with some grooves and some weird parts" is a start - but if we can go with implication, a time capsule to Relapse circa 2003 is probably good enough. They played a good set, and anyone who still has a Contamination sampler from that era will dig them, but though this sound almost by definition can't be generic, it still didn't jump out and grab me. Boarcorpse is a functional superset of their sound, but these guys are some impressive musicians, and they played a hell of an opening set here.
After WMA finished, I went to get beered up, then hit the merch desk and ended up buying Razormaze's very last shirt. I felt kinda weird about this, because that's someone else here for WMA or Acaro who they couldn't turn on to them and also sell a shirt to, but in a way it's also good, because they're obviously moving shirts (saw one on some dude at Satyricon last night) and getting people excited.
Laid In Stone [5/7]
They started out a little rough, as might be expected from a band with their sound who trekked all the way out from Michigan to play this one gig (their tour fell through, except this gig, because Chris disnae fuck around when it comes to booking), but as they grew more comfortable on stage, the crowd grew more comfortable with them, and their brand of heavily Pantera-influenced brutal thrash got people flying around and fucking each other up. New England is a lot more wicked-underground than this at the DIY level, generally, but scene heads anywhere will appreciate a good band playing good music, and they definitely got that appreciation.
After they wrapped, the singer went through the crowd giving away copies of their very pro-packaged demo. This was kind of weird to me, because I and probably about 80% of the other attendees -- and this was a large crowd, with the people there for Razormaze and those there for Acaro both still in the building -- would easily have dropped $3 on their four-song EP, both because it's three friggin bucks and because this band came from Michigan with nary a stop in Buffalo or Albany on the way out nor NYC and Cleveland dates returning. Gas is cheaper these days, but seriously, that's like 1600 miles roundtrip. This is New England; we support bands here. As it was, I took a CD and was unable to drop a fiver in the box because the guy kept moving. Maa ii. Hopefully, their next tour will fare better booking-wise than this one.
This band continues to get better, with this being probably the peak set that I've seen from them. Sure, small sample size, but at this point, Razormaze is equally as good as any of the doctrinaire thrash-revival bands signed to mid-majors right now. Despite the strong hardcore presence on the rest of the bill, their ripping early thrash got a strong reaction worthy of the quality of the music (and Wren yelling for Aggroculture songs, but that's beside the point) and pleased those who'd made the trek out mostly for them. Probably by intention (like I said above, Chris is kind of a pro at this "booking good shows and getting good draws" shit), this was kind of a dual-headline bill, and Razormaze definitely delivered a headliner-class set.
Speaking of, Acaro approached things from a different direction, but got an equally impressive and worthy result. This was also the band's anniversary, so we got a bit of history and thankslist between songs; what's more notable is that it's their first anniversary, and that they're this polished and have gotten as much notice as they have. Three years ago, this might not have been the case, but time and changing trends now mean that a band that plays real true New England metalcore, equal parts real NWOSDM and real hardcore, can headline after Razormaze and get hardcore pits out of principally the same people who were circle-pitting and circle-headbanging for the band before. Of course, probably more important is that Acaro is good at this shit, very good, and they would have still stood out back when we had a glut of bands in this style and seven of them were opening every gig at Mark's Showplace, no matter if it was God Forbid or God Dethroned. As a metalcore skeptic, I didn't get their demo before they went on, but this was a convincing performance, enough to make sure I stuck around, picked up the record, gave appreesh to the band, and stuffed it into the inside pocket of my ridiculous anachronistic kutte before heading out into the snow.
On the way back I stopped for my usual dose of black C at the sole Pike rest stop between Worcester and my home base, and ran into We Met Aliens also standing in the McDonalds. I'm not sure that they recognized me, as said jacket was still out in the car, so I didn't want to inject myself into their conversation and produce a weird rockstar moment. Of course, if they did make me (off the Immortal pin on my hat or whatever), it was probably equally weird that I would hang about not talking, but them's the breaks.