Monday, February 01, 2010

Cold Northern Vengeance with Sewer Goddess, Deathgod Messiah, and Vaettir [Anchors Up!, Haverhill, 1/30/2010]

So the other shows this week fell by the wayside for various reasons, but there was no chance that this one was going to suffer the same fate. CNV does not play out a lot (though hopefully this will change with them getting some more in the way of label support, and with the turnout alluded to below), and Vaettir is too good to be teetering in and out of existence/activity as they've been doing. So it was a brisk hike back from class to Green Street, with a few minor detours to get some food down and in an ultimately unsuccessful search for a spare car battery, and then the long run of 93 to 95 to 97 to get up at doorsish, stow the car deep in the T lot, and hike over to the venue the long way round to try to mislead the cop sitting right in the damn driveway about my misuse of MBTA resources.

As it turned out, I was one of the first non-band people in the door, which resulted in a fair bit of standing around, browsing Matt/Gemini's distro pile, and getting admiration and mock threats from Keith PanzerBastard over my Tankard sweatshirt. If there was any justice in this world, Gerre and co. would have been over here recently, playing a warehouse gig to a mixed bunch of fitba and hockey hooligans, but as it is, only frustration and vain hopes that eventually, I'll hit them on some festival or another.

Eventually, Vaettir started, and those in attendance, which at this point was still mostly just members of the other bands on the bill, went down the well to support.

Vaettir [6/7]
As noted above, I was pumped to see Vaettir back again, and the band didn't disappoint. Their sound had a more death-tinged edge to it than the last time I recall seeing them, resulting in an atmosphere strongly reminiscent of classic Emperor, but this may also be down to better acoustics here than at the Midway, standing straight in front of the band, and not being as gilled. (This was a dry, all-ages show, being a dry, all-ages venue that has to deal with the Haverhill PD and their dislike of DIY shows, which has been documented on several occasions here, mainly back in 2007.) The CNV and Sigh (especially) touches remained, but the final result was Vaettir establishing very much their own sound and their own identity as a band. Though they're still looking for a permanent bassist to let the vocalist concentrate on vocals, this lineup works pretty damn fine as well, and they can't get that demo out soon enough. This is what NEBM is: we are so deep in good bands around here that even the ones that flicker in and out of active phases like Vaettir are currently doing are worth tracking and listening to.

As Vaettir changed out and DGM loaded their gear in, more and more people started trickling in. Some of this has to do with the dry nature of the show, and people's desires to get a little lubricated before coming over (or to arm up their flask to stay buzzing covertly), but more of it, likely, has to do with this gig being a 7:15 start in Haverhill, well out of the normal catchment areas for metal in eastern New England. There are a lot of metalheads in Haverhill itself, and the local dudes did a hell of a job getting it shouted up, but more than a few of the attendees were either up from Boston or down from New Hampshire, and couldn't, obviously, get moving as early as I did. Price to pay, though; when shows go too late in Haverhill, the HPD get antsy, and that's not good for venue operators.

Deathgod Messiah [5/7]
I'd been jamming Apocalyptic Raids and Carnivore in the stereo on the way up by pure chance, so as immediate as the comparison was for me, it probably does the band a disservice to just come out with "Hellhammer playing Carnivore" as a shorthand for their sound, though an introduction to first-time listeners could be a lot worse. This was the other, urban, side of NEBM, raw, blasting, dirty noise from the streets and alleys of Boston, in contrast but also in complement to the colder and more mystic sounds from the NH-based acts on the bill; the distinction's pretty artificial, as those who know the provenance of Bone Ritual and Martyrvore will recognize, but it works for illustrative purposes here. This was a fairly short and kind of slack set, but still well-delivered, and the crowd, which was now filling up the venue, was definitely appreciative.

It was around here that the venue ops confirmed that turnout had met the 'success' threshold to Paul CNV; this was a good indication, as (as commented before the show) a good crowd here was likely to have a knock-on effect in terms of getting other Bindrune bands booked into here. CNV is going to be on the road in Europe this summer with Wodensthrone; a return match with them coming over here would be a draw and a half at this place.

Sewer Goddess [NR]
The floor crowd stayed fairly thick for Sewer Goddess, though it's an open point as to how many people, or to what extent, appreciated what they were doing. Though the recording lineup was supplemented with several members of Deathgod Messiah, this was still extreme chaotic industrial noise, power electronics rather than anything immediately distinguishable as metal, and thus not rated. I like Scorn and Thrones, and will listen to Eyescale and Terror Organ just as readily as Wormphlegm, so I dug this, but I'm not sure how many others this was true for. Their set was also rather short, maybe 15 to 20 minutes, tops, but I don't have a lot of experience with this band, or, really, power electronics in general, so I'm not sure if this was normal or cutting things off to be accomodating to an audience that was hearing the band, and perhaps the genre, for the first time.

More odd and dissonant sounds were provided by Keith's bass amp as CNV started setting up; with shades of Spinal Tap at the Air Force base dance, it independently started blasting salsa from a nearby radio transmitting tower while he was tuning up. ¡Ay, caramba! This generated its fair share of laughs as La Frija Venganza del Norte continued to warm up, but it also got dialed in by the time the band formed up, put their backs to the audience, and the lights went down.

Cold Northern Vengeance [7/7]
When you try to describe CNV these days, you generally end up with a word soup: adjectives that apply, but must be stacked in careful and precise order to build an approximation, a low-polygon skeleton model of a whole that is difficult to describe directly and concretely. You can say 'doomy cold thelemic blackened heavy metal', but this, like trying to describe a sphere by the isocahedron of closest volume, both undercuts and overruns the band, and does not mesh in with the actual experience of seeing the band live and being within that evocation. With the exception of "Black Metal Isolation", this was all Domination and Servitude material, and though there are rumblings about a new CNV record sometime in the near future, if this is the set that goes over the ocean, Europe will be just as strongly bound as this record store basement was. This was their night -- Paul/Heathen set up the show and booked the bill -- but they thoroughly made it theirs, as much as they've taken over at least the DIY portion of every bill I've seen them on. The future is indefinite as much for them as for any other band, but if the music can get out, the rest of the underground, not just us in the regrowth forests and on the rocky shores of New England, is going to have to pay attention.

Eventually, CNV wound "Heathen, Heretic, Scapegoat" down and the lights came back up, and folk started clearing out; I nabbed a shirt off Vaettir and pounded pavement back to the T lot in time to find my car neither towed not ticketed, which was a relief, and the ride back down the winding roads to the south ended up without incident. This update is late due to Robbie Keane signing for Celtic, and then not winning us the first game; between one thing and another, I'm on call for the next week, but this doesn't rule out Witch Tomb on the coming Friday. Missing Revocation at Unit 11 is going to suck, but such are the bargains I make to be able to go afield in the summer without having to quit my job every year.

1 comment:


hahahaha, dude, "hellhammer playing carnivore" is probably more of an honor than we deserve. thanks all the same.