Though work was wicked busy and I was unsure as to whether I'd get out on time for this, I went off on-call on schedule and was accordingly deshackled from my laptop. A brisk hike over a couple bridges later, and I was on the doorstep of O'Brien's, shortly after doors and just in time to have to watch where I was standing as Nachzehrer loaded in.
As usual on getting in early, there was a bunch of standing around drinking; I didn't need to get in this early, but the alternative was to maybe get stuck in traffic and end up missing bands or, having arrived in Boston, stand around pointlessly in the cold.
Soon enough, though, the music started.
The second time I'd seen them, and maybe their second show overall, this presented a different side to the band: darker, heavier, and more first-wave black metal. With a wee bit of stretching, one might get to a heavier Bifrost minus the keys; this band is still, obviously, in the process of finding their feet, but there's not a lot of Low-Countries-derived black metal in this part of the world, and it'll be interesting to see how Nachzehrer's take on the raw and thrashy sound develops going forward.
This was a shorter set than they had in Worcester, and one with a few more technical difficulties -- the guitars rather buried at the start -- but a good solid one. Of the three black metal bands here, Darkwor was the most expansive and 'epic', even with their raw bits, and they did a good job bringing that sound forward.
Unfortunately, I got mixed up and asked after a CD that the band didn't have -- but it is coming out for real, imminently, and if regular Darkwor shows in Worcester are something else, a Darkwor release show at Ralph's with Woe heading the bill will be something else again, and not to be missed. Mark your calendars for 3/13 -- it's not the Ides, but Metal Thursday is kind of constrained as to what day of the week it can happen on.
Black Pyramid [6/7]
The only thing "black metal" about Black Pyramid is that they are a "metal" band with "black" in their name, but regardless they were well-matched to this bill and well-received by the audience. This is partly because Rich Horror just plain doesn't book shows where all the bands don't flow with and set up each other in subtly awesome fashion, and partly because Black Pyramid is a fuckin good and fuckin heavy doom metal band. Not content to just revive Sabbath (though, admittedly, there are a lot of Sabbath riffs going on here), Black Pyramid substantially reinvents the progress of rock starting about 1978, taking first-wave blues-metal and NWOBHM as the foundation, then discarding everything after as irrelevant to their vision of metal. It was an awesome time at a crushing volume (making the case advanced by others who've seen them, that, despite not being remotely a death metal band, they would do well at MDF), and enthusiastically received by the peak audience; these people were up for the black metal portions of the bill as well, but truer-than-thou is a disease on the wane in Boston, as evinced by the diversity of the lineups on the last couple black metal shows documented here, as well as this bill itself.
Before Witch Tomb, people sadly and completely expectedly started to filter out; this is a consequence of MBTA policies, as noted on other O'B's shows in the past, rather than any reflection on the bands, and will likely continue until the T officils grow the stones to keep some kind of service running overnight -- and with the various anti-party ordinances currently in force in mind, this is not likely. It is, though, pretty amazing that the Boston DIY music scenes are able to continue to be so vibrant and productive in a town where the bars close before 1 AM on the weekends.
Witch Tomb [6/7]
As Witch Tomb goes, this was in some ways a down set. However, it really speaks to the quality and consistency of this band that even a relatively "down" set could be this good and this dominant, debatably the best outing on a very strong show. This performance was brutal first, last, and foremost, a powerful statement of urban yet never urbane black metal that, as with the band's tenuous antecedents in December Wolves, really needs to get out to more people. Witch Tomb's done better sets than this (mostly where a longer set time's afforded them more space to plow dissonant atmospheres into the abysal blasting, but this set was crushing and impressive in its own right, and a worthy capstone to another good local black metal show.
Things having closed up, it was time for the hike again, and though it was still freezing, it was not here, but the next night, somewhere in the process of getting wasted and sticking public pencils in my chop while doing karaoke in a dive bar, that I got sick. Hence the delay in getting this thing out. I'm still too dinged up to make it down to Bobfest tonight (the birthday celebration by and for Boston's most eclectic and enthusiastic DIY music fan, Wren "Bob" Leader), and sadly either on-call or busy with other stuff for Revocation's sure-to-be-memorable gig at the Cambridge Marriott, but there aint no such thing as too sick to go to Kreator.....even if it turns out to be IMPOSSIBLE! IMPOSSIBLE TO CURE!!!!!