Monday, April 19, 2010

one leg by foot, two legs by rail

As entirely befitting an enterprise conducted largely on the eighteenth of April into the wee hours of the 19th, this pair of shows involved a circuitous path around various environs of Boston, elements that can be clubbed into a rough allusion to Longfellow, and fortunately since this is the modern day, two bouts of awesome blasting metal rather than any encounters with foreign occupying military forces.

Nåthruzym with Blood of the Gods, Nachzehrer, and Bone Ritual
Midway Cafe, Boston, 4/18/2010

After bunging my car into the usual car-bunging-into-place, I crossed over a block and picked up the Red Line, then promptly missed the first train due to the dumb and impenetrable ticket machines screwing around again. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, though, because if I had gotten on that train and then picked up an earlier connection on the Orange Line, I would have been walking over to the club when the rain-mixed-with-hail came through. As it was, I was five minutes later than anticipated and had the smarts to stay under the roof by the subway stop until the worst passed, then go over after.

I still got rained on, but this is a casual hazard of going outside in New England any time it's not snowing, so no big deal. Getting in relatively early after doors, I had the chance to get a couple beers and get settled before the bands started playing.

Bone Ritual [6/7]
Despite the sun outside as the rain cleared up, this was a hellish set fully up to the standards that Bone Ritual's set in the past. They brought out some new material as well as the stuff from their now nearly-unavailable demo (the band's been out of the CD version for a while, and now they're getting low on tapes); this will eventually translate into some new material, and hopefully sooner rather than later. It's difficult for any time seeing Bone Ritual after the first to match up to that experience (well, maybe just for those of us who were there for their live debut and didn't really know what to expect), but this was a high-quality show that should at least match expectations for this seriously good band.

Since the club wasn't full absolutely to the brim, I had the ability to take some pictures, which are below. This got more difficult as more people came in, and then I was both late and bushed to the O'Brien's gig, so no photos from there.

Little known fact: Cody plays bass in his bare feet, at least in Bone Ritual.

Nachzehrer [5.5/7]
Nachzehrer was also up for this, with another set of driving, thrashing black metal. The place was starting to fill up a little more as the afternoon turned into the evening, and despite missing Bone Ritual, they still got some damned good music. Either because of where I was standing or just because of the way the balance was, the bass was a little higher up than when I've seen this band previously, which seemed to turn the sound more towards black metal. This is cool stuff, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the band eventually sorts their sound out on record, when they're at the mercy neither of engineers nor venue acoustics.

Mark thudding away on bass for NZ. This picture is not of Wren with a plastic 7.62 NATO stuck up his nose half out of basic respect, and half because I could not get my phone out fast enough. This, though, also happened during this set and is marginally more newsworthy than "Bass Player Good At Playing Bass".

Blood of the Gods [5/7]
I hadn't seen this band before, but they held up their own end, laying out a good set of doomish black metal. It wasn't really the most differentiated out there, but it was a solid performance and fit in well with the rest of the bill, which while staying fairly united under the banner of black metal did allow for a lot of diversity in sound. This is how we do in the Northeast; the unfortunate part of this set, though, was that the band didn't appear to have anything recorded. Something to look for next time.

Blood of the Gods, mid-set.

Nåthruzym [6/7]
Having come down all the way from Vermont, these guys would be the first to be discouraged by any shortfall in their performence. Fortunately, this wasn't an issue at all, as Nåthruzym presented a top-grade set of epic-tinged black metal to this mountain fastness of...well...a bar located next door to a Mexican pizza shop. Black metal has a tendency to set itself stiff challenges like that, but it makes identifying the good bands easier, as they, like Nåthruzym did on the night, are able to manifest an appropriate atmosphere through the music, bringing the audience, whatever the venue, into the cold dark heart of the ideas.

Mutis in traditional Vermont epic-black-metal regalia. Yes, that is an apparently whole bird wing being used as shoulder armor.

I was able to get a CD from these guys; the sound suggests a little more Immortal than what I heard live, but this is probably down to the band not having to balance cabs against the PA, etc, and make sure everything got out. Hopefully, they'll be back again; despite the distance traveled, they got a good reaction, and as much good black metal as we already have in this part of New England, there's always room for more.

Show concluded, it was time to get some dinner and beat feet towards the transit system. Fortunately, it didn't take forever to get a cheeseburger-and-fries-with-the-works (which, as should have been expected, included a liberal amount of salsa and some sliced jalapenos) from the aforementioned Mexican pizza place, nor to get it down on the march up to the train station. Even with that, though, the train change and having to go so relatively far out on the Green Line, then get hiking again, meant that by the time I got up to O'Brien's, the first band had already started. Missed it, so to say, by that much.

Boarcorpse with Scaphism, Untombed, and Forced Asphyxiation
O'Brien's, Allston, 4/18/2010

Forced Asphyxiation [5/7]
I got right in and took a few steps in past the door to immediately start listening to the band. Playing mostly basic but very solid death metal, they made a good restart to the night after the travel portion, and I was kind of bummed that they didn't have anything recorded available. This is a newer band, and it'll be interesting to see how they develop going forward; they had a good solid sound here, and definitely enough talent in the band to do something interesting with it.

In here, I got what would end up being the only beer of this show for me. Getting gilled at four in the afternoon at the previous gig may not have been the wisest decision in retrospect, but it sure as hell made sense at the time.

Untombed [6.5/7]
Wow. I'd seen these guys a couple of times before, and really, every band that hangs around for a while has the potential to unleash some absolute greatness, because otherwise they'd give up and do something else if they never caught lightning in a bottle in rehearsal and laid out some really killer jams. Juan, of course, is one of the truly classic death metal voices in New England, and the band's backed him up strongly before, but on this occasion everyone was really right at the top of their game. They got a good long set, and made every minute of it pay off, to a degree significantly better than what I'd seen from them before. Because, of course, bands and musicians can always improve, I'm not comfortable with going out and calling this a high outlier; maybe Untombed isn't going to be reliably this good, but they're going to play some good death metal whenever you see them, and additionally there's the chance for a performance this truly killer.

Untombed now has a five-song demo out, which I picked up in here, and which has proven to be full of nice crunchy death metal that strikes a good balance between old-school and slammier styles. Good stuff.

Scaphism [5.5/7]
When they started up, Scaphism had to deal with a bit of crowd depletion, but successfully yelled enough people back into the venue in relatively short order and had a decent crowd for a good, solid set of grind-tinged death metal songs mostly about rape, corpses, and raping corpses. However, this is also a band that will rhyme "snack" and "Sarlacc" when they need to, which really points up the essence of the band: the ability to take brutality out past the reducto ad absurdam, acknowledge the absurdity, and play it straight regardless. It's a tight needle to thread, but Scaphism does it very well, and I'm looking forward to when they have something recorded.

In here I went outside to take a brief rest on the sidewalk, because it was fucking hot inside. Unfortunately, this also procced concern from the organizers, who told me to get up before the Allston PD rolled up and started giving them shit about people lying around worse for wear outside. Apology!

Boarcorpse [6/7]
It was getting to the end of a long day, at least for me, but Boarcorpse, as they usually do, reached up and blotted nearly all of that out with a strong set of positive, brainwrecking groove-death metal. Jim had some issues with his pedals that were quickly fixed by a loaner from the Scaphism kit, but the mucking about with drum hardware didn't really break up the flow of the performance. They also brought a friend up who's just getting his feet wet on this live-performance thing to do some guest vocals, with pretty good results; not John Tardy by a fair stretch, but a lot of that was nerves and more will come with practice. Positive noise, positive chaos, and a good time by all; it may seem weird, but this is what you get with Boarcorpse.

Eventually, though, things had to end, and I dragged myself out over the bridges again to pick up the car, and manifestly got home without killing myself, as this entry makes manifest, though it is so fucking late that that may not have been clear for a while. In the interim, CNV kicked off their tour on the first non-Mos-Eisley Mos Eisley show, and there will be a writeup for that as soon as that one finishes.

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