Friday, July 30, 2010

Necronomichrist with Mowgli, Holding Steady the Hearbeat of Hell, and Dhoulmagus [Ralph's, Worcester, 7/29/2010]

Ok, this one is extremely late, dating back to before the Euro trip, but it still needs to get out, and another one after it, before that report goes up and at least before Exodus on Friday, which would totally fuck up the timetable.

I got in at a decent start before the bands went on, got the requisite beer in, and looked unsuccessfully for stuff to lug over. Not very thick on the ground here, but that's probably to be expected in an environment where I'd seen exactly one of the bands, the first on the bill, before, and them exactly once with a severely gimped lineup. No matter; if next year goes and these bands are still active and playing shows I go to at that time, they'll have more distributable merch, and as it turned out, I wasn't exactly hurting for stuff to give away by the time I got on the plane.

Dhoulmagus [4.5/7]
These guys were significantly improved from the last time I saw them, down, I suspect, to being a full band this time out, but still really need to work on writing the ends of songs. They played a decent set of blackish "extreme" metal, that sort of generic bucket used to cover what a lot of young bands are doing, either because it's the spirit of the times or because they haven't decided to fully commit to black or death metal yet, but as mentioned, need to work on tying their songs off. Too often they kind of just stopped, which works against positive impressions when you don't have an engineer to fade you out. This will probably come with time; if the past is any indication, I'll see them again in another 18 months opening another Metal Thursday and have another opinion at that point.

They asked midway through the set how many people'd seen them before. Mine was the only hand that went up; this bill didn't have a lot of overlap with Dysentery's crowd, and any others who were at that previous show had likely either come in late, forgotten the opener, or misidentified these guys since they weren't a full band at the time. Absurdly eidetic memory for the win.

Holding Steady the Heartbeat of Hell [5/7]
The name, which might lead the reasonable person, at least in this part of the country, to prepare for a cover-your-eyes-and-ears set of generic metalcore, is desperately misleading. Despite the absence of a bassist (guitar, drums, keys here), this trio delivered a class set of powerful, floor-shaking doom metal that locked in and kept the attention of the entire room for the whole of their set. This is about where I usually complain about bands playing without a four-string thudder in the lineup, but honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing these guys again, in whatever configuration, and if they keep playing good music, they're pretty much a cert to be back here at some point.

Mowgli [5.5/7]
As on any show where I haven't seen any of the bands going in (though after four years going to DIY shows around eastern New England, this is not as rare as it used to be, and even here I'd seen one of the bands, as noted above, albeit in a kind of gimped incarnation), I didn't have any preconceived ideas going in, but even at that, it would be difficult to anticipate how this band might sound. Mowgli filled the stage with musicians, and laid out a weird but fun set of still indisputably metal music, like a lighter Unexpect or Maudlin of the Well with some Opeth and Nevermore shadings. Unusual? Yes, but cool also, and those weird bands that you occasionally hear randomly or buy CDs from come from somewhere, and there happens to be one, albeit with less recognition at this point, playing local shows in New England. Good stuff and worth checking out if you see them on a bill somewhere.

Necronomichrist [6/7]
More than other headliners, at least as I can recall, here lately, this band really squeezed their timeslot to the very last drops, going right up out to the cutoff. Fortunately, though, nobody minded, as they were delivering nothing but consistently good, consistently well-performed modernistic black/death metal. On their Intimacy of Armageddon CD, which I picked up from the band after they finished, they occasionally sound like the leftovers of Vital Remains' Dechristianize (probably understandable for this style from this area), but they really didn't present that impression live so much as just that of a really good band. They may not be as distinctive as some other bands around here, but they've definitely got some good music in them, and they rolled out a fucking class set here.

CD in hand, I bailed posthaste; not only did I have to work in the morning, I also had to charge up, somehow, to do this all over again for Composted and Dysentery the next night, then get on a plane on the Saturday. Notes on those experiences are coming, and hopefully soon; all the pictures from the tour are now processed, and all that remains is to transcribe the notes. Hopefully by the end of the weekend, but I aint promising anything.

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