Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nile with Immolation, Krisiun, Dreaming Dead, and Scalpel [Worcester Palladium, 1/16/2010]

Atrociously late but still here, this is from more than a week ago now, but it was still a good show and worth the trundling out to. I was coming from class, so this meant parking in Boston rather than doing the train, and paying too much for garaging and the Pike going out of the city, but it paid off in being able to get out on time and end up at the venue only shortly before doors.

After freezing for a bit, they opened up, and I got in and paid my $25 for what turned out to be, surprise surprise, another show moved upstairs at no discount. With this bill, it wasn't a problem, but as noted before, this is going to start bearing on people's decisions to come out before long. Upstairs is a good experience, but traditionally the cost of the ticket scales directly rather than inversely with the size of the hall.

Scalpel [4.5/7]
First time I'd seen these guys, and they put on a good if somewhat generic brutal/slam death performance. They had a lot of people in to see them who provided some good chaos on the floor while the crowd was still filling in, and decent enough material for a local band in the process of coming up. It'll be interesting to see how they develop, and how they go on to find their sound; eastern New England has a fairly large supply of bands in this general style, so if they want to stand out, they're going to need to step it up a notch.

I know that I've seen several of the members of this band in other area bands before, but their metal-archives entry isn't the most informative, and my memory isn't that eidetic. We'll see if I can work out who played with who in the past.

Dreaming Dead [5/7]
This band saw a lot of expectations reset; given the volume of evidence, it is surprising when a band with two female guitarists comes out and plays hard-hitting thrashing death metal rather than some other style. It's also good, which is why, I think, you saw a lot of interest in this combo from attendees. I was more surprised, though, in hearing that they were from L.A.; poorly informed me didn't realize they were touring and thought they were from New Bedford or something. They drilled out a good set limited to some degree by the sound, and definitely impressed; if Paganizer ever makes it over, this would be a good band to open for them.

This was apparently their first real tour, at least supporting a package nationally; while they seemed to be doing decent business when I went to pick up a CD, it might have been better if they'd turned one of the CDs over as well, to show the Ibex Moon logo on the back. John McEntee doesn't mess about when signing quality death metal, and most fans both know this and will be willing to give bands that are on Ibex Moon a fair shake for that alone.

Krisiun [6/7]
Despite the venue, this was about as far back as I've seen Krisiun from in the last four years. The overall effect may not have been as good as immediately previous times, being right on top of the band, but this was a class Krisiun set regardless, and someone else got to have that experience due to me getting stuck at the back. The room was well packed at this point, and arguing by volume that this maybe shouldn't've been moved upstairs.

Immolation [7/7]
On a night of very good performances from the touring heavyweights, Immolation's was at the top of the heap. There's not a lot you can write about this band: they play uniquely brutal yet epic death metal, and they bring it live with impressive ferocity. Their new record isn't out till March, but it's going to be another strong disc from the sounds of it here. Just simply great all around.

As per the last time I saw Immolation, up in New Hampshire two years gone, they didn't play "No Jesus No Beast", despite people yelling for it. It's a good song, but so is their new material; if they want to emphasize that they're an active band still making good new music, that's their choice, but it's always someone's first Immolation show. Crappy argument, I know; maybe the solution is to book Immolation on more festivals where they're pinched for time and playing to a large number of known new audience.

Nile [6.5/7]
If you were also standing around as the techs milled about and Karl tweaked away at his rig, you might have wondered if the score was ever going to get to this level. Nile started off late, delayed by technical problems with what looked like an effects unit; it's due to stuff like this that people come up gnashing their teeth about simplicity in metal, but as the rest of the set demonstrated, it's useful to also have bands that are willing to take the risk of stuff not working in order to bring their studio sound out onto the stage live. When everything finally started working, Nile hit into a class set heavily balanced towards new material that neatly palliated everyone who had been yelling at them to get on with it. Not perfect, but crushing all the same, and a strong conclusion to a killer show.

People had been filtering out all through Nile, probably as a consequence of the delay in starting up, but I stuck till the bitter end, not wanting to miss out on anything that might go forward before the lights went up. I got full value out of my $25, and suspect that most who were in from the start did as well; Abigail Williams dropping off and good performances from the good bands that remained will tend to do that.

Next show is coming up in the next couple days -- Palladium shenanigans decided against the Arch Enemy/Exodus tour, but if I don't see Cynic in Boston Tursday, then it'll be Suffocation, Shining, and going home before Devildriver Friday -- and if not then, definitely CNV in Haverhill. Good stuff coming.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Korpiklaani with Tyr, Swashbuckle, and White Wizzard [Worcester Palladium, 1/8/2010]

I missed out on Razormaze's kickoff due to being on call, but the shift wrapped up at the end of the week, and I was able to get out to this gig, which has been roundly slated, both before and after, to a degree that it didn't really deserve.

Getting in on time was not really difficult, but it was unnecessarily expensive; this gig got moved from downstairs to upstairs (understandably; though for an upstairs show it was frickin packed, people would have been rattling around in the downstairs, especially since a lot of the people who go to shows like this are not going to be on the floor throughout), but the ticket didn't move down in price at all. $25, even at the door, is too much for a four-band show upstairs at this place, full stop. I still paid it to be able to see Tyr and Korpiklaani from contact range, but my patience for such antics is getting strained.

White Wizzard [5/7]
I think about fitba too much, so on seeing these guys, the first thought was of some unbalanced second-division side that you randomly see in a cup competition: some guys who are too good for where they're playing, and some that you scratch your head and wonder how they got this far. The second thought, of course, though, was "how did an Iron Maiden cover band get on this tour"? As their set went on, they put in more doom and '70s elements, eventually coming around to a better set, but there's a lot of Maiden in their sound still, and while the bassist was outstanding -- as any must be to clone Iron Maiden -- the guitar solos were disturbingly hit-or-miss for a band touring nationally. The liner notes for their record -- apparently a demo repackaging -- indicated that this was a new lineup, so maybe they're shaking out the bugs and will improve in the future. The room's definitely there, but hopefully they'll diversify the sound a little more as well.

Swashbuckle [7/7]
The score's a little iffy; this was more to the level of their killer New England debut than their subjugation of Germany in the summer, but it was still a top-class set and the score isn't supposed to be for perfection. They came (out to "Sharp Dressed Man", perhaps a reference to the beardism now sweeping across the whole band), they saw (the floor open up for multiple Waves of Death), they played headcrunching pirate thrash and invited up crowdsurfers and stagedivers. Was there a barricade down front before? There certainly wasn't this night, and the band and those getting riotous for them took full advantage.

This is, as mentioned, my fourth time seeing this band in five months, and the third month in a row that they have played upstairs at the Palladium in the first week. The risk of overexposue is certainly there, but props to the band for having the fortitude to go out and be road warriors to this degree, even (on this trip) doing the instrumental-tech and backline work for the tour as a whole. You don't really expect a pirate metal band to 'make it' in this day and age, so in that regard, working one's ass off is probably the optimal path to overcome those odds.

Tyr [6/7]
More new stuff and fewer doomballads in this set than the last time around, but even if the sound seemed a little off in places, this was a class performance. This was the first show of the tour, and a bunch of their equipment hadn't made it into Logan correctly, but Tyr gave a strong performance regardless. (It was armor and stuff that didn't make it in, not instruments, which made it that much easier; also New England is accustomed, at this point, to seeing Tyr just playing guitars and stuff with their shirts off.) They closed with a strong cover of "The Wild Rover" that may not play as well in other places -- not only folk fans salting the audience, but also a lot of Dropkicks fans and other plastic paddies, along with a handful of the next step up, plastic Provos like the twit who was yelling stuff about "the 'ra" at the end of this one; that's Boston for you, and you will not find that in many other places.

They mentioned a 9-year-old girl in the audience "tricked into a rock concert" by her parents for her birthday, which was entertaining; the reaction to grouse about "kiddy jig metal" or alternately, to expound on Metalnachwuchs, probably says more about the individual having the reaction than it does about the band, or the kind of parents who name their kid Freya.

Korpiklaani [7/7]
Korpiklaani looked a little uncomfortable at times the last time they were around; whether it was the more intimate setting, a full tour's worth of experience with American audiences, or less pressure not having to follow Primordial and Moonsorrow, this was a nonfactor on this outing. We got a nice long set of free-flowing humppaa metal, interrupted only briefly by crowd antics, that by the end slid down the slope to boozy DIY anarchy. The band was initially disturbed by the crowdsurfers -- not without cause, because five members on the stagefront makes the upstairs stage a hell of a lot more crowded than, say, Swashbuckle's two -- but after securing the mic stands properly, got into the game, passing out their free beers (often shaken up) into the crowd for drinking and spraying purposes. What did anyone expect from a band that starts with "Wodka" and closes out with "Beer Beer"? Certainly not solicitude of the security, who went onto high alert at the thought of alcohol being handed out in frangible glass bottles to random people in the pit. Nobody hurt or arrested, at least that I could see, so all good in the end.

As I was going out, I happened to overhear someone complaining that Korpiklaani was too loud, making them not as good as Tyr. It was very difficult to keep from mercilessly ripping into them: you went to what kind of concert and are complaining that bands are too loud? If this attitude is more generally shared, then and only then is the getoffmylawn griping about what kind of people this kind of metal attracts valid. Seriously, you go to a metal show and complain that the bands are too loud? Loud is kind of what this music aims for, if you have a problem don't stand next the damn speakers, idiot.

I did stand next the damn speakers, and my ears were ok. At least as far as I can tell. Unfortunately, I had to miss Summoning Hate last night, but the possibility is still on for Goreality tonight, and then the Palladium gig at the weekend -- unless it's upstairs, uninspiring, and too fucking expensive.