Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Is This Record I Don't Even II: Melt Banana / Fantomas 5" split

When you actually buy a turntable in the modern era, you have a choice to make about what kind of weirdo you actually are. You can either become an audiophile and spend thousands of dollars kitting out The Most Badass Stereo Setup In The World and waste money buying $200 rubber mats with triangular cutouts on them to "stabilize" your CDs, or you can become a vinyl geek and buy 5" cybergrind singles because it's Melt Banana in a non-standard gauge so obviously. That being said, this is a decent but tremendously short split; the Melt Banana side almost hits two minutes, but the Fantomas track comes in short of 45 seconds. MB is more noisy and has more of a groove, the Fantomas side has more of a grind structure to the percussion and a trumpet doing a horse laugh. Pretty much what you'd expect coming in. Oh, and it's a 33, because good luck getting even two minutes of music onto a 5" at 45 rpm.

What Is This Record I Don't Even

I recently fixed up my A/V setup and got my turntable hooked up again after 18 months off. Then I went through my record collection for stuff to listen to on it, and found a bunch of records that I didn't even remember buying, much less what they sound like. Hence, this project; listen to records and figure out what the hell I have.

Wishbone Ash - No Smoke Without Fire

I think I got this one because a) it was cheap and b) I'd heard that Wishbone Ash was a formative influence on Steve Harris. This probably explains all three or so Wishbone Ash records that are going to be covered. I'm not sure that I ever really listened to this one, though. The music is pretty standard-form '70s prog-ish rock; the bass pops nicely, but the disc doesn't really stand out in any way that grabs me as opposed to a lot of other bands from that time. I think I may have heard "You see red" on the radio at one point, but I listened to a LOT of WBLM in college (4 hours x 4 nights x 30 weeks x 4 years, do the math) working in the cafeteria, so that's not only a lot of exposure to a lot of '70s rock, but the suspicion that there's a lot of '70s rock that sounds like this for me to get easily confused about.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stir Fry Is Wicked Pro

There's not been enough (or, more accurately, fuck-all any) cooking content in here recently, so it's time to amend that by moving out this bunch of instructional pictures. This is how to cook a mixed meat/vegetable stir fry for people who think they know what they're doing, and have all of the tools needed. Doing this well is a necessary prerequisite to cooking anything else Chinese-style.

Look how yummy that looks. And it came off my stove in less than an hour from first cut to fork, not out of a carton. This isn't the recipe that's going to follow, but the principles are the same. If you know the basics of knife work, seasoning, and wok handling, you can stir-fry virtually anything.

Complete raw ingredients. Here we have from left to right some napa cabbage, a leek, some celery, and the cheapest package of beef I could find as whole cuts without bones in them. As will be seen later, getting anything but the cheapest cuts you can for stir-fry is a waste of money.

How to cut celery. This is fast, exposes and breaks up the grain, and produces slices that you can pick up with chopsticks easily.

Reducing the napa cabbage. Pluck out, then wash a couple leaves, then stack them up and cut them down in a herringbone pattern as shown in the photo.

Prepping your leek. The part that is not in the sink is getting cooked; the hard top ends of the leaves as well as the root base are not getting cut up.

Leek technique; again, thin slices across the grain. The leek is from the onion family, so those slices are going to disassemble into rings in the wok.

Leek surprise. Because they grow under the ground, mud tends to get in between the rings of your average leek. Check your slices as they go and wash or throw out (according to taste) anything that looks too affected.

Leek, fully processed. Cutting the rings in half helps the disassembly and makes for one thing less to worry about when you're actually stirring.

A big pile of vegetables ready to hit the wok. Cutting correctly produces pieces that are mostly of the same thickness; this is important for stir fry where you want to move stuff through the wok as fast as possible together. Here the celery isn't matched to the other ingredients, but it's ok if that stays a little crunchy.

Now to prep the meat.

First, dress out all the fat using your meat knife. The bare minimum for Chinese cookery is a vegetable knife suited to slicing, as shown above, and a larger, heavier meat knife like shown here and below that can be used as a hammer and a cleaver if needed, but is still sharp enough to cope out edge fat.

The beef chunks were too thick, so I sliced them in half. Any thicker than about half an inch and you're going to think about wanting to do this.

Bash up the meat with the back of your knife in the regular pattern as shown. You can see how much this makes the meat expand relative to the top half of what used to be that cut at the top of the frame. The purpose of this drill is to break up any remaining grain in the meat.

Do two passes of that on both sides of your meat chunk, creating a cross-hatched pattern. This should make it much larger and flatter.

Cut slices about as wide as your cut is thick (at this point) out of the meat you've battered into submission. These will cook fast, digest easier, and handle easily with chopsticks.

After repeating that process for the other three chunks, all the ingredients are prepped.

Once you get the hang of sauce-making, you can start your rice here. Until then, it's probably better to wait.

Sauce parts. Roughly from left to right: barbecue sauce (can use ketchup, I just don't keep that around), garlic powder (can use fresh garlic, but the handling's different), real soy sauce (if you use La Choy, just stop reading and kill yourself), rice wine (can use rice vodka or soju in reduced quantities), hoisin sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, black pepper, sugar. Not pictured: tap water.

Seasoning varies from person to person and is not always intuitive. Since this was a beef stir fry, my sauce mixture probably looked something like this:

1 tbsp sugar
1 piled tbsp barbecue sauce
2 tbsp rice wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1.5 seconds tap water (about)
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp hoisin sauce
dash sesame oil
6-8 shakes garlic powder
10-12 turns black pepper

added to the bowl in about that order. When it tastes right, stop.

One spoon hoisin, two spoons oyster. Generally I work off the following for different meats:

beef: 2 oyster, 1 hoisin
pork: 1 oyster, 2 hoisin
chicken: 1 oyster, 1 hoisin, more soy sauce

but this isn't actually founded on anything. I don't have hard and fast rules for tofu-based and other vegetarian stir-frys developed....yet.

More-or-less completed sauce. This needs thickening before it hits the wok, but that's for later.

Put about this much oil in the bottom of your wok. If your wok is still new and shiny, I'm sorry, you need to treat it first. That's better handled elsewhere. Non-stick woks are right out.

After heat is up -- remember, cook on high for wok hei, always -- and the oil spits at you when you flick in a drop of water off your finger, bomb your veggies in and stir to make sure that all of them get equal time on the bottom and on the sides.

As you stir, the mass will start to lose volume as the water boils out.

With practice, you'll know that this looks done -- and if you have aromatics like leeks in, it'll smell done as well.

Dump the veggies back on the plate they came from, put some oil in the wok as shown above, and when that's ready, in goes the meat.

Your meat will cook faster than your veggies. Stir vigorously to keep any bits from sticking.

After the meat is done, plate it back out to a different plate that hasn't had raw meat sitting on it. With beef or pork, this is usually when you see major steam plumes coming out of the pan. We want to keep as much water in the meat as possible, so get that to feck.

When the meat's out, put the wok back on the heat and add your thickener to the sauce, about this much. You really ought to use cornstarch, but flour will work and I tend to keep that around for other uses. Whisk it thoroughly in to prevent clumping.

Pour your finally-completed sauce mixture into the wok.

Keep the ingredients to the side for the time being. The sauce needs to cook and also to cook down to get rid of the water we used as a solvent to make the other parts mix properly.

Your sauce will soon start bubbling deliciously. Stir occasionally to keep tabs on it that it isn't clumping and doesn't need any extra seasoning.

As the sauce starts to cook down, the bubble complexion changes.

When your spatula leaves a trail behind it as you stir, the sauce is getting close. The idea of cooking down the sauce is to take it from liquid to semi-clotted by driving off most of the water and letting the thickener set up.

If you put the rice in before making the sauce, it's probably finishing up in the rice cooker about now. If you waited until after the sauce was done, it's probably got a little longer to go.

Thick, glossy bubbles in a greatly reduced volume mean the sauce is ready to take the ingredients.

Chuck everything back in and stir them through so that the meat and veggies pick up the sauce.

Like that; see the gloss and coloration on the ingredient slices.

This should take a minute or two at most, and then you're ready to top some rice with that and eat!

The above is about half the stir fry on top of about a cup of rice dry (cooked as one cup rice, two cups water in the rice cooker above), which makes a solid, not quite to say gutbusting, meal for a very large metalhead who doesn't eat a lot during the day. The stir fry volume set up in this recipe/walkthrough and half a cup of rice dry for each person will probably serve three or four normal-sized people just fine.

And since there wasn't a lot of metal content in this post, here is a picture of Akiyama Mio thrashing the fuck out in front of a limited Coffins split.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Agalloch with Worm Ouroboros, Vindesang, and Musk Ox [Middle East, Cambridge, 3/23/2011]

As epigrams go, this one from a guy in line outside before the show started is all that you really need: "When Agalloch's playing you fucking go. It doesn't matter what you listen to normally, you fucking go." More than just the band that's responsible for some of the best and most influential metal albums of the last decade never touring, they're fully as good on stage as they are on disc, and a show that good does not come around all the time.

Since I didn't have a ticket, I knew I had to get down early, and did so, rolling up sufficiently so that even if I'd had to pay my ticket at the door, I could have gotten one of the last handful. As it was, I ended up buying someone's extra while standing in line, and thus skipped the last 15 minutes or so of the lineup outside in favor of a beer in the restaurant and a hike around the block. Time killed, it was in and down, with enough time to hit the merch stands before the bands started.

Musk Ox [5/7]
Ok, for 'bands', read immediately "one Canadian with a classical guitar". Despite being pretty explicitly not-metal, Nathaniel got a good reception from the crowd over his four songs, who likely could see or at least aspire to be in his shoes: one musician, doing his thing, super-amped to see Agalloch at last. Of course, the differences were manifest as well: you go from "random dude with a guitar" to "working with Woods of Ypres and handpicked to open for Agalloch" for a reason, and the music reflected that, neofolk that held its own end up despite opening a fundamentally metal show.

Though the front was pretty packed for this set, the venue filled up over the course of it, getting up to nearly full. As far as I can recall, this was as full as I've seen this room -- but then again, I hadn't actually been in to the Middle East, upstairs or downstairs, for a gig, due to various stupid factors, in like two and a half years.

Vindensang [5/7]
This band successfully makes the argument that The Mantle is the most important American metal album in the first decade of the 21st century; without it, it's very difficult to see a six-piece outfit burning incense, playing auxilliary percussion, and having a samples guy play a length of steel towing chain like a triangle seeing themselves as a metal band, let alone making it through a nontrivial set at a metal show without people throwing things at them. That said, the band also made the argument that diversity of influences is a good thing; from the few songs that they played, it wasn't easy to see what they'd been listening to to form this sound other than Agalloch (and the usual little bits of Filosofem and late Sigh). The music was decent, but Agalloch-cloning on a bill where the real thing was coming up in an hour or so. It might be interesting to hear how these guys develop, or what a full set rather than an opening set sounds like from them, but they didn't do enough to convince me to put (literally) my last 10-spot on their record rather than Worm's.

Worm Ouroboros [5.5/7]
Unlike the first two bands, I saw Worm from a fair distance back, which may have contributed to the mix; in a sharp disjunct from the two bands who'd come before, this trio presented a set of doom metal that stirred out with a feel midway between Shroud and Woods, to pull a cheap reference from last week, half soporific and half nail-your-boots-through-the-floor crushing. The ethereal and sleep-inducing bits might be expected from a band with neofolk influences and two female vocalists, but the heavy parts might not, and so far as I've gotten into their self-titled record, did not announce their existence in the band's recorded material. Not that I'm complaining; it's always better when bands are better and heavier live (cf. Evile), and perhaps the quiet, snoozy bits make the contrast sharper. Regardless, the music was good, and the sound plainly different from the other bands on the bill in influence and results.

EDIT: further listening shows that the heavy parts are, obviously, in-source; 80mph dodging fools and potholes just isn't an optimal environment for picking them up on the first listen.

Agalloch [7/7]
Just due to the material involved, this was always going to be a top set as long as the band actually showed up. Agalloch just produces good music, any way it's cut. Had I been able to get to the prior tour, I might have enjoyed that more, due to Ashes... and Marrow... not being out yet and not being able to dominate the setlist as they did here, but it's not like those are bad records or something. Thus the inherent contradiction of being a band that never tours; because the last time Agalloch was through was six, pushing seven years ago, fans want to hear the best material, but the band wants to play more of the new stuff that they haven't done live yet. The reaction they got on the two early songs they played ("Dead Winter Day" and "In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion", as an "encore", probably for tuning reasons) was as strong if not stronger than that for the bulk of the set, but the band looked and felt more comfortable on the the later material. Time passes, tastes change, and "She Painted Fire Across The Skyline" is, really, far too long to perform in any non-"An Evening With..." set, but without that early transformative material, Agalloch is just a very, very good third-wave black metal band, and not the band that debatably invented the style by presenting the music of desolation in a way that wasn't dependent on black water in mountain crags.

"...Shadow..." wrapped with like five minutes before venue curfew, and for a while it looked like they might do a real encore, despite the logistic difficulties involved (seriously, name an actual Agalloch song that runs under five minutes), but the lights came up and the crowd cleared out. Short hike to pick up the car, then a relatively quick drive back despite bridges being closed here there and everywhere. Next gig, who knows? Depends on if there's anything before Wormrot at O'Brien's.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Woods of Ypres with Shroud of Bereavement, Obsidian Tongue, and Vattnet Viskar [Ralph's, Worcester, 3/17/2011]

Despite difficulties getting out of work on any kind of timely schedule, traffic was light, and I blasted my way out to Worcester at possible personal bests for speed and fuel efficiency. I got in and up and drinking just before 9; plenty of time to browse merch before the bands started.

Vattnet Viskar [5/7]
It's an overreaction to say that this band means that the tide (the hipster one, not the orcish tide) is reaching the shores of New England at last. This kind of droning black metal's been around for a while, just not as obviously third-wave as these guys make it. That being said, they put out some solid if completely undiversified music, showing good chops despite PA issues that gimped their sound at the start. (With the rhythm guitar essentially turned off, they sounded like Witch Tomb gone third-wave, which was cool, but further songs showed that this wasn't actually what they were going for. The foundations are there, but there's a lot of improvement that needs to come if Vattnet is eventually going to get into the first rank of NEBM. And if they can do so, given how high that mark is, getting assimilated into that black cascade won't be so bad.

Some people might pull the band up for blacking up for a local show in 2011, but it would be extremely poor form for someone who once did an academic presentation with Abbath-scale incursions of shoe polish on his face to do so. Actually believing in black metal can excuse a multitude of sins, from corpsepaint down on to hipster shoes.

Obsidian Tongue [5.5/7]
A better showing than last time, maybe just down to improved PA, maybe not. The sound felt a little more muscular, slightly more death-influenced, but still with the band's unique highs and lows. At some points, it felt like they were running into the limitations of what it's generally possible to do with one guitar and a drumkit in a black metal context, but despite these limitations, they still closed really strong. Time will tell if these apparent boundaries are real, or if I'm talking out of my ass, but if OT can continue to devise new and cool things to do with their existing instrumentation, they're definitely going to be a band to watch.

Shroud of Bereavement [5/7]
This was not a real good set from Shroud. "From" rather than "by", because most of the issues were not their fault. The PA wasn't really well-balanced to handle their relatively complex and somewhat delicate sound, and the monitors apparently weren't consistently balanced to allow the vocalists to hear themselves. Woods had some intonation issues on clean vocal sections as well, but nearly all of Shroud's material has at least one clean vocal line going, often two, and too often the exposed vocals were either buried in the mix and/or out of tune. When things came together, they cane together very well -- Shroud also finished strong after the technical issues had been mostly sweated out -- but the tradeoff as demonstrated is inherent in the ambitious music and arrangements that the band does. You can play intricately composed 20-minute doom metal symphonies, and you can play stuff that's always going to be balanced correctly by the soundboard, but it's not really reasonable to expect that you can always do both at the same time.

Woods of Ypres [6.5/7]
Though this wasn't quite as good as the summer gig, and, as will be seen, a lot of that is on the band, even that is somewhat out of their control. They've been picked up by Earache, who're re-releasing the Green Album (go buy it in the store or online if you can't make it to a show, leech), which translates not only into formalism -- vice four work visas for touring in two countries, and Dave carping about it -- but also this being an album tour. Where July was a diverse set heavy on Woods II, this one was almost completely pulled from Woods IV. It's a good record, but the songs that are not its best are not as good as the stuff off II and III that got left out of the setlist in order to sell the new record. That's the debit; the good news is that Woods still don't lack for power or shading in presenting the new material or reshaping the catalog stuff. Dave had a couple intonation issues mid-set, but this is a casual hazard of doing clean vocals at the DIY level, and it didn't stick out in an overall well-delivered set. As the band showed in closing with "A Meeting Place and Time" (well, before doing "Ontario Town" as a perhaps-legit encore), execution-wise they were dead-on -- just handicapped a little by playing their latest-best material to the exclusion of some of their best overall.

Home over empty roads; the heavy police presence must've scared the drunks off. Next show is Agalloch tonight at the Middle East, provided I can get in; Bat Cuntry, JJF, and The Frog over the weekend didn't really end up being under survey.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kai's Metal Dungeon playlists September - December 1999

When I was in college, I had a radio show. It was on a 300-watt station in the middle of the night and heard by the best approximation of just about nobody, but it was something to do, and it was the expression that I could do, at least of myself as a metalhead in a context where the numbers of such could be counted on one hand. For the first season, in the fall of '99, I taped every show, until I realized I wasn't going to do anything with them and stopped. In the third stage of my closet clearout (CDs are done, VHS tapes are done, cassettes are next, DVDs are after that), I ended up digging them out again, and while I still have no desire to listen through them again and hear crap versions of songs I have on CD, interspersed with my fumbling 19-year-old voice mangling PSAs and decade-old news, the content listings are interesting.

I wrote down the content of all but one of the shows (#4, a memorial for Erik "Grim" Brødreskift, who died that week, which was devoted to bands he played in; mostly early Borknagar and Gorgoroth, but if I recall correctly some very early Immortal in very bad recording was in the mix as well) and only lost the tape from show #5, so what remains is 12 cassettes' worth of information on how a 19-year-old from the last generation of metalheads to grow up in isolation, still finding his feet but unaware of quite how little he knew, programmed a midnight college radio show at the turn of the century. Feel free to laugh at the programming choices, but it's still of historical interest: nowadays, everyone everywhere is plugged into the same scene and understands the same canon the same way. It's a lot harder to be in this kind of state where you hear a selection of stuff based largely on luck and have to make the connections yourself.

Most of the content is pretty mainstream; bands that I don't expect everyone to have strong familiarity with are linked, except Pyrogenesis, who have like completely disappeared off the internet.

Show #1
Borknagar - The Eye of Oden
Old Man's Child - The Millennium King
Sigh - Hail Horror Hail
Emperor - Opus A Satana
Arcturus - Wintery Grey
Blind Guardian - Lost In The Twilight Hall
Manowar - Guyana (The Cult of the Damned) [live]
Satyricon - Mother North
Nokturnal Mortum - Bestial Summoning
Iced Earth - Diary
Hypocrisy - Until The End
Burzum - Om Ring Til Herske
Blind Guardian - Into The Storm
HammerFall - Steel Meets Steel
Einherjer - Far Far North
Flotsam & Jetsam - Doomsday For The Deceiver
Destruction - The Pink Panther
Destruction - Life Without Sense
Metallica - The Small Hours (cover)
Manowar - Kings of Metal

It should surprise no one that I opened my first broadcast with a song off The Olden Domain. This may be the only time anyone has ever played that particular Nokturnal Mortum track on the radio.

Show #2
Hypocrisy - Roswell 47 [live]
Emperor - I Am The Black Wizards
Incantation - Desecration of the Heavenly Graceful
Metallica - Am I Evil? (cover)
Blind Guardian - Tommyknockers
Borknagar - Dauden
Destruction - The Ritual
Kataklysm - Eternal, I Reach Infinity
Gorgoroth - Maneskyggens Slave
Morbid Angel - Invocation of the Continual One
Type O Negative - Day Tripper
Metallica - Fade To Black [live]
Manowar - The Demon's Whip
Nokturnal Mortum - The 13th Asbath Celebration
Tartaros - Dark Red Light Upon The Bones
Bifrost - All Creation Wept...
Dawn - Everflaming

I had a stupid bug in my ear about Incantation that I thankfully had got out at this point. I have to give up needling my friend with the all-Manowar kutte, though; I seriously played "The Demon's Whip" over the air?

Show #2.5
Blind Guardian - Bright Eyes
Bathory - Blood And Iron
Metallica - One
Manowar - Kingdom Come
Nevermore - Dreaming Neon Black
Katatonia - Murder
Pyrogenesis - Son of Fate
Type O Negative - World Coming Down
Iced Earth - I Died For You
Noktural Mortum - Gates of Basphemous Fire
Emperor - Thus Spake The Nightspirit
Bifrost - We Dance Till Dawn!
Dissection - Night's Blood
Sigh - Curse of Izanagi
Morbid Angel - Covenant of Death
Borknagar - The Black Token
Old Man's Child - Behind The Mask
Iced Earth - Disciples of the Lie
Metal Church - Beyond The Black
Manowar - Blow Your Speakers

This was a fill-in for the other metal DJ, who was in his last active season and next-to-last semester. This is also the first point where spending hours in the station listening to stuff after signing off and turning off the system actually made any impact on the show.

Show #3
Rosicrucian - Edge of Silence
Morgana Lefay - Maleficium
Nokturnal Mortum - The Forgotten Age of Victories
Emperor - The Source of Icon E
Borknagar - The Winterway
Einherjer - Far Far North
Einherjer - Naar Hammerern Heves
Einherjer - Naar Aftensolen Rinner
Gorgoroth - Begravelesnatt
Gorgoroth - Crushing The Scepter
Gorgoroth - Ritual
Gorgoroth - Drommar om Dod
Gorgoroth - Katharinas Bortgang
Gorgoroth - Huldrelokk
Gorgoroth - (Under) the Pagan Monolith
Gorgoroth - Maneskyggens Slave
Mayhem - Silvester Anfang
Mayhem - Deathcrush
Mayhem - Chainsaw Gutsfuck
Mayhem - Witching Hour
Mayhem - Necrolust
Mayhem - (Weird) Manheim
Mayhem - Pure Fucking Armageddon
Manowar - Kings of Metal [live]
Manowar - Herz Aus Stahl [live]
Manowar - Metal Warriors [live]
GWAR - The Road Behind
Morgoth - Odium

This was a theme show; as you can see, much of the content was from playing the EPs/short albums Far Far North, Pentagram, Deathcrush, and Live in Germany down in order. This is the first show with any repeated content from previous shows, something I was trying to avoid.

Show #6
Nokturnal Mortum - [several]
Borknagar - [several]
Burzum - [several]
Satyricon - Transcendental Requiem of Slaves
Incantation - Unheavenly Skies
Emperor - The Wanderer
Flotsam & Jetsam - Flotzilla
Old Man's Child - Wounds From the Night of Magic
Iced Earth - 1776
Bal-Sagoth [several]
Savatage - Prelude to Madness
Mayhem - Silvester Anfang
Manowar - [several]
Morgana Lefay - Nemesis
Sigh - Pathetic
Sigh - Burial
Blind Guardian - Weird Dreams
Morbid Angel - Disturbance In The Great Slumber

The liner notes on this tape are incomplete, probably because it was a memorial for one of my friends who had died recently and I wasn't especially thinking straight. Most of the content on this is instrumental.

Show #7
Iced Earth - Angels' Holocaust
Blind Guardian - Another Holy War
Iron Maiden - Total Eclipse
Morbid Angel - Dominate
Sigh - The Zombie Terror
Dark Angel - An Ancient Inherited Shame
Iced Earth - Burnt Offerings
Bal-Sagoth - The Splendor of a Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon of the Hyperborean Empire
Bal-Sagoth - The Splendor of a Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon of the Hyperborean Empire (part II)
Emperor - I Am The Black Wizards
Nokturnal Mortum - Under the Banners of the Horned Knijas
Morbid Angel - Where The Slime Live
Hypocrisy - Osculum Obscenum
Samael - Black Trip
Bal-Sagoth - Dreaming of Atlantean Spires
Sigh - Beyond Centuries
Incantation - Ethereal Misery
Satyricon - Du Som Hater Gud
Emperor - Decrystallizing Reason
Iced Earth - Disciples of the Lie
Hypocrisy - Inquire Within

It should be apparent by this point that I had only the one Incantation record, and was rationing it out song by song. Contrast to firm evidence of three Bal-Sagoth records in this one broadcast.

Show #8
Nokturnal Mortum - Veles' Scrolls
Manowar - Achilles; Agony and Ecstasy In Eight Parts
Enslaved - 793 (Slaget om Lindisfarne)
Incantation - Unto Infinite Twilight, Majesty of Infernal Damnation
Sigh - The Last Elegy
Bal-Sagoth - Into The Silent Chambers of the Sapphirean Throne
Metallica - Mercyful Fate (cover medley)
Opeth - Nectar
Iced Earth - Dante's Inferno

This was a theme show on long songs; nothing under 10 minutes. The Manowar song written mostly for Deena Weinstein to have something to point to is not, and was not, worth the 28 minute runtime.

Show #9
Iced Earth - Burnt Offerings
Amorphis - Forgotten Sunrise
Borknagar - Universal
Blind Guardian - Tommyknockers
Nokturnal Mortum - Kolyada
Emperor - Cosmic Keys To My Creations and Times (EP version)
Morbid Angel - Blasphemy
Centurian - Blasphemy (cover)
Morbid Angel - Blasphemy (remix)
Dawn - Diabolical Beauty
Arch Enemy - Tears of the Dead
Centurian - God Got Killed
Hypocrisy - Adjusting The Sun
Nile - Stones of Sorrow
Emperor - Witches' Sabbath
Nile - Rameses, Bringer of War
Iced Earth - Last Laugh [live]
Apocalyptica - Master of Puppets
Nevermore - Dreaming Neon Black
Arch Enemy - Bridge of Destiny
Hypocrisy - Request Denied
Blind Guardian - Imaginations From The Other Side
Bathory - Blood And Iron

This show broadcast on the 20th November 1999, so I picked up Centurian's Of Purest Fire EP sometime in the week before. Lulz. I probably got the Wrath of the Tyrant reissue that week as well.

Show #10 tape 1
Blind Guardian - The Last Candle
Arch Enemy - Black Earth
Exhorder - Legions of Death
Hypocrisy - Request Denied
Emperor - An Elegy of Icaros
Borknagar - To Mount And Rove
Metallica - The Thing That Should Not Be [live]
Iced Earth - Pure Evil [live]
Emperor - I Am The Black Wizards
Hypocrisy - The Final Chapter
Manowar - Guyana (Cult of the Damned) [live]
Iron Maiden - Kill Me Ce Soir (cover)
Iced Earth - Creator Failure
Metal Church - Beyond The Black
Borknagar - Oceans Rise
Savatage - One Child
Flotsam & Jetsam - Doomsday For The Deceiver
Megadeth - Train of Consequences
Arcturus - Wintery Grey
Savatage - Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
Blind Guardian - Welcome To Dying

This was the last show of the semester, so in what would become a tradition -- mostly because there was nothing after me, ever, and I could get away with it -- I stayed in overnight and kept broadcasting rather than turning the transmitter off at 1 AM or whatever. Hence the four tapes; there was a fifth, but there were no notes on it.

Show #10 tape 2
HammerFall - I Want Out
Megadeth - Family Tree
Bolt Thrower - Ritual
Dark Angel - Never To Rise Again [live]
Emperor - Thus Spake The Nightspirit
Megadeth - A Tout Le Monde
Blind Guardian - Nightfall
Metallica - Nothing Else Matters
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Iced Earth - Dante's Inferno
Manowar - Fighting The World
Megadeth - Victory
Arch Enemy - Tears of the Dead
Satyricon - Forhekshet
Nokturnal Mortum - Kolyada
Bal-Sagoth - Return to the Praesidium of Ys
Rammstein - Seemann
Bathory - Blood And Iron
Einherjer - Far Far North
Borknagar - Fandens Allheim

Show #10 tape 3
Old Man's Child - Funerals, Swords, and Souls
Burzum - Om Ring Til Herske
Celtic Frost - The Heart Beneath
Cathedral - A Funeral Request
Unleashed - Countess Bathory (cover)
Master - America The Pitiful
Forbidden - One Foot In Hell
Death - God of Thunder (cover)
Brujeria - Padre Nuestro
Cynic - Uriboric Forms
Fear Factory - Martyr
Body Count - There Goes The Neighborhood
Iron Maiden - Mission From 'Arry
Metallica - So What (cover)
Mayhem - Necrolust
Centurian - Invoking Hell
God Dethroned - Bloody Blasphemy
Bifrost - Dreaming The Dark
God Dethroned - Execution Protocol
Bifrost - Without Soulcontrol
God Dethroned - Soul Capture 1562
Metallica - No Leaf Clover [live]
Nevermore - Beyond Within
Blind Guardian - Bright Eyes
Old Man's Child - The Millennium King

In these dead hours, I took full advantage of the 'nobody is listening to be offended' thing. Those who somehow own the At Death's Door II comp from Roadrunner will see the cheat I used to pick up a bunch of diversity in here, including a wicked, wicked rare Death cover.

Show #10 tape 4
Nokturnal Mortum - Cheremosh
Arch Enemy - Vox Stellarum
Hypocrisy - Roswell 47
Metallica - One
Iced Earth - Watching OVer Me
Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast
Metallica - Fade To Black [live]
Borknagar - The Winterway
Hypocrisy - Until The End
Iced Earth - A Question of Heaven [live]
Manowar - Bridge of Death [live]
Hypocrisy - Adjusting The Sun
Blind Guardian - Lost In The Twilight Hall
Celtic Frost - Nemesis
Dark Angel - Trauma and Catharsis
Forbidden - Twisted Into Form
Manowar - Achilles; Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts

At this point my brain was probably shutting off; note the default back into 'hits' material and also playing the half-hour of Manowar again so I can try and figure out wtf to do with the rest of the runtime.

This is the all of it; all the information that remains anyway. This was what the show that became Point of Impact in its last five seasons was at the start, and if the delivery and diversity of the show improved, the style stayed more or less the same.

Nachzehrer with Soul Remnants and Dethamphetamine (not Master) [O'Brien's, Allston, 3/2/2011]

Because Master dropped and I got in on what would have been early for the four-band bill, I can't really read most of the minimal notes I scrawled at the show. Good thing this is going in now rather than three months from now when it's completely forgotten.

Deathamphetamine [6/7]
It was cool to see these guys again, now realigned into a three-piece and with a different balance than they'd had as a five-piece, while still playing a bunch of the old songs as well as the new ones. As intimated, this is almost a whole different new Deathamphetamine, but this set from them was debatably the best I'd seen since their original vocalist left -- though, truth told, he did come back for a couple of songs in the middle. The influences are still all over the place, but if they can solidify this mix of death, thrash and hardcore into something strong and consistent, they're definitely going to be a band to watch again.

Soul Remnants [5/7]
Though their demo attests that they've been around for a while (and I think maybe as Chopwork for some of that time, I definitely remember that name from flyers a while back), this was the first time I'd actually seen them live. Their punchy old-school death sound was about the best match to the original headliner of the three bands that did end up showing, but at least in the current configuration, they aren't at the overall level of the other locals. Some of this is the weird balance the bill ended up with, but some of it is likely practice; they fuckin' killed it on a cover of At The Gates' "Blinded By Fear", and more time with these members and the same members (recent additions including Colin (Frozen, ex-Cannae) Conway) will probably take the current and future originals up to the same level.

It was probably in this break that Robin filled me -- and probably anyone else he passed in the crowd -- in on the reasons for the cancellation; Paul brought his whole normal Czech band over this time rather than recruiting American sidemen, and one of them got turned back at immigration. So the band went back to the Czech, allegedly without a phone call, and word was passing from hand to hand, night to night, across the country, that Master wasn't playing the next night in the next town either. How it goes....and likely a reinforcing experience for Speckmann in his decision to emigrate to the Czech a few years back.

Nachzehrer [6.5/7]
If the last show was good, this was a definite step up. The band was back at full power, fully flowing, still raw, but all the leads that were there when Alex was in the band back in their right places as well. It's difficult to see how they aren't the next metal band out of Boston at this stage; the only reasons I come up with are kind of contingent on underrating the exposure that Black Pyramid and CNV have gotten thus far. This wasn't a perfect set, but it was about peak for the band as I've seen them so far, and if it's repeated on a regular basis, you're going to also be able to see this band by you sooner rather than later.

On Master: yes, I'm bummed that they cancelled, and yes, I'm not sure that I'd've been down for a Masterless bill coming in on a Wednesday night. But I've got the flyer at least, which I did not get the last time they were around, and when I was discovering this band a decade and more ago, there was no chance that I'd see them at all in the next ten years. Death metal had moved on and Paul'd moved to the Czech. And yet here we are. Universal access to rars of every album ever made means nothing languishes out of print any more, and better scene connectivity means any legitimately good band isn't going to stay forgotten for long. Master are back to stay, and who knows, maybe even back through on tour sometime in the next five years. For now, I have that one set in '08, and the poster from this one with some scribbles on the back.

On the hike back from this one, I got pelted in the back with something. I looked back down behind me to see what it was, barely breaking stride, and saw a nearly full bottle of maple syrup. Sure, it beats the hell out of getting bottled with something frangible, but still, lolwut? Who packs along maple syrup in their van, and who, packing maple syrup in their van obviously because it's a cheap and efficient calorie vector on tours where you aren't earning any money, bungs a day and a half's rations for the whole band at some mook on the sidewalk? Just Say Ok, I guess.

After this I was on call for a whole week and then preoccupied chewing my nails about the situation at Fukushima, so no No Life, which means no accounts of the drama that, likely, everyone reading this thing is well aware of. Only this to be said: as an adopted scion of the North Shore, I could have told everyone in advance that moving part of this fest to Revere would automatically turn it into metal Jersey Shore. This is what happens when things are in Revere, and people who live south of the Route 60 interchange should really be aware of this by now.

Next gig is Woods at Metal Thursday if I don't get killed by drunks on the highway (to or from), and then I need to remember to get Agalloch tickets before dumping all my money at Armageddon Shop north....because there surely won't be enough if I try to do that in reverse order.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Nachzehrer with Obsidian Tongue [O'Brien's, Allston, 2/24/2011]

After a short but still unacceptable delay, here's the writeup of this Born of Fire gig; with what's slated to go in today, I should be up to date.

Obsidian Tongue [5.5/7]
Though it's almost getting to be a dirty word in the dirt-raw Boston scene, this duo put up a cool set of highly atmospheric black metal that in its spaces and stylings verged on the dare-we-say it "Cascadian". :eyeroll: The sound still came raw as well as hypnotizing, though, and combined to cool effect, especially from just guitar and drums. There were a few technical fillips, as might, really, be expected from a band that's using a lot of pedals and controls to transform their sound rather than separate instrumental lines, but the net effect was still killer.

In addition to the band's own demo, I also picked up the new Blood of the Gods record, since a) it's out and b) the drummer in this band is also in that one, playing "crust" that is separated only with great difficulty from early Entombed. Bethatasitmay; good music anyway.

Nachzehrer [6/7]
While this outing was rawer than the last time I saw them (it was Draak (ex-Unholy Goatfucker)'s first live show with the band, as I found out later), the integration was still smooth and the sound still cool and ripping. They didn't have anything new out this time, but talking with Mike/Hrasvelg after, they're close to getting a new 10" out through an English label, as well as some discussions about another split that is truly councils-of-the-wise-and-great stuff not up for discussion in scurrilious reportage like this. If it comes off, though, it'll be great exposure for them, and definitely not undeserved, whether on this performance or their history in general.

Bands finished, it was off to hike off the beer and get settled to drive home. Easily accomplished, but then I was distracted by other stuff from Bobfest at the weekend and didn't get out again till the "Master" show to be accounted here.