Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nocturnal with Witchaven, Sarcomancy, and Nachzehrer [Ralph's, Worcester. 5/24/2011]

No latency on this one; I blasted straight out from work as a result of getting held over there till 8 on a customer call that was probably indistinguishable from the world's stupidest and most complicated ethnic joke ("So this Pole, a Taiwan Chinese, and an American white guy call in to help an Indian and a mainland Chinese install some French software on a German server at a client in Canada, and...."). With the natural lack of traffic at this hour, I got in in good order, and got a decent amount of beer down before the bands started up.

Nachzehrer [6/7]
Another day, another quality set from Nachzehrer. Despite the title of their demo, this set showed the band as they've actually become, thrashing black metal rather than the thrash that would go up later. It can be a pretty fine distinction, and prone to more than a little I-know-it-when-I-see-it-ism, but to the extent that it actually matters, there you go. The unimpeachable musical quality (and as a bonus, antics such as Mike stormdetonating at least one beer all over/through his Beard of Disease) of this set (again, heavily new material) was and should be the real point; if you hear this band and get your pants in a twist because they play thrashing black metal rather than blackened thrash like it says on the label, you're probably too true and ultra-kvlt to go to shows in the first place.

Here, I did merch part 1 and bought a shirt, CD, and tour EP (Das war missbewerbt! 180/200 auf Werbungskopie, und dann ist meins noch 130/200! ANKLAGE!!! ... (hatte ich trotzdem gekauft aber....)) off Avenger, in German, and as in the prior experiment with MDF-bound bands, he didn't appear to notice or react weird. Learn languages, avoid getting ripped off overseas, inject surreality to touring bands' shows in your area.

Sarcomancy [6/7]
Sarcomancy continues to get better and better; on this outing, someone else might have dinged them for going too far towards ATHOW + Mithotyn/early Borknagar/late Enslaved parts, as the set was fairly dominated, in feel and tone, by impressions of Immortal in that period. The reason I don't, though, is that anyone who doesn't think that record is one of the best black metal albums, if not metal albums, period, of its decade, needs a rock bounced off their skull. The musicians in Sarcomancy are too good and accomplished to continue to clone Immortal forever, but as a place to start as regards composition and musicianship, cloning classic Immortal this well is a hell of a place to start. We have a lot of raw black metal bands in New England of varying types, but not many that can put together these kinds of song structures, and fewer still that can do lyric composition and still keep it true.

Witchaven [6/7]
I hadn't heard Witchaven before, and must admit to being pleasantly surprised. As an old guy and one who was kind of ambivalent about Anthrax the first time around at that, the progress of the thrash revival, as it has gone, makes it unfortunately inevitable that a bunch of young guys from Cali are going to get looked askance at. Apologies, dudes; those who have come before you have poisoned the wells. Along with some straightforward if well-worked borrowings from the Black Circle (Mayhem especially), Witchaven laid out a set of solid thrash metal with readily apparent roots in Slayer and Dark Angel rather than the more usual suspects. Though we got a lot of material off their fairly politically-charged Terrorstorm record, Henry played these themes down somewhat on the mic in favor, mostly, of party-hearty banter to keep the floor riotous. Not that it was strictly necessary; Metal Thursday always responds well to thrashing music, and what we got from this band was not just a classic-styled thrash band doing something new with it via the genuine blackened parts, but doing it pretty damn well.

After Witchaven wrapped, I picked up some patches and a CD off Jorge and Erik via a sequence of events that is difficult to understand and far too stupid to be related here, the stupidity coming mostly on my end and the classic banter on theirs. Nevertheless, CD GET, so I get the excuse to talk further about Terrorstorm. This is a really "correct" CD, from someone whose main interest in thrash is the "culmination" period between 1986 and about 1992. In addition to the musical stuff discussed in the bit about the band's set above, there's the sharp, brutal lyrical focus on socipolitical issues and the 100% oldschool layout and liner notes content in the booklet. It looks and "smells" right, and there's enough substance to it that you can discard the thesis "well, the band just really likes that period of musical history too, so they designed the booklet that way to look like a Kreator insert from 1989, not because doing what they want to do has the end product of looking like a Kreator insert from 1989." That doesn't wash. Full marks for the old-kuttentraeger audience.

There are points to pick that maybe this set shouldn't go quite this high, but it's better than a 6.5 and I try, admittedly without much success lately, to avoid split ratings. Also, everything they played after, about, "Merciless Murder" is difficult to put much below this mark, so grumpy persons can fuck off. Coming off as closer to Destruction than Desaster, as far as the Germanic black/thrash axis goes, Nocturnal laid waste to the room with a brutal onslaught of fast, screaming, DIY blackened thrash metal. The turbulence continued even after the dude who was falling about like Sergio Busquets on fainting-goat pills (or, in reality, half the bottle of whiskey he snuck in with him) got ejected for mosh fail, through the end of the set, the preceded-with-minimal-bullshit encore, and the band's closing rendition of Manowar's "Kill With Power". (This marks the first time that I've seen a Manowar song done live by a band not from the North Shore; Koblenz isn't on the north shore of jack shit.) After this, the venue ops put the lights on, and it was sadly made clear that the band wasn't getting any more time; so it goes, at least for those of us who weren't going down for MDF.

I picked up another Nocturnal single on the way out the door; either there was a communication breakdown or I for certain won't be harassing them in their campsite with a slab of Radeberger on my shoulder at this year's P.SOA. Wenn so, so gehts, wenn nicht, Saufwettkampf! I made it back in good time and in one pice, but unfortunately had to bag Born of Fire due to camping prep; next show is coming up quickly regardless, and the tour after that, almost as fast. Enjoy MDF, you lucky feckers, I'm off to drink in the woods.

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