Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ash Borer with Ruin Lust, Blessed Offal, Nachzehrer, and Katahdin [PT-109, **REDACTED**, 7/17/2011]

This show report has been edited by the Punk Rock Ministry of Information in order to eliminate the potential distribution of sensitive state secrets to agents of unfriendly foreign powers. As noted at the actual show, an impression pretty readily confirmed, PT-109 is probably the best DIY space in Boston, and if you like going to shows here, keep the address schtum. Loose lips sink ships, khed.

Anyway, so I was a little late between gorging on clam strips and threatening a friend with building a bar in his shed (long, and also stupid, story) and then traffic on 93, despite the late hour on a Sunday. Fortunately, there weren't any exits closed -- in what must be a first for Boston highway repair, they somehow finished the bridge before the end of the day, leaving clean sailing past about route 28. This was clean sailing, though, through a sirocco of concrete dust still blowing around on the road, which you don't really get in this part of the country. Not exactly kvlt, but verfremdend enough to go along with getting you out of the normal and into the alternate space of the DIY show.

Off the highway, I navigated through the streets to **REDACTED** in **REDACTED**, where I drove around in circles for a while looking for somewhere I wouldn't get towed from, then stumped around the neighborhood, knocking twice on the wrong door. Fortunately, I figured out the actual location before I blew the game, and followed the signs **REDACTED** in to the show, **REDACTED**, and got set up by the trash can left around for **REDACTED**. Amazingly, despite all this bullcrap, Katahdin still wasn't finished.

Katahdin [5/7]
I'm pretty sure that I caught only the tail end of this one, the last couple songs, but I'm also fairly confident that I got enough of the band to paste on an arbitrary number. Something just seemed off about the sound, at least from where I was standing -- it may be the room, but the music didn't completely build up to the standard that I remembered from the the last time. This was still a good set, as much as I heard, but just sat differently.

Nachzehrer [6.5/7]
This sort of dirty black metal is pretty much custom-built for closed-in rooms like this one, and by some trick of fate Nachzehrer were still non-drunk enough at this point to fill out the promise of the material and setting. As alluded, the sound for them was pretty near perfect, and they gave us a nice, long, solid set of blackthrashing. There may not have been as much crowdthrashing as the band might have liked, but with a black metal audience in a cramped space like this, you pretty much take what you can get.

Blessed Offal [6/7]
As noted previously, this was a good weekend for really good death metal sets, and between one thing and another, this was probably the best total performance that I've seen from Blessed Offal. They had some technical issues -- among other things, a bottle of tequila somehow got wedged in the band, which probably had the most significant effect -- but still hammered out a pure quality performance of old-school death metal beatings, including likely the most crowd- and other-band-participation of the evening. This, again, was likely the room; both the close quarters and the atmosphere, which got Scott doing more hardcore-styled tricks than I've seen him do when playing in commercial venues. Great stuff.

Later on, Marcus gave me a single copy of their current record to take over, under instructions to give it to "the dude who likes old Incantation the most", who will probably be found at the bar at Party.San during Morbid Angel's set, cussing about "Hardcore Radikult" in Franconian dialect. I didn't make that particular musical association live -- because I suck at listening to old records -- but in retrospect, the mix of brutal speed and even more brutal slows makes the connection obvious....and if you like old Incantation, you could do a lot worse than hunting up Blessed Offal material.

Ruin Lust [5.5/7]
As advertised, Ruin Lust put out a punishing performance of primitive, raw death metal heavily colored with black metal blastbeats. "Primitive", though, does not always imply "tuneful", and despite my known admiration for Thrones and Lugubrum, this set was occasionally trying to listen to. It was still pretty good, within the limitations imposed by the style, though, and they both had a decent amount of diversity in the straight-ahead deathblasts and closed up before it started to get old. I'm not sure I'd go see them headline yet, but a tight 20-minute set in a DIY space is well worth the time.

Ash Borer [6/7]
This wasn't a one-song set -- I timed it out as about 40 minutes, and I'm pretty sure the band doesn't have anything quite that long -- but it came close. The compositions involved were as long, as involved, and as ferally noise-saturated as you might expect from the band going in, even if, listening to the music, they might have benefited from a little clearer sound. Though third-wave black metal inherits from the lo-fi start of the second wave, and the stuff that I've heard from Ash Borer on record is fairly lo-fi even among third-wave, it's a more precisely mediated lo-fi that would probably be better brought forward in like an O'Brien's setting rather than this kind of room. Regardless, though, this was a strong, class set that definitely stood in with the locals and justified the headlining slot.

With everything wrapped up, I picked up a demo from Ruin Lust and Ash Borer's split with Fell Voices to go with the shirt I'd grabbed earlier, then headed out. My car hadn't been towed, so I slung my gear in, swung a uey, and extracted over **REDACTED** out to **REDACTED**, getting back home not much past 2. Weekend complete; now that work for the week's been mostly tanked through, it's out to Metal Thursday, and then gear checks and other prep for the tour.

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