Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Coffin Birth with Soul Remnants, Naegleria, and Totality [Ralph's, Worcester, 6/30/2011]

Due to getting meshed in much less pre-holiday traffic than I was anticipating, I got out to Worcester pretty early and spent more time than anticipated rattling around in a nearly-empty Ralph's, moderating my beer intake. I probably could and should have found more stuff to kill time with before leaving, but fast transit is never really guaranteed, roadworks are unpredictable, and staying in the goddamn office until damned near 8 pm is soulkilling enough as it is. Regardless, people filled in presently and the bands got going.

Totality [5/7]
Totality's sound here was a little less dense than Tuesday, which maybe opened things up some; whether real or illusionary, they came off as more technical and less straightforward B-string fanning. (Not a real term, but if you watch enough 7-string death metal bands, you should understand it immediately.) The sound was also a little mangled at the start, maybe as a consequence of one of the guitarists playing directly into the PA rather than through a cab. This was a little odd, but consistent with the still odder intimation that the band had showed up in a taxi and borrowed a drumkit and the cabinets they did have from the other bands. Weird, sure, but still pretty killer, and still a band to pay attention to going forward.

At the conclusion of their set, Totality chucked a bunch of CDs into the audience rather than having them on a spindle at a table in the back. This was a little rockstar for a Metal Thursday, but more and more importantly, less effective. I picked one of them up and, unsurprisingly for a CD without a case or sleeve that was bounced off the floor and had to hang out in a jacket pocket for the rest of the night, the second of the two tracks on it was scratched pretty much to unplayability. If you want to get your music out to people, it helps if they're able to listen to it -- and when you're this good, you don't need to throw your media at your audience and risk damaging it.

Naegleria [5/7]
I hadn't heard Naegleria previously, more due to bad luck on my part than the band, as they've been around and on decent bills for a fair while now. What we got was decent, unassuming, high-powered straight-ahead slamming death metal that made up in crush whatever it gave away in originality. This is another band that I was frustrated not to be able to move around for; the lesson, for all the wee kids in the audience (i.e., anyone under 25), the lesson is to thrash as hard as you can, whenever you can, because someday your legs will call it a day on you, and you'll never be able to do so again. The rest of the crowd, though, started getting violent here, so there was no lack of people to toss back, and with the exception of "You're Gay" (probably the first time in the history of the world that people have just stood around and listened to an Anal Cunt song being played live rather than thrashing around while dodging half-bricks and broken furniture getting thrown off the stage), the violence served to complement and round out the music rather than as a necessary condition. Still a cool set, and yet another reason to get another knee brace before that Dysentery gig at the end of August.

Soul Remnants [5.5/7]
I'm not sure quite how much of a notch Soul Remnants took it up from last time; something, to be sure, but picking points between scores can get to be a real exercise in hair-splitting sometimes. Their influences from Carcass and At The Gates were probably a little more prominent here, and the venue sound really allowed it to cut through. While Soul Remnants are a lot more solid than superlative right now, there's not a lot of bands in New England doing this older style of death metal, and a solid set from a good band is still good value for your night out.

Coffin Birth [5.5/7]
Vice December, the fan made a comeback, but here, was more necessary and less stagecraft -- Ralph's gets devilishly hot in the summer just standing around in the general audience areas, let alone under the stage lights. Also as in December, Coffin Birth quickly put any peripheral silliness out of mind with a hammering set of black-death metal -- with the important difference that this was in Worcester, so on this set, you could have Crazy Dan taking things to new heights with the first instance of breakdancing noted at Metal Thursday. Whether it was intentional or he just had difficulty standing up initially after going over in the pit, it happened: I would instantly lose all credibility if I tried to make something like that up. That, even more than the usual pit action, was pretty hardcore radikvlt -- fortunately, the Morbid Angel cover that the band closed with wasn't.

At the end of the night, I was pretty well dead; fortunately, the highways were mostly empty and nearly free of egregious construction, so I blasted home in good time, then didn't finish writing this up for most of a week because holiday weekends tend to be over-strenuous for some reason. Next up is the next Metal Thursday; The Accursed dropped, but the rest of the bill is well worth it, and then it's another two shows in two days, in the which time I probably have to do a gear-out check. Just over three weeks till I hit the road.

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