Since I'd missed the Metal Thursday gig the day before due to getting out of work at 10PM as an exhausted and overcaffinated wreck, the onus was doubly on me to get to this one: in addition to the potential stuff to pick up, I really wanted to see Humanity Falls again, and the local part of the bill was pretty damn killer as well. Congestion on 93 made things a little dicey, and I nearly got lost once or twice on the way in (took 28, because no way was I going all the way down to the 60 interchange), but ultimately ended up at the bar with plenty of time to spare, but enough after doors that I was able to get right in and nab a beer, and another, before the bands started.
This was supposed to be Nocuous' last show with their current bassist, but he bailed at the last minute, so it turned out to be their first without him. The sound suffered a little without the low-end contribution rounding things out, but even with just the three members, they were able to put out a fairly decent set of Scandinavian fusion. Maybe there was a little much feedback in the guitar -- or particlarly exposed without the bass -- but it's not like the likes of At The Gates or Edge of Sanity never used feedback for extra distortion, and it was cool in places here as well. Hopefully, they'll get a new bassist in and worked up quickly, but the strength of this performance might lead them to think about taking opening slots like this one in the meantime regardless.
A little later on, I got a CD from Reuben outside, and with it a very large pile of stickers. This is more good stuff; Nocuous' sound should appeal to just about goddamn everyone that I'm likely to meet in the course of the festival tour, and the few it might not will almost certainly, just by process of elimination, take something from the slammier or grindier contents of the merchpack.
Blood of the Gods [5.5/7]
I'm not sure how much of the difference can be put down just to the sound here rather than at Church -- I've seen this band three times now, with three different general sounds -- but on this outing, BotG came off as a little less grind, a little more death and a little more doom. I ran into one of the guitarists the next night at Hate Eternal, and he mentioned that they'd substantially reworked their lineup, so this may have been a factor as well. Regardless, a cool set, and stuff that we didn't get from the other bands on this bill.
This was the slot that Humanity Falls was originally supposed to be going on in, before they got wedged up in traffic -- far from unusual, to get the touring band in and out quickly so they aren't driving around at five in the morning -- and Untombed swapped to keep things flowing. However, because of that swap and because of the changes they've made to their lineup -- which is now, if I recall correctly, pretty much a functional superset of Summoning Hate back when they were Downfall -- I got a little confused about who was going on, exactly. Natural reaction; you see Milo Avila coming in with his bass over his shoulder, and you think "wait, is Summoning Hate playing?" Despite the member overlap, this of course wasn't the case; Untombed draws from many of the same old-school brutal death influences, but in this set was a little slammier and a little grindier than you'd usually get from the new bassist and guitarist's main band. Dave and Juan's vocal styles are different enough to justify two full-time vocalists, and they also pulled it off well as regards structures, working the lines with and against each other, which is where bands with two lead vocalists usually fall down. This may not have been the best performance I've ever seen from Untombed, but it was a hell of a good start for this lineup, and the crowd got into it as well, with the first really significant motion of the night.
This was a mightily awesome set that may well overtop the last two times that I've seen Scaphism recently as the best outing I've gotten from the band. There's not that much more that needs to be said: you know what you're getting with Scaphism, and the only variation is how well the sound presents them, how much violence that particular crowd is up for, and if anyone throws back any unexpected bon mots for Tony to riff off of between songs in addition to his normal banter selection. In this case, the crowd was turbulent but not injurious, someone said something about "assholes" to provoke a digression paraphrasing Pete Steele's "fifteen American dollars" bit, and most importantly, the venue sound was tuned about perfectly for Scaphism's barrage of slamming death metal. This was, as noted, a killer set from front to back, but they closed especially strong with "Slowly Digesting..." and "Tower Deflower", and it's going to be really cool to watch these guys continue to go from strength to strength.
During Scaphism's set, Humanity Falls finally finished getting through the 93-enabled tangle and to the venue, and they got set up right quick to make sure they were able to get their full set in before the cutoff.
Humanity Falls [6.5/7]
As indicated last year, the low stage, small room, and Boston-area crowd all worked to the band's advantage, as did bringing in a bass player -- and this was still one of Umar's first shows with the band. Ammo's skullwreckingly twisted mix of grooves, riffs, and leads still drives their annihilating death grind forward, but the low end adds more power to the foundations, as well as hints of additional complexity -- as might be expected given his other band -- that, as they can be worked in on new material, will drive the band's music even further into insanity. Not all of the audience that was flying around for Scaphism got into the unrepentant technicality, but most did, and if Eston seemed to get frustrated, at times, with the relative lack of violence, it's hard to match up with him in the madman stakes on a normal gig, let alone one with the band fresh off spending five+ hours threading through the mess of idiots that covers New England highways on summer weekends. I'm just glad that I was able to see a set this good, standing for most of the night right by Aaron Hivesmasher, and make it out with all my limbs in their right places.
After Humanity Falls closed up, I picked up a burn of TBC's newish EP and what turned out to be the last of the Humanity Falls shirts, at least in XL. Good for me, good for the band -- always better to run out early than have boxes of unsold merch left over -- bad for other folk on this mini-tour or at least this stop, as they were off to Jersey next and might have been able to pick up any extras from their homebase that they didn't lug out initially. I also tried, unsuccessfully, to pick up an Untombed shirt -- their new design is fuckin' sick -- but they were also out of XL, and this isn't as much of a deal, as I see the band or at least the members semi-regularly at shows. After this, some nebulous talk about additional organization potentially coming to the metal scene in Boston, and a couple minutes trying to get the other side of a staff argument before I got tossed out for being a non-band-member in after closing, I got out, through the rain, and back home in decent order. Of course, this didn't lead to this getting done any faster -- there was still Hate Eternal coming up the next night.