I could crack a joke in here about heading out to Finland early somehow, but this heat wave is no joke. As long as we're having to deal with oppressive heat, rotten air quality, and idiots who insist on screwing over normal people to benefit the rich and the Chinese government, I might as well fuck off to Hong Kong about it, where environmental and economic exploitation can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy. The food is also better and 141 is legal, providing additional inducements, but to wrap up the cranky political bullshit part of this post, the music scene kind of sucks. As long as New England remains such a boiling cauldron of good metal, I'll take the few weeks a year when half of Lake Erie evaporates, slumps east, and turns the region into an actual boiling cauldron.
Despite leaving later than I anticipated, there was a fair bit of traffic heading out, maybe from the unexpected roadworks on 95 and maybe from people who don't have AC in their houses just driving aimlessly around to cool off. Despite this, I got in to Ralph's in pretty good time, had a chuckle at Spinal Tap playing against the wall of the warehouse next door, and got up, in, and beered in time to drink most of it before Bog started playing.
Bog of the Infidel [6/7]
It had been a while since I'd seen Bog, and there were, going in, still reservations expressed that they'd show up; once a band gets the rep for bailing, it's difficult to shake. With their performance here, though, Bog should have not only reset that expectation, but also most of the others that people tend to hold about this band. They've developed greatly in that intervening time, adding melodics and dynamics to their still fundamentally harsh sound that recall, favorably, not just Bethlehem and Shining, but also any other underground elements of the second wave that you might care to name. Primordial and Stridborg stick out for me because I listen to them more often; others will find other touchpoints. There were a few issues with the sound -- some possibly dependent on where I was standing, since one of the guitar cabs was behind the stage skirting from where I was -- but this didn't hold back the set much. Killer result.
In here I went and picked up Bog's Proud Descendants of Satan record, which was a good thing not just on the "getting Bog of the Infidel material" front, but also because the band packed up and packed out during Vattnet's set. If you want something from Bog of the Infidel, strike while the iron's hot.
Vattnet Viskar [5.5/7]
I was interested to see how Vattnet developed since last time, with their lineup reajusted (Colin's out and not replaced with another guitarist, and I'm not sure if they originally had a keyboardist or not) and with the natural development that any band, especially a new one, is going to undergo in three months of practice and gigging. The resultant solidification is a definite positive; Vattnet's still third-wave black metal, but much less generic-sounding, and with definite potential for further development. It remains to be seen whether they take it in more of a black metal direction, or bring in more of the post-metal elements that came through here, but this is a good band that's still improving, and worth paying attention to.
I decided going in that I would make no comment on band footgear at this show because a) Chris got his tail in a twist last time about a phrase that appeared here, as well as in some other places, and more importantly, b) my real boots were in the shop, preparing for the summer trip, so I was wearing my urban-use taps, and thus not really in a position to comment. Ohnoes i haz a false.
Their sound was a little thinner than the last time] that I saw them, but the ultimate effect was still impressive. The Immortal influences are still present, but more subordinated to the solidifying Nåthruzym sound. This continuing development makes it less ironic to see most of Sarcomancy up front giving appreesh for this set, as it becomes more difficult to imagine the two bands doing an Immortal-off on, like, Born of Fire should it line up on the winter solstice; necessary in that case because, when it comes to Immortals.....
....wait for it....
...there can be only one.
Ok, that was terrible. Nåthruzym is apparently going on hiatus for the time being, and they deserve to go into hibernation with the last memory being this rather cool set, not some derp's stupid nerd joke.
I got a shirt off Nåthruzym after their set; just the logo, not the one with the death moose head, but still cool, and also a bunch of stickers to pass out. If you see something marked "LOBT DEN ELCHGOTT!", this is the band it's from.
The bands before them had been good, and been ripping, but Morgirion took it up another level and tore the damn room completely in half. It'd been a long time since I'd seen Morgirion, and the change is not so much development as pure and simple leveling up. They've had this sound for a while: the blade's long forged, and now ground down to a ripping, uncompromisingly sharp edge. The crowd had declined a little off the peak -- the movie outside and the obliterating heat probably to blame -- but those who stayed got a killer performance from Morgirion and some class hectoring from Connor: "This place is a LIBRARY! You fuckers spent this whole set reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's fucking Penis!" No pig heads -- or pitchforks -- were thrown, and the vituperation was largely for comic effect, but this kind of competitive, adversarial stage banter is black metal down to the bone.
Eventually, Morgirion had to go to bed, calling the crowd layabouts in the process, and we cleared out after waiting a bit to make sure they weren't trolling. The trip back wasn't too strenuous, but the heat and a persistent summer cold caught up with me, preventing me from getting in to Vital on Saturday. Next gig to be reported on is probably Pilgrim, Shabti, and Hessian the middle of next month...and sometime after that, the tour report will get done.