Thursday, October 06, 2011

(Kallathon) with Nachzehrer, Deathamphetamine, Axeman, Katahdin, and Ramlord [PT-109, **REDACTED**, 10/1/2011]

Earlier in the day, I'd been hiking around Boston, picking up some stuff from Armageddon and having some interrelated adventures that would have both positive and negative results. The negative was that due to insufficiently hardcore socks or insufficiently repaired boots, I ended up with a two-euro-sized blister on my heel that was on the verge of turning into a two-euro-sized hole in my foot. The positive was that, stopping to fix that on the steps outside the Museum of Science, I ran into two Brits as I was getting up who commented on my Tankard hoodie. This led to a brief exchange of information, not only about the record shop I was coming from, but the gig I was going to, and while Dave and Emma didn't end up coming out, it's always good, in a new city, to find out where the metal stuff is -- and Armageddon and PT-109 (the exact address I didn't provide and can't remember, having forgotten it as soon as I memorized the navigation) are pretty damn good as regards record stores and DIY venues, respectively.

Having gotten back home, I stupidly didn't dress the hole in my foot before heading in again; some of this was time constraints, but a lot of it was just the casual disregard for life and limb that I normally go with. I cached my car and stumped over, and despite the wounded-bird limp, got over well ahead of doors and had to hide out for a bit before eventually holding the door open for Ramlord and getting on inside. Bad timing is worse on DIY venues; most of the time, you're locked out, and then have to not be seen for a couple minutes to avoid pulling aggro.

Eventually, of course, I got in and hanging out, and should have paid for, well, something at this point, but Mike Nachzeher ended up comping me their cassette that was being released at this show and refused my fiver to get in. As with prior incidences, I tried not to let this color show impressions; $5 is not a lot to pay for a show of any kind, especially a good one, and the money I saved here ended up getting recycled towards the unexpected touring bands, so things kind of worked out in the end.

Ramlord [5/7]
I hadn't seen these guys before, but from their merch setup, they have some member overlap with Ultra//Negative, which kind of showed in the music. Looking much more like a crust/punk band than a black metal combo, they smashed out raw, mostly simplified black/crust in line with that punk ethos. This kind of apparent "crossover" would have been impossible a few years ago, but in modern days punks have also figured out what the historians of black metal noticed as soon as Norway started diversifying: black metal is punk rock with an escape hatch, where you can play raw, brutal, violent music, then develop that into more melodic or more rarefied avenues without losing the raw DIY audience that shows up to gigs like these. Ramlord took a couple of these turns, of course, bringing in touches of punk, hardcore, and third-wave in various places, but still of course to good effect. Ramlord is nothing resembling a standard black metal band, bridging several scenes with those elements, but whether you define them as more black metal or more punk, they're a pretty good one, regardless.

That this opinion was shared by the audience here was made obvious by the conditions of their merch stand later; by the time I hit them up, they were out of Ramlord music, so I ended up nabbing an Ultra//Negative tape and a couple Ramlord buttons. Maybe not quite patch-level -- and I'm running out of space regardless -- but still cool.

Katahdin [5.5/7]
Katahdin sounded notably better than previously in this space, even beyond me just being in the building for their whole set. They kept the raw sound of the room, but were either more in tune or more consonant than before, producing a better final effect. They're still short a bassist, but in only a technical sense: Katahdin works fine without a bass player, and I'm pretty sure that nobody actually missed that dimension here.

Axeman [6/7]
I was running low on beer on this point, and thus pretty well oiled, so I wasn't immediately sure which of the several possible Black Twilight Circle bands that had been discussed as late adds to this bill was actually playing. I recognized some of the dudes from Volahn way back, but that's hardly a definitive indicator given the rat's-nest member pool of this group of bands. As it eventually came out, this was Axeman making a rare live return, and the violent, hard-hitting black metal they provided meshed in well with the rest of the bill. There were some comments made about excessive space-rock-isms on some of these bands after the fact, but Axeman's guitar tone didn't sound that way at all: either it wasn't, or the long-suffering PT-109 PA system was hitting critical levels of abuse.

It was wicked packed at this point, and on after, so I wasn't able to go get what ended up being a Volahn tape and patch until much later (after Nachzehrer had stormdetonated like, the entire venue, but that's a story that's coming in a few grafs). Mostly for a lack of Axeman merchandise and a lack of familiarity with the totality of the BTC catalog rather than any special preference; I want to support the bands, I know I like Volahn, and when I eventually manage to corral a working tape player that won't destroy its inputs, I want to have a souvenir of this show that I'll determinatively dig listening to.

Deathamphetamine [5.5/7]
This was about the drunkest and most hardcore set I've seen out of Deathamphetamine, digging back to older material from before my acquaintance with the band as well as more modern stuff. Despite guest spots all over the set from Mr. Evan Williams, they stayed solid and on point for most of the set, including some other special guest appearances from Eric from Katahdin on bass to cover some Poison Idea, and Mike from Nachzehrer on Mel Gibson well, pretty much everywhere. DIY, motherfuckers. The crowd was starting to get earnestly violent as well, aided by more space, allegedly from "tourists" vacating since one BTC band didn't immediately follow the other.

Nachzehrer [5/7]
As befitting the nominal headliners of a release show at a DIY space, Nachzehrer set things off immediately, and to devastatingly chaotic effect; it could be argued that this was maybe too devastating and too chaotic, because Mike's movement, and later the crowd's reaction, generated a host of human and environmental casualties in its wake. This was still decent, despite the loss or effective loss of a couple members at several points, and cabs getting punched over and stuff; full credit to Alex, Paul, and Erik for pulling things through and keeping things locked down under some trying conditions. Nachzehrer have definitely played better than this, and may have preferred this set to go down differently than it did, but they still put up a decent representation of their sound to those people who may have come along for the touring bands despite the circumstances.

Despite the risk of getting branded a tourist, I had to bail at this point; I had to ferry my brother to a race in New Hampshire in five hours, and I was having a tough time standing up thanks to the hole in my foot. It hurt to miss Kallathon, but not as much as soldiering on with a huge undressed wound and crashing into a tree in the morning would have. I limped out, picked up my whip, and headed home for a brief nap before the alarms went off again. About the drama subsequent, I'm keeping mostly schtum as it's none of my goddamned business. What can be observed is not much more than this: there are a multitude of ways to do DIY music. The bands that are successful, either at the DIY level or in breaking out of it, tend to sooner or later get everyone on the same page as regards how the band's going to approach DIY. Those that don't tend to end up on the casualty lists. We'll see which way this Wendepunkt weht.

Next up, Metal Thursday -- and enough training at work tomorrow that I really ought to be able to get that out on schedule. There's still technically a hole in my foot, and I've still got the same boots on, but fucking duct tape, how does it work.

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