I got an earlier start out to this one than last night, and turned out to need it: traffic was heavy as shit, and I ended up getting over, in, and through doors just barely in time to get Dysentery's new record off Drew (and crack wise about previous transactions) before he had to go downstairs and strap his bass up. I blame the economy sucking slightly less, and me forgetting how Palladium shows work, not having gone to ones on weeknights in like a year.
While this wasn't the best, full-stop, show I've seen from Dysentery ever, it was wicked fucking good, full not only of slams, huge breakdowns, and crushing drops, but also a thick measure of more doctrinaire death metal brutality. They remain the ne plus ultra of slam, at least in-region, and still get kids going completely bananas on the drop, but in a lot of the new stuff, as well as the older songs as they've been reworked and tightened for Internal Devastation, there's a move towards one really huge slam breakdown rather than chaining breakdown to breakdown after each other. Still good stuff, and the record is flat killer; it'll be interesting to see where they go from here, especially with the lineup diverging from Parasitic Extirpation again, which should keep Dystentery focused and active even as Parasitic's shaking off the rust.
A quick merch break here did the obligate merch on the national bands; no tourdates and a lot of Carcass-borrowing logos put me off the Exhumed shirts, but I did get the new record and the far-more-early-Exhumed-than-anyone-really-needs Platter of Splatter comp. I bought Goatwhore's current album out of a perhaps-misplaced sense of duty, not because I especially wanted to hear five to seven attempts to make "Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult" part 2.
I'd missed this band on their previous stops in the region -- I think they were at Ralph's last year, and they may have played somewhere in the area with Razormaze since -- so it was good to finally see them, and welcome on top of that that they're less completely, totally, pro-forma thrash-revival than might otherwise have been dreaded. I'd rather see Witchaven getting this kind of recognition, but at least it's not Bonded By Blood or Warbringer ("in Richtung Slayer, Kreator und Exodus"?! Scheiss drauf, mann, gegenteilig iss die Band ne Fälschung Slayer, Kreator und Exodus!) in this slot again. For those not familiar, Havok set out a straight-ahead set of Big-Four inspired thrash metal, the kind of music you'd get from a band that decided to be influenced mostly by Slayer and Metallica, and stopped listening to either band in 1985. It wasn't terribly original, but the execution was pretty killer, and they further diversified the bill while not deviating too far from the thrash elements in Exhumed that presumably got them onto the package in the first place.
At the end of their set, they introduced "Afterburner" with the usual complaints about karate mosh, and, because this is New England, several people in the crowd immediately marched up the front to throw down for the song in as exaggeratedly antisocial a manner as possible. Not because New England inherently moshes like a dick, with feet flying at head level, but because we are all sardonic trolling bastards up here, who delight in provoking and confusing outsiders whenever possible.
As weird as it may seem given how the band have taken Krisiun's slot as mandatory openers on every tour ever, I hadn't seen Goatwhore in a while, and was at least a little interested to see what the deltas were between this performance and the many, many, times I saw them in 2007. The difference appears to be a much stronger commitment to black'n'roll, via the agency of a new record that is mostly composed of attempts to clone the sound, and presumably the success, of "Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult" off A Haunting Curse. That's a good song, still, even today and it was good as delivered here, but it loses a little of its luster when the band plays three other variations on it in the same set. Goatwhore are still a fundamentally decent band, and they still put on a good show, but it's hard to see where the upside is here. They allegedly have a new record coming out next February, but given their level of material to date, and the direction that they took on Clawing Out The Eyes Of God (i.e., cargo-cult black'n'roll that knows where it wants to be but is clueless on how to actually get there), it's difficult to forecast any kind of material change. Goatwhore is going to continue to be, as a RTTP wag put it in advance of this date, "America's Second Billed" for the foreseeable future, and "unable to headline" is probably not where a band that's been touring nationally for five years really wants to be.
It was probably in here that I picked up a bunch of Dysentery kit and apologized to Dave from Havok for not buying his record immediately; I ended up far enough back, and enough people lamered out over the course of Exhumed's set that it wouldn't've gotten crunched, but all they had was vinyl, and not only is that an iffy proposition to survive on the floor at a death metal gig, but I'd gotten quite enough of holding a record sleeve rather than having my hands free the previous night.
There are probably points to pick with this, and like Cynic the day before, this is not an especially "high" 7. However, it's undeniable that Exhumed set out a violent, abrasive, and generally very well-performed set of frenetic goregrind that got people thrashing around with appropriate reciprocal violence...and they eventually got around to doing "Matter of Splatter" in the encore (preceded by minimal bullshit), which was enough to put it over the top, at least for the easily-pleased simpleton writing this worthless text. This was a solid, killer, Exhumed set, and if you listened to it and thought the band was just turning the gears, or hadn't knocked all the rust off yet, see Carcass for a prior comparable of how that situation can still stat out to awesomeness.
After picking up Time Is Up as promised, I hit the road; I got back in good order, but picked up some kind of all-destroying lung disease that prevented me from seeing Absu at the weekend; I'm recovered now, but there's not a lot of shows between now and the Winterreise, and fewer still between there and the end of the year. I still need to plan for that...we'll see what shows, if any, are going down in Prague at the start of December.