Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Behemoth with Watain, The Devil's Blood, and In Solitude [Worcester Palladium, 5/11/2012]
Due to the early start I got moving quicklike, and despite the traffic and having to stop to refuel, I got out and parked and processed in before In Solitude started playing. Beer in hand and some buttons, a foldy single, and Murrum's demo in my coat, I headed down front, where I ran into Carmine and got a sneak peek at the cover art for their coming demo/record. (And no, you jerks, it does not involve penises.) Right exactly on time, though, the band started up.
In Solitude [5/7]
This set showed a less girlfriend-metal side of the band, and a little more vital one, but this was still a short set held back by the band's cycle time and the terrible, terrible house sound. They didn't really get going until "Witches' Sabbath" -- the last song -- and a song and a half out of those four were unlistenable due to the mismix. In Solitude are better than they sounded here, and they will sound better in Schlotheim, but not everyone has the freedom to put gigs by international bands by the boards like that, and those who came out to see them got jobbed by the soundboard.
Seriously, this is not fucking hard. If your first instinct, even using the first band to dial in the board, is not "turn the guitars up to 11, fuck the bass", you probably should not be mixing heavy metal.
The Devil's Blood setting up. In addition to nailing the '70s guitar tone and composition, the instrumentalists in this band also have the '70s "look like total addicts" thing down pat.
The Devil's Blood [6.5/7]
Another shorter set, but with proper mixing and better material, it came out as ceaseless quality. This was comparable to and highly reminiscent of the last time I saw the band, but given that this set had some technical problems, maybe a better performance on music and stagecraft. They are not and will never be the most metal or hardest-hitting band out there, but Ghost trend or no Ghost trend, they're only headed up from here.
This was a new side of Watain for me, with nothing bleeding or on fire, but it was still a damn cool performance. The stadium-ready black metal that they inherited from Dissection has been further developed while still keeping most of its black metal essentials, and if the economics will probably keep them out of actual arenas, they'll continue to be viable headlining large rooms like this for a while yet.
Standing in the back of the floor area, I had difficulty seeing Erik over the front row. This, much more than any inadequacy issues (the other 'outfield' members of Watain are all fairly normal-height Swedish males, or 'wicked tall' as it's known around Boston), is probably why he was standing on a box. This has not been an issue in other venues, either in smaller clubs where the sight angles don't get cut down as much, or on festivals where the stage is higher up.
Done drinking and still uninspired by Behemoth, I went back, nabbed a Watain hoodie, and ended up talking a while with Phil Revo-Coyne on various subjects. If you haven't seen Revocation in a while, you're going to have the opportunity soon enough; this was a breather a couple weeks in advance of a marathon touring stand that will go around the US twice over June through August with no two days off in a row, and then proceed on to other territories (dates and package not set/announced, so no leaks) later on in the year. As far as they've gotten, it's still a long way to the top.
The better part of a thousand people go nuts for Nergal.
This is probably the most attention I have ever paid to a Behemoth set, and as little as I remain into the band, their execution is definitely at a level where headlining these kinds of packages is warranted, even with the material still being what it is. There is still a lot of Morbid Angel worship going on here, but the separation is a little cleaner, more of the material more strongly branded. This was a good, functional, and extremely professional set, and it's good to see Nergal back wearing silly hats rather than a hospital gown (even if "Conquer All" has a life-positive intro now, in what's likely a first for black or black-descended metal), but Behemoth's material is still where it is, largely outside the domain of my interest.
I did stick around through the encore and until the lights went up, but this was still fairly early, and even with taking alternate routes due to holes in the road and getting stopped on a state police roadblock, I managed to get back right about midnight. I then went on to get shattered watching BVB take the double and Barca steal a last futile point the next day, but that is what it is, and these kinds of delays should be taken for granted at this point. I have a minivacation at least planned for the end of this week, with three shows and the CL final over Thursday through Saturday, and those should get done up in a more speedy fashion.