Thursday, June 14, 2012
Abnormality with Naegleria, Soul Remnants, and Soul Annihilation [Ralph's, Worcester, 6/7/2012]
It was a short cycle time to come off the Tuesday gig and head out for another midweek show, but this night had the choice of two release shows. The bill here was a little more compelling, overall, than Sonic Pulse's shindig at O'Brien's, and not only was this probably my one chance to see Abnormality before going overseas (since they were dragging out to LVDF over the next two weeks, and long tours generally have a negative effect on frequency of local shows immediately afterwards), it also didn't involve the characteristic hike. I screwed up and left my gear at home when I went to work, but managed to get things sorted in time to buzz north, grab my rig and a bite to eat, then head south and west, arriving with a couple minutes to spare and grab a beer before the bands started up.
Soul Annihilation [5/7]
I hadn't seen this band yet, and the name resemblance to Soul Remnants, also on this bill, had caused a few raised eyebrows going in. They were pretty good, though, putting out a decent set of functional, competently-delivered black-death metal somewhere between Belphegor and Sacramentum, but of course like all my analogies, this one runs out of steam on a lack of explicit touch points to either band. There is definitely room for further development, to make some of the riffs stick more, but Soul Annihilation is still a fairly young band (Kunjan turned 21 on this gig), and if they continue to stick around, there's no reason that they wouldn't be able to make that step up.
Sean is 3/6 in black metal's T1. This reference would drop me down the bottomless abyss of nerdery if I wasn't in the depths already.
Soul Remnants [6/7]
This was, to some degree, the set that Soul Remnants has been getting around to delivering for the last six months. Whether it was the occasion or just the natural development of playing with and writing and recording a new record with the members who weren't in Chopwork, this performance really took what they've been doing lately to that next level, showing off their reinvention of NWOSDM from first principles. The idea of blending melodics and themes from hardcore and grind into first-wave Swedish death inheriting from Carcass has been done before (most prominently, 20 years ago in Gothenburg), but the way that Soul Remnants is doing it, not so much; over the whole course of this tight, diverse set, there was very little that explicitly echoed other bands. That new record is definitely going to be one to look out for, especially as it's still not done yet, and the band has shown pretty consistent improvement throughout the process.
Tom swirls his leads together on a vintage neon Ibanez.
It was probably in here that I did most of my merch; two CDs from Abnormality (the shirt came later) and a CD and a bunch of stickers from Naegleria for export. I was going to try and take some stuff off Abnormality as well, but you don't do that to a band just about to hit the road; as much good as I think I can do passing out stuff overseas, more good is done when people see a band, get into a band, and take free stickers home to paste on their friends' stuff. Once that's worked itself out over the 6000 or so total road miles between here and Vegas, I'll see what I'm able to do with what little may be left.
As before, Naegleria continues to be all about slams. Said slams remain huge, though still not quite at the level of Dysentery or Composted, even if Joel's shirt choices and some of the less serious lyrical topics seem to have the band with one eye on the latter's throne. Even without that consideration, this was an intense and highly enjoyable set of pounding death metal, and the assembled crowd definitely started to get into it, even if the amount of movement wasn't quite up to what the band would've liked to see.
When as big as Joel you are, rock a pink unicorn shirt at metal shows you can also.
Ogle bait. Not Malika, you fucking perverts, Ben's Kramer 7x36. :drool:
Abnormality had a few tech issues on this one, and in a few spots let the intensity fall between songs, but in some ways this is a natural consequence of playing this kind of music, with all the demands it puts on musicians mentally and both them and their gear physically. The other side of this is that the band certainly got that intensity punched back up in a hurry when they hit into the next song, and the material on offer was flat stunning. Most of this set was pulled from ...Hive Mind, and on track after track, the band slayed with the same tightness, precision and ceaseless violence live as they do on disc. On the road over the next weeks, they'll either tighten this up for foreign audiences, who will get hit even harder, or they won't, and scene heads across the Route 66 stripe will just have to be satisfied with being floored by a performance merely as good as this rather awesome offering. The floor got extremely turbulent and stayed that way throughout most of the set, but most of the violence, even so, was pouring down out of the cabs.
Eventually, Abnormality had to close up and hit the road, and I headed out in the other direction, making a decently smooth ride before getting jammed up in a pea-soup fog going through Danvers. Somehow, I didn't run into anything, and I was able to cycle up relatively quick for work the next day...and then the Euros and "WDF" on the weekend to push this writeup further out.