Thursday, June 14, 2012
Horna with Kommandant, Bog of the Infidel, Nachzehrer, and Sarcomancy [Great Scott, Allston, 6/5/2012]
Great Scott has been far from a favorite -- or even frequent -- venue of mine in the past six years, mostly due to being, well, far from places where you can park without a permit. For this one, I had to get down, and so on the weekend I scouted out the area while breaking in my new boots, talking the FNG at work through his first on-call shift, and postponing the usual round of football, Irish brekkie, and liver damage. It came ultimately to nothing -- except to the notion that it is not really all that much further (about a quarter-mile each way) than O'Brien's, which I hike to all the goddamned time. It was accordingly time to buck up and use my damn feets for a change, and despite starting out late and getting jammed up in traffic, I made the two miles or so in 40 minutes and change, and STILL managed to roll up before doors. No problems.
"Doors", of course, turned out to be a nebulous concept, further gummed up by the venue's split-out of ID check and entry fee into two stations, which backed up the line a little bit. There was not a whole ton of time to spare, but I managed to get both a pint and four records' worth of touring support into my rig before Sarcomancy started up.
It had been a while since I'd seen Sarcomancy, but despite the lineup change, the band has continued on in the same vein as previously; an Immortal emulator with, on this particular outing, unfortunately mortal guitar equipment. They got three songs, which were pretty well-delivered as long as the guitar signal wasn't dropping out, which did substantial damage to what should have been a cool closer. The current iteration of Sarcomancy should continue to follow on and develop in the same vein as before -- provided they can work out any ground faults in their cable supply.
The venue was really filling in here, and I went forward kind of out of necessity -- but not so far forward as to stand in front of the little dude who was up front as well. Any kind of deliberate favoritism would be patronizing, of course, but it takes a real dick to stand 6'3" and deliberately stand in front of someone who's barely clearing 3'6".
While they were able to bring Eric back for the last high-profile show they were on, such was not the case here, and so the audience got a good strong sample of Nachzehrer working over what looks to be a full-time transition to only one guitar. This was kind of a new sound, but one that's still consonant with their recordings, and the quality Great Scott PA and mix allowed all three 'outfield' musicians to pick up more of the weight in carrying the songs forward. The older stuff lacks a little without the second guitar, but the newer stuff sounds just as good in this alignment, and as the band continues on, more good stuff can surely be expected.
Nachzehrer blasting away, with Alex not looking so much like he's dying up there as usual.
On the night, I also picked up a short stack of Nachzehrer promos to export, which the MBTA Plod did not take off Mike when he got detained. The RFM is out and about, just watch out where you pull your bulletbelts out of your gear when you're out and about.
Bog of the Infidel [6/7]
I'd also not seen Bog in a while, but they made up for time with a classic set of full-featured, fully-developed second-wave black metal that at this point has thoroughly separated itself from its Norwegian antecedents. The excellent venue sound only helped in this regard, but the quality of the music is such, at this point, that this set would probably have gotten the same great audience response if it had been played in the dingiest basement, or with the Palladium's most wrong-headed knob twists. Vattnet and certain trend-streams notwithstanding, it's difficult to see how Bog isn't the next black metal band from eastern New England to make it out to the next level -- and if they aren't, they damn well ought to be.
Bog of the Infidel prepare to unleash satanisms.
It was a while waiting for Kommandant to set up/get strapped into their gas masks, etc, and if I recall correctly I filled in the time happening to discuss the festival climate overseas and do a bit of Party.San boosterism. The RFM remains out there, and the trip inches closer to planned -- despite the extra expense of having to fly out of goddamned Frankfurt, it's probably less expensive than having to plod all the way back to Berlin from rural Bavaria. We'll see.
I hadn't heard Kommandant before, and wasn't sure what to expect, especially after the band came out in costumes reminiscent of Impaled at an early-'90s industrial/fetish rave. What they brought was a confounding collision between high-level concept gimmickry and stripped-down, ceaselessly-blasting black metal violence. Relative to their recorded stuff, at least as far as I picked up here, this set came off as less developed and more monotonically violent, but that didn't resolve the visual/musical inconsistency, and the costumes mostly just left the impression that the band badly wants to get on the Bundesverfassungsschutzamt's index unjustly, but without taking the risk of writing anything faintly political. Their use of forward auxillary percussion was pretty cool, though, even though on a personal level, if you're going to bring out additional drummers on just snares or toms, especially in a band that's putting this much emphasis on visual production, you need to have them in marching harnesses and give the guys playing them something to swing around. All in all, a cool set, but not one that really required or justified a lot of the visual stuff that went into it.
Kommandant, fully equipped with gasmasks, front-stage percussion, and decent lighting.
Finally, Horna stepped up in front of the packed house, and delivered a relentless and top-class performance. I was wedged in at the back to a certain degree, so for me there was no obvious piss involved -- just raw, classically Finnish black metal full of tart folkic melodies and steaming, acrid violence. (Er, ok. Not exactly sure where that was going.) Reminiscent of Finntroll circal 1998, before the humppaa gimmick started to overwhelm their sound, this was true, violent, uncompromising black art, worth the wait between tours and the nebulous NSBM vapors that swirled around this gig in advance of it (but never, fortunately, actively condensed). It was over all too quickly, though; not on any shortage of music, but just the perception that Horna had stopped playing at some point after they started was problematic enough. Killer from first to last.
Horna, daubed up in sepulchral paint of uncertain composition.
At the end there was a bit of a punch-up, and then there was a 15-minute wait to use the head (Horna didn't have a green room, so they used the men's room to change, which naturally leads to them pissing themselves on stage. IT'S IN THE FISHBOWL, BERT!), but one way or another I got out, did the nearly hour-long hike back, and managed to get in to work on Wednesday without dying on either commute. Density of shows, though, mean this is super late...and the two writeups following it, only marginally less so.