Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mausoleum with Engorge, Blessed Offal, and Untombed [Ralph's, Worcester, 7/26/2012]

As I continue to do ridiculous things to get physically ready to stop being a largely-abstemious desk jockey and spend two weeks as a full-time, hard-drinking, outdoor-living metalhead, a phrase continues to repeat: this also is training.  This show, not as much as the frequent long-distance hikes around Boston carrying heavy gear loads poorly balanced, also fell into that category: with the weather promising apocalypse, me being on short rest from Agalloch the night before, and a bill consisting of locals I see all the time and touring bands that I've not been inspired by (I remember giving Cadaveric Displays of Ghoulish Ghastliness a dismissive 4/7 back when I was still writing album capsules, but apparently that one never got publicly posted), any other time of year, this would have been a coinflip.  As it was, though, I headed out without any hesitation, and managed to both get in before the lightning blowing up the sky ahead of me to the south and west outbound on the Pike turned into much actual rain, and get all the way through the show.

Untombed [5.5/7]
As they've done frequently of late, Untombed started a little slow, but built through the duration of the set, kicking out a solid, quality outing of chunky, brutal death metal.  Persistent problems with Dave's mic, mostly relating to the cables' tendency to either not work or get themselves snagged on stuff and unplug themselves, prevented this from being as smooth as it could have gone, but this turned out to be a good Untombed set regardless.  I'm not sure that the last time they played out here, they had the two-vocal lineup, and Ralph's doesn't see a lot of bands with two mic-gripping vocalists (at least not on Metal Thursdays) regardless, but in the future the sound guy will at least know what to expect when routing wires.

Untombed radiating extra heat to render super red.  No, not really.  This is just my phone camera being bad at it, as usual, but it was extremely hot in the upstairs, hotter than the week before despite lower external temperatures.

I spent most of this break doing more "also training", which to go into in greater detail is really TMI.  The normal SOP in the US is to avoid crapping at shows, ever, because the toilets are 99+% of the time a disaster area, but it's unavoidable at festivals, and beer placement and not dropping stuff down the john is also a levelable skill.  No more on this one.

Blessed Offal [5.5/7]
Others have commented that Blessed Offal stole the show on this night, and while I'm not sure I agree 100% with that (see arbitrary numbers pasted next to bandnames), their development continues, despite replacing Scott with Paul from Nachzehrer.  This was his first live appearance, so it's understandable that the overall effect was a little off peak, but this will be remedied with time, and it's not like this wasn't a damn cool set regardless.  Blessed Offal continues to thrive on lows and thick, punishing brutal death metal, but this sample showed a few more blackened touches than they've had recently, for a thoroughly cool overall effect.  They've been steadily cutting themselves a place as one of Boston's better death metal bands for a while now, and it's going to be really cool to see where they take this sound going forward.

Blessed Offal on the verge of melting down.  Camera resolution is inadequate to show Ross dissolving all over his guitar.  Did I mention it was super hot in here?

I picked up Mausoleum's new record and a Scaremaker disc in this break, and got comped a Kommandant promo and a bunch of stickers, which may or may not get into the merchpack.  I didn't drop a ten and clean Blessed Offal out of their promo CDs, partly because I'm queasy about buying stuff in order to give it away (implies endorsement or something, beyond the implicit endorsement of carrying it in the first place), but I did buy a shirt, which is getting worn across the pond for advertising purposes, especially if weather conditions more resemble '09 than '10.  I continue to have too many shirts, but when bands put stuff out in different base colors, I can rationalize it away by defining the current state as "too many black shirts".

BASS NERD ALERT BASS NERD ALERT.  All this time, and Steinbergers still get the same reaction.

Engorge [5.5/7]
By the usual means of "not finding out about touring bands until they go on, because I am a lazy overnighter who works too much", I didn't make the connection that this Engorge (and worse, there is only a couple of them, unlike other bands that match 'grep *gorge*', compounding the fail) is the one with Kyle Necrogod in it; this runs good and bad, bad in that had I known, I'd've been more motivated to go to the show, and good in that had I known, I might have had expectations that might have gone unmet.  As it was, with no expectations, I got a good but not superlative of blended first- and second-wave black metal with some death touches, though one that came off as a little short, maybe because or in spite of occasional blackouts from some combination of heat and exhaustion.  This was a decent set, and I'd like to see them again in some setting that doesn't involve the risk of falling asleep standing up, but I'm sure that I did miss a little just on not being able to keep my eyes open.

Engorge roaring away.

I'd had this happen before with Inquisition, and this time I had a much longer drive on the back end.  I had to do something, and fortunately I had countermeasures available.  As I do in the field, I filled up my hat with water from the bathroom sink, then poured most of it out and slapped it back on.  This improvised towel/cooling system needed refreshing before I headed home, but it did keep me awake all the way through Mausoleum and out onto the road, so it did work.  One to note.

Mausoleum [6/7]
As should have been expected, Mausoleum is still in the same place compositionally, on stage in 2012, as they were in 2004 on disc.  However, it works in this setting, and their live delivery was certainly impressive, even if the music under it remained fairly basic brutal death metal, and as consistently about zombies lyrically as Running Wild is about pirates.  Zombies may be getting played out, and there were a couple legit desync issues on a couple songs, but Mausoleum regardless were able to keep the basics of their sound, straight-ahead death metal in the vein of Autopsy and early Death with a lot of traded leads, still sounding vital and interesting.  This band is still not one that I'm going to be following obsessively, but on the evidence of this set, I'm definitely going to go back to the first record and jam "Tombs of the Blind Dead" a bunch.  Very cool.

Mausoleum, back from the funeral.

After Mausoleum closed up, it turned out that I wasn't going to pick up any Deathgod Messiah material (which is a shame, because they are a cool band who deserve more exposure) for export, so I put new water in my hat and hit the road.  Work and another show over the weekend wedged things tight, but here this writeup is finished, and the backlog substantially cut down.

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