Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Hekseri with Obsidian Tongue, Noose, Deathgod Messiah, and Grue [O'Brien's, Allston, 8/31/2012]
I was a little later than anticipated getting out for this one, but due to typically hard hiking, even with my rig full of stuff to hand out locally, and typically late actual start (five bands, I was expecting 8:30, but the music didn't start till 9), I got in with time to spare and to cool down in the still-functioning, still not overwhelmed AC. In this time I was able to get some stuff passed out to Larissa in the course of talking about, among other things, the upcoming Hekseri album (as soon as they can finish putting the recordings together and find a label that's not going to go bankrupt) and the chance that they might be playing out in Europe in support of it. Not a whole lot of discussion, though; her priority was of course on keeping things going smoothly, and secondarily finding out where the hell Noose was, because they didn't make it up to the venue in time to take the first slot, letting it get shuffled up for...
The step up from the last outing in this building is quite evident, showing the difference a month can make. The fundamentals are still the same, but more refined, and with a stronger sense of original self from the band. If the bark was still on the logs last time, this set saw those chunks of The Olden Domain and Mardraum sawed and hewn into blocks, strapped together with some more third-wave chords and Dave's fulminating death-influenced drumstyle, corners still rough in some places but definitely showing the plan of what this band is building towards. If we have to use those buckets, Grue is still definitely a third-wave black metal band, but more than any other third-wave band in this area, they're drawing clear lines: "no," the music says, "we're not completely on board with what's been happening in this style lately, so just to be sure, we're going to go back to Dead As Dreams and the proggier end of the viking metal flowering and start from there." Where they're going, and if they can catch OT in terms of overall effect, are still to be decided, but this is definitely a band worth watching.
Grue setting up.
Since DGM and Grue were mostly backlining out of a shared equipment pool (and things were running a couple minutes behind), this was a short set change, but still long enough to get a beer and peruse the merchdesks; Obsidian Tongue's buttons are a little big, but still decent enough to take one to fill out a fiver in the process of picking up some very cool patches. This new printing process -- if it catches on; Hekseri also had patches in this line -- in combination with the return towards patched gear on the part of the audience, has the potential to be very, very cool for DIY bands, as the quality is a huge step up from stamping onto a roll of denim and hand-cutting shit, at what seemed to be a pretty marginal additional investment.
Deathgod Messiah [5.5/7]
Hekseri wasn't the only band making a rare return here; it had been a couple years since I saw DGM, partly due to bad luck on my part and partly due to lineup issues and members concentrating on other projects, but they made up for lost time in their typically explosive fashion. There was a little more Obituary in the sound than I noticed before, but the basic parameters remain, and the resolute violence of their attack got the floor moving for the first time on "Sexual Violence". Because this kind of gutter-born first-wave black-death is kind of inherently and violently opposed to any kind of transcendance, there may be a ceiling on their arbitrary-numbers rating relative to every other band in the world, but that ultimately doesn't matter to the experience of getting down front, banging like a maniac, and fully soaking up that feeling of relentless war against everything. Killer.
Also, as before, DGM blacked up for the gig (the only band to do so), and reinforced a long-held personal conviction by positive example: if you're going to do corpsepaint, black shoepolish or you're a fucking false. No mercy ever.
Marcus invokes hell for Deathgod Messiah -- but not dicks, yet, though those were also on offer later.
Here, Wren finally goddamned showed up, and I was able to hand him the merchpack I'd accumulated overseas. As noted repeatedly, Party.San has an infinite appetite for DIY material -- and the sources feeding that hunger aint chopped liver either. Mostly flyers, but still an original Death Agony CD, a copy of Violent Sun's demo, and G.U.C. #28, which will be of dubious utility outside of the CD, but was necessary to hand across regardless.
Despite the fears that they might not show, Noose eventually did get in, and slotted themselves in here as soon as a slot became available. Unfortunately, they didn't quite meet the standard of the first bands -- indicating why they were initially slotted to go on first -- and attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to cover for their relative lack of compositional prowess by turning up the volume. Noose thoroughly overpowered the room withtheir sound, but eventually, you decide to plug up or stand further back, and what you get is, at this point, a largely formulaic third-wave black metal act that's making itself difficult to hear via feedback. They had some cool lines, but ultimately not enough of them to stand out; at the end of the day 'loud' is the bread and butter of metalheads, and no amount of loud is enough loud to prevent us from eventually digging through and evaluating the music underneath. Noose has some decent potential, but at this point, it's a lot more for the future than the present.
Sorry, no pictures; the lights were down, and since I don't use plugs, I had to be a decent distance back if I wanted any hope of hearing the last two bands.
In this break, I also did my Hekseri/Witchblood merch, and of course all in German. Meg had been at Party.San, but didn't see me there, for the obvious reason that most of my infield time was spent skulling Totenmacher with various dudes from Germany and the Republic, and that my non-infield time was thoroughly consumed by Dosenfußball and getting up to no good with Müller. (Report to come, seriously.) I passed out some flyers in return, but probably to no effect; even Jena is a fair piece from Nürnberg, and Dresden, from that perspective, is almost in goddamned Poland.
Obsidian Tongue [6/7]
Material-wise, this set from OT had a lot of similarities to the last one in this building, and we still didn't get "It Dangles..." or "Distant, Residual", despite the band giving props to the older-styled violence of the balance of the bill by pulling a track off their tape demo. There will be other shows, though, and this one was pretty damn killer, even if beset by occasional technical difficulties. As Obsidian Tongue's been playing lately, this was a down outing, but that says more about how good this band's been lately than about their form on this date. Even as such, ceaselessly cool, still transcendant.
A light in the darkness -- when bands are super popular, it's hard to stand close enough to get pics with stuff in the rest of the frame.
Since I had to stop drinking to dry out for the drive home, I took a break outside here. It's getting to the part of the year where Boston's no longer a smelting furnace, but it's still not exactly cool out, even at eleven at night.
Meg's Ausseidlung has meant, of course, no gigs since PT109 last year, but this admittedly short set made up for lost time in pretty impressive fashion. I'm not sure how much new stuff we got along with the classics and Celtic Frost covers, as the front was pretty goddamn turbulent (putting at least one pint glass on the floor, leading me to spend most of "Der Hexenhammer" and "Hekseri" sweeping with my boot soles), but new material is not strictly needed here. All the audience was looking for was Hekseri, again, and that's exactly what we got, driven, focused, bloody-minded, and somewhat more technically adept than when they were playing out more regularly. Additionally, Meg's split her bodhran parts out into a new pagan project, keeping the focus here thoroughly on true black fucking metal. I'd rather have gotten more, but curfews are curfews, and under these conditions, it's good enough to still be able to get Hekseri locally, period.
Jerome and Josh, shadowed but not overlooked. If you want pictures that actually have recognizable people in them, go to RTTP, this is for inaccurate words and occasional poorly-resolved visuals.
Whole band again, with marginally better light on Megan.
As noted, though, the set had to come to an end, and with the bar bellowing for last call, I beat feet for the bridges. I dodged a scare on the highway -- the stretch by Jordan's in Reading had apparently turned into a Twisted Metal track -- and got home, but at goddamned 2 in the morning, in just enough time to go to sleep, snooze through the alarm, and not hike enough on Saturday before getting drunk watching bad EPL games. Long weekend, it'll work out.