Friday, November 16, 2012
Septic Flesh with Krisiun, Melechesh, Ex Deo, Inquisition, and Untombed [Middle East, Cambridge, 10/15/2012]
.....and just like that, I finished up my second on-call shift in three weeks and came clear till the solstice. This was written near on a month ago, but work got in the way, and then a bout of violent depression at missing first Suffocation, then Deiphago for work reasons. So it goes. Hopefully, more in the pipeline in the six weeks ahead.
It had been far too long since I had been able to get out to a gig, for a variety of reasons, and despite the deadweight on this bill, and the thorough well-poisoning that Septic Flesh had done in advance, there was more than enough reason to get out of work quick and over for the early start. Due to good old insane congestion on 93, I rolled up a little after doors, so there was no line, but there was still Untombed and everyone else's good buddy Rafe out front, and he ended up having an extra ticket, which saved me five bucks on the inbound, and probably a little time.
Thanks to this, I got through the patdown before Untombed had gotten too far into their set, and I saw a long slice of a damn class performance. The band keeps improving, and the Middle East PA let them show off the full capabilities of their sound. There was a little trickery -- see Dave standing in the lens flare in a gas mask -- but the main point of Untombed remains, as ever, the straightforward provision of solid, brutal, grooving but not over-slammy death metal. Good stuff, and despite the black metal balance of the bill, an excellent opener.
Untombed roar out of the gates.
As referenced above; Dave cosplaying as one of the dudes from Kommandant.
I went forward for Inquisition because space opened up, and I wanted to get the best possible experience I could in a shorter slot. Just not falling asleep wasn't going to cut it.
Inquisition's set did end up significantly cut, but I was in the first/first and a halfth row for all of it, and what we did get was choice. It balanced a little newer, but they did still get everyone fist-pounding along to "Empire...", and the split of folkic melodies, evil drone, and storming true black metal hit exactly the damn spot. The great attraction of Inquisition right now, though, is not really any of that, nor their purist devotion to Satanism, so much as that the whole sum of this is that the band is basically the band that Immortal has not been able to be for most of the last 15 years: not overshadowed by an epochal record, or bound by "line between clever and stupid" with regard to their paint, attitude, and presentation. If Inquisition has an ATHOW on the way, we will cherish these intimate sets in small clubs -- and if not, we'll be getting even more of them. Either way, win.
Inquisition stirring the pool.
Dagon delivering some croaks.
Starting the intro into "Empire...."
I moved back for Ex Deo, because they had been weighed and found wanting on a previous occasion. Some may blurt out here, BUT U R WOP HOW CAN U HAET ROM, but in truth, my blood is far more, by volume, of that of Boudeicia, Hermann, and Saladin than of the Caesars...that and this band is basically modern Kataklysm doing Gladiator cosplay, and my feelings on that topic are well known.
Irony? The eagles on Ex Deo's Roman standards are pretty obviously the same as the ones we saw on American flags in school every day growing up, which would make an interesting commentary on American military dominance and national decline, if there was the faintest suggestion that this band was self-aware, let alone politically-aware, enough to do this intentionally.
Ex Deo [5/7]
While they didn't play anything especially gripping or interesting -- justifying my decision to cut out in the middle for a food break -- Ex Deo did put on a decent show and delivered a high-test, professional, set. Mauricio is no longer capable, it seems, of playing good or interesting music, but he is a goddamn professional, on stage as well as booking these tours, and the execution here was as high as anticipated. Decent escapist fun, but the band is lucky that their boss is also about the most competent and professional booker/tourmanager operating in North America, or they would have no chance, on the merits, of getting onto bills like this, or getting this kind of audience.
Ex Deo receives the acclaim -- but not the salutes -- of the audience. Amazingly, everyone here kept their right arms from doing socially obnoxious things, even when this band gave them ample excuse to troll. Standards are slipping.
Melechesh and forward again; I'd been on the rail at Party.San, of course, but here would be still closer.
Most of the set was not quite at this level, and in truth there was not a ton of separation between them, Inquisition, and Krisiun to come. However, they ended in grand, aggressive style, pumping out a pure fury that got them up to the mark; not a bad impression for the first US tour. The material was heavily biased towards their newest record, but I'm not sure how much off Sphynx, let alone As Jerusalem Burns... people would have recognized anyways. Should they come back, they'll do better keeping the whole level high, but their attitude and intensity in delivering what has always been class and deep as well as violent music can stand no complaints. Killer.
The hood only lasted for one song here too....
....but as shown, it isn't the same guy.
Ashmedi bows his guitar with a drumstick for some interesting sounds. Only one intro with this, but it was pretty cool.
I stuck for Krisiun, as I'd never actually seen them this close in a room this small. The only space that compares is the Palladium upstairs, and the front there is an audio killzone as well as permanently hogged by kids and other tryhards. No chance of that in Cambridge.
BRAZILIAN BAND SO TEHY WERLD CUPS HURR DURR
Ok, for real; Moyses tuning up.
Krisiun, of course, delivered, with the immense sound, ceaseless brutality, and undying professionalism that has made them legends (as well as punchlines) for fifteen years. They don't look it, and the performance is even less weighted by years on years of small rooms and violent crowds. They built on the openers, who had some motion, but really took the pit up to another level, as expected from the first actual death metal band since Juan and co. packed up to let the touring bands on. Some people may have left due to it being a Monday night and Septic Flesh's disastrous prior performance in Providence, but Krisiun sent them out the door with a legit headliner-quality set that, even without the last band, was eminently worth the admission price.
Brutal music demands brutal lensflares.
Alex gives ceaseless appreesh to the crowd.
Cameraman getting stuck in; several of the bands on this one were filmed, so watch out for a DVD from this tour, either independently or bundled with the physical release of their next albums.
I was also a little worn, and backed up in order to bail if necessary, but I wanted to give Septic Flesh a fair shake. They got it, though as Melechesh might say, mene mene tekel upharsin.
Septic Flesh [5/7]
I tried not to be influenced by the bad reviews from attendees and supporting bands on the PVD gig. The thing was, I could see exactly where they were coming from. Playback Flesh put together a decent bit of execution, but it was so overwhelmingly from the sound board as to make the band's presence on stage of questionable necessity. I can understand the economics -- especially coming from Greece -- of not paying for a live keyboard player, but when you have string lines that are not being played by guitarists for lack of a goddamn pedal, it is really, really pushing it. They're probably better on record, where the playback element isn't as disruptive, but so is Therion, and Therion isn't going to draw me to a headlining tour either. Septic Flesh were not terrible, but in the last analysis every single band on this bill put up better results...and that's not where you want to be as a headliner.
Septic Flesh concelebrate "The Great Mass".
Eventually, Septic Flesh stopped without degrading their score any further, and I hit the road, eventually getting this posted more than a month after the gig in question. Hopefully, this won't hold for coming shows...which I also hope to actually, like, get out to between now and the end of the year.