Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Master with Hate Storm Annihilation, Summoning Hate, Ramius, and Abstruktor [Sammy's Patio, Revere, 4/19/2014]
So despite hiking myself into the ground in the morning running around getting the last stuff for China, I drove out to this (not confident in making three train and one bus connections coming back) and after a short period of "what the hell is wrong with highways not going anywhere in Revere, man" I got to the venue, stowed the car further away than I had to, and hiked down along the beach. Sammy's is located right on the water, so during the offseason (i.e., when it is too cold for guidos to LIKE A CHAMP all over the beach) there's tons of easily-accessible free parking for those who don't come in by the immediately adjacent Blue Line stop, and inside, beer is cheap and you're right on top of the band.
I picked up some stuff from Master, including a physical copy, at long last, of the Fuckin' Death demo, and then browsed the Wicked Music distro table. This was a good and a bad thing; my wallet ended the sequence a hell of a lot lighter than it started, but there was a copy of Cancer's To The Gory End involved, and if you walk away from a copy of that record at an old school death metal show, you will not generally come back and find it again. Front pockets armored up with death metal old and new (including Decrepit Birth's Progeny and the new Cynic, which is the first metal record of any stripe I've seen with commentary from the New York Times on a sleeve sticker), I got a beer and watched Abstruktor finish setting up.
I had not seen this band before, but in a way I had: over the course of a long set, what they provided was a lot of league-average, poorly-differentiated thrash metal that did not go much beyond "we like early Metallica a lot". For the most part, it was pretty well executed technically, and the several lapses in keeping in time might be down to the lack of monitors (which Paul from Master would complain about later) and/or breaking in a new guitarist (Brendan also of Black Mass), but other bands didn't have these issues, and they might easily have been forgiven if there was more there here. Abstruktor are an ok band, but didn't really offer anything in this set that couldn't have been replaced, in the general "melodic thrash also-rans" sense, by staying in and listening to my Blessed Death record. Actually, I should have done that anyway and still gone out on time; "listen to Blessed Death" is usually a good choice regardless of the circumstance.
Abstruktor doing their thing.
Ramius got back to the death metal that most of the audience came here to see, and offered in their five songs a solid, lyric, and for the most part well-finished performance, despite opening with "Omegaton" again, which still starts off with that riff cut directly out of "Crystal Mountain". Monitor circumstances notwithstanding, this was still about as good as set as I've seen from this band, and while it's good that they're continuing to develop, it's not quite so good that they still, after all this time, sound the most focused, confident, and dominating when they're playing other people's stuff. The scene's as demanding of originality as of quality, and it would be awesome to hear Ramius originals that they kill as hard as they did on "Pull The Plug" this time out.
Ramius detonate the Omegaton.
In here I got another beer and attempted to support the local bands who had merch out without adding needlessly to my shirt piles, and failed it. I can understand, in the presence of the internet, the reluctance of local bands to charge for demo burns, but it would be really nice to drop some cash, every now and then, and get something tangible that isn't going to get worn twice and then go in the SVdP box in eight months. And if you must loss-lead all your stickers/demos/printed patches, then ffs, have a tip jar.
Summoning Hate [5.5/7]
In the too-long intervening time since I last saw this band, Juan has come back on at least shared vocals, bringing one of Boston's longest-running old-school death metal bands back almost full circle. Marco still has a lot of the vocals, and still executes them pretty well, but much of their old stuff was written for one vocalist without an axe over his shoulder; Juan's lack of instrumental responsibility makes the delivery that much more guaranteed, and the dude still has one of the best sets of death metal lungs east of the Hudson. At times it was a little crowded with five dudes in the limited stage space, and the member shift and shorter set time meant that a bunch of good stuff they frequently have done in the past got cut from the setlist, but this was still a killer set from some killer dudes who have been killing it for quite a long time. That Brutality shirt on Juan in the picture down there isn't a reissue.
Juan and the Avilas, back together for the first time (well, in my experience) in a long time.
Hate Storm Annihilation [5/7]
On tour out of Chi-town and sharing Master's kit, Hate Storm Annihilation put on a thoroughgoing brutal death metal tech demo that shook out maybe a little short in the composition department, but excellent in every particular of execution. The songs as such did not hang together on much beyond brutality, or in large part separate themselves from each other, but in this style, that can become secondary to Craig's heroic seven-string evocation of several more musicians and Konstantin's flawless blasting battery all around the kit. This band is not going to end up at the NEMAHF (running concurrently with this show) at any point, but technical mastery and a brutal attack is always going to be accessible and in-demand for underground death metal audiences. Another axe might help them evolve in composition, along either the lines of Decrepit Birth or Gigan, but Hate Storm Annihilation clubbed us pretty well into submission and definitely justified the haul out from the Midwest, even as they are.
Hate Storm Annihilation fan the flames with a relentless barrage of notes.
Nervochaos was supposed to play in here, but weren't able to get the work visas needed for the tour. This was a bummer, but with them off and one of the original four local openers dropping and not being replaced, a seven-band bill got cut back to a much more normal and hospitable five. This is about the limit for normal shows; much more, and you're starting to trend back towards Mark's territory and people claiming that their overbooked, early-starting club show is a "festival".
We're all getting older, and the bloom is off the rose; this set didn't quite come up to Master's previous Boston-area gig, but it was pretty fucking good, and a hell of a lot better than most of the band getting turned back at the border. They played more new stuff on this go-round than then, but also more old stuff, including "Cut Through The Filth", which I'd never run across before, DIJTB II being super out of print and one generation before even I started following that comp series, and despite the carping from Paul about not being able to hear the vocals due to the lack of monitors, the sound was pretty much dead fucking on. This was the one band that the floor really filled in for, and when dudes weren't knocking the mic stands over thrashing out, it combined with the primitive PA setup and the older Death Strike tunes to really emphasize the down-and-dirty DIY feel. Sammy's is pretty fuckin' DIY in any case, combining the exterior of a warehouse show and the interiors of Anchors Up with a Revere Beach boardwalk bar, but Master ripping up most of the old grimy parts of the Boston death metal scene in a floor filled with equal parts band and audience is about as close as you're going to get to a basement gig on any show you pay money to get into.
Paul Speckmann, the best beard in death metal, the rest of Master, and a bunch of Boston dudes.
Eventually, though, they closed up, despite the tired crowd getting a second wind after "Pay To Die" and demanding encores, including some weirdo who wanted to hear "America the Pitiful". When it was clear that no more was in the offing, I wound my back in and headed out home, which ended up taking like twice as long as it ought to have, through random back streets in Medford, Somerville, and Winchester, because I am bad at not getting lost all the time. Fortunately, I didn't have much to do on Easter, and was able to get this down and dusted. Unless I by some miracle manage to go to Cloudkicker (volume of hipsters in Allston and being on call at the time suggest not), this is the last show, and thus the last writeup, before I try to go to east Asia and do a bunch of fundamentally very stupid things. We'll see if that works, and if I come back in one piece...and not in a pine box.