(One of our most frequent commenters and the alter ego of Godless Angel, djneibarger, answered our call for guest posts with this show review straight from Lawrence, Kansas, and photos.)
My introduction to Morbid Angel happened in 1993 courtesy of the music video for “Rapture”, the opening track from their seminal album, Covenant. The ominous imagery and savage, hypnotic pulse served as my gateway drug to the death metal scene. And although my interest in the band waned after the departure of David Vincent, that legendary album is still as mesmerizing to me now as it was twenty years ago. When it was announced that Morbid Angel would be performing the album in its entirety and that the tour would be making a stop in my hometown, I knew I had to be there to witness it.
(Andy Synn reviews the concert delivered by Norway’s Satyricon and Taiwan’s Chthonic last weekend in Manchester, England.)
One thing I have learned this past week is that gigs in the US and the UK run on different time-scales. Whereas our American cousins like to start late and run long, more and more I’m seeing British gigs start early and run to a merciless time-scale.
I’m also seeing more and more shows without an “opener”, as such, relying on the main bands to provide all the necessary draw (a decision which makes clear sense in a lot of ways, as tonight’s sold-out crowd demonstrated).
Case in point – tonight’s doors opened at 7:00, and Chthonic hit the stage at 7:30 on the dot, proceeding to pummel us all with 30 minutes of streamlined melodic black/death metal, augmented by oriental keyboard orchestrations and some righteous Taiwanese ire.
(Our man BadWolf turned out for the Watain / In Solitude / Tribulation show in Detroit last month and provides these impressions, and some pics.)
A Watain tour always causes a ruckus, in more than one way: For one, the band always puts on a killer live show. For another, their use of live animal blood and much-publicized visa troubles, not to mention blasphemous musical content, have cemented Watain’s reputation as outlaws—and gotten them banned from more than a few venues in the process.
Their fall tour, however, got me especially excited, thanks to the addition of two perfect touring partners. Show openers Tribulation released a powerful black metal album in early 2013, one which blended the black-thrash sound Watain has popularized with psychedelic and film score elements. In Solitude played second fiddle, fresh off a Decibel cover, while supporting the recent release of their third album, Sister, which has already been called album of the year by a few metal journalists, particularly Adrien Begrand [http://social.entertainment.msn.com/music/blogs/post—a-fond-farewell]. I think it’s pretty damn good, despite (or perhaps because of?) only containing clean singing.
(NCS contributor Austin Weber wrote the following review. All of the excellent photos are by Nicholas Vechery.)
While Circle Takes The Square are not wholly a metal band, they do have some heavy moments and enough metal influence to interest open-minded metalheads. I know some of our more eclectic readers probably like them or used to. I planned to bring previous NCS collaborator Nik Vechery in tow to take photos, though I arrived a bit later than him due to awesome traffic and found my way to Haymarket Whiskey Bar in the downtown area of Louisville, Kenfucky. Which of course led to numerous Jack and Coke’s for me, and plenty of piss-beer PBR’s for Nik. Several local bands played first followed by Circle Takes The Square who gave an exhilarating and adrenaline-filled performance.
Opening the show was a local band I’d never heard of, and upon seeking them out online could find no music to get a glimpse at what they might sound like. Except that there used to be a progressive metal band called Greyhaven that is pretty cheesy. This Greyhaven were a sort of noisy punk-rock meets quasi-metal group with occasional djenty chugs slicing overtop at faster tempos then you would normally hear in that style. It was gritty and frantic, and a decently interesting merger of sounds.
(Our man DGR do know how to write a fuckin’ show review, and this is his latest.)
I apologize for dragging ass as long as I did with the review on this one. I had hoped that some good quality video would be out by the time I wrote this, but as time continued on, it became more evident that this would likely be a text-only review. Flash back to October 19th, the day after my birthday. This show would be my personal celebration. I was going to go see one of the most ridiculous shows out there and I was going to drunkenly enjoy every second of it — that there might be some good music happening that night would only be a bonus.
This being a Saturday show, I knew that the crowd would be huge, and that prophecy was fulfilled pretty quickly when I showed up a full twenty-five minutes before doors, and for the first time ever, wound up waiting in line around the block. Other times I’ve been to shows, I’m usually within the first fifty or so people and then the crowd forms about ten minutes before doors. Not so in this case, and that’ll learn me for when/if Gwar come around again.
They’ve played Sacramento before, with Cancer Bats and Devildriver, but I sadly wound up missing that show due to work and I was determined not to do so this time, subjecting myself to weeks of graveyard shifts in order to insure that I had that Saturday evening off. It was an exciting as hell evening in a packed as hell venue, with one of the most energetic crowds I have seen in this city in some time.
(In this post DGR reviews the CD release show of Conducting From the Grave (with friends) at The Boardwalk venue in Orangevale, California, on October 5, 2013.)
Saturday (Oct 5) was exciting for a several reasons. First, it was my chance to see Conducting From The Grave take the stage fresh off the release of their new disc. Second, I also got to see Soma Ras again. Third, I’d get to see the newly christened Alterbeast and find out if my generally high opinion of them from their GBAA days would still hold up. And finally, and I swear this is true, I would finally get to see Fallujah — more on that later.
The whole show was basically a celebration for the Conducting guys, and they were treated like conquering heroes the whole night, with a pretty packed Boardwalk venue and a crowd receptive to every band who took the stage. Also, holy shit, were there a lot of cameras at the venue too; I guess quite a few people wanted to have their own bootlegs of the show that night.
One of them was right next to me for the whole show, someone who I would later find out was working for clothing/media company Atrocious Works (Home site and Facebook page) and has been posting the material online as he has uploaded it. You should obviously check them out because they’re adding to the huge archive of live shows on the net that are out of Sacramento venues, and a huge thanks to them for that. Right now, the videos consist of front-row views (and damn good sound quality) of Alterbeast, Lifeforms, and Conducting From The Grave.
(DGR took in the live performances of Between the Buried and Me, The Faceless, The Contortionist, and The Safety Fire in Sacramento on Oct. 1, 2013, and here’s his review of the show.)
I consider myself somewhat lucky in that I’ve gotten to see Between The Buried And Me three times, and each time has been during an era of the band that I enjoyed. I first saw them as part of the Ozzfest 2006 tour package, and then would later see them again after Parallax I came out, and they were playing that as a chunk of their set. I have an up and down history with the band and will fully own up to getting a bit tired of them during The Great Misdirect. However, I think the Parallax Hypersleep works have been some of the best material they’ve created by far, so hearing that they were doing the second one all the way through pretty much sold me on the show no matter who would be opening for them. Throwing The Contortionist and The Faceless into the mix made the deal ever so much sweeter, with the added bonus of of exposure to some new music through The Safety Fire – whom I had never heard prior to the show.
So it came to be that I returned to one of my favorite venues in Sacramento, Ace Of Spades, and stood out front on Tuesday, October 1st. The line grew pretty rapidly, and honestly, it was one of the most impressively attended shows I had seen in Sacramento, especially given that it was on a Tuesday. Even a quarter of the way through The Safety Fire’s set the place was starting to get packed. It would prove to be an exciting show too, as every band absolutely smashed their set and the crowd would feed right into it – and that was even prior to Between The Buried And Me’s massive light show and prog explorations, which would turn the whole place into a massive sweatbox.
I was excited when I spotted the folks from Rock Hard Live setting up because that meant that I would get the opportunity to link out to some of their live footage as soon as it was posted, which is something I haven’t gotten to do in a while. So be sure to check them out, as they do some great work for this city and really do show off that we actually have some good venues out here.
(BadWolf reviews the live performances by Anathema, Alcest, and Mamiffer in Flint, Michigan, on September 19. Photos from the show, which follow the review, were taken by Kyle Lee Tate.)
Metal is rarely beautiful music. Many people, myself included, come to it looking for something harder, ugly—a mirror to hold up to those feelings not accepted by the mainstream society day-to-day. But some bands do take metal and make something beautiful out of it. Gorgeousness is likewise shunned by the worker bees of the modern day (have you ever seen a modern apartment complex? Or a piece of IKEA furniture?).
Doom-turned-progressive pop heavyweights Anathema, who traffic in bittersweet lyrics and soaring melody, trekked through the United States for the first time in twenty years, with French shoegaze-meets-black-metal wunderkinds Alcest in tow. The tour also sported brief opening slots by Seattle-based avant-garde metal-as-soundscape artists Mammifer.
I rolled into Flint Michigan’s legendary metal venue The Machine Shop with photographer Kyle Lee Tate, to find Mamiffer already playing, bathed in stage-smoke and dim, red light. Mamiffer is a collaborate effort between Aaron Turner, the one-time creative force behind legendary post-metal act Isis, and wife Faith Coloccia. Together they make ambient metal with Turner on guitar-and-pedal-board, and Faith on vocals and keyboard. Their music is akin to the sound propagated by the Handmade Birds record label, and popularized by Horseback and Locrian (with whom Mamiffer have collaborated).
(This is a belated concert review, but I’ve also included streams of each band’s recent recorded music for those who may be unfamiliar with them.)
On the night of September 24, 2013 (and the early morning of September 25), a group of friends and I turned out at Seattle’s Highline venue to catch Esoteric, Velnias, and Saturnalia Temple, who have just finished a U.S. tour, plus Seattle’s Anhedonist, who opened the show. The very cool tour poster up there on the right is by David D’Andrea and Ben Vierling.
Highline has become my favorite place to listen to metal in Seattle. They book cult bands, they draw an adult crowd who know their metal (it’s 21+), and they know how to make a cocktail. It’s a great place to watch a show because it’s small, and because it used to serve food (and may still again), it has tables and chairs where the more decrepit patrons can take a load off between sets. Not talking about myself of course.
The foursome on the bill this night — headlined by an influential band on their first US tour in a 20-year career — drew a big crowd. For me, it turned into an endurance contest: would I survive almost four straight hours of almost unremitting dooooooooom or would the building collapse first from the weight of the music?
I had been looking forward to hearing Anhedonist live for a long time, having missed way too many of their shows around town. Their most recent release, Netherwards, appeared on a bunch of the year-end lists we published in 2012 (including lists from many other ‘zines and sites), and it really is a triumph of multidimensional death/doom. After hearing their set at Highline, I was kicking myself for having let so much time go by.
(Our Nottingham-based writer Andy Synn reviews the live carnage of The Black Dahlia Murder and Aborted in Manchester, England, on Sept 21, 2013.)
What a line-up, right? There was no way I was going to miss this show. Even going so far as to reschedule a Bloodguard practice for midday in order to give me enough time to get back, get changed, and head out again on my road trip across to Manchester.
So that’s what I did. Finished practice, pelted to the car, shot home, sorted my shit, out and dived back in the car. 80.5 miles. Approximately 2 hours travel time. Easy.
Hit a bit of traffic on the way, but no major issues. Navigated Manchester town centre without hassle (I grew up round there, so have a bit of an advantage) and parked up, finally rocking up to the venue just before seven…
I missed Revocation.