(Andy Synn reviews the performance in London on August 5 by Ne Obliviscaris, Xerath, and Brutai).
This weekend it’s Bloodstock Festival here in the UK, and this is the first year in a long time I’m not attending (not even for a day), simply because the overall line-up just hasn’t grabbed me this time around.
That’s no criticism against the festival mind you, but simply an acknowledgement that the chosen headliners this year just don’t really do anything for me (though, to be fair, following on from Immortal and Emperor in previous years would be difficult for any bands). And while the undercard does have a solid handful of bands I absolutely love — Enslaved, 1349, Agalloch, Ihsahn, Ne Obliviscaris – I’ve already seen the first two bands put on career-defining performances at Inferno Festival this year, and I don’t expect an 11 am outdoor slot to do the sound for Agalloch any favours either (particularly not in comparison to their own stunning performance at Inferno last year).
So really it’s only Ihsahn and Ne Obliviscaris I feel like I’m missing out on.
Except I’m not… because two nights ago I got the chance to see NeO put on an absolutely mindblowing performance in London.
(Guest writer Ben Manzella interviewed Scott Kelly for a feature posted earlier today, and now we bring you his review of the show that followed the interview — performed in Madison, Wisconsin, this past weekend by Neurosis, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, and The Body.)
On this past Sunday, Neurosis played in Madison, Wisconsin, for the first time in about 19 years (from what I could find, at least). The last time they were here was as the opener for Pantera, and now on the cusp of their 30th anniversary as band, they headlined a theater in downtown Madison. This was my third time seeing Neurosis in as many years, but the excitement is always the same; if anything it was more exciting, as I had the opportunity to interview Scott Kelly before the show [published here]. But obviously, a show review is about the music, so let’s get to it.
(Wil Cifer attended part of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival stop in Atlanta on July 29, 2015, and has a few thoughts about what he witnessed.)
There is no news like bad news, and the inner webs are quick to let you know it. So it’s no secret that this year’s Mayhem Festival has been getting more than its fair share of anti-hype. Kerry King spoke out against the lineup, saying “you need talent to make people feel like spending that much money”. I’m not sure if that was a self-deprecating stab at his own band or he really feels like going out with some bands the high school kids seem to love is mandatory career suicide.
The Mayhem Fest co-founder has gone on record saying the metal genre is in trouble because there are not many younger bands that have headlining power and blames the older bands for not taking less money, like punk rock bands, in order to benefit the scene. So I was curious when I checked the tour out myself.
(DGR reviews a recent show from Sacramento, California, featuring Conducting From the Grave, Aenimus, Flub, Journal, and The Brotherhood of Ellipsis.)
It is rare these days for a show to line up perfectly with my schedule. It has also become rare these days that the guys in Conducting From The Grave, a group I’ve seen a whole bunch and reviewed for this site before, play live now, so the fact that the two lined up on a Friday felt like the planets aligning.
Conducting From The Grave just recently re-recorded their first EP Trials Of The Forsaken themselves and re-released it under the name Revival Of Forsaken Trials and were celebrating that fact. It was a ten-year anniversary show for that EP and one that also saw the reunion of some old band members to the fold for a limited run. Also on the docket for this show were The Brotherhood Of Ellipsis, Journal, Aenimus, and Flub — many groups I would be seeing for the first time, and that was exciting.
Unfortunately, Entheos had to drop off the bill as they had been a late addition to another tour and the routing made it impossible for them to make it. That was a bit of a bummer because they would’ve been exciting to see live — I get the sense they’re slated for big things. As it stood though, that night was still going to be an assault on the senses spread across five bands — with two of them being on very different ends of the instrumental spectrum.
(In this post our man DGR reviews a Sacramento performance by Sepultura, Destruction, Arsis, Boris the Blade, and Micawber.)
Two shows in two days can sometimes be a difficult prospect, especially when you’re used to working those evenings. When you’ve barely recovered from one, dragging yourself to another can feel like a herculean labor. You don’t have the ‘holy shit I’m here’ adrenaline of being at a festival, it’s just two separate events on two different days, and as it would turn out, on two fairly different scales.
The previous night before this show, I wind up seeing Anaal Nathrakh in a venue the size of a fairly large kitchen (that show reviewed here), and this time I was slated to see Sepultura at Ace Of Spades — a venue that I have lavished many loving words over, mostly in hopes that they keep booking metal shows because they have a knack for bringing bands that normally wouldn’t roll through to Sacramento. Of course, you have to keep in mind that this show was a fairly large cultural icon at this point, with both Sepultura and Destruction being long-running international bands at about thirty years a piece. Hell, this was a Sepultura thirty-year anniversary tour, all things considered. (While we’re on the subject, Boris The Blade turned out to be from Australia, meaning this was quite the international tour.)
When I ended yesterday’s installment of my poorly organized reflections on Maryland Deathfest XIII, I had made it through the last performance of the festival at Edison Lot, the killer show by Amorphis. I will soon be moving backward in time to fill in a few gaps from my impromptu posts about the earlier days of the festival, but first a few words and photos about what happened after Amorphis said goodnight.
My friends and I shambled out of the Edison Lot along with hundreds of other people and found cabs that would take us to Ram’s Head (which was not difficult). Yes, we could have walked, but after three-and-a-half long days and nights of standing on hard surfaces, my feet had swollen up like rotten fruit — plus, every minute lost was one less minute of music to hear on the final night of MDF. When we arrived at Ram’s Head, that photo up there shows you what greeted my eyes.
I’m seriously considering a legal change of my name to include the words “Ass Backwards” in it. I mean, I’m not fooling anyone anyway, so I might as well be up-front about it.
Case-in-point: Instead of writing a chronologically oriented and comprehensive review of the recently concluded Maryland Deathfest XIII, I just started tossing out random collections of photos over the last three days, mainly as a way of explaining why I wasn’t doing much of anything else for the site. And now, rather than starting over with something that actually looks like a thoughtful report on an amazing event, I’m going to continue with what I started and fill in the gaps I left, working my way backward to the pre-fest show last Wednesday.
Once again, there will be more of my photos in the continuation of this series than my words, which may come as a continuing relief to many.
(DGR prepared this review of a show in Sacramento, California on May 11, 2015.)
I’ve often joked about my living in Sacramento as being an unfortunate situation and something of a curse. Sacramento, which could easily be described as a pretend big city and the world’s largest cow town, often within the same breath, is a city that up until the past three years or so would rarely get many touring acts rolling through town. Most of the time, those tours would hit the big cities (you know, the ones they actually care enough to include on a map of California because stuff happens there, unlike us, who get preferential treatment because we are the capitol) and then quickly jet away from the desolate wastelands of this state.
The local scene has always been vibrant but even now, with a whole bunch of venues in town and multiple concerts that likely would have NEVER rolled through before those venues came to Sacramento, I still find myself surprised. Sometimes, the stars align and we even manage to pull off something incredibly insane — like Anaal Nathrakh coming to podunk-ass Sacramento and playing in a venue the size of a large kitchen.
Alas, our revels now are ended. Maryland Deathfest XIII is over and in the history books, and it was an amazing experience. I’ve got to pack up and vacate my hotel room soon, and I don’t have nearly enough time at the moment to say everything I want to say. For now, I’ll show you some photos I took from the first three performances I saw yesterday (the last day of the festival), with a few words about each of those first bands I saw on Sunday. More pics and words will come in the next few days.
I arrived late to the Edison Lot and missed the first four bands of the day, but caught all of Primordial’s set — which floored me. Alan Averill is an amazingly intense and charismatic front man, and his voice is an instrument of incredible power and passion. In the category of clean vocals, he probably took the prize for the fest, though ICS Vortex performing with Arcturus the night before was a very close second.
I guess I’m not strictly taking a blog break, because I’m writing this post. I just wanted to say hello and tell you that I’m having a wonderful time at Maryland Deathfest and wish you were here. I know just reading those words will make your whole day, and probably even your whole week.
Saturday was amazing, even though my traveling companions and I missed some awesome bands because our visit to the National Aquarium lasted longer than we planned, and because we were compelled to make some difficult choices between bands whose set times conflicted with each other.
But these bands I did see were just fucking fantastic: Arcturus (pictured above), Triptykon, Antigama, Adversarial, Wolfbrigade, and Agoraphobic Nosebleed.