Jun 022015

 

(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.

Jun 012015

 

(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.)

May 272015

 

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.

May 262015


None of these people is me.

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.

May 262015

 

(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.

May 252015

 

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.

 

PRIMORDIAL

 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.

May 242015

 

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.

May 202015

 

(Ben Manzella wrote this review of the performances by Glaciers, King Woman, and True Widow in San Francisco on May 17.)

As the transition of spring into summer begins, it’s been a state of confusion within San Francisco. Yes, the light of day sticks around until 8PM almost nightly now; but the weather has been colder than average. This past Sunday, with the cold, came local bands Glaciers and King Woman opening for True Widow at Bottom of the Hill.

While all the bands had a rather fuzzed-out, doomy sound in their own ways, it was Glaciers who started the night and they definitely brought energy to the room.

May 162015

 

(Our man Andy Synn was lucky enough to attend the second annual Incineration Festival in the UK and turns in this report, with videos.)

Let me preface this review with a quick round of thanks to the people who made the festival, and my presence there, possible.

My main thanks go out to Daniel of London Metal Monthly (for whom I also write on a semi-regular basis these days) for arranging my press pass and feeding my ever-expanding ego (though at no point did I have to utter the immortal words “do you know who I am?”… which was a shame).

I also want to thank Steve and Stephen for dealing with the masses of people queuing for wristbands and for sorting my access on the day itself, as well as for all their work behind the scenes in booking the bands, venues, crew, and everything else that must have gone into a mammoth undertaking.

However, they, along with Nimai, are only the names I know of the people who were involved. For an undertaking this big – one that’s only in its second year no less – there must have been a host of other helpers and organisers working alongside them. And although I don’t know their names, I thank them as well.

May 062015

 

(Guest writer Ben Manzella returns to NCS with this review (and his photos) of performances by Inter Arma, Yautja, and Hornss in San Francisco on May 2, 2015.)

Saturday night in San Francisco; if this peninsula of a city doesn’t already feel crowded during the week, you feel it on the weekends. This weekend was interesting, though, considering that in one Saturday night you had to clearly define whether live music was your priority or instead stay in keeping with the modern culture and hype. Basically, sit at home or in a bar eating overpriced food for an overpriced event that ended up being underwhelming (the Pacquaio-Mayweather fight) or go see a metal show. For me it was never a question, the metal show was always going to win; but then it came down to which one?

See, 924 Gilman (a non-profit, volunteer-run, all-ages club beloved by the punk and hardcore scene) was hosting The Body and Full of Hell along with an assortment of what I assume was mostly local support, including Kowloon Walled City; Septic Flesh and Moonspell were incanting their darkness in Oakland; and then Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco (a bar turned venue as of almost 25 years ago) was hosting Inter Arma and Yautja with local support from Hornss. You see the choice I made.

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