ESCHATOS, CRYPTODIRA, FALL OF THE ALBATROSS, LEFT IN DESPAIR: LIVE AT HAYMARKET WHISKEY BAR (JANUARY 14, 2012)
(Austin Weber turns in the following show report, and we are once again grateful to Nik Vechery for the kickass photos accompanying his write-up.)
A few weeks ago I worked with a Long Island based group named Cryptodira to premiere their new EP An Unmarked Grave here at NCS. So when I found out they had tour plans that included a date in my hometown of Louisville, I knew to call photographer Nik Vechery, and the plan was set to cover the show.
Nik, as usual, spent the night drinking piss-poor PBR’s while I imbibed some higher-class microbrews that I’ve previously enjoyed called Zombie Dust and Gumballhead. Both are made by Three Floyds Brewery based in neighbouring Munster, Indiana. Each beer has a strange hop that features a unique (to my tastebuds) mango aftertaste that is mouthgasmically sublime.
I also met one-time guest NCS contributor and frequent commenter This is The News aka Tom and his wife, who apparently also reads No Clean Singing. But enough about beer and interwebz-real-life collisions, there was a show after all. What follows is a live music assessment formed by yours truly, the hermit hornswoggler.
LEFT IN DESPAIR
Well, somebody had to open the show, and that honor went to a local band I was unfamiliar with called Left In Despair. It was deathcore by numbers with a bit of metalcore thrown in for good measure.
As usual, a lone slamdance warrior fought the air valiantly during their set.
FALL OF THE ALBATROSS
Fall Of The Albatross from Queens were the other group on tour with Cryptodira, and they were a band of progressive meets fusion fucknuts. Their sound is a strange sort of technical, jazzy, schizophrenic, and thoroughly enjoyable instrumental metal, spiked with terrifying mathcore and infused with Latin and funk elements. Or, as their bassist Robert Anderson put it to me, “We are ADD metal”.
They lost their vocalist a year ago, and decided to continue sans vocals, and as I found out after their set upon asking, most of it was new material written purely instrumentally. There was a lot of contrast and push and pull in their music. It wasn’t plodding or purely ethereal like a lot of instrumental music. No, often Fall Of The Albatross was a razor-sharp machine churning out frenzied, titanic, twisting riffs, accompanied by
extraterrestrial tapping, bombastic bass bombings, and powerful dynamic drumming that rumbled like a steamroller. Which is to say, they aren’t delicate chill-out instrumental music. Overall, they are the sort of group you need to pay close attention to and replay often to catch everything.
Another highlight was the way their guitarist, Harold, found time to accent their music with keyboard parts in between shredding his ass off. It was also a plus that they energetically moved around on stage while playing some buckwild difficult material. Also, as Nik wanted me to mention in reference to their bassist, “so many strings” — a worthy observation, as he was an explosive rhythmic force.
If I had to compare them to one group, I would say they are similiar to the defunct mathcore/jazz metal of Lyebymistake, a reference point Fall Of The Albatross themselves told me they had been compared to by the guitarist of Scale The Summit when they played with them, no less. Since they have no material recorded in their current instrumental form, I’m going to link to some live videos so you can get an idea of what they sound like. Fall Of The Albatross are certainly an exciting band to watch out for, and you can expect to hear more about them here at NCS as they get closer toward releasing their upcoming full-length.
For those not in the know, “Cryptodira” is the taxonomic name for one of the two main types of turtles. So in essence, Cryptodira is turtle metal! For those not in the know, Cryptodira is one of a handful of bands playing progressive death metal that does more than merely contain some clean singing. What they do draws from so many different places and then re-combines the elements in interesting ways. If you want an idea of what this merger might sound like, imagine a mix of Between The Buried And Me and East Of The Wall and intersperse that with thick grooves and mathcore moments. The end result finds a delicate balance, cycling constantly between crushing and calming sounds.
They started their set playing their two new songs from An Unmarked Grave, which was a delight, as “Descent” is a thoroughly pummeling and passionate song. Cryptodira have a fondness for having one guitarist play distorted and one clean, an interplay they do excellently, and that combination pops up again in the second song they played, “An Unmarked Grave”.
After playing their new songs, they moved on to material from their prior EP, Recursions. Closing out their set was the lengthy journey of “Allies To Ignorance”, a track that contains yet another instance of wonderful distorted/clean pairings and one of my favorite Cryptodira death metal riffs. It’s a riff that conjures up the almighty Death, and pops up starting around the 4:25 mark. The song also ends in a notably cool way, with both guitarist laying down their instruments and each proceeding to fiddle with various effects pedals to transform the bass outro into a swarming soundscape, which made for a killer way to close out their set.
Cryptodira came alive on stage in a way their recordings do not capture, which makes sense, as the group told me all efforts so far have been recorded DIY in makeshift bedroom studios on the super cheap.
Eschatos ended up being the headliner since Cryptodira asked the promoter if a local band could close out the show (as I found out from them). Their reasoning is pretty solid, since people often support their friends’ bands and then leave. Having a local band play last allowed more people to discover Cryptodira’s music.
I’ve previously covered Eschatos live before in my Circle Takes The Square concert review here at NCS, and it was good to see them again. They have a very Opeth-inspired take on progressive death metal, though sometimes things take a shreddy and melodic turn that breaks up their Opethian-sounding vibe nicely. Like last time, the frequent acoustic guitar parts added a lot to their music. If you enjoy Opeth
you would probably love Eschatos a lot. They put on a lively professional set, aided by much practice and the experience honed from playing multiple recent live shows. They certainly had the crowd in the palms of their hands and I look forward to the release of their upcoming EP, Outliers.
It’s so nice to go to a show and be blown away by a band you’ve never heard of. I think this is the first time I have gotten that with two bands at one show. Fall of the Albatross and Cryptodira were both amazing, especially considering Cryptodira’s singer was, in his words, sick as a dog.
neat idea having a local act close the show, i haven’t heard of that before
I like it. Except you run into the problem of a bunch of people leaving once the main act does, at least for most shows. I guess it depends on the touring band and on the local band.
Yep, the tried and true “local sandwich”. Honestly it can work in favor of the touring act, but you can end up burning a bridge with the “headlining” local band (especially if the touring band requests the local sandwich instead of the promoter suggesting it). Also, it just kind of disrupts the energy flow of the show. It should peak at the end instead of tapering off, which seems to happen often if the you’ve seen the local band a hundred times and they’re playing to an empty room…