Monthly Archives: May 2012

Originally I had planned to catch a train up to Providence, Rhode Island to see a Nasum gig however it didn’t end up happening so it was back to Saint Vitus bar for Swedish death metal blokes Demonical and gas mask lovers Kommandant. My sum total of knowledge of the bands was having the latest Demonical album and hearing about a minute of Kommandant so I was mostly going in blind which is always fun.

I told myself on the trip over that after my somewhat tipsy night seeing Pallbearer, that Captain Morgan (and any other spirits) would be avoided in favour of nice predictable beer. The highlight of the trip over was a rather flamboyant guy starting dancing just as the Katatonia song I was listening to kicked in.

Locals Mutant Supremacy were playing when we arrived and they play a pretty standard death metal style along the lines of Exhumed or Death. They certainly played well and I liked the dual vocals but they veered a bit too much into death/thrash for my tastes and have too many solos. Perfectly capable band but just not that interesting.

After a yummy chicken burrito from the place next door I walked back in to find the rather bizarre sight of several eight foot tall bone structures on stage along with black metal band Dominium. As you can see from my crappy photo below the vocalist also had a bone theme to his mic stand which actually looked pretty cool. They played a semi blasting style of black metal not too far removed from Marduk and were really enjoyable. The vocalist was really getting into it which always helps and he jumped into the crowd several times with his fancy mic stand and headbanged like a maniac. I did laugh a few times at Spinal Tap like moments when the bones in his mic stand caught the cord and he had to stop being evil to fix it. The decent sized crowd were enjoying the show and so was I.

Dominium

Demonical from Sweden were up next and they had a supremely heavy buzz saw guitar sound that was another feather in the cap of the Saint Vitus soundbloke. Featuring members of Centinex, Interment and Regurgitate it was obvious that these chaps knew their craft and their old school Swedish death metal was really fun live. They were missing one guitarist and the singer told an amusing story that his girlfriend was about to give birth and that if he went on tour she’d throw out his Bolt Thrower collection! Smart man. I hate to think how much chunkier they would have sounded with 2 guitarists as their sound with one was perfect. I’ll definitely be checking these fellas out at MDF and I recommend anyone who likes Swedish death metal to do the same.

Urgh while typing this I saw an ad on tv for a floor steamer with Dee Snider from Twisted Sister plugging it and singing his line. Is nothing sacred??

Anyway onto the most interesting act of the night – Kommandant. When we returned to the stage area there were big curtains over the amps and a 5 foot lectern on stage! While the martial intro music played we noticed some guys behind us in black dress shirts donning gas masks and then they marched onto stage, picked up their instruments and stood there waiting for the music to end. Then they launched into blasting war metal and after a moment the singer appeared. He was wearing the same black shirt but he had a cowl on his head which only showed his mouth and chin and made him look like some sort of fascist superhero. He had a pretty good snarling voice and tough stage presence. Thanks heaps to Richard for this photo.

Kommandant

Once the initial surprise had worn off the music became a bit samey however mid set 2 people in the same outfits walked onto stage with a floor tom each and the band played a martial sounding song. The extra drummers didn’t really add much however they looked cool and aesthetics are obviously important to this band. After this song they seemed to slow a bit and became a bit more interesting (or maybe I was just used to the style by now). One major highlight was the drummer who was  an absolute maniac on the blastbeats!! Holy shit could this guy hit hard!! They were unrelenting and sort of hypnotising after a while and he didn’t slow down. One of the most amusing observations I made was 2 African American guys who were trying to mosh and generally enjoying a band with such obvious fascist imagery. However according to their website Kommandant don’t support past regimes and are in fact merely “art imitating life” so it appears the image is just for show. The crowd seemed to love it though with many photos taken including embarrassing ones taken of crowd members posing in front of the stage with the band behind them. They finished with the 2 extra drummers and then quickly left the stage.  I was quite impressed with both their music and their aesthetics.

All in all a killer night with some quality surprises and great bands. I managed to only have 4 beers and was quite sober by the time I got back to the hotel at 2.20am.

Saturday night came around and I was back to the Saint Vitus bar for what I hoped would be the highlight gig of my pre-MDF journeys – doom gods Pallbearer, death doomsters Loss and and noisy industrialists Sewer Goddess – and it turned out to be a very enjoyable and drunken night.

I jumped on a very packed train while listening to Pallbearer’s killer album Sorrow And Extinction and in my excitement I had to resist the urge to headbang. I enjoy catching the train as you see quite a broad cross section of people and my 2 rides included a super preppy looking guy with the worst bow tie (but a hot girlfriend), an elaborate African American guy applying make up, a Mexican black metal fan, and a femme fatale woman who should have been at the David Lynch music night I went to on Sunday. I scoffed a very tasty chorizo burrito from the Mexican place next door and then hooked up with the decent sized group of Australians who had finally arrived in New York.

Sewer Goddess started with slow droning guitars, a woman singing and a whole lot of industrial noise produced by a huge array of electronic equipment. I had expected them to be noisier in the Merzbow sense but a better comparison would be 90s era industrial bands like Dead World or Candiru which was certainly fine by me as I love those bands and their mechanised sounds. The vocals were singing at first and not quite loud enough but she changed to a more aggressive style which sounded great. I wasn’t quite sure but it looked like the guitarist was smoking a pipe on stage. I was very impressed with SG as it’s not often I see bands like that.

Pallbearer had the biggest crowd of the night which is not surprising as they are a easier on the ear than the other 2 bands. I scooted towards the front with my beer and frantically texted my Aussie friend Nikki as she’s a huge fan and I couldn’t see her. Their setlist was the Sorrow And Extinction album in its entirety and they sounded amazing! Every band I’ve seen as Saint Vitus has had flawless sound and Pallbearer sounded exactly as loud and heavy as they needed so I was stoked. Foreigner was first with gorgeous soaring solos but next was my favourite song Devoid Of Redemption and boy was it heavy!! The faster bit that kicks in at 3.45 on the album version was CRUSHING!! (doom cliche I know but it’s very fitting). I was in headbanging heaven and had a blast. The Legend slowed things back down (check out footage here) but the pace picked up again with the excellent An Offering Of Grief with it’s amazing climax. Given To The Grave closed their set and was pure doom. Their set really highlighted how well written their music is as some doom doesn’t translate too well live but their jammy style of letting the music breath well really works on stage. To put it bluntly Pallbearer were bloody awesome!

Loss had a hard act to follow and the crowd had definitely thinned somewhat. They had an equally heavy sound although a quite different approach to doom. To be honest I was on a bit too much of a high from Pallbearer that I only watched one song and the wandered to a booth in the bar and began my main mistake of the night – drinking rum with fellow Australians! Loss continued playing in the background and despite only having 6 songs on their setlist they seemed to play for hours. Here is a photo of mid boozing session of tons of Aussies and a token American. I counted 12 Australians at the gig which was quite impressive.

While the excessive boozing and tales of drop bears continued we received word that Pallbearer were playing a secret show at the Acheron bar so after a few more drinks we then stumbled out onto the street with several people having the magical address in their phones and somehow caught 3 taxis from different locations on Manhattan Avenue and all arrived about the same time. The band wasn’t ready so we piled into a bar next door (which had a painting of Vladimir Putin on the wall) and the Captain Morgan rum assault continued. By this stage I was getting pretty tipsy (aka drunk) and managed to mostly miss the first Pallbearer song Devoid Of Redemption – d’oh!! Apparently they also played the other 4 songs off Sorrow And Extinction and finished with a quite loose jam version of Gloomy Sunday. I can mostly remember it and I know I had a great time! The poor Pallbearer drummer looked to be pretty knackered by the end. Here’s a shot I stole from Kait and it’s about as blurry as I was at that stage.

After they finished I hung around with a couple of Aussies but lost track of the others but since I’ve sobered up I’ve realised they were probably just in the bar next door that I totally forgot about! I somehow made it back to my hotel in Manhattan although during the trip I managed to both vomit and get a bloody nose. Doing Australia proud!! Thanks to the nice (and no doubt horrified) person on the train who gave me some tissues for my nose. Let’s not mention the hangover that resulted….

All in all an excellent night with some fine bands, good friends, an excellent burrito and way too much rum.

Tuesday was back to the Saint Vitus bar for a night of doomy sludgy bands. This time I only got slightly lost in Brooklyn but I think I can successfully get there now. I was flying solo again but I like the local stout beer they produce so I was fine. Had only heard half a song of headliners Mares Of Thrace so I wasn’t sure what to expect which is a fun way to go to a gig. I had actually bought a ticket for this show but forgot and paid at the door but considering how great the gig was I didn’t mind spending another $10.

Local all girl doom/sludge band Mortals opened the gig and they were really quite good. The drumming was interesting and they had a killer bass sound. My radio cohost Mark would have been happy that the guitarist was rocking a stylish Gibson Explorer. Something about her reminded me of Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth from Overkill though which is not exactly flattering (I think it was the facial bone structure). If I didn’t live on the other side of the planet I’d check them out again.

Sky Burial were next and they play a doomy post rock style and play it well. The strong, heavy vocals were a standout. I do quite like post rock but not when I’m tired and I think I had several micro sleeps as I had found a comfy couch to rest my weary feet. After their set I switch from stout to coke in an effort to stay conscious.

I had nothing to worry about as the next band Batillus certainly kept me awake! I knew they had a split with Aussie doom maniacs Whitehorse so I figured they’d be pretty heavy but I was very pleasantly surprised that they were bloody crushing! Consisting of a drummer, guitarist, bassist and singer who also triggered samples/created noise they were DAMN loud (and Saint Vitus sound is already loud) and reminded me of old Civic Youth Cafe gigs in Canberra where you could feel the music through your chest. The samples/noise really added to the overall sound and the vocalist was quite varied too. If you like doom/sludge ala Corrupted or Grief then check these chaps out. So far these guys have taken the cake for live bands and this includes Evoken, Destruction and Tragedy.

The split 12″ with Whitehorse is available here so check it out as both bands are killer.  Check out their website here for tour dates as they are touring the US with Whitehorse through June.

Here is a new song they played that sounds great but doesn’t quite capture the sheer force of them live.

Mares Of Thrace from Canada had the unenviable task of following such brutality but they managed very well and had an amazing sound for a 2 piece. They had a replacement male drummer which was a shame from my perving side but he was bloody good and did a great job. They didn’t seem to play for long but their upbeat sludge with killer vocals was very welcome.

But for me the band of the night was definitely Batillus and I bought their Furnace LP from the friendly merch lady who promised to bring me an XL Batillus shirt to MDF.

With nothing planned for Monday night I consulted Last.fm and found a black metal gig on in NoHo. I caught the subway down to Greenwich, browsed a record store where I nearly bought a Samantha Fox 12″, ate my customary slice of pizza and then headed off to the gig (no offers of cocaine though). After my usual trick of getting slightly lost, I persisted and finally found the Lit Lounge (partly due to the obvious metalhead out the front – thanks mate). Grabbed a beer and headed down the very steep steps into the basement where the bands play. The neo martial band listed was no longer playing (fine by me) so it was just two atmospheric black metal bands with locals Yellow Eyes playing their first gig and Vattnet Viskar from New Hampshire. I even got chatted up by the obvious metalhead who it turns out was the label owner who must have taken pity on me sitting alone like a Nigel.

The venue had comfy lounges which were nice but I was nearly drifting off to sleep after some late nights of boozing and getting lost on trains. There was an odd atmosphere at the gig which despite the Venom-like music on the PA was decidedly unmetal. Maybe this was the New York hipster black metal scene I had heard much scorn about. I felt out of place wearing a metal shirt and shorts but I’m the type of idiot who enjoys feeling like the odd one out so I was fine. As the night wore on I noticed the telltale thick hipster glasses and side parts and also people who looked to be friends with the band and were just waiting for the noise to be over so they could scuttle off to consider which olde timey moustache would suit them best.

Yellow Eyes played first for about 30 minutes which was merciful of them. The music had its moments but was predominantly long songs of fast tremolo black metal. They were let down by a crap drum sound (and somewhat crap drummer) but most of all by some woefully awful vocals. On the flight over I watched a Family Guy episode which had a skit about a seagull watching an Adam Sandler movie and ruining it for the rest of the crowd with high pitch squark/laughs. That was exactly what happened with the vocals and I couldn’t think of anything but the seagull every time he sang. He seemed to actually be squawking for a whole song which appeared to only have one word lines. He also lacked the force & conviction needed for black metal vocals. Overall pretty bloody average despite a few decent passages of music.

Vattnet Viskar were the headlining band and thankfully were much more interesting. They had mastered one of the main ingredients needed for atmospheric black metal – dynamics. Where Yellow Eyes just hammered along with no change until the end of the song, Vattnet Viskar used slower sections to great effect and also managed to build songs to climaxes. They were also more animated on stage which is always a plus. One highlight for my juvenile mind was that the drummer had a big Star Wars logo tattooed on his chest along with an X-wing fighter and a TIE interceptor. After probably 40 minutes they finished with the classic rock and roll cliche of feedbacking their guitars against the amp and the lead guy ripped his strings out (or tried to) and then stood there looking stupid for another minute while the other guitarist fiddled with pedals to make his feedback even more irritating. Personally I hate such pretentious and predictable endings to sets but I’m sure was “cathartic” for them or something equally wanky. Despite the ending I was impressed with their music and bought a record of theirs and thanked Star Wars drummer on the way out.

So I survived the hipster black metal assault and thankfully didn’t have to avoid telling obvious metalhead guy that the first band (and his new signing) were dogs bollocks.

On the walk back to the station I managed to twist my ankle badly which didn’t make the rest of the trip home much fun. It was nicely swollen the next day but I’ve strapped it and will continue my metal journeys with a slight limp.

PS. I ended up buying the Samantha Fox 12″ the next day as I couldn’t resist the raunchy cover! (plus I do love that song)

After 29 hours of exciting travel I finally made it to New York to begin my 2012 US trip. I rested up on the Friday night but come Saturday night it was time for metal!!

The first gig I attended was a huge bill with Behemoth, Watain, The Devils Blood, In Solitude and the mighty Evoken at Irving Plaza. I came to the US earlier than I planned JUST to see Evoken so I was pretty bloody keen to check out their awesome death/doom live. In got there early and jumped in the queue and after an eternity they started letting people in but when I got there I had a different ticket so I had to wait in a different will call line. D’oh! While in this line I did at least enjoy hearing a big argument behind me between a youngish guy and his drunk mother who was not happy to be in line with him (I assume she had to sign him in). My amusement faded pretty bloody quickly when at 7pm Evoken started and I still had 8 people in front of me who weren’t moving. Grr! Not happy Jan! After a few minutes I was desperate so I asked a security guard if I could buy another $30 ticket just to get in and I pulled the “I came from Australia to see this band” card (which was sort of true) and it worked as he took my ID and returned 2 mins later with a ticket. I sprinted upstairs to find Evoken on their 2nd song and my crankiness faded immediately. They were in the middle of a mellow part when I entered so when the heaviness kicked back my smile must have been blinding. They had a clear but not quite loud enough sound and the keyboards were quite prominent in the mix. For some odd reason there were guys behind me growling loudly throughout their set (but not in time with the vocalist) but they seemed to be enjoying themselves. One other guy who definitely having a fun time was a chap in a Duff’s Bar shirt who was obviously on one or more drugs as he looked to be interacting with imaginary friends. One giant meathead behind looked ready to rip in half but nothing happened. Evoken’s 3rd (and sadly final) song was a newie which was bloody awesome and made me even more keen to hear the new album in a couple of months. Despite missing the first song I was pretty bloody happy and had several moments of goosebumps when they played their super heavy riffs.

Here is my crap photo I took with my phone and below are the first and third songs that someone was nice enough to film. I was somewhat crushed to discover the first song that I missed was one off Quietus which is the album that got me into Evoken.

After picking up some Evoken merch and a beer I went back upstairs and watched some of In Solitude before I departed for Tragedy. In Solitude are a band that several mates really love and I saw some of their set at MDF 2011 but they’ve never really grabbed me because frankly I don’t think the vocalist can actually sing! The music is OK for 80s Fate worship and they definitely get into it on stage but something is lacking for me (plus the songs seem too long). Immediately a mosh started up which included my good mate Mr drugfucked Duff’s shirt guy and it looked to be quite an incompetent affair with the usual young guys running into each other. 2 songs were enough and I left the venue and thanked the generous security guard again.

I walked to Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich and for once timed my arrival perfectly as Tragedy started about 5 minutes later. I had seen them at MDF 2011 but they weren’t really suited to the big stage and didn’t blow me away however tonight was their own gig and it certainly showed as they were on fire. They started with Conflicting Ideas which is a favourite of mine and when the breakdown kicked in the mosh got pretty hectic. It was good to see a hardcore mosh were people actually knew what they were doing instead of the amateur dickhead mosh that occurred earlier. Whenever Tragedy played an old song the there was more frantic moshing and stage diving galore. Most amusing of all was the classic hardcore gang singalong from the crowd which looks a little odd when the 2 vocalists are guitarists too and don’t offer the mic to the crowd. They played 2 new songs from Darker Days Ahead which were a bit slower overall but with a heavy, stomping style which worked really well. Although one song sounded a bit odd when they sped up for brief spurts which didn’t really suit the song. Maybe I’m just getting old but to me it didn’t seem loud enough. Being very DIY and unrockstarish there was no encore and so at 9.15 the gig was over which felt a bit odd. However they had just kicked my arse so I was still happy as Larry.

Next I loitered on Bleeker Street with some mates which was interesting as we were offered cocaine a few times (classy neighbourhood). However we were only interested in boozing which occurred mostly at Peculier Pub which had a decent range of beer which our quite busty barmaid was happy to bring us regularly. I tried a Honey Brown beer which was a high school favourite of one mate and it was pretty tasty. But most of the night was given to the lovely Belgian beer Corsendonk of which I preferred the Abbey Brown Ale to the Abbey Pale Ale. By 2am more than enough beer had been consumed so the Jersey Boys left and I bought a divine slice of pizza, was offered cocaine again and finally hailed a taxi. I didn’t think I’d drunk that much but my hangover told another story. Here’s a pic of me looking stupid with my US mates.

 

2011 was another quick trip to the US without my darling Ann but despite this, I had another awesome time. This time I stayed in New York for a few days before and after MDF and I also went to the Chaos In Tejas festival in Austin, Texas which was another highly enjoyable adventure.

The night before MDF I went to Brooklyn to see a superb grind gig featuring Cripple Bastards, The Kill, Noisear, Magrudergrind and Shitstorm put on by the good people at Catbomb. CB seemed better than MDF 2007 and Magrudergrind and Shitstorm were pretty nifty too but Noisear were bloody awesome and blew me away with their excellent blend of technicality and blasting grind. I chatted with the singer at this gig and MDF and he was a really nice bloke. They were contenders for the best band of the night UNTIL The Kill came on. I may be a bit biased as I’ve seen The Kill plenty of times in Australia but this was one of their best and most blistering (to use a grind cliché) show and it was helped that the crowd were appreciative and got into it. Really killer gig and here is one of the best live shots of a band I’ve ever seen :)

Cripple Bastards

After the shonky bus hijinks of 2010 I took a train to Baltimore this year and it was a much better way to travel. From the train line in Baltimore I could see a neighbourhood with houses mostly boarded up which of course made me think of The Wire and both the hiding places that Chris and Snoop used for dead bodies as well as the ill-fated Hamsterdam project. This reminded me not to stray too far in Baltimore and wisely I stayed in the city centre the whole time.

Back to the Tremont Plaza and then off to the pre-fest show which featured Cathedral in fine form playing their final ever US show. They sounded great and Lee was charismatic as ever although I don’t think he heard me yell “Scum” which I had been instructed by fellow radio idiot Mark to request. Sadly they didn’t play Soul Sacrifice but they did play Ebony Tears which made me very happy. My poor mate JJ from Australia (a huge Cathedral fan) received several drunken text messages from me during their set gloating about how good they were. Thankfully we both attended the Cathedral farewell tour of Australia earlier this year so I don’t feel so bad. He may well cop a few gloating texts this year during Electric Wizard (sorry mate!).

Cathedral

The other highlight of the night was Flesh Parade who were way better than I expected and had a really fun vibe to them. The new vocalist’s shriek took a bit of getting used to but they seemed to be enjoying themselves which always helps. Tragedy were really enjoyable but I got the feeling they would have been better in a club and I wasn’t as blown away as I expected to be. Buzzov*en were pretty decent and I had managed to chat with the bass player for about 20 minutes before discovering he was in the band (oops!). Nice chap though. Miasmal were a bit of a disappointment but they had a terribly muddy sound so I suspect that was the problem.

Friday highlight was of course Neurosis who were the band I came to see. There was an awesome thunderstorm just before their set was due to start so there was a 40 minute wait while the dried the stage. I asked Scott Kelly about it when he played in Canberra recently and apparently their keyboardist would have been in a very dangerous position if they hadn’t taken the time so I’m glad they did. The delay seemed to get them very riled up and Steve Von Till looked even more pissed off than usual and they put on an amazing show that I doubt I’ll see matched for intensity. One highlight was At The End Of The Road which didn’t stand out much on the Given To The Rising album but live the dynamics were amazing and when the songs kicked in it really KICKED IN!! They even played my favourite song Locust Star and finished with the tribal drumming of Through Silver In Blood which was very impressive. Neurosis were as good as I hoped and my only minor gripe is that they didn’t do any songs from Times Of Grace.

Neurosis

Other bands that impressed that day were Funebrarum who I had been very eager to see and played their Scandeath style perfectly. Kingdom Of Suffering Souls was massive! Machetazo also excelled and thankfully played my favourite song Banquette Funerario.

Corrosion Of Conformity sounded pretty terrible to me although I am not overly familiar with their earlier material so maybe it was supposed to sound like that. I thought they were standard circle mosh NYHC stuff but they didn’t sound like that. Aura Noir also didn’t do much for me despite several of my mates saying they were the best band of the festival. I was too knackered to watch more than a few songs of Marduk as they were last and unsurprisingly Exhumed sounded exactly the same as when they toured Australia in 2004. It’s always fun to see the songs Limb From Limb and Open The Abscess live.

Saturday opened well for me with Innumerable Forms who have obviously heard an Autopsy cd or two and played quite impressive death metal. Very keen to hear an album from these guys as their Dark Worship 7” was pretty nifty. Saudi Arabian grind band Creative Waste were impressive too and their singer was quite energetic.

The Kill received the party brigade treatment with all sorts of blow up toys and glowsticks being thrown at them. They also featured a nude kangaroo hop from a fellow Aussie (Brad from Internal Rot and Super Fun Happy Slide) who made even more of a fool of himself during Doubled Over the next day (see below). As usual they were amazing live and received a great response.

The Kill + kangaroo

I missed Blood Freak for some reason but I managed to catch Hail Of Bullets outside who sounded bloody awesome. Martin van Drunen is a god and thankfully the outdoor sound was excellent for their Swedish sounding death metal. Doom played inside and sounded killer but I wasn’t that familiar with their songs so they just sounded like all the more recent bands that have been ripping them off for years.

Impaled Nazarene were bloody awesome too and there was a hilarious moment when a beach ball landed on their stage and singer Mika grabbed it and snarled into the mic “What is this some kind of fucking hippy festival? You people make me sick!”. I was a tad disappointed that Mika doesn’t seem to waggle his tongue sleazily at the crowd as much as he did when they toured Australia in 1999 but he was still in fine form. Really happy to see the songs Sadhu Satana and Total War live.

Impaled Nazarene and the offending beach ball

Inquisition, Hooded Menace and Acid Witch sadly suffered at the hands of the bartender at Sonar who was a little over generous with his mixing. I asked for one bourbon and coke and he misheard and poured me two and when I tipped him well he insisted I have a third shot. Nice chap but he certainly pours a strong drink! So I watched Voivod on the outdoor stage while popping in to see brutal death metallers Defeated Sanity whenever Voivod played a new song (which worked really strangely but surprisingly well). It was warm so the drinks went down quickly and then it’s a blur until I remember standing in the carpark after the show talking to some friends with whom I was apparently going to an aftershow with. I do remember a bit of Inquisition who were the last band but the inside stage area was totally packed with people so they were a blur on the stage miles away according to my drunken vision. They did sound good though. I promise that 2012 will only feature beer consumption in an effort to retain some memory of events.

Sunday was unsurprisingly hampered by a hangover and the usual very painful feet but I arrived early enough to catch Oak which was excellent as they are crushing death/doom and were super heavy. Malignant Tumour were not what I expected as I was more familiar with their earlier grind stuff but their Motorhead punkthrash style was great fun and the party brigade were in full force for them. Below is some footage I took during their set.

Malignant Tumour

Dead Congregation were way better than I expected and really impressed with their dense death metal sound. Skinless played their last ever show with old vocalist Sherwood rejoining and it was one of the most fun sets I’ve seen with all their old classics played. I’d seen them before at the final Metal For The Brain festival with the later lineup and they were pretty average so I was very happy to see them in such fine form. I’d planned on seeing some of Orange Goblin but was having such a fun time that Skinless won out.

Coroner were the headliners on Sunday and so they played for about 90 minutes which was 90 minutes too long for my liking. They were AWFUL although I never was much of a fan. After reading other reviews they apparently barely played anything off the first 3 classic albums although I did luck out and the 2 minutes I saw were from the only Coroner song I like, Masked Jackal. I spent the 90 minutes much more productively by having dinner and a rest back at the hotel (too old for this shit!).

Australian 2 piece Doubled Over were a last minute replacement for Lock Up and so they had a prime spot on the indoor stage which looked odd with only 2 people on it. Their heavy death grind eventually garnered them a decent crowd and Nik from The Kill joined them onstage for a song or two. However also joining them onstage was Brad from Internal Rot and Super Fun Happy Slide who had had quite a bit of booze and he danced across the stage playing a broom COMPLETEY NUDE! I heard later that another Aussie had luckily intervened before the security guards beat the shit out of drunken Brad. Of course I had been talking to tipsy Brad beforehand and he pre-warned me about the streak so I wisely filmed it and here it is (assuming YouTube haven’t taken it down). Sorry mate.

Doubled Over

Wormed opened with a perplexingly long sample about physics that must have gone for 4-5 minutes although when they did start it was heavy as hell!! I was worried their technicality would be lost live and it was to a degree as the drums weren’t loud enough but the guitars and vocals came through nice and clearly. Their set was the sort of thing I’d love to transport Beethoven to and explain that this is what music would develop into. If you are into brutal death metal and for some reason haven’t heard Wormed then remedy that immediately and check out their Planisphaerium masterpiece.

Last Days Of Humanity followed and they were another act I was greatly anticipating as they are one of my favourite goregrind acts. Plenty of my mates were hoping for them to sound like later blasting Putrefaction.. era however I was very pleased that they sounded more like Hymns.. with plenty of discernable riffs and of course those lovely pitch shifted vocals. They were a bit sloppy but were way better than I expected so I was very satisfied.

Last Days Of Humanity

Here’s a charming picture of my good mate Christoph (from Doubled Over, Internal Rot, Trench Sisters etc) and I looking chummy.



Ghost closed out the whole festival so of course it was super squishy inside and so I could barely see them on stage. I like their album but to me the vocals sounded really thin and the whole performance lacked power. So I said my goodbyes and stumbled up the hill back to the Tremont Plaza and that was another MDF done.

After MDF I returned to NYC and after more pizza and a night of recuperation I ventured out to Brooklyn to Union Pool to see Hooded Menace, Negative Plane, Anhedonist and Ilsa. Thankfully I actually remember this Hooded Menace gig as I avoided another bourbon blitz and stuck to beer. Ilsa started and were pretty good but didn’t quite grab me for some reason. But the second Anhedonist took the stage I was a very happy chappy as they were crushing in the wonderful Disembowelment style of death/doom. Afterwards I bought their demo The Drear on vinyl but when I finally got around to listening to it I was a tad disappointed as the newer songs live were so much better. Definitely check out their debut album Netherwards on Dark Descent. Negative Plane followed and I really didn’t expect their odd black metal style to work live but it certainly did, possibly more so than the albums. A definite pleasant surprise for me. Finally I got to see Hooded Menace while in a vaguely sober state and they were damn good BUT having only one guitar meant they sounded a bit thin and the thick sound on the albums is half the charm. I believe they now have a 2nd live guitarist at least. They still kicked arse but for me Anhedonist stole the night. This had been the only gig I went to where I was the only Australian present but I met a few of the Anhedonist guys and also Dave from Evoken/Funebrarum so I wasn’t too lonely and after the social assault of MDF I didn’t mind some chill time. The venue had a very tasty taco van out the back (see below) and I scoffed a few yummy treats from there. I caught the subway back to Manhattan by myself which always feels a bit dodgy but I got chatting with a few blokes who had been at the Tragedy show up the road so all was good. Damn fine gig!!

El Diablo taco van

Anhedonist

Chaos In Tejas festival (CiT) was the final stop of my 2011 trip and so I flew to Austin, Texas where I must say that it’s BLOODY HOT!!! Thankfully it was a drier heat than Baltimore or NYC but I was very glad when I walked into my hotel room and the aircon was very powerful. Haha the first night I pretty much hid in my hotel room and ordered a pizza delivery as even at night it was boiling outside. CiT is much like SXSW and is a festival spanning about 5-6 venues so there was plenty of wandering between bars but thankfully they were all pretty close together. CiT is much more hardcore oriented than MDF however Autopsy were headlining one night and I couldn’t resist the urge to see them again which paid off as the venue was more intimate and more chaotic with stage divers galore.

One of the gigs that I spent most time at was a death metal show at Red 7. Sadly I missed openers Mammoth Grinder while waiting in a line but I did hear them and they sounded boss. A tip for anyone thinking of going to CiT – get their early and go to each venue you will be seeing bands at and get a wrist band asap as it cuts down on queueing time. Bone Sickness were pretty nifty too. Acephalix play a early Bolt Thrower style of death metal which certainly tickled my fancy and I really enjoyed their energy. I think I missed Danish band Undergang as I went to watch Trap Them which is a shame as their new album is killer. Hooded Menace kicked fairly large amounts of bottom again although the poor bastards looked like they were about to melt in their hooded sweatshirts.

The other bands I saw that day were scattered at various venues and the highlight was probably Trap Them at Mohawk who were quite intense and the singer was a doing a great Tarzan impersonation climbing around the outdoor stage (no vine swinging though sadly).

Trap Them

It was bloody hot outside though so I’m glad I had my trusty Akubra hat. Converge also played at Mohawk but I only caught the last few songs. Veins played on the indoor Emo’s stage and the place was a madhouse. They play very aggressive hardcore and the crowd were quite excited about that fact and there was stagediving and pits galore. In true hardcore fashion they only played for 15 minutes but it was fun. I caught a bit of Japanese punks Isterismo (I think) but it was a complete wall of noise and I couldn’t make out anything except “screeeeech” so I wandered off. I also caught some of Cro Mags at Emo and they were great fun and had the crowd completely whipped into a frenzy like any NYHC band should be able to do.

The next day I did much less travelling and pretty much just stayed at Emo’s which conveniently had all the bands I wanted to see on one bill. Earlier that day I’d wandered around downtown Austin and managed to send some postcards (the day before I came home – oops!) and scoff some pretty damn yummy barbeque ribs.

I showed up to the gig and Innumerable Forms kicked my arse again with sludgy death metal so definitely keep your eyes out for a debut album of theirs. Hatred Surge were another standout with their heavy grind/powerviolence and they had Rahi from Insect Warfare on vocals which was an added bonus. Iron Lung received an awesome response from the crowd which is not surprising considering their intensity on stage.

Here is a picture of me (with Catbomb head honcho and top lass Vanessa) enjoying the local cheap beer Lone Star which was quite average really. I saw a 6 pack of a beer called Moose Drool on sale in Austin but foolishly I didn’t try it.


Autopsy were in fine form though and seemed to be enjoying the club feel and I was in heaven once more!! Another fanboy incident occurred with Chris Reifert which you can see here. Their set was heavily weighed with Severed Survival tracks so I was a bit sad I didn’t get as many Mental Funeral songs (no Destined.. or In The Grip..) however their sound was better than MDF 2011 so the leads in Dead could be heard perfectly which made me a happy boy. The new songs from their Macabre Eternal album sounded great live too which was a bonus. I really enjoyed the club atmosphere and the stagediving and moshing was suitably frenzied. Can’t wait to see Autopsy again for the third year in a row at MDF 2012. Below is a guitar they had on display although I don’t think Autopsy actually used it live. Looked pretty bloody cool though.

Here’s a pic of my mate John and I and some derro bloke sculling beer

Foolishly I only stayed for first 2 days of CiT and so I missed Doom, Tragedy and Kriegshog but most importantly (I realise now) was that I missed tons of the Black Twilight Circle bands including Arizmenda who are my favourite of that group. D’oh!!!!

Finally here is a sequel to the video I shot at MDF 2010 of the comings and goings at MDF while I ate my lunch. I think the band playing is Nokternel.

One of the bands we played is a new Canberra doom/sludge band called Law Of The Tongue which features ex-Pod People and Tranquil Deception members. Their brand new 7 track album is available to listen to in it’s entirety here. Below is the cover art which if I’m not mistaken is by legendary Australian artist Glenno who has produced covers for Captain Cleanoff, Frenzal Rhomb, Pod People, and Splatterheads among others. You can check his stellar work out further here.

Also here is the Jani Lane (Warrant) interview that Mark mentions where he whinges about having written a smash hit song. He has since died from booze so at least he no longer suffers from Cherry Pie.

Playlist
Amorphis: Thousand Lakes
Napalm Death: Riot Of Violence
Midnight: Satanic Royalty
Destroyer 666: Shadow
Brutal Truth: Godplayer
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Inverloch: Shadows Of The Flame
Vio-Lence: Calling In The Coroner
Arkan: Tied Fates
Law Of The Tongue: Used And Broken
Chaos Moon: Elder Immortal Shrine
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Godflesh: Veins
Portal: Larvae
Bethlehem: Schatten Aus Der Alexander Welt
Mournful Gust: From Illusions And Jealousy
Pysnonemous: The Tempter
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Gargoyle: Bala Bara Vara
Mastodon: Ghost Of Karelia (live)
Pseudogod: Necromancy Of The Iron Darkness
Legion Of Doom: Ancient Wisdom Within
Sick Of It All: Busted
Kill For Satan: Desolate
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Cankered Corpse: Who Possess The Dead?
Therion: Uthark Runa
Bolt Thrower: War Master
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Iron Maiden: Wrathchild
Autopsy: Destined To Fester
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Napalm Death: The Kill
Napalm Death: Scum