Archive for July, 2013

Concert: (Not)Castle/The Terrordactyls/Ashen/Mordwolf (7/23, The Hexagon, Minneapolis, MN)

Posted in concerts, crossover thrash, crust, death metal, doom, local, minneapolis, minneapolis/st. paul, thrash, underground, united states with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Last Tuesday, Castle was supposed to play at the Hexagon but ended up cancelling their tour, so the show ended up being three local bands instead. I was sort of disappointed, of course; I love me some doom metal. But at the same time I also like supporting local acts when I can, especially when I know people in them, and I wanted to see The Terrordactyls again after they completely floored me and M at the Holy Grail show.

This was also my first time at the Hexagon, which has a parking lot (YES!!! Sorry. As someone who goes to shows alone sometimes, I like parking lots). I briefly panicked when I walked in and saw a bunch of older dudes sitting around at the bar, but then I found the stage in the back. As a venue it was fine; a little divey, but I’m used to those places and I am fond of them. They also had a bar in the stage area so the two crowds didn’t have to intermingle if they didn’t want to.

Mordwolf was up first, and I really enjoyed their set. I saw them once before when they opened for Municipal Waste/Napalm Death last November, and I believe I was really into them then as well. Although I am very picky about my death metal, I tend to gravitate towards the punkier death metal that Mordwolf plays. Apparently they are working on a full-length album, which I am looking forward to hearing. Hopefully I’ll see them play more, too.

Ashen, a crusty doom band, filled the second spot on the bill. They were fine; I admit I got a little bored, and that’s saying something considering the doom bender I’ve been on lately. However, it was appropriately heavy, which is something I always appreciate, especially in slower, sludgier genres of metal. And as always, it was nice to have two girls up there on stage (the vocalist/guitarist was a guy). Satan knows we need more girls at these things. (Couldn’t find video of these guys, and I will post some if I stumble across it, but they have a SoundCloud you can get to from the above link).

The Terrordactyls took the last set, and were pretty much everything I had expected they would be-another really strong set. There was even a pretty good mosh pit going for a few minutes, carried on throughout the night by one intrepid young man who was going to mosh, dammit, even if he was the only one doing so. That’s the kind of atmosphere you want during a thrash set, however, and once again I left pretty bummed that The Terrordactyls are only going to be around for a few more weeks.

Of course, because of that, I had to buy a shirt to stand as a testament in my closet to the fact that The Terrordactyls once existed.  That the design is based off of Kreator’s Pleasure To Kill just makes it even more awesome.

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I’m really glad I went out to this show. My friends that normally go with me to stuff bailed on me as they were either sick or busy, and, hating to go to stuff alone, I almost opted out. But I didn’t, and I ended up hanging out with a couple of good friends there as well as getting to see a really good local show and support my pals in Mordwolf and The Terrordactyls (I don’t know anyone in Ashen. Alas).

More live reports coming up, as that is apparently what I am doing for the next month. Seriously, I think I’m going to a show every week. And why not? One last month of live, loud music before the semester starts and I have to start being picky about what I go to because of school. Bring it, Minneapolis/St. Paul.

 

Concert: Ambassador Gun/Sadgiqacea/Hivelords/Poney (7/19, Nomad’s World Pub, Minneapolis, MN)

Posted in black metal, blackened doom, concerts, doom, grindcore, hardcore, local, minneapolis, minneapolis/st. paul, psychedelic rock, punk, sludge metal, stoner metal, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

(I am going to start linking to bandcamp in here when I can, so that you can listen to more music and buy more music and support more of these guys. OK? You’re welcome.)

Last Friday I was hanging out at Into the Void when my friend M called me to see if I wanted to go with him, his girlfriend, and a mutual friend to see Sadgiqacea, his friend’s black metal band, play with local legends Ambassador Gun. So of course I said yes, because I love me some live music. The show was at Nomad’s World Pub, a small venue that seemed mostly populated, at least this time, by hipsters and crustpunks. Though small, it was a nice place, and they had a huge tap list as well if that is your thing. The patios, I thought, were particularly nice, especially on a balmy summer night. The sound was good as far as I could tell, but it was insanely loud as well, so

Poney from Madison, WI started off the night with a set of psychedelic/stoner inspired hardcore. They played all the material from their new record as well as several other songs. I really enjoyed their set, and thought that the interchanging vocals were really a cool effect, if not always in tune. Probably my favorite aspect of the music was the percussion; along with a drummer, Poney has another percussionist who uses mallets and other techniques with his drumkit. Looking forward to hopefully seeing these guys again soon.

[Two drummers. Rad.]

Hivelords was up next, and they completely destroyed. After their set, I went to fetch extra earplugs for my friends from the car because the noise levels were pretty much devastating. Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Hivelords plays crushing, doom-saturated black metal, with the vocalist using the old grindcore two-mic technique and echo sound effects. The result is deafening and incredible. I was completely blown away by these guys, and have been pushing them on my friends since.

[Hivelords is devastating in the best way possible.]

Unfortunately I missed most of Sadgiqacea’s set. I was absolutely famished, and skipped over to grab a burrito at Hard Times. I did manage to catch most of the last song, however, and what I heard I really liked. Sadgiqacea also plays a mix of sludge, doom, and psychedelic black metal (and are also, incidentally from Philly). I am going to have to spend some more time with their catalog as I really like what I did hear, and I’m bummed that I missed out on their set.

[I will never stop being impressed by how well you can make incredible black metal with just two dedicated dudes.]

After getting my face obliterated by some of the most crushing live black metal I’ve ever witnessed, Ambassador Gun was unfortunately kind of a letdown. M has seen them before and says that he felt like they were definitely having an off night; one of the vocalists was not in his normal register, he said, so he could tell something was wrong. Even the crowd seemed to have a little trouble getting into the music. Nevertheless, Ambassador Gun’s blend of grind, punk, and metal was enjoyable enough to me. I had come to hear some noise and screaming, and they made sure I did not go home disappointed. I know these guys are a Minneapolis staple and I’d like to see them again sometime when they are having a better night. I also remembered that they played at Maryland Deathfest this year; another indication that I really ought to pick up tickets for the punk stage next time as well.

[Noisy noise.]

I like to support touring bands, and when they are friends or friends of friends I like it even more, so I gave Sadgiqacea and Hivelords the rest of the money in my pocket for gas and took home a sweet Hivelords patch for the old battle jacket. I also picked up a flier and sticker for FTG Illustrations, the work of Sadgiqacea’s drummer (he did their album artwork), in case anyone is looking for album art. After the show, I spent some time hanging out with M and company as well as Hivelords and Sadgiqacea, who were crashing at his place. I am now even more convinced that I need a house so I can put people up, because I love cooking for people and because, as I have bemoaned before, metal bands don’t typically have the support in the underground that the punks do.

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I had a really good time for a show I decided to go to on a sudden invite, and I’m really, really glad I went. Poney was excellent, and Hivelords completely destroyed, as did Sadgiqacea, the small part I saw of their set. I’m looking forward to seeing Ambassador Gun on a better night, as I know they are a big deal, and unfortunately theirs was the weakest set of the night. More reviews coming soon, as I can’t not go to things, including the not-Castle show that took place on Tuesday and the Maledicere show tomorrow  (it’s going to be awesome. Stoked).

-H

Concert: Holy Grail/Cwn Annwn/The Terrordactyls/Much Worse (7/13, The Nether Bar [Mill City Nights], Minneapolis, MN)

Posted in concerts, hardcore, minneapolis, minneapolis/st. paul, thrash, traditional heavy metal, united states with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

After half a day’s travel from Charlottesville, VA (including me almost missing my flight in O’Hare, my own private hell), I arrived back home mentally exhausted from transcribing old manuscripts all week and extremely hyper to see Holy Grail, as I was in serious need of some fun metal. This time the show was in the Nether Bar of Mill City Nights, which I dug way more than being in the main room. It was smaller and more intimate, and no one was griping at us to get out when the show was over (I’m aware that it’s a liability thing to have people milling about after shows, especially in downtown Minneapolis, but the security guys have never been anything but really rude to… well, everyone I know). The crowd was big enough that there was decent movement up front, particularly for Holy Grail, but there was also plenty of room to hang out in back too.

The lineup was extremely varied in terms of musical styles. We started off the night with Much Worse, a local hardcore band. I think they were added to the bill kind of late, since Anti-Mortem cancelled, but I’m glad I got to see them. I am tangentially familiar (I’ve heard the name), but I have still just barely grazed the surface of the legendary punk scene here in the Twin Cities. I’m enjoying my brief forays into it, however, even if I do worry that everyone can tell I’m way more into metal. Their vocalist spent most of his time down in front of the stage with the crowd, and even moshed a little a one point. With a pit going this early, no matter how small, you know it’s going to be a good night.

[Apparently Max, the vocalist, is an ordained minister and can marry you. The things you learn on YouTube.]

Next we switched over to some crossover thrash with The Terrordactyls, who completely floored me and my friend. I mean, we knew they would be good, but they were fantastic. Fun thrashy songs about such topics as Kefka from Final Fantasy VI. What more could you want? I felt like these guys were probably the crowd favorite of the openers; the pit was alive and well by this point, and they had a ton of friends in the audience. Unfortunately they are breaking up soon, but they are playing a couple of more shows. I highly encourage you to see them while you have the chance. You won’t regret it.

[Pretty good live clip. Check out their bandcamp if you want to hear studio stuff.]

Cwn Annwn was up next. They are a female-fronted traditional heavy metal band, and they were perfectly alright. I always try to get into the bands I’m watching, particularly if they are local, but I just couldn’t do it with these guys. And I wanted to like them, what with the Gaelic name and all. Their vocalist has a lovely voice, and their bassist looked like the guy from the Vikings show on the History channel, and they played a tight set. Unfortunately they are just really not my cup of tea, and I found myself getting a little bored. Other people were too, apparently; I noticed a lot of people taking an extended smoke break. Ah well.

[Really love her voice.]

Finally, Holy Grail took the stage! I initially wasn’t sure if I would come to this thing or not, especially coming off of another week in Virginia, but they (and The Terrordactyls) made me so glad I did. Holy Grail’s set was every bit as fun as I had anticipated it would be. They played a mixture of songs from both albums, so there was something for everyone (I have a friend who doesn’t like their newest release, for instance). The crowd also went wild; there wasn’t so much a mosh pit as a surge, but the front of the stage was moving pretty much constantly throughout the entire set. They played for quite a while too, clocking in at about 1.25 hours (if I remember correctly. I was coming down with a stomach flu and I can’t do math at the best of times).

[I got to see this live. Be jealous.]

[So incredibly fun.]

I am really glad I decided to go to this show, even coming down off of traveling. Of course, I was exhausted by the time I got home and settled down (the hyper took a while to wear off) because I hadn’t really slept in about 24 hours, but it was every bit as fun as I thought it would be. I met some cool new people and saw some old friends, and the atmosphere down in the Nether Bar was really great. Also, The Terrordactyls proved to be quite the bonus, and I’m excited to see them again. If you’re looking for quality, old-school, unpretentious and fun metal, I highly recommend catching Holy Grail live sometime.

Review: Kylesa- Ultraviolet

Posted in Reviews, sludge metal, united states with tags , , , on July 17, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

Up until a couple of months ago, I had never listened to Kylesa. I knew of their existence, but not who they were or what they did, really. So when I learned that they were going to play here with Blood Ceremony (who I did know and like), I decided that I should probably get to know who Kylesa was since they were the headliner. About that time, Pitchfork started streaming their new album Ultraviolet, so I spent some time listening to it there before deciding that I pretty much had to get it when it came out.

I don’t know how well Ultraviolet serves as an introduction to Kylesa, as that’s sort of what it was for me, but I do know that I enjoy it pretty much start to finish. I recently read a review of Ultraviolet that suggested that the album took a while to warm up, but I disagree. Having seen Kylesa recently, the opening track, “Exhale,” feels to me like a perfect audial representation of what seeing a Kylesa show is like. It’s sludgy, churning, and a little bit trippy. I also really dig “Grounded,” as it’s got a really gravelly, Southern rock-inspired riff that pulls the track together.

[Yeah, the tracks don’t match. The whole album isn’t up on YouTube yet. Sorry.]

Guitarist/vocalist Laura Pleasants also does a lot more clean vocals on this record than on previous albums. It’s certainly a new direction, but it’s one that I like a lot- the riffs are incredibly heavy and dark, and combined with the clean singing makes for a lot of really eerie moments. “Long Gone” presents a pretty good example of what I’m talking about. It’s also got an awesome drum break; I don’t know much of the band’s history and I’ve been quite shit at finding out, but my understanding is that they were down a drummer for a bit. The percussion is very heavy on this album, however, and God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.

Probably my favorite track on the album is “Low Tide,” and probably because I didn’t expect it at all. To me it sounds like summer, which is weird because it’s about the winter time.  But it’s calm and mellow, and makes me want to lie down in damp shade and just chill. This in the midst of Kylesa’s signature sludge makes for a really enjoyable deviation, and makes the tracks on either side of it sound even more brutal.

As far as other aspects of the album go: the production is clean but there is no shortage of distortion. Of course, the low end is extremely powerful, as it will be in sludge and doom recordings. I like the album artwork as well; it would make for good tattoo art, methinks, as it’s all very patterned.

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I like this one.

I like this one.

Overall, I really, really dig Ultraviolet. It has been in my rotation at least a couple of times a week since it came out, and as a result, I have been listening to a lot of Kylesa in general lately (Static Tensions and the s/t I find particularly sick). I’m sure there are detractors out there, as I hear murmurs that this album is darker, etc., and people always complain when bands change things. But I really love it, and for that, I am giving it 5/5.

Favorite Tracks:

Exhale

We’re Taking This

Long Gone

Low Tide

Psst. Hey.

Posted in traditional heavy metal with tags , , on July 12, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

I am in Virginia again; just finished up a week of reading 16th century manuscripts. Which is fun. But which means I have no Kylesa review. (Reading 16th century manuscripts is, perhaps unsurprisingly, very taxing.) But I have a layover tomorrow during which I can work on it.

Holy Grail is playing tomorrow night at The Nether Bar at Mill City Nights in Minneapolis. I will be there. You should come too (unless of course, you don’t live in Minneapolis/St. Paul, in which case I forgive you).