• another review of Saturday's show

    15 Jun 2009, 0:23

    Fri 5 Jun – Matchitehew Assembly

    Unfortunately I was only able to make it up for one of the two days. Was definitely getting very sick, but figured [correctly] that if one is going to attend a concert while ill it might as well be hours upon hours of black metal/noise/etc.

    Saturday's festivities began about 90 minutes late, thanks to a well-nigh interminable soundcheck [blame Maledicere's guitarist/singer if you're so inclined] and lasted until nearly 3am. Burial Hex went on first; concealing a discreet bracer beneath his rather sensible coat except when singing, Clay Ruby unleashed wave after nihilistic wave of ritual electronic noise upon an audience containing a surprising percentage of half-interested indie rockers who bobbed & weaved & looked plaintively at their neighbors, seeking a danceable groove where none was to be found - only an insidious heartbeat, whose regularity was somewhat questionable and wholly-irrelevant, underlied the sound. I found it a lot more compelling than most of the people around me appeared to, so take that as you will.

    As B.Hex's set ended, fog began pouring forth from an opening in the wall a few dozen yards stage left - the sounds of Locrian came forth next, from beyond the smoky wall. The birdsong of the venue's smoke alarm occasionally rang out over the pulsating earthen veins and the rustling of the leaves of the ghostly urban forest channeled by Locrian's shimmering elegy. Only a single beam of wan light briefly made its way through the trees. A fitting ambience for their sound.

    Back at the "main stage" [which would be used by every act for the rest of the night from here on out; something of a waste of time and space, really], Maledicere played... well, no, actually they spent an additional ten minutes soundchecking AGAIN (!!!) followed by a solid set of raw, dense guitar and drums. I suppose it pays to be fussy with ones sound when one is responsible for the only truly melodic aspect of the entire performance, but in a somewhat ironic twist, the true strength of the pair lay with the drummer, who was able to lay down deceptively-complex beats at full power without spending an hour pissing about with his mics. That having been said, Maledicere's performance did get steadily better as it progressed, with the level of energy and brutality reaching an improbable crescendo towards the end. They really won me over!

    Wormsblood featured a guitarist with that silly fauxhawk &rat-tail haircut that I know and loathe as a resident of Bloomington, Indiana, and the worst motherfucking attire in history. Their sound was often surprisingly more melodic-death- or even metalcore- influenced than many of the other bands', but was saved in spite of itself by a huge, howling ulcer festering beneath the shell of their collective influences. Always teetering on the verge of sonic collapse, the band's set achieved the same sort of sloppy, psychedelic-in-spite-of-itself atmosphere as proto-punk at its best. Lots of wailing, shrieking, drunken-floor-writhing, doomy pace; decent stuff. At times, genuinely unnerving. Catch 'em while you can - it sounds to me like the lead singer's vocal cords may not be long for this world.

    Volahn. Volahn fucking ruled. I really had a hard time pulling myself away from Volahn's performance to a sufficient degree as to have written anything relevant down about it. I do recall thinking "this is like being inside a blastfurnace," and headbanging involuntarily for the first time that evening. Watain were this good live when I saw them a couple of years ago. It's been a while.

    Missed part of Ashwhatever whilst making a pizza crawl[TM] ; mostly just soundcheck shit, though. Seemed to be entirely composed of guys from Volahn/Bone Awl. Singer dons robe, becomes *shrieking wraith.* Musically, more focused on (amazing) drummer than Volahn. Simultaneously more and less chaotic. Musically inferior, I thought. Might have sounded more appealing before Volahn, ended up a bit underwhelming, though not exactly "bad."

    Speaking of "bad," though... Aborted Christ Child: fucking boring and awful. Cross Foetus with Abruptum with Mr.Bungle, subtract anything remotely-good. Voila. I don't feel like much else needs to be said about this nonsense, but as my friend Mark pointed out... remember when you were 15 years old, had just bought an effects pedal, spent a lot of time fucking around with it, and thought everything you did was total fucking gold? That's kind of where this guy's at.

    Air Conditioning, the second pure "noise" act of the evening, didn't really do much for me, in comparison with Burial Hex. I mean yeah blah blah let's just sustain a bunch of really clean and cutting frequencies endlessly and any semblance of texture will take care of itself blah so brutal zzzzz. Having just recently seen Throbbing Gristle perform, this sort of thing just strikes me as pointless bullshit. RIYL shit like Whitehouse, I guess.

    As for Rusted Shut... if I wanted to listen to a bunch of worthless, drunken rednecks talking shit, I'd have stayed home in Indiana and gotten a more authentic experience for fucking free. Just fucking awful. Should be opening for Mudhoney for Old Time Relijun or some shit... and likely STILL getting heckled off the stage. I had more fun outside during their set, watching a drawn-out near-brawl between a Mexican w/a Danzig complex & a certain racist douche in a Kreator shirt.

    Bone Awl fucking slayed. Darkthrone meets the fucking Ramones. Great response to (and from) the crowd, even those members of the audience who had spent most of the evening visibly bored and detached thus far. The real highlight of the night, in my opinion. Believe the hype.

    Krieg were all right, I guess; good sound and atmosphere after only a very brief setup &soundcheck. The appearance of Blake from Nachtmystium on guitar probably didn't hurt. While I enjoyed Volahn and Locrian more, and haven't had the chance to listen to Krieg's material outside of a live setting, I get the impression that they are a band with some potential, and probably hit pretty heavily when both they and the crowd aren't completely exhausted. As it was, the set was not all that inspiring, which surprised me a bit, as the Usual Metal Scene Suspects who bothered attending all seemed to have come primarily to see this band; I was [mis]led into expecting something TOTALLY ASTONISHING, not just Pretty-Good-I-Guess.

    Quarter to three rolled around, and I took off to collapse into a virulent, tin-eared pile on my friends' couch, where I'd remain prone and sick for a couple of days. The show was well worth it, in spite of the two bands who were total garbage. Thanks to the organizers for putting together something really special.