Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Voyage of the Hooded Sapien

Playlist: Month of Sundays

My NY trip got off to an inauspicious start - I missed Krisiun the day I arrived and Jeff Hanneman died three days in. Plus, the Nails show sold out, which I'd been looking forward to for months. But the past 28 days were still more metal than your ma's kettle. Horns up, crosses down...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rotten Sound @ the Acheron, 05.22.2013

I don't know if any city benefits more in the weeks before MDF than New York; European bands looking to get the most out of crossing the Atlantic will often do one-off dates there. A week prior to MDF 2011, I saw Miasmal play to a small crowd within the cozy confines of the Acheron, thereby freeing me from having to buy tickets for that year's Saturday line up (sorry, Voivod). This year, a number of the bands that played the sold out Baltimore Soundstage made appearances in NY, to the delight of people like me who weren't able to get tickets before that venue sold out. This show nearly slipped out from under me as well; I arrived at the Acheron to find it filled to capacity; including a surprising number of cute girls, and an unsurprising number of drunk assholes (those two things shouldn't be seen as unrelated, or even mutually exclusive).

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gorod @ Saint Vitus, 5.19.2013

If Chuck Schuldiner had survived, he would have turned 46 this May. As luck would have it, Gorod and a handful of other tech/death bands on the "Bloodletting North America Tour" played Saint Vitus the week of his birthday. Schuldiner was most responsible for taking death metal from its primitive origins and twisting it into its more progressive and technical forms; it would have been interesting to know his thoughts on the seemingly irreconcilable divide between the current old school revival and prog/tech death. Would "Evil Chuck" side with the kids slavishly devoted to the one-dimensional bludgeon of Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy? Or would Schuldiner the fearless innovator find kinship with those that use his work from Human onwards as a jumping off point to push the style to dizzying new heights?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Vektor @ Blackthorn 51, 5.18.13

I hate "21 and over" shows. They were annoying when I was a minor, but as a hesher who's clearly marched past 30, it's aggravating to be asked for ID. Isn't my time ravaged face proof enough of my age? I have to be carded too?

So I was irritated that this show at Queens' new Blackthorn 51 club was advertised as strictly 21 and over; I was doubly irritated when I entered the club and discovered that most of the audience was clearly underage. Besides the tell-tale "x"s drawn on hands, I spotted a few moms waiting patiently for it all to be over. A tip for underage heshers: Going to a show with your mom is not metal (unless your mom is Doro Pesch). Tell her to pick you up when it's done, preferably at the end of the block. The kvlt black metal shirt you ordered on e-Bay has way more cred that way. [Though mom and I are probably in agreement that when the young heshers put their arms around each other for some synchronized headbanging, that shit is adorable].

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Gwynbleidd @ Public Assembly 5.10.2013

Back in 2007 I saw Gwynbleidd for the first time, sharing a bill with a friend's band. With their mix of early Opeth and Katatonia, I was pretty much a fan instantly. I can remember a time when it seemed I was the only one at their shows who didn't speak Polish; by the time they opened for Entombed a few years later their rep in the local scene was growing, and I wasn't the only one headbanging at the front of the stage. The last time I saw them, before I left NY in 2011, turned out to be their last show before line-up troubles put them on an indefinite hiatus. By some weird fluke it turned out they were playing their first show with their new line-up the same time I was back in NY for a buddy's wedding; the timing was too good. No two ways about it, the Metal Gods planned for this to happen.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Postmortem: 10 Songs by Jeff Hanneman, for Jeff Hanneman

Jeff Hanneman died yesterday. I'm still in shock. Though he's often overshadowed by Kerry King in the media, he's considered by many Slayer fans to be the stronger of Slayer's two guitarist/songwriters. I was lucky enough to see Slayer four times; I'm grateful that at least two of those concerts was with the classic line-up, and all four were with Hanneman. I'm sure the band will keep going after this (though Tom Araya has been hinting for years that he definitely sees an end in sight), but it just won't be the same without Hanneman. The metal world has lost a giant, a fearless pioneer who helped tear metal from its primordial rock-based state and hammered it into the unrelenting, uncompromising, terrifying form we recognize today. His impact will always be felt, and his importance will never be forgotten. RIP.