The Faceless, Neuraxis – April 24th – The Chance, Poughkeepsie

Yes, I missed Obscura. I called the Chance in the afternoon to find out the set times, and they told me that the inevitable local band would start off the show at 8:00. I got out of work, raced home and then drove like mad up to the Chance. When I got there, I found out that the local band was a no show, that Obscura had gone on first, and that I'd just missed their set.
I was seriously mad. When Neuraxis came out, shortly after I got there, I was still simmering. It didn't take long for the music to channel that anger in the right direction. Neuraxis are pretty fantastic live. Alex Leblanc is a man's front-man. The dude is seriously animated and totally serious.
The sound wasn't so great. A bit of the nuance and melody of the guitar work was lost in the mix, but the the crowd didn't care. The Chance was packed and the crowd was raging. It was a sharp contrast to the last concert I attended. The Chance has its regulars, and tons of kids come to the shows. The pit was whirling and the hair was flying. This is what metal is about. My anger, and any other thought in my head, fell out with gratuitous headbanging. I'm only really familiar with the songs off Neuraxis' latest album, The Thin Line Between. It's a great album. Most of the set came from that release, and the songs sounded great. Tracks like “Wicked,” “Versus” and “Darkness Prevails” absolutely destroyed. Neuraxis had to play without a bass player, as Yan Thiel was stopped at the Canadian border. It only seems to have made the band more pissed off. Alex Leblanc looked like he had enough energy to drop and do push ups between songs. Excellent performance. Neuraxis are a seriously underrated band.
With a bit of alien ambiance, The Faceless came out and absolutely slaughtered. This band are a xenomorphic machine. The sound, amazingly, was perfect. It was the best sound mix I've ever heard a the Chance, in fact. Almost the entire set came off of their new album, Planetary Duality. If I haven't raved enough about this album, let me know. It rules. Vocalist Jeff Ventimiglia stalks around the stage like, well, a stalker. The dude has a very Unabomber thing going on. It's fairly creepy, but it works.
Michael "Machine" Keene is clearly a new entrant into the pantheon of guitar gods. The man is unbelievable. He made the sweeping calisthenics of the songs and solos look like child's play. Somehow the band pulled off the complicated arrangements with ease. The crowd was very much into it, and did their best to figure out how to mosh to some of the absurd time signatures. It was kind of funny at times. “Prison Born” melted brains and “Xeno Christ” melted faces. “An Autopsy” was the lone representative of The Faceless' first album, Akeldama. I had a great time.
In this month's Decibel, Nile's Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka is inducted into the hall of fame. I vividly remember ordering that album in 1998, sight unseen, based on raving reviews. Can you believe that's how we used to buy albums back in the day? That album kicked the death metal scene in the balls, and turned it on it's ear. Nile then went on to tour without stop in support of Catacombs. To me, Planetary Duality is the modern equivalent. Kids, this is the new shit. Take notice. I'm excited to see these guys again, opening for Atheist in July. Like Nile, though, The Faceless need to work on their stage presence a little bit. They could do a bit more as a band to work the crowd. It will come with time.
I'm still bummed that I missed Obscura, but I'm consoled by the fact that they will be headlining the “Relapse Contamination Tour” in May. I won't have to wait long.
And no, I did not stay for Cannibal Corpse. I explained my reasoning on that here. It's unbelievable the crowd these guys can still draw. They are a veritable cottage industry. If a band's merch table can support it's own line of women's underwear, then they've crossed some line that I can't even comprehend. Would you wear Cannibal Corpse underpants?


Updated Metal Concerts NYC Calendar

I just updated the NYC area metal concert calendar in a major way. There are a metric ton of metal shows in the next couple of months.
Somehow I had managed to leave off the Gojira show that's coming up in a couple of weeks at the Blender Theater.
I'm pretty psyched that Atheist will be playing at B.B. King's in July with The Faceless. Atheist are on that diminishing list of bands I need to see before I die.
The Summer Slaughter dates are now on there. I can't believe this tour is going to play two nights at Irving Plaza in July. Do they really think it will draw that many people? You'd like to think that Suffocation will headline over Necrophagist in their home town, but we'll have to see.
Pelican and Tombs are now opening up for Isis. I'm not a fan of Isis, but I'll probably go to the show at Irving Plaza anyway. I haven't seen Tombs yet, so it should be worth it.
I straightened out the bands for the two days of the Auditory Assault festival in Brooklyn.
I added the Kylesa/Stinking Lizaveta show at the Cake Shop that Cosmo Lee mentioned here.
Lastly, I added shows for Trap Them, Zoroaster and Goatwhore.

Tonight there are a couple of great shows. Amon Amarth is playing at the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey with Goatwhore, Skeletonwitch and Lazarus AD. I'll be heading up to The Chance to see The Faceless, Neuraxis and Obscura open up for Cannibal Corpse.

So much metal, so little time.

As always, if you notice anything I'm missing or have screwed up, please e-mail me at the address in my profile.


Mirovia/Deafest - Split (2009)

I mostly think and write about music while I ride the train to work. I'm fortunate that for most of my journey I ride alongside the mighty Hudson river. You can't beat a healthy dose of nature while you commute. The new Deafest split with Mirovia is a perfect accompaniment for the foggy vista on this particular morning.
As I noted in my last review, Deafest are ambient black metal of the eco-friendly variety. Here, the melodic majesty of this music is perfectly paired with the ambient progressive instrumental tunes of Mirovia.
Mirovia posses a musical aesthetic that brings to mind the mighty Mono(Japan). The predominantly clean guitar melodies twist and shimmer with a beauty that could easily be movie soundtrack material. Occasional samples of spoken word or the eerie sounds of nature add to the melancholic vibe. At times the guitar phrasing shows glimpses of Gustavo Santaolalla's genius. Good stuff.
Deafest are now pushing the boundaries of black metal. I honestly feel that this music has transcended the constraints of the "one man with a drum machine" aesthetic. The melodies here are first rate. The instrumental "Dynamic Sky" is simply amazing. Sure, the style is not earth shatteringly unique, but the quality is absurd. I can only compare the guitar work here to the best moments of Wolves In The Throne Room. Again, the ambient clean passages are excellent. The mournful black metal screeches are a perfect expression of the lyrical content. Pair these tunes with a bass player and a competent drummer and I could easily see Deafest signed to a Southern Lord or Hydra Head.
The description of this split says "to connect the two very different musical styles, the album contains both bands' interpretations of each others riffs/melodies." This experiment works quite well. Mirovia clearly step out of their comfort zone to incorporate some distortion into their style. Deafest adeptly use this as an excuse to expand their ambient ambitions, with excellent results.
My only nipick with the split is that it could have benefited from a proper mastering, but it's a minor qualm.
The best thing about this album is that it's free. The bands have made it available for download here. You've really got no excuse not to check it out.



Deafest Myspace
Mirovia Mypsace


God Dethroned - Passiondale (Metal Blade, 2009)

I was perplexed when I saw this album. To my vague recollection, God Dethroned were a black/death metal band of the gratuitously blasphemous persuasion. But here we have an album named after the bloody World War I battle. Being a military history buff in addition to a death metal fan, I figured I'd check it out.
I'm extremely impressed. What we have here is a raging slab of melodic death metal. A Bolt Thrower aesthetic meets the riffs and songwriting sensibility of Amon Amarth. In the spirit of their label-mates, God Dethroned have created an infectious war machine that gets you up out of your seat and demands headbanging.
There are some surprisingly compelling melodies mixed in with the pounding marshal riffage. In addition to competent mid-range death metal vocals, we have some fine clean singing that accentuates some of the more somber lyrical moments. You know, trench-foot and drowning in mud are not always glorious subjects.
The theme of the album does not waver from its examination of the horrors, atrocities and violence of war. At times, the lyrics seem painfully simplistic, but any fan of this music should be well seasoned in tolerating such things.
The songs here are quite diverse, and maintain their quality throughout. The production is even and packs a nice mid-range punch. The sonic landscape is as pleasing as any recent Amon Amarth release. The drums are steady and perfectly fit the frantic march of these tunes.
I have no idea if God Dethroned have changed their musical direction as much as their lyrical interest. I do know that any Amon Amarth fan should stow their beer horn for a minute and check out this excellent album.


God Dethroned @ Myspace


Napalm Death - April 11th - The Blender Theater, NYC

This was a very weird concert experience. I flew back into New York late Saturday afternoon, and made haste to get home and head to the venue. I met up with my brother Frank and got to the Blender Theater in time to catch the end of Kataklysm's set.
This is the second time I've been to the Blender Theater. The first show I saw there was The Reverend Horton Heat. Although not a metal show, I thought the sound was decent. The space, however, is pretty bizarre. It's basically an old movie theater. The stadium seating remains, but the floor in front of the stage is cleared out. The floor of the "pit" is slanted down towards the stage, making for awkward standing. I was pretty curious to find out how this would work for a metal show.
I've seen Kataklysm a couple of times before as openers, but never got into their music. They sounded pretty good, and the crowd was pretty into it.
Mere minutes after I arrived, Napalm Death came out. The sound was pretty rough at first, but it improved after the first song. As usual, Napalm completely raged, and sounded fantastic. They started out with an array of songs from their last three albums. This was the second date of the North American tour. In a couple of spots, you could tell that Barney and Mitch Harris hadn't completely hammered out the details of the vocal duties on the new songs. No big deal.
By this time, I think some of the crowd had left. The bill was pretty diverse, and it seems that some of the thrash folks left after Toxic Holocaust, and some of the traditional death metal folks left after Kataklysm. So be it. A lot of people also seemed to be sitting in the seats up above. Maybe on the whole, Napalm Death fans are just old. Either way, the situation on the floor was kind of strange. There were people up against the stage, maybe 2 or 3 deep, and then a gigantic wide open circle in the middle of the floor. Folks made liberal use of the open space for a nice circle pit, but in the end it felt like the crowd was very sparse. The tilted floor caused many a spill in the pit, but folks seemed good-natured about it.
It was one of those shows where a song ends, and the crowd cheers for a few seconds, then it dies down, and then there is complete silence while the band tune up. Every drunk and heckler can be heard, and it's pretty awkward. It was just a weird situation. This is New York, and this is Napalm Death, but it was a dead crowd. I was disappointed.
After a few songs, things got weird. Barney announced that he'd smashed his finger on Shane's bass, and that he thought he'd broken it "for the third time." Ouch. But Napalm soldiered on. Classics like "Unchallenged Hate" and "Suffer the Children" sounded fantastic and seemed to get the best reaction from the crowd. The set took an old school turn with the obligatory group of super short tracks from Scum. "It's a M.A.N.S World!," a rarity off From Enslavement to Obliteration, sounded great.
The new songs were particularly strong. "On the Brink of Extinction" is just incredible live, and I get the feeling that it will be in Napalm's live set for a long time to come.
After about 45 minutes, a conference occurred on the stage, and Barney announced that they had to cut their set short. It was unclear if this was a decision of the venue, or if Barney's injury was the problem. By this point, his finger looked like a giant purple sausage. Either way, the band blasted through "Mass Appeal Madness," "Nazi Punks Fuck Off," and "Siege of Power," then left the stage. No encore.
I got the final dose of weirdness on my way home from the show. I bought a tour shirt, as usual. I can't help myself, and it's really the best way to support the band. On the train, I pulled out the shirt to admire it. Unfortunately, I realized that the tour dates were misprinted. For the second date of the tour it says "04.11 YORK, PA." That's funny, I don't remember visiting Pennsylvania Saturday night. Ugh.
All told, it was a great performance. It's a shame they had to cut their set short, and it's a travesty that the crowd was so tame. I hope Barney's finger is alright. It's a long tour, and emergency room visits in the U.S. aren't quite as free as they are in the U.K..



2013 (1) 2014 (1) 2015 (5) 2016 (11) 2017 (5) 3 Inches of Blood (1) 7 Degrees Records (1) A Storm of Light (1) Abbath (2) Absu (1) Acephalix (1) Agalloch (1) Agrath (1) Altar of Plagues (4) ambient (1) Amon Amarth (4) Amorphis (1) Ancient Wound (1) Anhedonist (1) Animals as Leaders (1) Aosoth (1) Apostasy Records (1) Arsis (1) Assück (2) astrogrind (1) At The Gates (1) Atakke (2) Augury (1) Aural Music (1) Australia (1) Autopsy (1) Avantgarde Music (1) Backslider (1) Bandcamp (4) Baroness (5) Barren Earth (1) Batillus (2) Be'lakor (2) Beansidhe (2) Beaten To Death (3) Bindrune Recordings (3) Black Anvil (10) Black Cobra (1) Black Metal (63) Blender Theater (3) Blood Harvest (3) Blood Incantation (1) Blood Music (1) Bloody Panda (1) Blue Record (1) Blut aus Nord (2) Bolt Thrower (2) Bosse-de-Nage (1) Botanist (1) Bowery Ballroom (1) Buckshot Facelift (1) Burning World (1) Burst (4) Cake Shop (2) Candlelight (1) Cannibal Corpse (2) Captain Cleanoff (1) Carcariass (1) Carcass (3) Castevet (8) cats (1) Century Media (1) Chepang (1) Chronicles of Chaos (1) Chuck Schuldiner (1) Cloud Rat (2) Cobalt (2) Code666 (1) Coffinworm (1) Concussion (1) Coney Island High (2) Converge (1) Convulse (1) Convulsing (1) Creator-Destructor Records (1) Crom Dubh (1) Crucifist (1) crust (2) Curandera (2) Cynd (1) Cynic (1) Dååth (1) Dark Descent Records (6) Dark Tranquillity (1) Darkane (1) Darkthrone (2) Deafest (5) Death (2) Death Angel (1) death metal (64) Deathspell Omega (1) Debemur Morti (2) Decibel (2) Decrepit Birth (2) Defeatist (8) Demilich (1) Dephosphorus (1) Disappearer (1) Discordance Axis (1) diSEMBOWELMENT (1) Disma (3) Disrotted (1) Dissection (2) Don't Give a Fuck (1) doom (27) Down (2) Dream Theater (2) Drugs of Faith (1) Dunkelheit Produktionen (1) Duplicate Records (1) Dying Fetus (1) Dystrophy (1) Earache (4) Eight Bells (1) Eluveitie (1) Emperor (1) Enslaved (3) Entombed (2) Epoch (1) Europa (3) Explosions In The Sky (1) Falls of Rauros (1) Fen (3) FLAC (1) Flaming Tusk (4) Flourishing (6) folk (1) folk metal (2) From Exile (1) Fuck the Facts (5) funeral doom (5) Funeral Moth (2) Fuoco Fatuo (1) Gattaca (1) Gaza (1) GetOverHere (1) Gigan (1) Gilead Media (3) God Dethroned (2) Gojira (5) Google Music (1) Google music beta (1) Gorguts (3) Gorod (2) Gramercy Theater (2) Grand Ballroom (1) Grave Miasma (1) Graveyard Hill Records (1) Grind and Punishment (1) grindcore (30) Grindcore Karaoke (1) Guns N' Roses (1) Gustavo Santaolalla (1) Gwynbleidd (1) Gygax (1) Handshake Inc. (1) hardcore (8) Heaving Earth (2) heavy metal (2) Hells Headbangers (2) Hellthrasher Productions (2) High Water Media (1) Highline Ballroom (1) Hivelords (1) Holy Grail (1) Hooded Menace (2) Horrendous (3) Horror Pain Gore Death Productions (2) Howls of Ebb (1) Humanity Falls (2) Hybreed Chaos (1) I (1) I Abhor (1) Ill Omen (1) Imbroglio (2) Immolation (6) Immortal (4) Impiety (1) In Flames (2) Incantation (3) industrial (2) Infernal Stronghold (1) Infestus (1) Ingrowing (1) Inquisition (2) Interviews (1) Intronaut (2) Inverloch (1) Invertia (1) Invictus Productions (2) Ipsissimus (2) Irkallian Oracle (1) Iron Bonehead (1) Iron Bonehead Productions (1) Iron Maiden (4) Irving Plaza (4) Isis (1) Katatonia (3) Khthoniik Cerviiks (2) King Giant (1) Krallice (10) Kreator (4) Krypts (3) Kylesa (4) Lamb of God (2) Landmine Marathon (3) Last Rites (1) Laster (1) Latitudes (1) Lavadome productions (2) Lay Down Rotten (2) Legion (1) Listenable Records (1) Lit Lounge (1) Ludicra (4) Lychgate (1) Madison Square Garden (1) Magrudergrind (2) Man's Gin (1) Manipulator (1) Marduk (1) Marty Friedman (1) Martyrdöd (1) Maruta (1) Maryland Deathfest (2) Mas-Kina Recordings (2) Masonic Temple (1) Mastodon (6) Megadeth (1) melodic death metal (4) Melvins (2) Metal Bandcamp (6) Metallica (1) Mikael Åkerfeldt (1) Milwaukee Metalfest (1) Mind Mold (1) Mirovia (1) Misery's Omen (1) Mithras (2) Mitochondrion (1) Moksha (1) Mollusk (1) Mono (2) Moonsorrow (1) Morbus Chron (1) Mortician (1) Motörhead (1) Mournful Congregation (1) Music Hall of Williamsburgh (1) Mutant Supremacy (5) Mutiny Within (1) My Dying Bride (4) Nachtreich (2) Naisian (1) Napalm Death (5) Nasum (1) Necrophobic (1) Necrosemen (1) Necrowretch (1) neo-classical (1) Nephelium (1) Nerve Altar (2) Neuraxis (3) Neurisis (1) New Zealand (1) Nile (2) Nirvana (1) No Fashion Records (1) noise (3) Nokia Theater (1) Nordvis (2) Nuclear Blast (3) Nuclear War Now! (1) Nucleus (2) NWOBHM (2) Obscura (4) Obsequiae (2) Ogg Vorbis (1) Opeth (5) Order of Orias (1) Osmose Productions (1) Owen Hart (1) P.L.F. (1) Pact Ink Records (2) Pagan Records (1) Pallbearer (1) Pantera (1) Paroxsihzem (2) Peaceville (4) Pelican (6) Phantom Glue (1) Phil Anselmo (1) Pinnacle of Bedlam (1) pirate metal (1) Plebeian Grandstand (2) Poland (1) Polluted Inheritance (1) Portal (1) post-metal (2) post-rock (2) PRC music (1) Priapus (1) Prisoner of War (1) Profound Lore (9) prog (11) Prosthetic (2) Psychic Limb (3) Pulverised Records (1) Qrixkuor (2) Quorthon (1) Radiation Blackbody (1) random playlist (3) Red Album (1) reissue (1) Relapse (8) Revocation (5) Ritual Chamber (1) Robert Johnson (1) Sabre (1) Saint Vitus Bar (1) Sarcasm (1) Sarpanitum (1) Satan (1) Scion (1) Scrotum Jus Records (1) Selfmadegod Records (1) Sentient Ruin (1) Setentia (2) Seventh Rule (1) Severnaya (1) Shadow Kingdom Records (1) Shea Stadium (1) Siberian Hell Sounds (1) Skeletonwitch (6) Slough Feg (1) Sludge (17) Slugdge (1) Social Distortion (1) Soilwork (3) Soulseller Records (1) Southern Lord (3) Spectral Lore (2) speed metal (1) StarGazer (1) Streetwalker (1) Suffering Hour (1) Suffocation (5) Sulaco (1) Summer Slaughter (1) surf (1) Swallow the Sun (2) Swashbuckle (3) Swedish Death Metal (1) Swimming (1) Swords of Chaos (1) Sydney (1) Symphony X (1) Taake (1) technical death metal (7) Temple of Abandonment (1) Temple of Void (1) Thantifaxath (1) The Absence (1) The Acheron (3) The Ajna Offensive (1) The Binary Code (1) The Bowery Electric (2) The Chance (4) The Charleston (2) The Communion (1) The Faceless (4) The Fucking Champs (2) The Knitting Factory (3) The Path Less Traveled Records (7) The Rolling Stones (1) The Secret (2) The Studio at Webster Hall (5) Thou (1) thrash (10) Thrawsunblat (1) Throatruiner Records (1) Throne Records (1) Tiger Flowers (3) Toad's Place (1) Tombs (6) Triptykon (1) Union Pool (2) Unmen (1) Unspeakable Axe Records (1) Urfaust (1) Vancouver (1) Velnias (1) Vendetta Records (1) Vex (1) Via Nocturna (1) Vic records (1) viking (2) Vit (1) Vitriol Records (1) Vore (1) W.T.C Productions (1) Wadge (1) Wake (2) Warbringer (2) Weakling (3) Weapon (1) Weedeater (1) What We All Come To Need (1) Willowtip (4) Withered (5) WITTR (1) Woe (3) Wolves In The Throne Room (5) Woods of Ypres (4) Wormrot (9) Writhing Mass (1) Xaddax (1) Xantam (1) year-end list (2) Yellow Eyes (1) Yith (1) Zhrine (1) Zosimus (1)