An occasion like any other, after all, to get off my ass and get out of these four walls, even if lately even what once seemed like a regular weekend gives me the impression of being wrapped in a strange state of unreality.
About half an hour’s drive from the sewer where I live, this little concert was held with seven (in the end, due to bureaucratic problems, they ought to be six) bands, four of which would have been English-speaking (USA, UK, Australia, I already have a headache just thinking about the salad of accents).
As it happens, it was also an opportunity to take the cathartic satisfaction of seeing that the other old farts I’ve been sharing drinks with for thirty-plus years at concerts have aged as much as I have. The shows at the Freakout club generally share an incredibly urban imprint, at the same time homely and vaguely decadent, which I really like. The punk cesspool that opened nearby might not have been a blessing for the ease of parking, but more people mean more opportunities so maybe it was not for the worse.
This is a band that puts me in a weird condition of indefiniteness. I never actually heard of them before so I was completely tabula rasa and without particular expectations, I was however hooked a minute into the first song by among the most interesting brutal Swedish Death songwriting I have heard on Italian ground, really the band set could have been impressive if it wasn’t butchered by an awfully terrible vocalist. I tried to selectively filter out the vocals in my mind and focused on the instruments and well, top-notch stuff in there. But those annoying wailings are there, nonetheless.
Honestly, it has nothing to do with stage presence. Profanal to name the first relatable band that comes to mind, did a fantastic job on the same ground. It is just a matter of lacking punch and anger – unforgivable in extreme metal – misplaced vocal lines – again, not in the early Kataklysm kind of craziness – and a general sense that the whole vocal track was taken out from another record. Someone might know that my musical background is way more rooted in punk and USHC than classic metal so no, I can’t tell it’s a matter of personal preference either. Replace the singer with somebody that can ROAR and we’d have a top-tier band that could easily be placed in a Stockholm 1991 playlist.
Watching Hateful last week made me seriously consider the essence of time. Hand they come out in 1992 this is a band that today would be signed to Road-fucking-runner touring the world with some other 50-something musicians that ran out of ideas 25 years ago (or instead of them). But here they are keeping the true spirit of doing things PROPERLY, focusing in detail on lyrics, artwork, musicianship and everything else a professional band cares for. Despite a small stage accident and indecent sound, they managed to play flawlessly as usual, their own brand of traditional US-influenced early ’90’s Death Metal.
Thinking about it in hindsight, we are still talking about a genre that for a number of bands tending to zero is a source of something more than a weekend hobby, playing with heart despite it being just a huge (expensive) hobby is accepting the dimension of our era. Hateful is the band we still don’t deserve.
Cryptic Shift has been a pleasant surprise, one of the few bands I have seen lately that manages to pull out something different from the usual Incantation clone with dripping logos drawn by Indonesian artists for a couple of rice bowls.
They might have been lucky in that their writing is quite clean but of all the bands that played that day they have been in my opinion the only ones for which I could actually discern what was going on. They have this surprisingly interesting chemistry that creates a lurid mix of horror and Death Metal, malignant vocals sometimes reminding of early Disharmonic Orchestra, but with more emphasis on the horrific sonorities. Most of the best Death Metal actually was created by reimagining horror movie soundtracks with brutal distortions, so it’s not a surprise everything here works so well. They sometimes go over the top Gorguts dissonance but just when you are about to get annoyed they twist and get back on track. Interesting job, I won’t buy a record but it works.
I have talked about this band before and I stand my case. Despite an unexplainable decade of mediocrity during the ’90s Rome has been pushing forward extremely skilled musicians and awesomely competent bands for 20 years in a row now, including these Bedsore which fall into an uncomfortable spot of technical almost space-wave-metal. Let me be honest, I don’t like them and I didn’t like their show but you must be deaf if you don’t concede this band can write an album that is a long intricate voyage through violet cosmos. Part Death Metal part prog insanity a la Oxiplegatz, their show was a cosmic trip woven on strings of etherealness and raspy vocals. Not my cup of tea, and the sound was utter shit, but a good choice for people that like to get lost in twisting chords.
Could be three bands in a row with the same alternating “post” dissonance/arpeggio shifts are a bit too much for me, could be the place was so full I could not breathe, but I kinda skipped this set altogether. I am not the greatest freak for original ideas but I have heard half a gazillion songs in the last decade that combine the same elements over and over I feel nauseated as if I ate a bucket of white chocolate. Roar – solo – arpeggio – dissonant rewind – burst – dissonance, was fun for a while but I am full, thanks.
Profound Lore mates just like Haunter this band toys with the same ingredients but adds a pinch or two of out-of-place melancholic craziness typical of a certain breed of the late ’90s psych-core I did not entirely disdain back then. Still boring in a post-industrial way, I am beginning to understand that those who listen to this genre in recent years are looking for precisely this formula made of cold harmonies that can be traced back to an indefinite fusion of sounds associated with Black Metal and industrial. Once again we are out of my field, too much thought for my reptile brain.