I’ve probably never seen as many concerts in a row as I did the last couple of months (at least after 2004), which is especially strange because I’ve also begun to appreciate them again whereas for years the titanic battle between couch and pain in the ass in the car had always ended in favor of the former. To be fair, all the last few concerts I saw had a percentage of interesting bands above 50 percent, and at least something to see on stage in terms of set design and presence. The night of Saturday was among them, with an interesting surprise as well. Usual urban location with a handful of scattered headbangers, a low turnout but unfortunately it was to be expected.
I will not spend many words on the wild and ferocious horde that is VOMITMANTIK because they recently released the CD on the label (allow me an invitation to buy a copy though), except that it was the first time I had seen them live outside of a rehearsal room. The keyword definition here is crude barbarity. VomitmantiK is a rough embryo that draws its strength from being primitive, from that atavistic, primal ferocity that embodies the instincts of the woods, the totemic bloodlust of ferocious beasts that feed on carcasses and entrails. Hammer and nails: simple tools for channeling instinct into massive, direct songs. Powerful and raw, as the genre must be.
Here is where the evening took an unpredictable direction. I was imagining yet another Australian-like nostalgia product that might end up on the endless roster of photocopy bands on Iron Bonehead or Unspeakable Axe, but on the contrary, things went in a totally different direction. I had heard a few of their songs on the fly online in the past and was not particularly impressed, even after a quick review in the last few days to see if anything had changed.
Seeing HELLCRASH live, however, has been an entirely different matter. This group rocked the stage to fucking splinters. Even if my infatuation with thrash/speed metal wore off fast around 1992 when the genre had lost that raw polish that made albums by bands like Whiplash, Razor or Rigor Mortis timeless classics that still give me the sudden rush of twenty energy drinks, and honestly never came back despite various more or less pathetic revivals (don’t get me started on Earache bands). Yet, evidently, the magic in the genre is not gone forever because Hellcrash’s set was devastating. The arena that somewhat encapsulates all the obvious influences is Possessed and Venom but within the continuous shredding coexisted instances of Blood Feast, Exciter, Sadus, early Whiplash etc. It’s interesting to witness how simple things always work, at the end of the day you never get tired of eating bread after all. Square and precise, textbook stage presence, studs and leather, a drummer who crashed the skins like a poacher clubbing a baby seal, Becerra/Cronos-esque throaty vocals, spread-legged headbanging, and everything else that could serve the cause. If they pass through your area, don’t miss their show.
GOAT VOMIT NOISE, on the other hand, is a very strange beast. If the first two bands took you into the comfort zone, here we are talking about somebody that manages to put together a unique compositional style even if clearly inspired in spurts by this or that other sound, a bit like what happened in the days of NEFAS, when you knew exactly the language, but could not recognize the words. The concert was airless the whole time, there is not a moment of melody or breathing in the whole set. It’s a bit like walking through some post-apocalyptic, gray, lifeless urban scenery, gasping for some air or fresh water. I had listened to some interesting things online before, but let me say that after witnessing this set I now believe that speaking of Black Metal this is one of the ten most interesting bands we have in this country right now. Having a look at the performance on stage, once again, allowed me to box the view into a whole different perspective. Goat Vomit Noise’s world has no color or hope. It is a finite, bleak black granite wasteland where the only life left is armored and covered with fangs. It is indeed an experience to follow the monolithic, inescapable flow through GVN’s circles of lifeless hell. Excellent.
I took no pictures of Slaughter Messiah because I left the room halfway through the first song. Uninspired, boring, and derivative second-grade black/thrash with riffs so overcooked and overdone you could grate parmesan on them and cook everything in the oven the day after an hangover. This is the kind of band I was mentioning above, that adds nothing to the music world. Which was doubly weird since they were headliners too. All form, no meat. Nice packaging and merch, but apart from that, there was nothing substantial to sink your teeth into.