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  • Vicious and brutal performance

    26. Mär. 2011, 10:23

    Fri 25 Mar – Carnage Over Finland - Mini Tour 2011
    While not really one of my favorites, Vomitory are entertaining on album at least so I went.

    First time to PRKL after their renovations so they can hold concerts there as well. It's a pretty tight place so I expected tight quarters, but it wasn't, not so much at least. A fairly large floor right in front of the stage, but while there's room in the back as well, there are tables and pillars in the way and the elevation is not done very well for seeing over the crowd in the front.

    Only caught the last couple of songs of Atretic Intestine. Never heard of them before and they didn't really impress though they didn't sound bad either.

    Torture Killer's Six Feet Under-influenced, groove-laden, primitive caveman death metal got the crowds going even if it mostly just bored me. Not really what I expect from my death metal. Breakdowns and simplistic groove riffs aplenty.

    Well, Vomitory aren't the most complex band out there and even though their songs have their headbangable slow parts, they don't always take the easiest route out. Their execution was tight and dead on. While Swedish, their kind of death metal is more bent on fast brutality without resorting to brutal death metal pastiches. Their stage presence during songs was good, even excellent. The vocalist/bassist looks and sounds positively possessed and pretty much commands the stage from the two guitarists who seem to recede to the background. When it gets a bit odd is during the stage banter. The vocalist/bassist doesn't speak anything at all. He seemed pretty uninterested and bored. The "new" guitarist, Peter Östlund, handles all the inbetween banter and unfortunately it was pretty banal. Supposedly he had more interesting things to say the day before. To make things weirder, the two original members are the other guitarist and the drummer and while they interact with the crowd with gestures, facial and otherwise, they seem comfortable letting the two other guys take center stage. Odd, but it didn't really bother the energetic and vicious performance much at all.
  • Veterans still pretty energetic

    26. Mär. 2011, 9:38

    Thu 17 Mar – European Carnage Tour: Megadeth/Slayer - Seen both before and while I'm not terribly fond of what they've been doing recently, I figured that it would be a good investment. And I suppose it was:

    Megadeth went up first. The day before they'd only thrown a short set (half an hour) due to Mustaine's illness (kidney stone apparently?). Fortunately, that was not the case today. I watched them from a bit ways away, eighth row or something (ice hockey arena) on Broderick's side. We came in so late that getting closer would've been hard without serious use of one's elbows. Mustaine seemed to be very glad to be there and enjoying himself. I imagine he was very glad about the huge turnout at his autobiography signing and the huge crowds chanting for Megadeth. The band was energetic and Broderick delivered quality solos. Mustaine's vocals were very lackluster in the higher register, but fine otherwise. Sound was stellar, everything was in balance, I'm especially glad the drums weren't in anyway overpowering. The setlist left some to be desired though. I'm tired of hearing crap like Trust, A Tout le Monde and especially Symphony of Destruction, even if they bring a lot of the dynamics of the set in. The highlight was definitely - along with the solos on Tornado Of Souls and Hangar 18 - Poison Was The Cure. A superbly energetic song that came out of nowhere. I had no idea they were going to play it.

    For Slayer, I got up front, second row. Not because I like them that much better, but there was room and that way I was out of the pit. On hindsight, it probably wasn't the best of ideas. The pressure there was pretty strong which didn't come as a surprise. But what surprised me was the really crappy sound though I suppose that's not surprising either. In the beginning of the set, it was hard to hear anything except the bassdrum. It drowned out much of everything else. King's guitar was also mixed way higher than Holt's, which was really annoying during his solos. They're so damn lame even with a rhythm guitar backing them, but without one they're just super annoying, breaking the flow of a song. The songs off of World Painted Blood were expectedly pure feces. The faster songs off of Seasons in the Abyss got kind of mixed into each other as well and there were three of those. In the beginning of War Ensemble, something happened to King's guitar and it cut out. Araya burst out laughing and it was fun to watch him for the first verse when he was singing with a huge grin on his face. He was definitely the most present of the two (I didn't see Holt at all basically) sounding very calm and laid back during his stage banter - of which there wasn't a whole lot - yet aggressive on his vocals. Very sympathetic character. The sound got better as the set neared the end which was great because that's where the best songs were. They ended with a set of South of Heaven/Raining Blood/Black Magic/Angel of Death (of course) so that was pretty awesome.
  • Three nights of satanic rites

    3. Okt. 2010, 11:30

    Thu 30 Sep – Black Mass Ritual Fest III

    Day I:

    Vorum: Unfortunately there was a long queue to the venue (all who entered passed through the one ticket-seller/stamper/list checker) so I missed most of them which is a shame since I quite enjoy Grim Death Awaits. Only caught the last minutes of the last song, but their playing sounded good even outside and they seemed to be having fun up there.

    Neutron Hammer: Never heard them before, just the name thrown around, watched them from upstairs and quite far so couldn't really get into the mood though they sounded pretty good, swinging from something like mid-era Deströyer 666 to the early violent Sadus. The drummer was very impressive, very damn tight playing from him and seemed to be a lot into the performance. The guitarist played well too, even though he kept pretty much the same pose all the time and was hiding behind his hair. Bassist seemed to be struggling a bit with performing and vocalist did alright even if he was rather forgettable. All in all a pretty good sound, even though I was mostly paying attention to the great drumming. Not that many solos so having just one guitarist didn't bother that much.

    Craven Idol: Another band I knew nothing about so I watched from afar again. I chuckled at the fact that the drummer was good and into it while the bassist seemed to be squeamish about it, just like the previous band. I found it rather odd that even though they had two guitars, most of their lead sections the other guitar disappeared somewhere as well. It's always sounds quite weak, solos without a rhythm guitar backing them.

    Witchrist: I knew this Doom Cult-member band beforehand and I imagined they weren't really my thing, but I still went into the front to see them. Even though I don't like the image of hooded and masked hooligans, it brings a certain stage presence that was formidable. I suppose vocalists always have the problem of what to do with their other hand, Witchrist's seemed to be waving gang signs at times which was rather amusing. However, they surprised me by being pretty damn awesome. I remembered most of the material I've heard - the demo compilation - to be rather straightforward in the vein of Blasphemy. Their live set however featured some mid-paced material as well as a lot of doomy sections. These were the best parts. A much better band live than on album, vocalist sounded better, the sound clearer and drummer much better.

    Sadistic Intent: Missed most of them which is a shame. The sound was pretty messy though, couldn't hear much at all of the other guitarist.

    Day II:

    Stench of Decay: Unfortunately completely missed them.

    Maveth: Better and different than I expected. I heard they were some sort of brutal death metal so wondered at their inclusion at the festival, but their sound was more blackened death, akin to the majority of the bands on the bill. Vocalist/guitarist had a formidable presence and the sound was excellent.

    Grave Miasma: With not much material, they played most of their songs. Being only familiar with the Exalted Emanation EP, I didn't recognize all of the songs, but they weren't that different, maybe a bit more blackened the earlier material. Good sound again, but with their style the songs went on for a long time and didn't vary that much so it got a bit dull at times. Especially the faster and blastier sections kind of blended together. At least Arisen through the Grave Miasma and Gnosis of the Summon got played and the last song was topped off with some holy blood being thrown on the audience. The band seemed very comfortable and experienced with their live performance, like they'd done it a hundred times. The audience was really into them as well.

    Hooded Menace: The band's first live gig and it showed. Rather nervous performance and all of the players (aside from the drummer) seemed very concentrated on the technical aspects of their playing, of being on the right beat and in time with each other. Some problems with the mic in the beginning, but that was quickly fixed. They played well, as one would expect with so much focus on that, but it felt a bit lifeless and flat. The vocalist especially seemed to be going through the motions and nothing else. Unfortunately he didn't even really sound that much like Pyykkö. Low and dry, sure, but doesn't have that deep sound from the diaphragm down right. The sound was alright, but the bass didn't have that strong, groovy oomph to it as on Fulfill the Curse nor did they have a second guitarist which left the sound a bit thin again on the lead parts. I'm sure they'll become better at it when they get more experience, but I'd expect more show from a band that is so centered on one specific theme, a theme that's so great and easy to make into at least a bit of a show on stage. Oh well, maybe that's to come later. Hopefully along with that second guitarist. I was surprised that the people weren't that much into them. Judging by the internet fame, one would've imagined a whole lot more from the audience. There weren't that many people watching and those who were were quite lethargic. Which I suppose goes with the music. It's probably not the best kind for a live situation.

    Karnarium: I didn't pay that much attention to them. They were rather dull at times, but there were some songs that sounded really energetic. The bassist was hiding behind the second guitarist (or vice versa) leaving the right side of the stage completely empty for some unknown reason. Looked kinda weird.

    Excoriate: Again didn't pay that much attention, but they threw a great performance, very energetic and precise, excellent performance from the drummer. Their energy caught on with the audience who were immensely into them.

    Nirvana 2002: I'm rather confused about the sudden superstardom of this band and with their headlining gigs. Sure, Swedish death metal has been on the edge of metal for a while now and they were there in the beginning, but with so little material you'd only expect a handful of people to be into them and these would mostly be the ones scouring the depths of the internet for bands like these. Yet Relapse released that compilation (a disappointment, but more on that at some point in the future) and there's been a lot of talk about them and as I said, the headlining gigs here and at Maryland Death Fest. Again, their performance was energetic, Wallin of Mercenary adding a whole lot, taking the crowd, playing his part of the leads and adding that second guitar to the lead parts helps a lot. Very short though which is understandable considering they've got like six songs. Aside their own songs, they also played Pleasure to Kill and Crawl which is apparently by Säfström as well. His vocals weren't really good and he kept tuning his guitar, but the frantic and very excited audience made up for it. I found it hard to believe that so many people were so frantically into such an obscure band from twenty years ago. But there you have it. Aside from the covers, they played the first six tracks of Recordings 89-91 and Slumber a second time as an encore which makes it by far the shortest set by a headliner that I've ever witnessed.

    Day III:

    Lie in Ruins: Arrived during the last half of their set so saw only a couple of songs. Seen them twice before and their brand of Sweden-influenced death is usually entertaining and their performance good. Not this time however. They might've been a bit nervous since it seemed like they were in a hurry to get out of there.

    Cruciamentum: One of my main draws to the festival, a sort of a sister band to Grave Miasma since they share the drummer and second guitarist. I was kind of wondering what they would play exactly since they have so far only released two demos featuring a total of three songs and unlike Grave Miasma, they don't have a previous incarnation of the band on whose demos to draw upon. Turns out they did have a lot of new material, four songs and about twenty or so minutes. I was in the front row and the sound there was rather porridge: the guitars and vocals blended quite badly into each other, even if the drums were audible and not too overpowering at all. I suppose it is the style of music and vocals as well, both are rather low. This didn't detract from the three songs I already knew though. Even if I couldn't quite make out every nuance, I knew the songs by heart and could get into them. The new material however was a different story. It didn't sound that different from the old stuff, if a bit less heavy with the atmosphere of apocalypse though that might just have been the fact that I couldn't make out everything. They had a powerful stage presence even if the drummer did fuck up a few times, even dropping his stick in the middle of the lull in Rotten Flesh Crucifix. It didn't bother me at all though, makes for more interesting live performance.

    Blasphemophager: Italian war metal. Didn't pay that much attention. They had some technical difficulties which pissed off the bassist/vocalist and he left the stage in a huff as soon as they were finished.

    Diocletian: Another doom cult-member (the initial founding one I think) from New Zealand. Another band of hooded thugs with more Blasphemy-styled war metal. No masks this time, but they had a two-pronged vocal attack which made for more intense performance in comparison to Witchrist and the bassist/second vocalist's face was so hidden in the shadow ofh is hood that the effect it created was very eerie combined with his size and attire. Their music was more aggressive and faster when compared with Witchrist and the aforementioned use of two vocalists worked really well even if they lacked the doomier and more intense parts of Witchrist. I think I liked Witchrist a bit more even if both bands performed really well and had clearly thought out their stage attire and performance as well.

    Demigod: As people may or may not know, they performed their Slumber of Sullen Eyes album. They looked like a bunch of middle-aged business men on vacation or something, but they were very much into it and did perform with a lot of energy though they had some problems with the micing of the bass drum. Fans of the band and album probably got a lot more into it than I, but I'm not terribly fond of it aside from the godly title track which was excellent. They did perform every aspect of the album religiously.

    Dead Congregation: The band I most wanted to see. I love their Graves Of The Archangels album and imagined it would transfer well into a live setting. And it sure did. Very powerful sound with the drums pounding and guitars coming in as a crushing wall. Powerful stage presence too. They played a lot off of Graves, but a surprising amount of other material as well. Subjugation made everyone go damn crazy and of course Teeth Into Red closed the set perfectly. It would've been great if they had opened up with Martyrdoom though. I was too busy being into the music in the front row as to note any minute details.

    Necros Christos: Dead Congregation had left me completely exhausted and I was developing a headache so I didn't stick around long for Necros Christos. I've heard the album and while it is good and approaches greatness with some songs, the huge amount of interludes leaves me a bit cold. They sounded good live, but not good enough to keep me around with the lack of sleep, physical exhaustion and burgeoning headache.
  • In Cirith Ungol the tower of fire

    21. Jan. 2010, 12:13

    King of the Dead is probably the best album of the 80s and better than 100% of its kind. I can see why people might get hung up on the vocals, they certainly are more of a mad screech than actual singing, but that is a large part of the charm. As can be heard on Frost & Fire, Tim Baker can do those 70s hard rock vocals as well, but chooses not to. I watched an old live performance of King of the Dead on YouTube and it was just completely ahead of its time and out of this world. The way the band introduces the song without Baker and then he is wheeled to the stage in a coffin and begins his screeches even before coming out. It is evident that the crowd isn't getting it at all, which is too bad really.

    Tim Baker's songwriting is what sets them ahead aplenty. On Frost & Fire you can hear Greg Lindstrom's meddling, but with him gone on King of the Dead, there's nothing holding Fogle back with his flair for catchiness and occult atmosphere. It is wonderous how the band manages to catch that said atmosphere of occult and permeable evil better than harsher and harder bands like Slayer or Venom could at the time. The maybe do it even better than Black Sabbath in their early days. The Sabbathian influence is evident on the powerful 70s bass sound and style as well as the drumming.

    On a side note, I haven't heard the last two albums so can't comment on that, but it's a shame that with Fogle dead, it's doubtful that band might re-unite to do something new.
  • Just a heads up

    10. Aug. 2007, 8:58

    The best album of this year was released two days ago. I am of course talking about Reverend Bizarre's III: So Long Suckers. It is hard to say after so few listens, but it probably isn't as good as their debut even though Caesar Forever and Anywhere Out of This World are in the top ten tracks they have ever written.
  • Let your body move to the music

    22. Mär. 2006, 0:03

    As can be seen from my favorite artists from last couple of weeks, I've been on an electronic music kick lately. Mostly the synthpop of Project Pitchfork (loving Kaskade at the moment), the trance of Hallucinogen and Trance[]control as well as some trance and other electronica mixes of classic C-64 games and Robert Miles's Dreamland.

    I've disliked most synthpop I've heard but Pitchfork's Kaskade just got to me somehow. I've liked their song Timekiller for some time but Kaskade's Instead of an Angle really hooked me and with more listens, I realized that the rest of the songs are perhaps even better.

    I should really look more of this kind of music.
  • A sleight of hand or a slip of mind

    10. Nov. 2005, 3:38

    I must have hit my head or damaged by brain chemistry since these last two weeks I've been mostly listening to stuff like Indica (a Finnish pop band), new Masterplan and new Helloween. The last two albums are surprisingly refreshing power metal and if you lean at all in that direction, they're worth checking out. Especially the new Helloween surprised me a bit. Occasion Avenue is equal in quality to the Keepers-era songs and Mrs. God, Pleasure Drone and Come Alive aren't that far behind. The only sub-par song on the album is Born on Judgement Day.

    I've also been on game-music kick lately, mostly Amiga with some C-64 tunes thrown in. Those Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge and Super Cars games had some awesome tunes.
  • An interview with myself

    14. Aug. 2005, 18:28

    During a recent dialogue with myself, I came to a conclusion which states as follows:

    Axis of Advance is the ultimate band.