Next expedition saw us drawn to the mist enshrouded streets thronged with shadowy fish-men, where some strange cultist ceremony was going down on the edge of town. Actually, the sun was still blazing so our trip to HP Lovecraft’s grave didn’t really have much success in summoning Cthulhu, and we got told off for not having a permit to take photos, but hey, we have called them, and they’re coming… . Instead we visited the home branch of Armageddon Records, hit a bar, ate some excellent Asian food and found our way to a converted fire station venue on the other side of town for tonight’s show.
The place has a great underground/no frills feel, good size and stage, and I was particularly pleased to see that Samsquatch from Trailer Park Boys was coming soon to host a hot dog eating competition. A communication breakdown also lead to me getting half-price beers and that’s just the kind of welcome I like.
Following us down to these parts from Boston were openers Ascend/Descend. Initially struck me as some pretty straightforward, shouty-hardcore, but soon picked up an excellent relentless vibe to their riffing that almost gave it a bit of a melodic, black metal touch. Tied into d-beat drumming this unconventional sound and the passionate vocal delivery won me over and they were kind enough to give me a sparkly tape of their recent “Murdock Street” release after.
Not the European death metallers of the same name but also hailing from Boston, Sadist were quite different in approach but also intriguing in results. A warped sampled intro led into them playing in near darkness, with an anarcho style backdrop, and a snarling masked up frontman, they had quite a midpaced retro punk/post punk sound. Stripped down sound but also with some great insistent rhythms, driving effected bass tones, all worked well. I love the fact that they released a USB earring single once too.
Picking up the pace again, home town boys Deathwish tore through their set with power and some tight musicianship. A heavy, bouncing thrash that also had raw punk rock elements, the tempo was seriously up and impressive. Not without some melody and chorus hooks, even the lead guitar skills were fitting and not OTT, it was just the energy boost we needed after our long day messing with things better left alone
At last a chance to see Hellshock, who I’d missed due to being elsewhere when they came over as close as Leeds in the UK. Seeing as they come from Portland on the other side of the States we’d pretty much made this a convenient midpoint for us all. Though I had little of their stuff, knew their particular brand of metallic crust punk was held in high regard and they certainly delivered a serious and crushing performance. With singer Joel roving the floor in front of the stage barking out the lyrics, they shifted from charging punk rhythms to Bolt Thrower worshipping chugging riff workouts, but also interspersed mellower atmospheric sections that called to mind Sacrilege. Whatever the familiarity, it was still an enjoyable and heavy onslaught, pits kicked off and I beat a retreat to the edge to avoid hurting my broken wrist/getting beaten up by girls.
Another excellent and vibrant scene experienced, with a great collection of bands still getting folks out on a Sunday night. Thoroughly warmed up for Feast of Death to come in Maryland