Did you ever go to a show and know right off the bat that it was one for the record books? Well on Friday December 12th at the Middle East Nightclub in Cambridge, there was such a show, and this one makes it into my top 5 out of about 60 for the entire year of 2014. Why? Because it had some of the best bands New England has to offer on the bill coupled with one of the most amazing atmospheres, crowd wise, I have seen in a while.
I always know it’s December in New England when Morne plays a show in the Boston area. A band that keeps it’s local show appearances to about one a year won’t ever be blamed for over saturating the local scene, not that I know anyone who would complain if they were to add a show or two each year. Stacked to the gills with local heavyweights Churchburn and Obsidian Tongue plus a solid new comer, SEA, opening up the nights musical assault, I knew there would be no complaints about the music on this night.
Unfortunately I missed most of SEA’s set but what I caught was really good. Take heavy, slow doom and mix it with part melodic, part chugging riffs. At least that’s what I took away from the 2 songs I got to hear. It was enough for me to be interested in the band and what they do in the months ahead. Hopefully there will be some sort of recording to come from them in the near future.
Next up was the Massachusetts black metal outfit, Obsidian Tongue, recently off a stint with Agalloch where they played on 6 of the North American tour dates. This band has grown so much in the past few years and now is a serious force to be reckoned with on stage. How exactly they are able to create such a full sound being a two piece, I have never understood but watching this band mature over the past 4 or so years has been a sheer pleasure and they are definitely one of my favorite local bands.
Churchburn hit the stage and began the set with their song ‘V,’ showcasing their take on unrelenting black/death/doom. I have seen this band more than a few times and have not been disappointed once. When Dave Suzuki gets to the mic it’s almost as if instead of opening his mouth, his face actually splits open (like it’s on a damn hinged cantilever or something) and spews raw venom at the audience. One of these days I think he might bust a vessel or something. Absolutely powerful performance from a really devastating band out of Providence. They are solid front to back and definitely not a band to miss.
By the time Morne started their set, the place was sold out and started to get a bit steamy. Sneaking a peek at the setlist got me excited for what was to come as it was filled with a combination of songs from all three full length albums. First song was the opening track off the newest release, Shadows, called “Coming of Winter” which was appropriate on many levels. The newest member of the band, Paul Rajpal, seems to be a superb fit to the band and gels very well. The dual nature of Milosz Gassans vocal style, filled with emotion, always reminds me of a dark and painful form of Tuvan throat singing. If you listen carefully you might understand what I mean. As they blasted through the 8 song set, the entire crowd was rapt with their performance, and for good reason. This was one of the most powerful performances I have seen them play to date, which is saying a lot since I have never seen them be anything but top notch. The band just plain crushes, I have no idea how else to put it but this time they leveled the place.
This show proved just how strong and vibrant the underground metal scene(or whatever the hell you want to call it) is here in New England.
I highly recommend checking out all of these bands if you haven’t already done so. They do not disappoint!
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY HILLARIE JASON