Live at Brighton Music Hall
by Evil Robb Photography
Live at Brighton Music Hall
by Evil Robb Photography
Live at Brighton Music Hall
by Evil Robb Photography
Seven days into 2019 and I had my first of many shows for the year. The “Two Paths” Tour with Ensiferum, Septicflesh, and Arsis. When this tour got announced, I immediately got excited, as Arsis is always a good time and I just saw them a few months prior on the Bloodletting Tour back in October. Septicflesh has always been one of those bands that I love but never actively think about, but they are always a band that I could sit and listen to for hours. Ensiferum is just an all around good time. That being said, this tour is also a bit of a mixed bag of styles, Arsis is a band that used to regularly tour with the likes of Cattle Decapitation, Dying Fetus, and Misery Index. So seeing them on a tour bill with Greek Symphonic Death Metal (Septicflesh) and Finnish Folk Metal (Ensiferum), I knew this was going to be an interesting and worthwhile show… so let’s jump right into this bad Larry!Continue reading
While the fall progresses forward and nature around us slowly dies leading up to another New England winter, nothing seems as appropriate as that of a doom metal show. The Brighton Music Hall was once again the site of another memorable show, this time consisting of Sea of Bones, Lord Almighty, Black Cobra, and YOB. The show was so heavy that I was able to go next door for a slice of pizza and know when a band was sound checking and then playing just from how hard the walls were vibrating. The only downside to such a low-end rich show is the drive home when all I wanted to do was go to sleep from the therapeutic doom riffs felt all night.
Sea of Bones kicked off the night to which I can only say was jaw dropping. Previously, I had never heard anything by the group, but was pleasantly surprised with how heavy they got. A nice mix of doom, drone, sludge, and dashes of Neurosis as well as Author & Punisher all came to mind while experiencing Sea of Bones for the first time. I will certainly be catching Sea of Bones the next time I can.
Local heroes, Lord Almighty, came on next and showcased as much of their full-length début album, Paths, as they could in their relatively short set. The progressive black metal outfit certainly made new fans this evening from all the doom fans in-house for YOB and Sea of Bones as well as the fans who like it a bit faster such as Black Cobra. Boston, once again, can be proud knowing that the city keeps pumping out some seriously fun and interesting heavy metal bands.
Similar to Sea of Bones, I had never given Black Cobra the time of day, but had heard their name in passing. Regardless of my ignorance to this band, I quickly became a fan of their up tempo doom riffs and pounding drumming. Also, the sound that is generated out of just these two musicians was truly amazing. From down the street you would anticipate that the band playing had five or six guys with multiple guitarists, let alone one guitarist/vocalist and a drummer. Also adding into the instant fan spell that was placed on me, I found Black Cobra to be quite similar to a long time favorite of mine in High on Fire.
Just when I thought the night could not get any better, out came the guys from YOB to absolutely crush my soul. This having been my third time seeing the Oregon doom threesome this year, I had a good feel of what to expect on the set list. Staple opener, ‘Ball of Molten Lead’ got all heads banging together. ‘In Our Blood’ and ‘Marrow’ were also in the rotation as per the usual off of their latest (and maybe greatest), Clearing the Path to Ascend (Neurot). Some may call it a little much, but I could honestly see YOB live again between now and February 2016 even if that makes it four times in a calendar year. There is just something else that YOB delivers that no other doom bands seem to have. Regardless, another amazing night for heavy music in the Brighton/Allston area which could not make me any happier!
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
At the beginning of autumn where the world around us dies, it was only fitting on an early October night to see Cattle Decapitation headline at Brighton Music Hall in Allston, MA. Personally, I had never seen the four piece play a headlining gig so I knew this was a show I could not afford to miss. There was some worry early on as their tour van did have some issues earlier in the day which delayed their arrival a bit. Fortunately, there were other bands to start off the night.
Dark Sermon hit the stage to get the Boston’s crowd attention on the music and not the missing headliner. The crowd was only warming up at this point so most were by the bar or merch tables. I thought the overall sound of the band was interesting with a nice mix of doom and black metal.
Easily the biggest surprise to me on this night was Australia’s own King Parrot. The energy that was created by both the band and the fans was truly electric. The odd, self-deprecating humor brought on in between songs gave almost a relaxed feeling knowing this band does not take itself, or metal, too seriously. Lead singer Matt Young had the crowd in stitches with his moments during songs where he would decide to moon the crowd. After the set, I quickly made my way to the merch table to purchase a patch and a copy of their latest record, Dead Set (Housecore Records), before preparing myself for the headlining act.
It was finally time to witness the San Diego natives close out the night with some of their best material off of their latest album, The Anthropocene Extinction (Metal Blade Records). In fact, the majority of the set list was off of said album including: ‘Manufactured Extinct’, ‘The Prophets of Loss’, and ‘Pacific Grim’. There was also a small selection of Monolith of Inhumanity tracks such as ‘Your Disposal’ and closer, ‘Kingdom of Tyrants’. The Allston crowd also got some classic tunes from Cattle Decapitation in ‘Total Gore?’ as well as ‘Testicular Manslaughter’. The crowd was fully behind each song as the crowd surfers were a plenty and the pits remained busy throughout the set. This band is arguably at their very best with the core that is vocalist, Travis Ryan, and guitarist, Josh Elmore. These guys were so good this time around that I may go and catch them again on their tour with Cannibal Corpse just to experience this band live again.
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
On their recent tour with Goatwhore, Black Breath (Southern Lord) guitarist, Eric Wallace had a quick chat with Ghost Cult prior to the Boston, MA show at Brighton Music Hall. With their latest release, Slaves Beyond Death (due out September 25), being announced, Eric expressed what could be expected from the upcoming record.
“Expectations… I don’t think I like that word. I like to approach other people’s stuff as open minded as I can and then be surprised. I realize it sounds like I’m setting the bar low but I mean there’s elements of stuff we’ve done in the past for sure and then there’s also kind of new takes on all of it. To me it’s more expansive in a way. Not like it’s going to be a prog record or anything! Sure the songs are all longer and stuff we haven’t done in the past that we’re trying out on this record and I think turned out pretty rad. I’m excited for it to come out because I think it’s cool and I want to start playing the songs more, live. I hesitate to say too much because I want to hear what others think of it. I mean what are you supposed to say? “It’s the heaviest record we’ve ever done! It’s gunna fucking blow your mind!” I mean it either is or it isn’t. It’s up to the listeners and how they receive it. We made a record that were excited about and I think I can leave it at that.”
Eric also spoke highly of the continued success of recording with Kurt Ballou at Godcity Studios in Salem, MA:
“At this point we’ve spent the better part of 2 months there now over 3 albums. Pretty damn easy to work with him especially where we’ve toured with his band and recorded with him in that space with generally the same setup before. Not much arguing there as we just do it and if it doesn’t sound good how can we make it better. It goes pretty fast which is why we were pretty excited to go back for this record with the amount of work we’ve done, just building on that makes more sense than starting fresh somewhere else. It’s killer. I think it works out great. We did get it mastered with our buddy Brad (Boatwright) in Portland at Audio Siege. He’s been doing a ton of mastering for a lot of different bands, first time we went to him and that sounds awesome as well. It all turned out nice.”
Continuing on the topic of writing, and how it has evolved over Black Breath’s career: “With our EP we just threw what songs we had up there since we didn’t have a contract or anything. Basically let’s get this out there and see if it sticks. So we did that and got hooked up with Southern Lord. With Heavy Breathing we got together with Kurt since no one in the band had done that before and Greg from Southern Lord was really into the idea. Whatever songs we had after that EP through the touring up until the recording process, that turned into the album. The album itself was written well before we even got there really. Nothing specific up to this point really. With Sentenced to Life, I think we as a group consciously decided that we would sort of stream line everything a lot more as in trim the fat, shorten things up, get to the fucking point and then get out. And that was basically what we did with Sentenced. Make it to the point, shorten the songs, and get rid of the unnecessary stuff really. With this new album, since we already did the shortened approach to writing, we pretty much did the opposite approach on this one to expand and make way longer songs. Same style of riffs and song writing we had going, but how do we make this more of an odyssey? There’s a lot of tracks on the new album that has fast stuff and slow stuff but there’s a mix of both in almost every song so I don’t know what you would call that approach necessarily, but plenty of bands have done it.”
On the day after Independence Day in the US, the fireworks were still being launched at the Brighton Music Hall in Alston, MA. Of course, the only explosions seen here were from heavy metal acts, Theories, Black Breath, Ringworm, and Goatwhore. Fans of all sorts came out early on a Sunday night to catch their favorite band on this stacked bill and left happy at the end of the night.
First band of the evening was grindcore outfit, Theories. Having never listened to this band, I moved up to ensure I was in the best spot to see and hear them. Overall I was pretty impressed with what time they had and the selection of songs they were able to perform. Theories will certainly be researched and added into my daily playlist.
Next up were my most anticipated act of the night in Black Breath. Crust, hardcore, and thrash fans all shared the pit for these guys which proved to be one of the highlights of the night. Black Breath set consisted of staples from both albums such as ‘Feast of the Damned’ and ‘Home of the Grave’ off of ‘Sentenced to Life’ as well as ‘Escape from Death’ and ‘Black Sin (Spit on the Cross)’ from Heavy Breathing. The Alston crowd also got two brand new, unreleased songs that will be on Black Breath’s next release due out later this year. If these two tracks are a tale of things to come, then I am looking forward to what lies ahead.
Ringworm hit the stage next which saw the most active pits of the night. Ringworm has been one of those bands that always seemed to play other shows I would go to but could not get to on time to actually catch them. This time around, I was not going to miss out. For the most part I was into what the band had to offer and was glad I finally caught them live.
Finally, Goatwhore was due up to close the night. In the headlining spot, these Louisiana blackened thrashers played songs across their entire discography, which was a pleasant surprise. The early material got big pops from the fans which in turn brought about some fun pits to be a part of. The biggest pops for Goatwhore came from songs ‘FBS’ (Fucked By Satan) off of the latest masterpiece, Constricting Rage of the Merciless (Metal Blade) as well as closer, ‘Apocalyptic Havoc’ from the 2009 release Carving Out the Eyes of God. A fun fact for this Goatwhore tour was that typical bassist, James Harvey was not with the band. However, fill in for the tour on bass is bassist Trans Am from Ancient VVIsdom which was a treat to say the least.
This tour has certainly earned its place towards the top of my list of favorite shows thus far this year. There was truly something for everyone on this night which is hard to come by nowadays with some tour packages being put together.
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
EyeHateGod recently wrapped up a brief winter run of tour dates in the USA and Ghost Cult was there! The band continues to strike while the iron is hot, building off of a monstrous 2014 which saw them release a blistering, self-titled album on Housecore Records, their first in 14 years. The band continues to kick down doors and gig relentlessly and are planning more live assaults as 2015 goes on. In the mean time, check out this photo set from the bands recent stop at Brighton Music Hall in Allston MA, shot by Evil Robb Photography.
PHOTOS BY EVIL ROBB PHOTOGRAPHY
In the heart of Allston, MA (ok most visitors would just call it Boston) on one of the coldest nights of winter in January, Machine Head warmed up the Brighton Music Hall with an “Evening with” set. Now seeing a couple of “Evening with” shows, the show is always just the one band (no openers) and the band typically plays a greatest hit set. Of course, if you are Amon Amarth, then you would have played your brand new album from front to back, took a beer break, then played your greatest hits. Having said that, Machine Head did a great job of playing 17 of their greatest tracks across all of their albums in their 20 year history, all in a small window of time with a tight curfew. The small venue at BMH also allowed for a very intimate night, something most fans are not capable of getting from a Machine Head tour nowadays.
As I mentioned, the set list had a great variety of tracks across all of their albums in their discography. Not surprisingly, the most visited albums were the brand new Bloodstone & Diamonds (Nuclear Blast) as well as their masterpiece, The Blackening (Roadrunner). Both of these albums saw 4 tracks a piece such as ‘Game Over’, ‘Sail Into the Black’, and ‘Now We Die’ from the former and ‘Now I Lay Thee Down’, ‘Aesthetics of Hate’, and set closer ‘Halo’, from the latter. Burn My Eyes, Through the Ashes of Empires, and Unto the Locust only had 2 songs each including ‘Davidian’, ‘Imperium’, and ‘Locust’. I personally liked the choice to limit the tracks on Unto the Locust as I feel like Machine Head needed to ensure Blood & Diamonds was showcased as well as The Blackening. Regardless, the few songs selected from these albums I felt were well selected as they truly show any newer fan of Machine Head what these guys are all about. Rounding out the discography with one track from each is Supercharger, The Burning Red, and The More Things Change. Before you ask, yes, they played ‘From This Day’ and I felt like elementary school/middle school had just got out and I was on the bus listening to my beloved nu metal music. ‘Bulldozer’ and ‘Ten Ton Hammer’ were the other selections from the remaining albums as well. Overall, I really could not find a song to pick over any of the actual played songs (mainly because I do not see ‘Imaginal Cells’ being played live as it is an instrumental with samples over them).
So “An Evening with Machine Head” truly lived up to the hype and I am glad that I was able to go even with a nasty head cold and tired from the endless shoveling this winter has brought us here in New England. The crowd was great which was totally into the show from start to end with at least 10 separate “Machine Fucking Head” chants. Age varied greatly too as I saw some fans as young as maybe 17 or 18 and old as maybe late 50s! A show is almost always guaranteed to be a hit when there is an age range of about 40 years. As great as the set was, the live performance, and the fans in the crowd, nothing beat the absolute hilarity in watching fan after fan fall on their ass during circle pits. There were so many dropped beverages that people were slipping and sliding and falling all over the place! Fortunately no one received any real injuries and spent more time just laughing off the falls, hugging, and enjoying what was truly an amazing evening with Machine Head.
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN