11th Annual Rock And Shock Festival Part I: The Palladium, Worcester, MA


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Rock and Shock 2014 in Worcester, Massachusetts was arguably the best yet. Previously, R&S never had a great pre-party show that ever caught my eye. This year however, they put all the previous year’s pre-parties to rest. The sold out Worcester Palladium crowd was greeted to underrated opening band, Jess and the Ancient Ones, which set the scene of an occult ritual. This was only a prelude to the pre-party as the night concluded with an amazing show from the legendary, King Diamond. Having it been almost a decade since the King’s previous show in the area, the anticipation for his set to begin was almost unbearable. Before we get to The King, I believe Jess and the Ancient Ones deserve quite a good amount of praise.

Jess and the Ancient Ones

 

Not ever listening to a single note that JATAO have recorded, I was very interested in what was so special about this band that King Diamond himself handpicked for his North American Tour. A fellow fan in the cramped pit filled me in that this band had a similar vibe to that of Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats as well as Ghost B.C. and other similar occult/psychedelic rock bands. His description was very accurate and only after half of the set was I finding myself in love with this band. The 70’s rock vibe mixed with Jess’s amazing vocals and her dance moves on stage really set the mood for what this night was all about. My personal favorite track was the 12-minute epic entitled ‘Sulfur Giants’ in the middle of the set. Not knocking any of the other tracks played (‘Prayer for Death and Fire’, ‘Astral Sabbat’, and ‘Casteneda’ to name a few) but this song gave me the same “Wow” factor as Blood Ceremony’s ‘Oliver Haddo’ does. Unfortunately we only got 6 tracks from Jess and The Ancient Ones, but it was a willing sacrifice for what was to come.

Jess and the Ancient Ones

As soon as the crew on stage started setting up, a giant black tarp fell down from the ceiling and blocked our view. So as if the anticipation was bad enough, it just got worse. However, the long wait finally ended, the tarp fell, and slowly but surely each member of the band made their way up the staircase behind the drum kit. Finally, King Diamond, made his way up the same staircase, holding his cross-shaped microphone, made out of human bones, in the air. Then the evil ritual began as the first note of ‘The Candle’ was struck. Upside down crosses, a giant pentagram, and a creepy iron caste fence between the band and the crowd, made the atmosphere complete as the fans attempted to hit King’s falsettos (and failed miserably mostly). Fan favorites such as ‘Sleepless Nights’, ‘Eye of the Witch’, ‘The Family Ghost’, and ‘Welcome Home’ (complete with Gramma!) got the Palladium’s volume to ear deafening levels. Of course what would a King Diamond show be without a couple of tracks from Mercyful Fate? Well we got two tracks which made me more than happy. In fact, the entire floor started moving the instant the ever familiar riff to ‘Evil’ started and did not calm down until after ‘Come to the Sabbath’ ended. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when Gramma made another appearance during ‘Tea’ with, yes you guessed it, some tea in a tea kettle for King! It is without a doubt that the downside to this evening for all was after the 14 songs had been played and the night came to an end.

King Diamond

 

King Diamond

Overall, this night will be one of my favorite shows this year, let alone ever. King Diamond’s vocals were beyond what I expected out of the man who has been doing this for over 30 years and is a survivor from a triple bypass surgery. As equally as astounding is how great Jess and the Ancient ones ended up being. Sure some fans wanted Ghost or 3 Inches of Blood, but JATAO certainly made a statement on this night opening up for such a legendary name. I can only hope that when this new King Diamond album comes out (whenever that is) that I get the privilege of seeing him tour once more. If you were foolish enough to not attend or simply did not live close enough to a stop on this tour, then you best hope for a second chance.

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King Diamond on Facebook

Jess and the Ancient Ones on Facebook

 

 

WORDS: TIM LEDIN

PHOTOS: HILLARIE JASON PHOTOGRAPHY


Meshuggah – Between The Buried and Me: Live at The House Of Blues, Boston MA


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For 25 years, Meshuggah has been terrorizing the ears and cortices of the music world, and so it was only natural that they’d bring along their apprentice masters of the mindfuck in Between the Buried and Me along for the ride. And what a ride, indeed. They could open a carnival of progressive wonders, where musical rules are meticulously followed and simultaneously twisted to Eldritch proportions. But enough of this posh music academy drivel, this is metal.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve caught Between The Buried and Me since their tour in 2009 with In Flames, but we’ll just settle for ‘a lot’. And having seen them a lot, one gets used to the Colors closing masterpiece, ‘White Walls’ being used as a closer rather than an opening. And one also gets used to the suspense in waiting for perhaps one, maybe even two gems pre-Alaska (Victory). What with the success of Colors (Victory) and having released three space-exploration reports since, they’ve obviously got a lot of material to choose from, and their priority seems to be the latter half of their career. Essentially, we can look forward to hearing mainly post-Alaska tunes as they played this night. Though keep your fingers crossed for their upcoming 15th anniversary.

 

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This was one of those odd sets where BtBaM played mainly their longer songs, thus making Paul Waggoner’s statement to interviewers all-too-real. Perhaps we can stop waiting for them to bust out ‘Mordecai’ or ‘Naked By The Computer’ when they’re wrist-deep into ‘Lay Your Ghosts To Rest’, immediately followed by ‘Fossil Genera’ to cap off another amazing set. They’re changing, and we’re being taken with them as listeners and watchers. Keep writing/keep dreaming.

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Meshuggah and BtBaM contrasted in a way that honestly took me off guard even though anyone with a working ear can see it immediately in their music. I refer to the aura created not only by 7-string guitars that make the sound of super-astronauts punching asteroids into other ones, but also their stage presence and light show. BtBaM was rather conservative this time, with no fancy screens, just stage lighting that undulated chromatically with the music, and kept their beards in sight. Meshuggah on the other hand was strobe hell, with lights that must be programmed by acid wizards for all of the meticulous timing. And no, you couldn’t see any of Jens Kidman’s faces from the floor unless you wanted to risk blinding yourself. Polyrhythms and infectious grooves were the name of the game. They even used the disco ball during ‘Gods of Rapture’. I don’t even remember the last artist who I’ve seen use that, if ever. Maybe The Roots?

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This being their 25th anniversary, they played the “hits”, if you will, opening up with the caustic ‘Future Breed Machine’, an industrial hellride banger that never fails to incite mechanised violence. Plenty of material from their debut album, Contradictions Collapse (Nuclear Blast), including the robotic thrash of ‘Greed’ and the earlier mentioned ‘Gods of Rapture’. Choice tracks from Chaosphere, one being the mighty ‘New Millennium Cyanide Christ’, and quite heavy on the Koloss. ‘Straws Pulled At Random’ was my favourite of the night, though I wish they had found room for ‘Spasm’ as well, while they were doing Nothing.

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Encoring with Riddler-esque green lights and a back-to-back delivery of ‘In Death – Is Life’ and ‘In Life – Is Death’ from Catch ThirtyThree, I can say they’ve officially won me over. Nevermore will I be ambivalent about Meshuggah, as they put on a killer show, even if their crowd doesn’t know the physics of how a circle-pit should work. During the fast parts, people.

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Meshuggah Set List

Future Breed Machine

obZen

The Hurt that Finds You First

Do Not Look Down

Cadaverous Mastication

Greed

Gods of Rapture

Neurotica

New Millennium Cyanide Christ

Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion

Bleed

Demiurge

Straws Pulled at Random

Encore:

Mind’s Mirrors

In Death – Is Life

In Death – Is Death

Meshuggah on Facebook

Between The Buried and Me on Facebook

WORDS: SEAN PIERRE-ANTOINE

PHOTOS: HILARIE JASON PHOTOGRAPHY


Ghost Cult Magazine #18 is out now!


GC 18 cover A Like a bat out of hell……Ghost Cult #18 is here! The new issue features none other than Down on our cover.We interviewed Jimmy Bower about the changes in the band and their amazing new EP, Down IV, Part II. Issue #18 also includes interviews with Lacuna Coil, Beastmilk, Sevendust, Sabbath Assembly, Kyng, Amenra, ReVamp, Lord Dying, Anciients, and Dragged In To Sunlight. We also have complete coverage of the legendary Roadburn Festival, and a recap the 16th annual New England Metal And Hardcore Festival. Plus concert reviews from the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Carcass, Red Fang, Scale The Summit, The Ocean, & The Atlas Moth. We also have special feature with the late Dave Brockie, as well our largest section of album reviews to date. Made especially for your tablet device or smartphone! Check it out and tell a friend! Twice!

 

 

 


Within Temptation – Delain: Live At Wembley Arena, London


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Three particularly surprising things initially stood out about Within Temptation’s debut performance at the prestigious Wembley Arena. The first being the size of the venue they were playing, double the capacity of their previous tour, and while not completely sold out, closing in on 10,000 people had amassed to witness the ‘Hydra’ tour’s London stop. The second was the people themselves, or more specifically the demographic; the majority of the attendees being couples in their late 30’s and above. I’m not sure what this says about the future growth of Within Temptation, in the UK, at least, but it was interesting to see where the band falls in terms of audience.

The third was how popular the bouncy Delain are, obviously a phenomenon that has passed me by. Bounding on with a bundle of energy with ‘Go Away’ from 2009’s April Rain it seemed half the gathered had their hands in the air, clapping along. Followed up with ‘Get The Devil Out Of Me’, the Dutch quintet had the audience in the palm of their hand early, their mix of rock, lush pop and symphonic metal an ideal partner for the headliners. The main focus is on Charlotte Wessels and her candy-pop voice, and her excellent range allows her to nail darker more Gothic passages of ‘Army Of Dolls’ through to the sugar-sweet-summery tones of ‘Stardust’ from the much vaunted new album The Human Contradiction, though it was the folkier ‘The Gathering’ that was the standout track of a set that delivered in terms of songs, if not of variety. Delain will be back as headliners, maybe not at the Arena, but I wouldn’t rule it out as the UK seems to have taken them to their heart.

Pulling back, the curtain revealed a multi-level semi-sci fi themed stage set, centering on a huge video screen set between two of the hydra’s heads. As on the album, ‘Let Us Burn’ isn’t the strongest opener, but it is warmly met, but the set (and the video screen) spurt into life with the energetic ‘Paradise (What About Us)’ served up second, Tarja Turunen delivering her parts via the video screen, in the first of four guest appearances delivered that way.

It’s clear from the outset that the majority of Within Temptation are not the most interesting of bands to watch on stage, with the spotlight firmly on Sharon den Adel throughout the entire performance, a performance that, a missed cue during ‘Paradise’ aside is flawless, note-perfect and album quality throughout.

 

Up and running and in their groove, the good times and momentum continue with a double-hit from the excellent The Unforgiving as ‘Faster’ and ‘Iron’ hit the spot. The remainder of the set is Hydra heavy, and the sound is possibly the best I’ve heard in the old Arena, a venue merciless in smothering bands in drums and vocals, a spotless mix fully showing off the band’s symphonic arena rock.

If there are criticisms, it is by using backing vocal tracks and click tracks, you really could just be sitting at home listening to the albums, with spontaneity removed from the performance, but in its stead is a true, slick arena performance, vibrant and well performed.

Highlight of the evening is the mid-set ‘Angels’, the song that helped the breakthrough of the band, but it’s only when seeing them live that you realise just how many good songs WT possess in their arsenal, with a closing combo of ‘See Who I Am’, ‘Stand My Ground’, ‘Covered In Roses’ and ‘Mother Earth’ is lapped up. A slightly sedate encore is a minor disappointment, with an odd cover of Lana del Rey single ‘Summertime Sadness’ sounding awkward, before staple and classic ‘Ice Queen’ finishes things off traditionally.

 

For an enjoyable night, with two crowd-pleasing bands, this double-bill is worth checking out if/when it rolls into your town. Delain certainly picked up even more fans by the end of the show (including yours truly), while Within Temptation served up another slick, professional slew of symphonic arena rock songs.

 

Within Temptation Set List:

Let Us Burn

Paradise (What About Us?)

Faster

Iron

Edge of the World

In the Middle of the Night

Our Solemn Hour

Angels

Dangerous

And We Run

Tell Me Why

See Who I Am

Stand My Ground

The Cross

Covered By Roses

Mother Earth

 

Encore:

What Have You Done

Whole World Is Watching (Acoustic)

Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey cover)

Ice Queen

 

Within Temptation on Facebook

Delain on Facebook

 

STEVE TOVEY


Lord Dying – Vaporizer – Lunglust: Live At O’Brien’s Allston MA


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Thankfully for the majority of shows I have been to this year, the brutal winter weather has been no match for the brutal live music scene. Although O’Brien’s barely holds 100 people, the joint was sold out on this frigid, windy night. The placed was packed and people were keeping warm with a pint or three for this Friday night. Lots of local luminaries were out in force, naturally. One of the cooler people in the scene is Michelle Dugan, who makes gorgeous silk screen print posters and other kinds of design work for local and national bands. Hit her up if you need some fresh designs. Nice to even see some of the hipster metal elite of Boston, supporting a local artist, as I saw several people leave with their own posters. O’Brien’s is one of those places that is really small, but feels homey and cool to take in a show. Low lights, cold brews, decent sound, and good metal playing in between bands is always a recipe for a fun time.

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Sadly I missed seeing The Modern Voice while BS-ing with the door guy about getting in, which bummed me out a bit. Luckily for me Lunglust was coming on next. One of the best up-and-coming bands of the Boston scene, Lungust is the kind of band you never want to miss, with their brutal, crusty hardcore influenced metal. They have yet to let me down. Front man Jeffrey Sykes spits venom on the mic with his manic performance and spent most of the set in the crowd in front of the stage. With a lineup is now bolstered by the rhythm section from The Proselyte, they are super tight now and better than before. They have a new record coming out this year, so we will be keeping an ear out for that too. Definitely a group you want to listen to when your usual KEN Mode or Trap Them fix runs out.

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Vaporizer, hailing from Vermont, is a band I had heard a lot about, but never had seen live until tonight. They seemed to had the stage presence of ten guys with their ton of gear, packing onto the stage that is small for a four piece band, let alone five. They played an amalgam of doomy sludge with cool, weird occasional flourishes of proggyness, thanks to the vocalist Dan getting down on bended knee to make love/hate to his synthesizer. The crowd was definitely into these guys and they performed well,. Some of their tunes meander on a bit for my taste with some extras codas as the culprit. However, they definitely have the goods talent-wise. From what I could tell, the majority of their songs are about weed and mysticism, weed mysticism, and did I mention songs about weed? They had a lot of confidence as a unit too. So many bands look like they don’t care, so it’s cool (and sad) that bands that give a shit about performing live these days make themselves stand out a lot.

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Lord Dying set up their own gear with a quick-fast, like the tireless professional road dogs that they are. Out on the road supporting their release Summon The Faithless (Relapse) which has seen them open up regularly for their hometown Portland bromein in Red Fang on several tours, as well as many other bands in just a few years time. Tearing into a short set of songs from that release, the crowd was hella into it and many were singing along which was cool to hear. The band rocks out with none of the pretense of some of their stoner rock loving brethren, which makes them heavier and cooler than most. I also noticed their live versions of their songs are a lot tougher sounding, making me think their next album is going to be a real killer if they can capture this live feeling with these new songs. They played their jams like ‘Dream of Mercy’, ‘What is Not….Is” and ‘Greed Is Your Horse” to the loud approval of the crowd. In addition to their massively heavy title track, they also played a new song, that I missed the name of, but it was balls out hard. When they announced their closer ‘In a Frightful State of Gnawed Dismemberment’, there was an audible groan from the fans, as well as the usual “one more song” chant. Nonetheless, these workman like dudes, came, conquered and left as quick as they came in. Well done!

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Lord Dying on Facebook

Vaporizer on Facebook

Lunglust on Facebook

Words: Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

Photos: Echoes In The Well


Morbid Angel- VadimVon- Scalpel, Abnormality: Live At The Middle East, Cambridge, MA


 

HillarieJason1-6 So what should you do to entertain yourself on a pre Veteran’s Day Sunday night? If you live in New England, and you are smart (sorry… “smaahht”), you go to see Morbid Angel play the album Covenant in it’s entirety at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA. Since this show was held at a venue with a maximum capacity of something like 575, it was not surprising that it sold out. If you were one of the anxious people shivering outside in line just to to be turned away, well, what did you expect? Mid-sized venue + Sunday + Morbid Angel + Covenant = buy your ticket ahead of time. In all fairness I had my own boneheaded, “What did I expect?,’moment that night as well. I’ll get to that later.

When I saw the announcement of the tour, a three things came to my mind. One, it’s been 20 years since Covenant came out already, wow. Two, there was no question I was going to be there, and three, what a smart move by the band to tour based on the album’s anniversary after all the rumblings in the metal community over Morbid Angels’ most recent release, Illud Divinum Insanus. We metal music fans can be, well, major pains in the asses when it comes to the bands that we hold dearest. When a band makes an album that is a departure from what we expect, we take it as a personal affront to our sensibilities and can be very unforgiving. I am not a fan of the last album but it didn’t change my opinion about what Morbid Angel is and has been. To me they are the best death metal band to date, period. Their first 4 albums are still untouchable in my eyes and I just can’t get behind “fans’that write off a band based on one album. I mean it’s one freaking album, get over it. All the hubbub over it made me think about the fine art world and what it would be like if some of our greatest painters never tried anything new. For every great painting, there are dozens, maybe hundreds of what might be considered less than stellar ones and some that you might think downright suck. It happens, you try things and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way and they can be pretty vocal about it. This is why it was great for Morbid Angel to go on this tour. To remind everyone how insanely great the band really is.

 

So anyway, I make the trek to Cambridge and get there in good time, park the car and walk over to the venue. Doors opened at seven and I figured the first band went on at 7:30. Unfortunately, I forgot about the line to get in. As is the case with most smaller to mid-sized venues, there is one line at the single entrance where you go to get or give your ticket as well as enter the venue. This makes for slow entry and with a sold out show there is guaranteed to be a line around the block. I planned on getting there just before the first band started, as I normally would for this venue. What was I thinking? Obviously I wasn’t. Took me a bit to get in then I went to the side ramp area where I would photograph most of the show from. Yes I missed the first band, native musical smut mongers, Sexcrement. Having seen them a number of times before, I am familiar with the stage show they have. There are usually one or more female dancers in various states of undress, sometimes in bondage attire, romping around the stage and getting the crowd into a bit of a frenzy. I asked one of my fellow photographer friends that was there, lets call him The Dude, how their set was to which he replied that it was “awesome.’I asked if they had the dancers and he said, “yeah they had a few but none of them had dicks.’Alrighty then.

After a few minutes of banter with some friends, it’s time for Abnormality, a local technical death metal outfit about to do a stint of shows in HillarieJason1-24 Colombia including a headlining spot on the Bogota Grind Death Fest XII on November 16th. As usual the band punished the crowd with it’s super technical and no less punishing riffage while singer Mallika belted out her soul reaping growls. Yes, she is a small statured female whose vocals could shred the larynx of most men twice her size but the band is not about some front woman novelty. The band delivers on all fronts. From the insanely complex bass and dual guitar stylings to the pummeling drum beats and fills, this five piece needs no crappy gimmick or girlie points to prove its worth. They played a number of songs off their newest release, Contaminating the Hive Mind which sounded great. As expected pits broke out and hair was flying in the crowd. After they played the last song of the set there were numerous cries for more.

HillarieJason1-16 A little break and then the local four piece formed in 2008, Scalpel, was up at bat. They are sort of a grind/death mix. They played a good set and the crowd was into it. I had a hard time hearing one of the two vocalists from my vantage point but other than that they sounded on point. Most of the stage presence came from the bassist and the faces one of the vocalists was making. Their songs were hard for me to get into as they lean at times more towards grind and I am very particular with anything remotely grind so my opinion on their music must be taken with a grain of salt. Like I said they sounded tight and the crowd dug it. Maybe it’s just not my thing but I felt like there was just so much going on that it gave me audio overload. They also have a recent release out called Sorrow and Skin and if your into later Suffocation, this may be for you. They aren’t trying to re-invent the wheel or anything, and yeah, it may be pretty derivative, but if you are into that style, you’d like them and they are seemingly solid live.

 

 

So then there was VadimVon, the only non-local band on the bill and the band that’s on the touring package with Morbid Angel, at least for the 558945_10201906951809834_1836730817_n Dark Funeral, Grave and Morbid Angel last year at The Palladium in Worcester and I know they did a local show at a Metal Thursday event at Ralph’s in Worcester not too long ago but I guess at that time they didn’t have a drummer and played to tracked beats. This time they had a real live drummer and although they would no longer play to recorded tracks for drums, they still had a track playing with synth’s and the like. The three piece hailing from South Carolina started playing to a somewhat bewildered crowd most likely because they weren’t very familiar with them. As the set progressed there were more than a few that were won over by the band and yet still others that stood and stared. I thought the set was played well.

 

 

Ok so by now the show was running just a tad late. Not by a lot but just enough for me to wonder if Morbid Angel would be able to play everything on the set list. Because this show was the fourth on the tour, the set list was not a secret and I knew it had songs from albums David Vincent didn’t even sing on, which I thought pretty cool. There aren’t a lot of bands, or vocalists, that will want to play songs that they didn’t record. I mean I have never seen Anthrax play John Bush songs when they are touring with Joey Belladonna. Yeah, maybe that’s not the best example but you get my point I hope. Back to the show. The lights go out, after a few seconds Morbid Angel walks on stage. Some blue lights come up and David Vincent greets the crowd. Before a single note was played, incredibly, a pit started. Before a single note! I just laughed. To be so excited about the prospect of it that you feel the need to start a pit in the middle of this packed place before you even hear them play anything. Well, they had reason to be pumped for this. They blistered the crowd without flinching, keeping the between song banter to extreme minimum. Thank you for that. How many times can you hear someone say, “How are you Boston?,”or “What a crowd you guys are,’or whatever crap they have to fill time with. They plowed through the entire album and it was plain awesome. Everything, the sound, the experience, the crowd, all of it. So then I assumed there would be a break before the encore but no, they went right from ‘God of Emptiness’ only taking a few seconds seemingly, and then right into ‘Where the Slime Live.’There was to be no break and no respite. The rest of the set was delivered with just as much force as the beginning. “Fall From Grace,’would mark the end of the set and was absolutely great. They waved and walked off. That was it. Fans just stood there looking at the stage in awe, sweaty, some out of breath, and probably hoping there would maybe be one more. Slowly, they moved their way about the place looking dazed from the show, the heat, and the crushing crowd but all the same glad for the experience.

 

What a great show. I only wish it was in a bigger venue with a bigger stage. Other than that, what more could you really ask for?

 

HillarieJason1-5

 

Morbid Angel on Facebook

VadimVon on Facebook

Scalpel on Facebook

Abnormality on Facebook

Sexcrement on Facebook

 

Words and Photos by Hillarie Jason of Hillarie Jason Photography