Saturday, January 21, 2012

Brother Ares, Halmos, and Clorange at The End on Jan. 14

If I'm able to keep up with this blog, the Nashville metal scene, etc, then I'd be alright tracing everything back to right here. I've seen a few bands around Nashville before, but none this low-key or local. The bands playing this night were Brother Ares, Halmos, and Clorange. I'd never been to The End before, and was excited to see what it was like.

If no one minds terribly, I'd like to arrange this in order of quality instead of lineup order.

Halmos - 6/10
Halmos, from Atlanta, came on second. As a guitar/vocalist-drums duo, they were somewhat competent, except for a dozen or so mixed notes from the guitarist. The vocals were interestingly neutral, almost reminiscent of Michael Gira of Swans, though without the full, emotional delivery. A few good heavy riffs here and there, but not very memorable overall.

Clorange - 7.7/10
I have a strange connection to this band. I met the guitarist, Elliot when he was going to school at Belmont with my girlfriend at the time; and I'm friends with the lead singer's sister on facebook, we went to the same university for a time, but for the life of me I don't remember ever meeting her in person. In any case, these guys came on last. They're comprised of two guitarists, a drummer, a bassist (the only one of the night), and a female lead singer. They put on a pretty good show: groovy, doomy riffs pumped through impressive Sunn 0))) speakers all while miss Carrie Acree sang top of the whole thing. Good sound, good presence, good show overall. My only real complaint is that the vocals didn't feel very cohesive with the overall sound on a few occasions. Perhaps it's just my personal preference, but some moments in their songs lent themselves more to a hardcore scream or two than clean singing. Minor complaints aside, a heavy and very fun show, and I look forward to hearing them live or on record in the future.

Brother Ares - 9/10
Zach from Hank Williams III band Lung was initially going to play this show, but when they bowed out, Brother Ares quickly filled their place. This quick change was quite fortituous - despite being the opening band, Brother Ares turned out to be the best band of the night. At first glance, you might dismiss this duo as just another pair of coffee shop loiterers, but once they started playing, all bets were off. Their sound was gorgeous, so deep, dense and full; heavy but not entirely without melody, with a few epic, memorable crescendoing build-ups. When the drummer, a mightily bearded man named Gore, started screaming, it was all I could do to gather my jaw from the floor. Though he made it look effortless, the noise coming from his open maw was that of a tortured, defiant soul, nearly consumed with fury, clawing its way out of hell. His screams were vicious not only in style but in volume as well.

My jaw dropped a second time when the guitarist, Blake, opened his mouth and screamed at the mic. These screams were markedly different, almost more of a shout. They were clear, loud, and at the top of his lungs, but without almost any trace of a shriek or a growl intonation except for a slight crack here and there, which only added to the emotional intensity carried by his voice. They reminded me slightly of the vocal's on Conan's masterpiece Horseback Battle Hammer, though not quite as high.

Overall, an unbelievable show, especially for just a handful of songs from a pair who started jamming in 2011. It was an honor to be able to make their acquaintance after the show, and I look forward to seeing them again next month with a spattering of other local bands. I look forward to seeing (and hopefully remembering to review) them soon.

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