Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Act of Impalement; Anodes; Regret, The Informer; Altar of Complaints at the Hymen House 2/2

Update! Jesse Mowery has been kind enough to post the videos for these performances on Youtube. Check out the performances beneath each review!

Ah the Hymen House. Every time I come, it's like hanging out with friends, and then all of a sudden awesome bands are playing. Everybody is laid back, and there's never any unnecessary bullshit or drama. Posters of shows past coat the walls, and there's even a shrine to a stranger in the music room. Out of all the venues I've been to in Nashville so far, this one feels the coziest. Perfect for the show tonight, which consisted of three (mostly) post-hardcore bands and one "war doom" group.

That war doom group was Act of Impalement. Back when I first started this blog back in January of last year, I was inspired by Brother Ares' sonic power and obscurity to start writing. While I was at this show, I was approached by a trio of  amigos who asked my friend and I, "do you guys like Electric Wizard?" and smoked us out. As it turns out, two of those dudes would go on to form a band of their own called Act of Impalement, and I am happy to report that these guys rule (and not just for guitarist Ethan's apt Varg impression). They were the only band I missed at the exhausting Bobbarroo show last year, so I was excited to finally see them perform. Talking to Zack and Ethan before the show, they labeled their sound as "War Doom", a mixture of war metal (which itself is, according to Kim Kelly, "a blasphemous, violent black/death metal hybrid so extremely fast, raw, and chaotic that it often borders upon grind") with doom metal, whose definition I'm hoping you already know. These two blend the two styles fairly seamlessly, winding up with varying tempo and drumming, rough and raw guitar tone, and a low growl (though I would associate it more with black metal than death). With only two members, these guys don't have a whole lot of extra bells and whistles. What they do have are some absolutely killer doom and black metal riffs. Despite their professed inebriation (or maybe due in part to it), as soon as they started playing, they got right in sync and in the zone. Moving from lumbering doom passages to sprinting black metal with surprising efficacy, these two weave together extreme metal in earnest. With song titles like "My Warhorse Awaits" and "Now Your God Has Fallen", it's not hard to figure out what their agenda is. Churches beware. Look for their debut album coming soon, as well as a side project with Erik of Black Tar Prophet/ex-Archdruid called either Wolf Pope, Vomit Wolf, or War Bong also coming soon. Check out their awesome meh-fi demos here:

After AoI was when the post-hardcore began. When I was growing up and beginning to explore metal, my only exposure to post-hardcore was horribly whiny groups that were even lamer than the "modern hardcore" bands of the time. I thought that post-hardcore, and to an extent, hardcore as a whole was about skinny jeans and feathered hair. Thus, my exposure to good post-hardcore has been severely delayed, so my knowledge on the subject hasn't quite caught up to my knowledge of metal (of which I still have volumes to go), but shows like this one are a powerful example to what amazing post-hardcore sounds like. I'd even go as far as to say that this was the best post-hardcore show I've ever been to, and St. Louis artists Anodes are a big part of that. I didn't hear much about them beforehand, but I was impressed by their performance. They blend heaviness with a sense of soul-baring personal truth by shout-speaking emotionally during the soft parts, and then not holding anything back during the loud and heavy segments. Bassist Katie Brown would often hold the melody while guitarists Sean Survant and AJ Hofstetter would scream and play delicious flowing harmonies over top. Very epic stuff reminiscent of Rosetta and one of my current favorite groups, Light Bearer. Stream their recently released album here, and make sure to pick it up on vinyl if you've got the rupees. (Apologies for lack of picture, none came out well)

greatest picture I have ever taken

Third up was Regret, The Informer from my old stomping grounds, Kansas City. I have in my show notes that these guys are "Post-hardcore with great bassist foundation under wonky and evil shoegaze." Damn, there must have been some good shit at this show, because in listening to their 7" "Less Than Three" that I got, I don't hear much shoegaze at all. Regardless, these guys were really energetic and interesting, with sometimes melodic sometimes noisy guitar shredding, and a thrumming bass that held everything together. The vocals were shouted in almost a D.R.I or Kowloon Walled City style, and even screamed at some points. At some points, I'd say they were heavy enough to border on post-metal (ambient sludge for the purists). Really fantastic and varied stuff, I was not disappointed. It's also worth nothing that these guys have some of the most clever and humorous lyrics I've read, lyrics like "you can hold my hand but you can never hold my heart/ stay the fuck away from me/ baby, i'm a work of art/ you can never hold my heart" (from "Good Morning Drug" off the aforementioned 7"). Check it out for yourself right here, right now.

guys wrong way
we're over here guys
Last up was some new voodoo from right here in Nashville, Altar of Complaints. I'd been looking forward to seeing this new band since Jesse Mowery's other band Dawn broke up. I'm happy to report that these guys absolutely kick ass. Vocals are shouted and screamed over noodlesome, flowery, and even spacy guitars. These guys are all over the place, but in the best way possible. Elias MacDonald from local death metal band Axis (and others) provided the low-end foundation with some gorgeous 6-string caressing, and said "fuck mics" and screamed without one. The drums were really powerful, especially considering how "pretty" the guitars could be at time. These guys managed to bring together some pretty unlike parts into a surprisingly cohesive package, especially considering how unseriously these guys apparently take themselves. From their facebook page description, "...we don't consider this to be a band but more of an on going experiment in having fun and not taking ourselves too serious. Cause let's face it, our music isn't saving the world from shit. And we are fine with that. You want enlightenment?, go see Deepak Chopra and LSD." Sounds pretty apt. To experience their delightful musical dickery, stream their newly album album aquĆ­:

Jesse was too busy playing to record himself, so there's no live video of this performance that I could find. So instead, have this video of AoC chortling about tambourines recording at Black Matter Mastering:

Another one in the books. Next on the docket, a show with a few multiple-bass bands, and one without! In the meantime, if you need me, I'm going to be working up to doing DNA work on these guys this summer:

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