Before we start this review, you
should understand that we’re in a little bit of a crisis here in
Portland as far as metal shows are concerned.
They used to be pretty regular – and some good acts, too.
A year ago you could see Exhumed, Pissing Razors, Six Feet Under,
and Immolation all within a month of each other.
Today – we've got jack shit as far as major bands go.
Our promoters have turned on us, and the metal bands now avoid
Portland like the plague. I have learned from experience that it’s the local and
regional bands who will save any metal scene when the chips are down.
I think we’ll eventually pull out of our drought as far as the
national or global acts are concerned, but in the meantime it’s the
local boys (and girls) who keep the fire burning.
Take this show, for instance.
While Krabathor traveled all the way from Uherske Hradiste (that’s
in the Czech Republic, you morons!), and Requiem at least hopped a
Greyhound from Las Vegas, the highlight of the show was our own home-grown
shock rockers, Lord Gore. Overall
this was a nice, cozy little date in Portland’s most intimate, and
arguably best, metal club. It
was the kind of show you go to with a couple of good friends, have some
beers, and above all enjoy the experience.
We got to this show to find the
set was running late and people were still setting up, and not much of a
crowd had gathered. Time for
a beer (or three) from Satyricon’s taps, which have proven much more
reliable than the pathetic excuses for alcohol that spew and spurt from
the spigots at the Pine Street Theater.
(Ice Maiden's Commentary:
My recollection is of Jäger shots, but I digress…)
An India Pale Ale was a good choice with which to toast the first
band, HARDSHIP, which proved to be a snappy, no-nonsense hardcore outfit.
My tastes in hardcore tend to be eclectic (I can take Biohazard and
Chum, and that’s about it), and although I can’t say Hardship really
grabbed me by the throat, their businesslike attitude and their effort
commanded respect. Their
songs were not brilliantly written but at least they were well-played.
Since I don’t really know what it takes to make a successful
hardcore band I don’t feel qualified to comment on where Hardship might
be headed, or even to comment much more on them at all.
Overall I got a good feeling about them, and, as it turned out,
their attitude set the tone for the rest of the evening, which ultimately
assured the success of this show as a whole.
The best I can really say about Hardship is that I didn't dislike
them, which is my usual reaction to a hardcore band.
Wasn't my thing, but I didn't hate them, either.)
next band, also local boys, was obviously of a more metallic vein.
By this time the crowd was finally filtering in.
After shows packed with punk kids, straightedgers or just plain
geeks, it was very nice to be
among metalheads again, and metalheads exclusively.
The energy was high when LORD GORE – a quartet of odd ducks, some
in masks, some in bullet belts – took up the lance and mace of aural
punishment, death metal style. Lord
Gore hails from the more extreme, showy side of the death metal spectrum
– rather than the plodding, entrail-strewn dirges of the Florida school
or the bone-dry and bone-crushing rattles of the Swedish death dealers,
this band is more in tune with the grindcore-flavored likes of Exhumed or
others of that ilk. It’s a
pretty fragile niche, but Lord Gore rose to the challenge remarkably well.
What this band has going for it, in addition to sheer blistering
sound, is an excellent stage presence.
They do their thing with clouds of smoke, (plastic) severed heads
and some Dead-style self-mutilation scars on the frontman, who bills
himself “Lord Necro Von Gore” and who in this show jumped around like
a complete madman in between utterances of gut-churning vocals of pretty
formidable intensity. What I
like about this band is that they don’t try so hard to be “evil”
that they forget to be entertaining.
Indeed you can detect a well-placed grain of salt in amongst all
the blood, guts and sick riffage, which is both a gutsy and an intelligent
move on Lord Gore’s part. They
certainly did not let the energy flag during their fairly rigorous set,
and when it was over, left you with that vaguely wrung-out feeling that
comes from seeing a good band give a good performance.
This is my second time seeing Lord Gore, and I’m eagerly looking
forward to the third! (Ice
Maiden's Commentary: These guys were the highlight of the night for me.
Normally if I see any form of mask on any members of a metal band I
pretty much give up on them before they start—I figure they are hiding
themselves because they know they SUCK.
These guys didn't seem like they were hiding behind their masks,
and instead used them as props for effect.
Somehow it worked. Besides, how can you not love a band with songs like,
"Involuntary Vermin," "Morguewhore," "Nekro-Erotik,"
and "Postcoital Eruption?")
More Lord Gore Pics:
was very surprised at REQUIEM – mainly because not only had I heard of
them, but I had one of their CDs. Am
I wrong, or are there lots of bands running around out there named
“Requiem”? If not, I
somehow got the erroneous impression that there were – when I bought a
CD called Grave at a used record
store back in June I was expecting something very different than what I
got, and when I heard Requiem was on this bill it didn’t even cross my
mind that it might be the same band.
Grave did not impress me
at all, but the Requiem that showed up at Satyricon seems to have
addressed some of the problems with the CD, for instance, a pretty
deficient vocalist. Their
vocals in concert, although generally standard for death metal, were much
better than on the CD, and the backing seemed to have improved as well.
While a generally competent showing of metal, Requiem never seemed
to match the energy of the preceding act.
Nevertheless, I can’t really complain about their set.
It was loud, it was heavy, and these guys from Nevada were out
there giving it their best shot. Attitude does matter when it comes to metal shows, and
Requiem clearly came in with the attitude that, if they were not the best
death metal band out there, at least they were a pretty sincere one.
In total fairness I have to say the same about their album Grave
as well. They’re not Morbid
Angel, but you have to respect their very obvious passion for metal.
(Ice Maiden's Commentary: I have to give it up for these guys, too.
Since there were so few people remaining after the local boys' set,
I was literally sitting on the stage during Requiem's set.
Even with the lack of audience, these guys gave their all to the
performance. It was also very
cool of Requiem's guitar player to tell me all about his guitar and amp
preferences, since I am just learning guitar and am constantly looking for
final band came an awfully long distance to play at our humble little metal haven in
the Rose City, and so there’s almost no way I can’t praise
KRABATHOR’s sincerity as well. Here
was a band that had a lot of spit and polish, and still had some strong
backing, musically. Not as
sick, as sludgey or as brutal as the band probably would have liked to
have come across, but this ancient death act – they date from the
mid-1980s, by the way – had the benefit of numerous tours behind them,
and thus clearly felt very comfortable on stage.
You could definitely detect a European bent in their style and at
times they sounded something like Vader, another long-surviving band from
behind the former Iron Curtain. (Ice
Maiden's Commentary: I
have seen Vader, I know Vader, I like Vader.
Muertos, Krabathor is no Vader! ;) ).
Back to where I started the review, this is the kind of set best
enjoyed with a cold beer and a good friend.
Given that atmosphere, it was clearly a success, and I must say I
would return to see Krabathor again, and I’m now very curious to hear
what they sound like on CD.
was an interesting show because it’s one of the few shows I’ve seen
where the opener-opener-opener band really made a significant contribution
to the whole show – that being, in this case, the businesslike,
let’s-make-sure-you-get-your-money’s-worth tone that Hardship set and
all the other bands followed. Sometimes
you don’t get the sense that there’s a lot of continuity among the
bands on a bill, particularly when there’s four of them, and when they
all have very different styles. And
I’m not saying that any of these bands would or would not have turned in
a lesser performance under other circumstances.
But where Hardship demonstrated a willingness to work hard and
really put forth the effort to make this a good show, all the other bands
did their part to keep that vibe going.
This led to a particularly satisfied feeling when coming out the
door at the end of the show into a weepy early autumn night.
These bands tired me out, but I slept very well, and in the morning
I had a sense that, as long as there are bands out there willing to play
intimate little shows like this, the future of our metal scene is probably
assured, no matter what happens with the “big” bands.
More Krabathor pics!