There is a strange charm to extreme music. Even though it may require spending hours in the car and gritting your teeth in traffic for some reason I always find myself making the same sacred commute to legendary metal venues like Philadelphias Underground Arts. So I sit here after a long toil and reflect on the events of this evening. I got to see four great bands and find myself at the altar of madness. This is what metal is about, touring packages of real dudes who get what metal is about and continue to spread the love and passion.
Sunburster, Philly locals, were up first. Now, I've heard quite a few of this bands releases but I had never seen the live. It was fun to get to pick apart their live ritual. Their mix of doom and punk feels authentic and groovy. The sludgy assault has a certain grim humanity to it that far too few of their peers can match. In some ways, at least in concept Sunburster is similar to Eyehategod - yet, it comes across as far more "Philthadelphia" in nature with increasingly fucked up passages and a sense of utter nihilism that comes from living in a city this close to that bleak and blackened hellscape known as New Jersey.
Up next was Theories who I was pleased to find out have the same drummer as my doom favorites Samothrace. There is something antediluvian about these grind maniacs. Their sound is incredibly heavy to the point of being almost oppressive. You find yourself drowning in waves of power chords which are occasionally punctuated by a punishing groove. Theories have a rather unique sound and in this crowded scene that means a lot. They crunch the listener down into just a core of his former self - they are soul destroying grindcore at its finest and I think these Metal Blade signees have a bold future ahead of them.
Black Breath are a hard partying death metal band that I've been listening too since I was about 15. Their sense of rock and roll gives a lot of flavor to the music and even accentuates their inter song banter. The bands vocalist delivers banter centering around anal destruction and Satan - fairly standard metal fare when you think about it. The live delivery is intense. There is something to be said for bands where every member has long hair. It adds an element of rock and roll majesty to the whole thing and it really helps to keep the performance exciting. Black Breath understand rock and roll just as they understand death metal and their interpretation of it could very well change the scene.
Finally it was time for Ringworm (Unfortunately I had to miss the headliners, Goatwhore) They put on yet another intense set that left me shattered simply because these guys take grinding death metal to a whole new level. There is something ridiculously over the top and beautifully evil about what Ringworm do. They are intense and charming, the kind of dudes whose greatness you have to acknowledge simply because they tour so goddamn much. They get how to put on a great live performance and despite anything else you know that when you see Ringworm you are going to get your moneys worth!
The ride home was a bitch - but hey, sometimes that happens. What happened tonight allowed me to reflect on my love for the scene. Sure things are brutal, but for those of us who were born to lose we can't help but live to win. Philthadelphia is a hostile place, but on muggy summer nights like this one we get a sense of hope, that perhaps we can transcend and come together to help build towards something greater. Death metal may be our only salvation, but look around, at least we have something!
Find the bands on Facebook:
Black Breath: https://www.facebook.com/BLACKBREATH.MUSIC