Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Noisem, Homewrecker, Unsacred, Scorched, Outer Heaven and Jarhead Fertilizer at the Harmony Grange

The crushing finality of existence, my tired bones reaching out for comfort...insert miscellaneous moment of poetic bullshit here... The point being tonight was one of those nights that remind me why I love death metal. I thought I had started to outgrow the genre or to become tired of it... but then something like this happens and I see a fuckton of top notch bands desecrate a stage on the same night and I realize that despite all the scene drama, despite all the waiting around and being tired - dudes like me live for this shit. We have nothing else to do with our lives and after all, this is our journey.

Jarhead Fertilizer were up first, featuring multiple members of Full of Hell both present and past, this band uses two bassists to help drive their sound forward and gives them a rather iconoclastic and unique approach to the music. While I did feel that their two bassist sound was a lot of fun, I got the sense that the Harmony Grange might not have been the best venue for these sonic assaults. I got the impression - as the band blazed through a fifteen minute set of wonderfully short songs - that this is the kind of music meant for tiny backrooms of shitty bars, and the dudes in this band wouldn't have it any other way.

Next up was Outer Heaven, a band I have always found thoroughly enjoyable. There is something inherently satisfying about their essentially old school death metal sound, the crushing growls, the punishing screams, and the all out sense of oppression that dominates the music. For the right kind of fuck up (IE: screwed up individuals like myself) there is something very therapeutic about this sort of approach to music and it's hard to deny the magic within that type of triumphantly primitive sound. What I'm trying to say is that Outer Heaven understand the spirit of death metal, and the deeper you delve the more you will fall in love with this band.

Scorched gave me a similar vibe. Fronted by the quasi-legendary Matt Kapa their old school death metal attack was deliciously evil. Kicking things off with a motherfucker of a thrash riff before stomping away at the crowds skulls with monster riff after monster riff these guys may not have been around for long, but they truly get what death metal is supposed to be about. When Tyler Carnes from Noisem came on to do a verse it felt only appropriate - the culmination of years of hard work and dark dedication. This is the kind of band that the Philly scene needs if it wants to keep developing and growing.

It was only now that we got to the actual touring trifecta. First of the three was Unsacred, one of the most distinctly... evil bands I have seen live. Their sound - while distinctly American brings in touches of black metal to help keep things sufficiently dark. The sense of tortured refinement that defines their work is the kind of thing that I love about the American underground. These dudes have had fucked up stuff happen to them and yet they push on anyway, and with a band this bleak you gotta admire that. Unsacred understand the wonderful hatred of this music and push it to the fore, leaving you to suffer in silence.

Homewrecker were one of my most anticipated bands of the bill. Watching them tear apart the stage, with their drummer Matt delivering ungodly vocals alongside the bands frontman it's hard not to be impressed by Homewreckers sound. While I'm still not entirely sure what thrashcore is (I'm pretty sure it's a marketing term) this is probably what it would sound like. They have one of the most beautifully brutal sounds in the American underground right now, and their hard work is starting to pay off with trips to Europe in the works and with many more road-worn adventures to come for the band I am genuinely excited for them!

Finally it was time for my beloved Noisem, and I have to say, I've honestly lost track of how many times I've seen them. That said, this set, asides from technical difficulties and a subpar mix actually was very strong. Sure it was late and people had started to head home, but every time Noisem play live they deliver. Even at their most fucked up moments... and this may very well have been one of them... they still manage to unleash a strange sort of perfection. They may not be the band we deserve, but they certainly are the one we need. Fully aware of their own humanity and deliciously bleak, the depressed teenager inside of me can not get enough of this band.

And so - once more, I road off into that vaguely poetic American night, dropping off a kid at home and then making my own way through the back country to my resting place. There is something beautiful about these late evenings spent exploring the nature of death metal in my kitchen, thinking about this weird, demented thing I have given my life up to. And yet it allows us to carry forward and join together, lifting up a united banner... or some shit like that. Maybe we should all just go back to hating each other. Fuck it. 

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