When you walk in the door to see the local chapter of the Satanic Temple has a booth and the stage is already decked out with a barbed-wire-wrapped upside-down cross surrounded by candles, you know you’ve made it to the right place.
Torrents of rain dropped on a Saturday evening that was perfect for being inside a small bar like the State Street Pub, with inexpensive drinks and four bands adeptly slaying their way through very different types of heavy music. The barrage of noise within represented black, death, punk, doom, stoner and subtle touches of others, yet all in attendance seemed to be getting along and enjoying themselves.
People listening to several genres at one local event without being reduced to squabbling and shit talk? No wonder it seemed like the world might be ending outside those doors.
If you prefer the early days of Bathory and want to listen to Viking metal about as much as you want to watch a remake of ‘Two Girls One Cup’ where they dress up as Valkyries – then Orga is your band. With modern black metal, you’re lucky if you find a track less than seven minutes. Orga, however, bring pure classic black with short songs that get your head banging without overly relying on blasts. No fancy layers. No atmosphere. No keyboards or strange instruments. Just tasty riffs over simple beats while a dude coughs up vocals that sound like he has a beehive in his throat – a sound born for tape trading. Not sure about the ski-mask shtick, but when the tunes rip like this they can wear tutus for all I care.
Death doom often struggles to go beyond tortoise-speed riffs or at best a mid-tempo plod, but Shroud of Vulture goes from molasses to meth throughout their set and it is nothing short of delightful. Yes, delightful. Not everything has to be put in negative terms that actually mean something positive!
Their riffs brought about a sense of stoner doom, death metal classics and the occasional hardcore stomp. Their track “Screwdriver” started full speed, then dropped on a dime into one of the most hypnotic riffs of the night before going right back to ramming speed again. Seabiscuit couldn’t gallop and sprint with the power these guys are packing. I probably shouldn’t say this in my first review for a local site, but if I were Sophie, picking these guys as my favorite local band would be an easy choice.
The venue had a funk of crust punk in the air, and once Black Recluse took the stage it became apparent who was drawing that crowd. Their short songs were bursting with energy and the vibe from the stage was not unlike Municipal Waste…or maybe it was just lead singer and guitarist John Saxen’s awesome headband that was making me think that.
This wasn’t slop fest punk that survived on raw energy alone. They brought RIFFS that were driven by some excellent drumming from Kristopher Huntley. The songs had actual structure, and they knew exactly when to place a breakdown that forced your head to bang before your ears even realized what happened. A three piece with this much gusto while retaining quality technique is not to be missed.
“If you’ve got weed, now’s the time,” were the first words out of the Archarus lead singer and guitarist Drew Smith’s mouth. That should pretty much tell you what comes next – fuzzy riffs, rumbling bass and some wicked guitar leads. Ultimately, you don’t need a date with Mary Jane to find yourself in a haze and state of bliss when listening to these guys play.
The foundation of metal is strong riffs and guitar leads that shred, weep and bare the soul. I couldn’t really hear the vocals all that well, but the band delivered so strongly on those foundational elements that instrumental versions of their songs would still be well worth your time.
I would not hesitate to go see any one of these bands perform again, and I hope you’ll do the same.