For 48 hours, Indianapolis welcomed a flood of sludge to drown their minds in misery and eviscerate their eardrums with feedback. It started on a Monday when the very godfathers of the genre Eyehategod blessed aural cavities with their untouchable brand of drug-addled sickness. There’s no denying that evening’s bands suffered a bit as well from a sound system that seemed to be struggling to keep up – in particular with a significant amount of overblown bass feedback. That being said, attendees left with their cravings for NOLA sewage satiated.
By Tuesday, it was time for the sludge to turn to a thick molasses of agony and roll like an unstoppable mudslide draining every glimmer of hope from any poor sap that happened to be standing in a one-mile radius of Black Circle Brewing. Not only did every band up the ante on raw heaviness, but all systems were go as the sound issues had perished.
All photos presented here were taken by Bobby Ellis, and a full gallery can be viewed here.
Getting Stabbed represented a bit of a red herring for the evening. Despite being from the cold land of Minneapolis, where one might expect to hear some introspective doom, they play a vicious brand of grindcore predicated on minute-long bursts of punk-fueled hostility. Guitarist and vocalist Dave G was sporting a Despise You shirt that acted as a very appropriate representation of their influence. Drummer Dave T was utilized a very simple kit setup but was playing extremely tight while hitting all the essential D and blast beats with slick, quick fills.
The standout from their performance had to be Bassist Anna’s vocals. She implemented them somewhat sparingly, but they shot through the mix powerfully. You ever see someone raging uncontrollably to the point where you assume they are blacked out with anger? You ever wonder what their inner-voice must sound like considering how intense the outer one is? Anna is the voice of that inner-demon made of pure, piercing malignity.
I only wish this crew had replaced Phobia the night before, so we could have two nights of quality grind instead of whatever that washed up mess was that Indy was given on Monday night.
While the openers may have been Getting Stabbed by name, Body Void vocalist and guitarist Will Ryan sounded like that was actually happening to him. If you take Conan’s immense live sound and then piss gallons of misery all over their slowest parts, you’re getting close to the experience of hearing Body Void from the stage. Drummer Edward Holgerson focused a lot of his unbridled energy on smacking the ever living shit out of his toms. Let’s be honest though, the abyss only barks forth with thunder, so toms, massive kicks, and Parker Ryan’s bass is what you need most while Ryan provided the echoed screams of those dying within. Holgerson put so much into every drum hit that he managed to break two sticks before their 35ish minute set was done.
While these gentleman rarely moved faster than molasses, they had unquestionably the heaviest set I’ve ever seen in my 15 or so years of going to live shows. This show was like having to bury the love of your life, but getting to bludgeon their killer to death with your bare hands as they’re lowered into the ground. There’s tears, pain, misery and rage accompanied by a strange sense of power and a small undercurrent of sadistic glee.
Hailing from Iowa, Aseethe took their doom and sludge in a less vile direction than their compatriots on the tour. While the two bands bookending this crew dripped with ugliness, Aseethe brought a crisper sound to what they were doing. Their brand of doom was more in line with heavier parts of Sumac including guitarist and vocalist B. Barr channeling a rather Aaron Turner-esque growl. They avoid any lengthy jam sessions like Sumac, but they did intersperse cleaner strummed guitar notes and lightly struck cymbal work that helped add a more dynamic ominous tone furthering the dramatic impact for when the song fully kicked in.
Bassist Danny Barr brought in some groove and vocals that sounded like Mike Williams from the night prior. Much like Williams’ band, Aseethe had some of the only moments that felt locked in enough to start a solid mosh pit. Unfortunately, this crew was a victim of placement on the bill. Following up Body Void was nearly impossible and having Primitive Man come on directly after would make any band’s heaviness seem pale in comparison. While they may not have had as much impact as those two bands, I would not hesitate to go see Aseethe again either on another bill or on their own.
That is the only word that continues to circulate the mind while at a Primitive Man show. The incredibly high volume, piercing feedback, and endless loops of noise that play between songs permitting no reprieve are designed to punish the crowd. Their songs are long and often blended together punishing the listener for not knowing when the speedier moments are coming or when the droning might stop. Their last album, Caustic, is over 75 minutes long meant to punish any listener who attempts to slog all the way through while attacking the attention span. Even their lyrics focus on punishing others coming from the mind of a person who feels punished by the world.
Lyrics from “My Will” are a perfect example:
My will is a cancer on your fucking life
undying, incurable and full of sick
All too appropriate that Primitive Man opened their set with that very song setting the tone of misanthropy and hostility that would follow. They blasted, they droned, they pierced, and they bludgeoned all while vocalist Ethan McCarthy bellowed out a dying bear’s death rattle into the mic.
Only the most masochistic of metal fans will enjoy what this trio does, but rest assured there were plenty of them with the sickest of smiles on their faces as they willingly accepted their primitive punishments.