The three piece is the most economical serving size in rock music… think of all the great trios, ranging from the electric blues Tex boogie of ZZ Top, the pioneering hip-hop of Beastie Boys, the amphetamine-fueled blitz of Hüsker Dü (and their great uncle twice removed, the cocaine-fueled panzer attack of Motörhead) or the wide-ranging prog voyages of Rush. When a lower than usual critical mass is reached, it doesn’t correspond with an equally low constraint on the creative possibilities. Tonight’s bill would have three trios take the stage and though they all worked in the realm of metal, each band concentrated on very different aesthetics.
Right now, Yob is near the top of the pile of the immensely crushing doom bands in operation. Granted, there are some really heavy bands imploding skulls on a nightly basis, but Yob’s approach is a bit more nuanced than getting bludgeoned via lumbering drop-tuned chords ad infinitum. For one, the rhythm section of Aaron Rieseberg and Travis Foster swings like a Sasquatch in a hammock during a hurricane, deftly underpinning the heft of “Original Face” and the sheer force of closer “Quantum Mystic.”
Mike Scheidt handles the vocals and guitars, and there’s enough going on to think he’s got some clone behind the backline, with the massive roar of the guitar and his impressive vocal range that spans guttural roars to high keening, often between measures of the same song. The new record, Our Raw Heart, doesn’t lie with ‘raw’ being in the title. It’s a bit bleaker than their last few records, with “The Screen” being a prime example of a harshest, scraping, unforgivably pounding song I think they’ve made yet, and one can’t help but think that a near death experience colored some of the material and emotion as Scheidt and the band worked through the material. Regardless, they remain some of the nicest and friendliest people in the business, and made sure they stuck around on stage until anyone from the sold out show who wanted to chat with them did so before they packed up their gear from stage.
Sea Of Bones didn’t shy away from seeking out the heaviest amp crush they could muster, and I can’t recall ever seeing a group where all members took turns at the microphone to sing lead. Aptly called Mammoth, the meticulously self-crafted cabinets that the band played through lived up to their name both physically and sonically. Playing material from their bleak The Earth Wants You Dead, it’s no surprise that songs like “Failure Of Light,” “Beneath The Earth,” or “Hopelessness And Decay” from their split record with Ramlord aren’t the sort of light-hearted ditties one would hum while walking through the supermarket.
Bell Witch has been the touring partner with Yob since the tour started a month ago, but the previous show in Philly saw drummer Jesse Shreibman suffer a back injury and they were a very late scratch to the bill. Getting the tap on the shoulder was Black Pyramid, and the Western Mass-based riff lords hustled out East in time to get the night going. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them, and two thirds of the original lineup is back in action, with leader Andy Beresky manning the mic and guitar while Eric Beaudry mans the bass. Despite Beresky’s claims of covers from Rush and Napalm Death, they stuck mainly to earlier material and it still holds up; grab a copy of their now decade-old debut and revel in the heaviness of “Mirror Messiah,” “The Worm Ouroboros” and especially “No Life King” which remains a high point of their discography. I wouldn’t quite rank this a Carbo moment, but it was a very effective late inning pinch hit effort nonetheless.
Dig in for more photos from the bill:
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