Pillage the Village tour review

September 17, 2008 at 6:59 pm (Concert reviews) (, , , , , )

A Turk, a German, a Finn and a Frenchman walk into a bar in upstate New York. Sounds predictable, right? Only there’s no punch line: the multicultural Necrophagist are very, very serious. This Germany-based quartet are some of the most skilled musicians playing metal today. This tour, the Pillage the Village tour, had a bit of a revolving lineup as it merged off and on with the Carcass reunion dates. Clifton Park’s Northern Lights was lucky enough to get a date with Necrophagist, though the lineup wasn’t nearly as strong as the recent NYC show featuring Carcass, Suffocation, Necrophagist, 1349 and Aborted.

Openers Veil of Maya are one of any numerous “technical hardcore” bands that attach to death metal shows in apparent money-grabbing ploys from promoters. Very rarely is there a fan cross-over between the humdrum hardcore openers and death metal headliners. In fact, it’s common for a venue to thin out after the hardcore-dancers have had their evening calisthenics. Their music was a sterile mix between Meshuggah breakdowns and noodle-heavy melodic riffs. Their Myspace boasts their new album available for only $9.99 at Hot Topic, so. . .

Beneath the Massacre

Beneath the Massacre

Beneath the Massacre are a band that I’ve seen twice now. I remember hearing their EP when it came out and being somewhat impressed. Apparently the band lacks a second guitar player, and the guitarist makes up for it with some sort of sampler or harmonizing pedal. Cool. I guess this band could technically be considered death metal, thanks to the monstrous vocalist’s voice, but the set carried better with the super tuff Troycore kids. Theyre all talented guys, but it’s sterile and a bit monotonous, and carries better on CD than in a live setting.

Some of my disdain for the hardcore scene may not be understood outside of my region. It’s possible that you’ve never even experienced it, I’ve heard that Europe and some of the States don’t get these guys at shows. Picture 5 or 6 very skinny guys with size small shirts boasting “DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR,” flat brimmed hats, gauged ears and bad attitudes throwing their limbs around like they want to dislocate something. I’m not saying death metal fans are perfect, but I’ll take a fat dude in a Skinless shirt headbanging by himself any day. The core kids posture, pacing around during non-breakdowns with a semi-aggressive expression, biding time until the chance to “throw down.” That’s another reason I dislike them: they rarely know the music they’re hearing- they go to any and every show hoping for some open strings and slow drums.

If you’re into death metal at all, you’ve probably heard Dying Fetus at some point. I’ve heard a few of their albums over the years and none of it ever stuck. “One Shot, One Kill” and “Praise the Lord (Opium of the Masses)” are great songs, no doubt, but the band is about as exciting as Deeds of Flesh in my opinion. Still, this band of only 3 members sounded full, the mix was good, and the drummer was very solid. I didn’t recognize many of their songs, but I was glad to have seen this legendary band, if only for the experience. There’s nothing wrong with them, really, the music just doesn’t work for me. The crowd had turned a bit by now, and was now focused on the musicianship as much as the breakdowns.

I should note that Northern Lights ran the tightest show I’ve ever been to. The doors opened at 7, Veil of Maya were playing around 7:45, and there was very little set change time. On a Wednesday night, it was a beautiful thing to have headliners Necrophagist take the stage before 10 PM. At this point I was standing in the second row and able to make eye contact with all of the members, save drummer Romain who somehow played the entire set with his eyes closed. Necrophagist don’t jump around on stage, but each member has a unique stage presence and this is a band whose performance you want to see clearly. Guitarists Muhammed and Sami play the dual harmonies unbelievably well. Unfortunately for Sami, Muhammed gets all of the glory. Even the mix from where I stood seemed Muhammed-heavy, even though Sami handled every lead very well. The solo for “Epitaph” had a bit of a rough start but none of the musicians ever completely gaffed.

Necrophagist

Necrophagist

They played a great number of songs from Epitaph, but also played a few songs off the first album Onset of Putrefaction. The crowd was yelling for “Extreme Unction” and luckily enough, we got it. They also played “Foul Body Autopsy,” “To Breathe in a Casket” and closed with “Fermented Offal Discharge.” It’s surprising how heavy those songs are, on CD the band comes as a bit clinical on account of the musicianship. Live, though, there are a lot of riffs to satisfy the headbangers in the front row. There was little banter in between songs. The show was over around 10:45. I’m always glad to be left wanting more, and while an encore would have been great, it’s hard to imagine playing music that complex for more than an hour. So, unceremoniously, the show ended and the crowd emptied out into the night. No matter if you were there for breakdowns or sweeped solos, you got plenty of both on the final stop of the Pillage the Village tour.

Note: Pictures by me.

Links: Necrophagist Myspace

Necrophagist official site

Dying Fetus Myspace

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