CONCERT REVIEW: Blackguard/Neuraxis/Gigan/Candy Striper Death Orgy/Summoning Hate/Excrecor

I’ve been hesitant to review Excrecor every time I’ve seen them. I now the guys personally, especially bassist Orin Hubbard. That said, I assure you it is with no bias that I say they are one of the best New England Metal bands. They combine influences from all different sources to provide a brand of death metal that sounds diverse without sounding all over the place or stale. Instead, we get original songwriting and a top-not performance. Yesterday was no exception. Because of the curfew and number of bands playing, they had to go on at two in the afternoon. That didn’t stop their legion of fans from showing up. They have a demo out and an album coming soon, so check them out.

Summoning Hate needs bass. Unfortunately, they was unable to include it in the show, so they did the best they could. I’ve seen the band before when they were known as Downfall. They added a second guitarist and replaced the drummer since then. The two guitar technique worked well for the band. I just wish they had the bass to play against. The new drummer is technically proficient, though I’m not a fan of some of the drum lines he had. Summoning Hate has some room for improvement, but gave it their all. I would like to hear the fuller line-up sometime to give a better assessment.

There must have been a curse last night, as Candy Striper Death Orgy also played with out a member. This time, their regular drummer Greg Marseglia was unable to play due to illness. Instead, guitarist John Morency filled in on drums. The band has played as three-piece before, and worked better as a four piece–but performed killer thrash anyway. That was, of course, until technical difficulties kicked in. First, Dave Ulrich’s bass amp kicked out. When they got it working, it wasn’t getting picked up on the P.A. properly. They decided to just crank the bass amp, considering the size of their audience. Then, when they got going again, Eric Paone’s equipment stopped working properly. It sounded as if there was a problem with the guitar’s hook-up with the cable being loose, as the signal kept going out. The day proved difficult for CSDO, but they did their best with what they had. Of course, Paone kept the audience laughing with his banter between music.

I get the feeling that I did the right thing by seeing Gigan live before ever hearing their music on disc. The vocalist went crazy on stage–and off. At one point he got down to the floor to stare each audience member down as if he was going to kill us. The music itself felt like the inside a madman’s head. The songwriting combined death metal and grindcore with a little psychedelia (really, how many bands this brutal play with a theremin?) showcasing the band’s technical prowess as well. They pulled off all of these elements without getting too hokey, which would have been easy to do. If you get a chance to see these guys live, do so–especially before checking out their recordings.

Most of the audience appeared to be there for technical death metal band Neuraxis. The band seemed to feed off this energy and throw it right back. Vocalist Alex LeBlanc in particular couldn’t stay in one place for more than half a second (except when a member of Blackguard came on stage and sprayed him with some sort of toiletry, as it was the last show of the tour). Despite all of the jumping around, the band performed awesomely. Like all of the bands yesterday, their set was a bit short. Whereas all of the other bands’ sets being short and sweet, Neuraxis‘ set was the only one that felt too short. They will be touring with Sepultura soon, so in case you missed them this time, or just didn’t get enough, I highly recommend going.

Blackguard, simply put, is a party band. It doesn’t matter if they play in front of a large crowd at the Palladium in Worcester or a group of around thirty at Wally’s Pub in Hampton Beach. The band just can’t not have a good time on stage. In fact, a smaller show allowed the band to interact with the audience better, such as rubbing the bass headstock on an audience member’s hair. During the next-to-last song, vocalist Paul Zinay got into the crowd to start the only mosh pit of the night. Despite the lack of pits, the energy yet again flowed back-and-forth between the band and the audience. They did have one setback: Zinay’s vocals were audible, but too low in the mix. Everything else sounded fine. Despite the vocal level, Blackguard deserves horns up.

Except for Blackguard’s problem with vocals, the sound at Wally’s Pub is excellent. The stage is in the corner of the room, yet this doesn’t hinder the acoustics. All of the instruments were mixed perfectly. The bar could have held a lot more people than it did. Perhaps if they could bring in larger shows, they could give the Palladium, at least its upstairs venue, a run for it’s money.


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