Thursday, February 2, 2012

Machine Head, Suicide Silence, Darkest Hour - 2/1/12 at Ram's Head Live, Baltimore, MD

This was the first concert in a good six months that I was actually
excited to attend. Maybe it was just that I was less tired and
stressed out than usual, maybe that there was no hassle involved in
getting there (Ram's Head is a couple blocks from my place of
employment..). It was also the first in a while where I wasn't bored
and tired and feeling like
can't-wait-till-this-is-over-so-I-can-go-home in a good while. Again
maybe because I actually wasn't tired for once. But was
nice to actually enjoy a concert again.

So now for the actual reviewing..

Darkest Hour was good, although not as excellent as I thought it would be
from my very quick pre-listening the day before. They had some melodic
bits and heavy bits and some bits that were both melodic and
heavy, but I kept wishing they would make the guitars a little heavier
and give the vocals more punch to make it into true melodic death
metal (but this may just be because I wish everything was death
metal..). Also, metalcore kids don't know how to mosh. During one
insanely heavy song, there was NO ONE in the pit. At one point the
singer called for a circle pit, and one guy pushed another around the
floor, and that was it. I had come straight from work and had a bunch
of "luggage" with me, otherwise I would definitely have had to teach
those kids a lesson.

Suicide Silence was great. Ultra heavy, just an all out assault
on the senses (being a bit ADHD, I like music that overwhelms all
distractions in my brain). But it wasn't just the usual grinding-bass
grindcore band; the vocals were more of a black metal shriek, and they
mixed in some other unusual sounds as well.
They varied the tempo, too, with some fast riffs and some slow,
soul-shakingly heavy segments. Overall it was just all-consuming
nonstop heaviness (the singer didn't waste a lot of time talking
either) and it never got boring either. There was better moshing for
these guys but some grindcore silliness too - a few guys doing moves
that reminded me of kung fu drills in the pit.

I thought that with their nonstop delivery of heaviness, Suicide
Silence would blow Machine Head out of the water, but I was
wrong. They weren't as heavy as Suicide Silence, but definitely heavy
enough. Also, they had great riffs and guitar solos, as well as
powerful lyrics and melodies that took the place of overwhelming
heaviness in holding my interest and making me headbang. I didn't
really like their old stuff much before this concert - although I
thought their new album was amazing and that was why I went to the
concert at all - but after seeing them live I have new enjoyment of
their music. The singer delivered a short speech before the first
encore, and usually I'm the jerk that shouts "Play some damn music"
when the band gets speechy, but it seemed like he was really speaking
from his heart, thanking the band's fans and talking about how music
got him through tough spots, as well as high points, in his life, so I
actually listened and was touched by what he said, even though I'm a
relatively new fan of the band. Then the first encore, "Darkness
Within," which starts with a long acoustic segment, convinced me for
certain of the guy's amazing songwriting abilities. That's right, I
said first encore. I think they played three encores. They played for
about 2 hours overall. I was so exhausted by the end, I was leaning on
the barrier in front of the sound tech area thing, but still the music
moved me to headbang till the end.

Overall it was an excellent experience, well worth the exhaustion. It
was also neat to see three bands of such different styles on one
night. You could definitely see the change in the crowd as the bands
changed - but I for one enjoyed all three.


  1. not excited to go to the other ones??

    I get excited to go to most of the concerts I do go to (nice grammar).

    Pretty decent review- but what about merch, attendance, and sound quality?

    1. I'm pumped about Behemoth, Eluveitie, Paganfest...the other ones we have planned should be pretty good too. Last fall I was just tired and depressed >.<

      I told you about the merch :P It wasn't that great. Usually I don't review it.

      I was going to make more comments about the various crowds, cause you could definitely see how they changed for each band, but I try to restrain myself from being 'more metal than thou' and just talk about the quality of the music on here :P

      I thought "soul-shakingly heavy" said all there was to be said about sound quality for Suicide Silence :P Machine Head was their match in loudness, and one of the clearest bands I've heard. Come on, man, I was typing this at work terrified of being caught on the computer!