Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Black Dahlia Murder, Nile, Skeletonwitch, Hour of Penance - 4/17/12 at Ram's Head Live, Baltimore, MD

A night of heavy-hitting metal with three different flavors of death
metal (broadly speaking). It was an enjoyable show, although not as
mind-blowingly heavy as I had hoped. Like with the Amon Amarth show, I
had the feeling that I was really at a metal show - a very "metal"
crowd (long hair, death metal shirts), lots of headbanging. Besides my
friend K. and I, there were only maybe 3 or 4 other girls there.

We missed Hour of Penance altogether. In fact we were late for
Skeletonwitch - we got there during their first song. S. calls them
blackened thrash, but to me they sound more like thrashy melodic death
metal. The sound quality was excellent - I heard some melodic bits in
their songs that I never noticed before, which along with their fast
and furious tempo, made for a fun experience. In recordings, the
singer's barking singing style turns me off, but during the live show
it was all right; it fit with the ferocity of their music. They
seemed to play a very short set - only 25 minutes or so.

Nile was next, and of this lineup I was looking forward to them the most. They play slow-ish, dark and heavy technical death metal based on ancient
Egyptian history and religion. I expected earth-shaking heaviness from
them, and they were pretty heavy, but I feel like I've heard heavier.
There were a few boring spots where they decided to show off their
technical prowess, without necessarily doing anything melodic or epic.
Mostly though they dominated with heavy riffs and demonically low
vocals. The crowd was kind of weak though - their "death metal voice"
was pretty thin and the pit was empty much of the time. I think I
should have gone in the pit for Nile rather than Black Dahlia Murder -
that would have been a better contribution to the atmosphere.

I was not sure what to expect from the headliner, Black Dahlia Murder since I had only listened closely to a few of their songs. I thought they'd be
fast and crazy and I wasn't wrong. They play extreme metal -
fast-paced, with harsh and/or screamed vocals, and some grindcore
moments. In truth, they were the best performance of the night
actually, with fast and catchy riffs, furious vocals and a lively
crowd. At least, the fast and crazy parts were great, but I felt that
the slow heavy parts were not quite heavy enough (compared say to when
I saw Suicide Silence). "Stirring the Seas of Salted Blood," which
they introduced as a "slow and low" song for "head-banging from the
waist," was great though. The pit was wild, with a couple of vendettas
going on. I went in once or twice near the beginning and got dragged
into one of circle pits, but toward the end I stayed out because it
started to get too brutal and seemed like some fights were about to
break out.

Overall this was a good show. These are three great bands and they put
on a good performance, although it wasn't as overpoweringly awesome as
I'd expected. Still recommended though just for the death metal experience.

Next concert: Rammstein, 4/25/12

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