This show was the day after we trekked up to PA to see Amaranthe, but we decided to go anyway since it was so close by. I also felt like I was getting a cold, but thought I could power through the evening. I'm not a huge fan of The Agonist - I feel like their music lacks intensity somehow - but I was interested in seeing the long line-up of local bands opening for them.
We wanted to see Iris Divine, but left too late and missed them. We got there just before Area 52 started. They sounded like they might have some promise, but it was hard to tell. The mix was off, so they sounded like a lot of bass noise punctuated by way too loud (and slow and repetitive) drums. The guitar player did (mostly) clean vocals, and the bass player harsh vocals, but I could hardly hear them (from my seat at the bar). They had some promising moments, like when the bass and drums were obviously doing something thrashy, but I couldn't hear the guitar. They called for a mosh pit and the crowd actually obliged, which doesn't always happen with the local acts at Cafe 611.
Gettysburg, PA death metal band March to Victory was on next, and they sounded really good. They had a different vocalist than the last time we saw them - they had a male vocalist previously, but this time the vocalist was a woman (with fake(?) blood smeared on her face and neck). I liked her vocals more than the previous guy - I still couldn't make out what she was saying, but it sounded more like words than the former vocalist's unintelligible growls. Overall their sound was much clearer and groovier than last time. I headbanged a lot and would have pushed people around if I wasn't sick and wanting to save my seat for later.
Next was Demiz (pronounced like "demise"), who also sounded good. They played mainly fast, fierce black metal in the vein of Marduk, very loud and energetic. They had a song about Vikings, which sounded rather Viking-y. I think they need to work on their image though - the guy in a red Subway shirt and the singer's plug earlobe piercings really threw things off. They would look much more like a professional black metal band if they had a more unified image. The guitarist (who looked rather more black metal with his dark hair and clothing and crosses painted on his face) jumped on the speakers a couple times. I did enjoy their sound.
After that was Fallen Martyr, who also sounded better than last time we saw a whole set of theirs (opening for Blackguard). They collected a good crowd and had a very professional demeanor and sound. The guitars and drums were nice and heavy, and pretty well mixed, although I couldn't hear much of the guitar melodies. Still, they are not quite to my taste, mainly because of the vocals. The singer sang with a lot of gusto this time (lack of which was one of my gripes before) but I was not digging the anguished sound of most of his vocals. There were some moments where he sang with more aggressive punch to his voice, kind of like Halford's vocals, which I thought were good, but overall things tended a little too much toward emo for me.
By the time The Agonist came on, I was feeling rather weak. They sounded pretty good, loud and riffy (this is another venue whose sound system seems generally tuned to rumble), and I headbanged a bit when I was able to pay attention. There seemed to be something lacking, though; they didn't inspire me as much as March to Victory and Demiz. It may also have been that I was sick and tired, because I literally passed out on S's shoulder by the end of the set.
Next show - Mayhem Fest on Wednesday!