Tuesday, September 22, 2015

One Master, Spectral Wound, Tomb and Thirst, Nightwitches, Blood Temple @ Cherry Street Station, Sept. 19, 2015

An evening at Cherry Street Station organized and headlined by the immense and imposing One Master, undoubtedly focusing on this incarnation's compositions from Reclusive Blasphemy after they reshaped something old and something new into the incredible Live in the Castle of Quiet. Four bands with whom I was unfamiliar were scouted out: my good friend Antoine Richard had seen both Spectral Wound and Nightwitches and recommended the former. Tomb and Thirst was a pending submission on Metal Archives, related to Sea of Bones. One band was elusive, having never released anything nor any presence on the internet that I am aware of. It was worthy of the trip, of course.

Blood Temple are a long-acquainted, newly-debuted two-piece black metal band fronted by Valder's comrade in Lustrum and Fatalism. Coming out of Morgirion, who played with One Master the first time I saw them at Cherry Street, I was quite interested to see the band's first show. Expectations, expectations. I was able to follow some of what the band was doing by seeing it, but it was very difficult to hear. With a single guitarist using one cabinet and one amp, the same one OM's bassist used, it simply wasn't audible, there was too much noise even ten feet in front of the amp, and there was too much noise to mix in the PA. While they haven't recorded/released anything yet, I'll be interested to hear it when they do.

Nightwitches are a doom duo from Montreal who love to bask in the buzz of a Sunn O))) amp. Some people are into that, I'm not. What this band amounted to was a couple three-chord rock songs that took ten minutes each to play, interspersed by feedback and accompanied by soft vocals that were practically a non-factor over the booming drumming and rumbling guitar.

Tomb and Thirst were the first band of the night with a bassist, who promptly broke a string on the first song and took the remainder of it to replace it. The sound at Cherry Street is always great, but there really wasn't much to work with, considering the first two and a half bands didn't have a bassist. The sound translated well enough, though - suffocatingly heavy, droning, and tone-basking. Reminiscent of their counterparts in Sea of Bones, of a similar heavy and bearded persuasion, it simply didn't engage nor interest me.

The show had a great atmosphere. It was quite lively, and as with any show at Cherry Street and with the underground, there was no separation between the audience and the performers. It's a great thing, because you never know when the guy who happens to be wearing the same Bolt Thrower shirt as you is in a band that you're about to enjoy, and everyone there lamented the passing of drummer Martin "Kiddie" Kearns - sad news which traveled fast. May he rest in peace.

There was much good news to be heard. The 20th anniversary of Capharnaum will be celebrated with Ryan and Tony, joined by comrades, playing old and new songs. Capharnaum were a unique spectacle of 90s death metal, converging on both melodic and technical elements and forming one of the later unique visions that came out of the era. In modern news, the LPs of One Master's new album Reclusive Blasphemy are finally available, and the LP version was actually mastered separately than the CD, different from the common practice of simply cutting the digital master to vinyl. That's right, two masters of One Master. If I didn't understand the philosophy of self behind I Am One Master, I'd probably be arguing with an LP right now.

Spectral Wound are a newborn black metal band from Montreal who have fashioned an admirable effort in their Terra Nullius tape. There is an overt influence from Sargeist on the guitar work, with an echo of Baptism and Behexen as well as their Quebecoic comrades in the Sepulchral Productions stable. Mostly overwhelming Sargeist emulation, which is even more apparent on recording! The contrast, on stage, was frontman Jonah's hardcore-style mannerisms - very animated and intense, a contrast to their stoic and steadfast rhythm section. The bassist, as I heard, faced the drummer and didn't move. Very enjoyable, a band I'll keep both ears on.

One Master were, of course, the masters. While they were running the show and amidst friends, they are always remarkably focused. The band completes as an entity and transforms on stage, they are a commanding presence. Valder becomes vicious and intense - they embody the music, none more than him. They ripped through Reclusive Blasphemy with a concentration on their purpose. The band has found a lineup which creates and interacts very well, to the tune of black and blacker, fast and faster, sinister and....

...very intent on that which they create. A Cursed and Dismal Mind reflects that better than any of their other works, framing the song with a slow and moody lead reminiscent of Judas Iscariot's Of Great Eternity before leading into an intense blasting black metal duel between Nightbringer and Deathspell Omega influences. Valder cites Darkspace as an inspiration on that song - I say the only one wrong is one who hasn't heard it twice. Their live show has picked up from the fast black/thrash of the first album, the focused pace of the second, and taken the extremely fast, intense, and dissonant style of the third and pushed it to the extreme. Their ultra-fast rendition of the already fast Intolerance captures the spirit of vicious and intense metal like Merciless' debut or early Sepultura where the band played so fast that it sounded they were almost breaking loose of their technical limits and sanity itself.

One could not find a better band to rip through the witching hour at a pace sufficient to make up for monumentally boring doom metal bands. Their looming apathy was torn to shreds by the intensity of One Master.

The black-and-white-and-red carnage didn't end there. I hit a skunk at high speed on the way home, yet the splattered/exploded remnants of its corpse didn't leave as powerful and impression as One Master.

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