November 27, 2004

Concert Review: Metal Church/3 Inches of Blood

This past Tuesday evening I attended a concert which presented two local acts, which I had seen before, one up and coming act I was completely unfamiliar with, and one act from the eighties staging a comeback. That last act I am vaguely familiar with, I remember friends playing their tapes many years ago, I liked it, but never got around to getting any myself.

I arrived at the club around 7:10 pm, the doors opened twenty minutes latter and the first act hit the stage at around 8:00 to the small crowd. The gathering crowd was rather small, maybe 75-80 people total. It was, after all, a Tuesday evening with work and travel coming the next day in preparation for Thanksgiving.

The first act to perform was a metal act called Assault. I had seen these guys once before, and like the last time, they put on a good show. They brought forth their destruction for about a half hour. Their lead singer is another in a long line of screamers, but he sounded a lot better than you r typical local screamer. Backed by a twin guitar assault, no pun intended, they have a full heavy sound with heavy skull crushing riffs and some speedy solos. This performance was better than the last time I had seen them, I would definitely look for these guys again.

Shortly after Assault left the stage, the next act took their place. This time the stage was being prowled by NYC mainstays Thrash Ratchet. I have been a witness to their show a few times in the past, and they aren't really big label material, but the performance is always fun. They remind me of a low rent Pantera, they have the energy and a similar style, but don't have the ability of a Dimebag Darrel or Phil Anselmo. Their lead singer has a decent scream, as he prowls the stage, strikes a metal pose and delivers a line. I don't know if I'd go searching these guys out, but I'd look forward to their show if they were on the bill with someone else I was interested in.

Next up is up and coming thrash act, out of Canada, 3 Inches of Blood. I was completely unfamiliar with them coming into this set, and I was very curious to see what brand of metal they would impose on an unsuspecting listener. Before we get to their performance, there was something else I noticed. The crowd in the pit, and around where I was standing, was beginning to grow, the closer it got to 3 Inches hitting the stage, people slowly filed in and made their way into the pit. It wasn't packed by any stretch, but there was a noticeable difference. When the band came on, the crowd got loud, chanting their name and instantly getting into the music. Apparently, they have been developing quite a following, now would the music stand up to me? The band has six members, two singers, two guitars, bass, and drums. When I saw two singers, I was thinking it would be similar to Mushroomhead, with one singer and one screamer, not the case here, both were screamers. The both had a distinctive growl, playing well off of each other. The guitars were fast, skull crushing, yet oddly melodic. The drumming was brutal, minimal kit existing of 4 drums, and I believe, 3 cymbals, but that was all he needed. The rhythms were very primal in their feel, heavy, and very, very loud. The band came together in a cacophony of noise. They were good, not at the top of my metal charts, but I liked the sound. It was very medieval in feel, I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but medieval sounds about right. They were on for about a half hour before relinquishing the stage. Then the crowd began to dissipate. I am looking forward to hearing what they sound like on CD. See photos from the set here.

The main even took the stage around 10:30, the mighty Metal Church. I admit, I am very unfamiliar with their music outside of memories of friends playing their tapes, and me liking it. They have recently released a new album, The Weight of the World, and are now touring in support of it. They are not featuring the original lineup, only the drummer and one of the guitar players, but that didn't detract from their show. They played a mix of songs from their early albums with a healthy dose of new tracks. I have to say, I loved the show. They may be a product of the eighties, but they were not part of the hair metal scene, their sound leads more towards the real metal acts of the time, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament. They are not quite as heavy as those other acts, but the music is definitely not for anyone expecting Poison. They played for about 90 minutes, giving their all on stage. The guitars were fast and furious, heavy riffs, solos, all backed by a solid rhythm section, and led by strong vocals. I picked up their latest album, and it is a good listen. This is a band I will have to dig up some more albums from.

Overall it was a very good metal show mixing old and new styles. All of these bands are worth checking out if you get the chance.


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