(Metal Descent says “crazier than a five-year family reunion of black sheep.”)
The scene at Cafe 611 in Frederick, MD was intimate in the way that families can be though not everyone knew each other. Distant branches of the same tree were crowded into the space, and yes, there were disputes, but we all grinned and pressed onward.
The Local Boys: Faith In Jane (Thurmont, MD), March to Victory (Lancaster, PA), NFDY (Frederick, MD)
I’m giving a shout out to the local bands for making it possible for me to see killer acts like EyeHateGod, Ringworm, and Enabler. I’ve seen Faith and NFDY at the Corrosion of Conformity show and March at the Nile show (can you say kiiiillller show?). Looks like all three bands have stepped up their game.
Faith in Jane brought more of their stoner metal to Cafe 611 and I had the opportunity to speak to a long time friend of the band. Turns out their original “subgenre” was rap metal (!). Seems an unusual departure but their sound has evolved into something nostalgic of Hendrix without losing that fine metal edge.
March to Victory plays good old fashioned heavy metal with elements of death, thrash, and anything else that takes their fancy. The lead singer’s voice is BEAST. The growls, the screams! Turns out they’ve share the stage with Iced Earth, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Obituary, Suffocation and the Faceless.
NFDY (Not Fuckn Dead Yet) has roots in the hardcore scene but also cites influences from the NOLA sludge scene. Somehow they’ve managed to blend the two into something unique that defies subgenre labeling. The technically precise founding members have been around since the nineties. They’re breaking in a new singer and I’m hearing good things.
Enabler is Cleveland raw. They have a driving sound emphasized by short songs that bleed into each other. A blend of hardcore punk and thrash, the mosh pit warmed up as heads nodded and hair flew. I told Jeff Lohrber I couldn’t find the set list on the Internet. He said that was because they were playing a lot of new music from their newest release La Fin Absolue du Monde (French translation: The Absolute End of the World). The album is streaming at the Earsplit Compound Soundcloud and I highly recommend it to anyone. And no, they haven’t suffered from Andy Hurley’s departure. They’ve enlisted Ryan “RayZink” Steigerwald as their drummer. Steigerwald (after spelling his name for me) told me that he also fills in for Danny Zink on drums for Ringworm as he did for this show and has been doing so since the tender age of 19. Now that’s talent, son.
Set List: Live Low, Speechless, New Life, Close My Eyes, Balance of Terror, The Exiles, Prey, Sicked by the Wake, Fuck Today, False Profit, All Hail the Void
Ringworm brought fucking-A energy to the venue. The “Human Furnace” is definitely the best at what he does. Few vocalists sound better live than in the studio, but James is one of those mythical beasts. He screamed his heart out while Ringworm revved up the mosh pit to spasmodic ecstasy right about the fourth song “Numb.” I don’t know if you’ve heard their latest offering Hammer of the Witches but Ringworm consistently brings their brutal, ear-searing, hardcore flavored metal to the studio and to the stage.
EyeHateGod slowed it down (just a smidge) but sludged it up. Mike IX Williams reminded me of my crazy Uncle Steve with his wounded artist aura and penchant for getting into pickles. The music was a dark, fetid, sludge-punk paean to the underbelly of life in the “Big Easy.”
“Sister Fucker Parts I & II” and “$30 Bag” from Take as Needed for Pain and “Masters of Legalized Confusion” from Dopesick were oldies but goodies that the band pulled out and dusted off. “Medicine Noose” and “Robitussin and Rejection” were notables from the newly released EyeHateGod. It was interesting to see Jimmy Bower on the guitar instead of behind a kit, but he shredded on the frets in a sludgier Steely Dan sort of way.
The EyeHateGod/Ringworm/Enabler tour will continue throughout the month of June. If they come to your town, I highly recommend seeing the show. Even better is if you can get to an intimate venue like Cafe 611. There is nothing like Williams or the “Human Furnace” screaming in your face as you stand right in front of them while a mosh pit shoves at your back.
I.O. Kirkwood is a Metal Descent contributor. You can check out her personal blog at http://iokirkwood.com.