The show last night started with local group Digital Homicide. These guys have a sort of raunchy southern rock sound that, although I’m not typically a fan of it, had me intrigued. The music was clean and, compared to the rest of the night, the lyrics were easy to understand. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the lyrics, there’s no denying that I was a huge fan of the energy. For the first band of a five band bill, these guys were trying their hardest to get the crowd going. Some members of the crowd were giving in whereas some were not but their effort did not go unnoticed.
The first of the touring bands to take the stage was Rivers of Nihil. The fact that these guys had a group of a couple of fans that had driven all the way from Canada just to see them should say enough. These guys have always been tight and, having seen them multiple times now, I’m always impressed by the pure musicianship that they present. With complicated riffs and beats, these guys never seem to miss a note. Getting to see these guys multiple times and being able to watch them grow has been absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table next time around!
Rotten Sound was the next band to take the stage and the only touring band of the night that I knew nothing about. Shame on me. This Finnish band exploded onto the stage with a sense of fury and brutality that I wasn’t ready for when I walked into the venue. I had been expecting a night of heavy metal and maybe a little taste of trash but Rotten Sound brought a bit of grindcore to the bill and instantly won me over.
I had a hard time understanding what Kiejo, the singer, was saying in between songs. His accent was thick and, when mixed with the booming sound system, there was no hope in my catching anything he was saying but that didn’t matter. What I did understand were the short, brutal and fast songs that this band played. Although all of the bands that played last night had an undeniable sense of energy, Rotten Sound had the type of energy that I crave at a concert. It went beyond anything I could have expected from a band I had never heard of before.
As I was recovering from the punch in the gut that was Rotten Sound, it was time for Ringworm. Ringworm has been around for what seems like forever. James, the singer, but it best when he followed up a song with, “That song was 26 years old. How old are you? You may have been conceived to that song!” I couldn’t help but chuckle a bit as the band continued their set without hesitation. It’s clear that these guys are used to playing for younger audiences and, whether it bugs them or not, it’s nice to see them joke about it.
Hailing from Ohio, Ringworm has been a staple in the trash metal scene but often cross over into many other sub-genres in the metal world. Their music is very diverse from song to song and that’s part of their charm. Beyond their versatility, their work ethic and dedication to the grind that is being in a band is truly humbling. With 17 releases and, what seems like, non-stop touring, if these guys don’t come up in your “most hard-working band” list then you are doing it wrong.
Even with all of the years this band has behind them, their live show outshines some of the younger bands I’ve seen perform. Their energy is that of a young band but their music is what you would get from a seasoned band. They had the perfect mix of old and new when it came to their set list. Although their set was short, I think they got their point across. Ringworm is a staple in the trash metal scene and they are not going anywhere!
Closing out the night was Darkest Hour, a metal band from D.C. I had been a huge fan of these guys back in the early 2000’s but really hadn’t thought of them much recently. What a shame because, even after over ten years, these guys still have it and are still just as amazing as they used to be.
The last time I saw these guys, I was more than impressed how they sounded just as good live as they do on CD. I thought it was a trap. I would have put money on the fact that they were tracking or something but, after seeing them again last night, it’s clear that they aren’t cheating at all. These guys are seriously just that good. Just like the last time, standing there listening to them perform was damn near exactly the same as listening to their CD really loud. The thing that differs is the energy.
With the recent release of their ninth full length album (Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora), much like Ringworm, these guys have proven that they are hard working when it comes to the grind and they are not going anywhere any time soon. They also have proved that, like Ringworm, they are versatile. Darkest Hour’s new album is noticeably different than their previous albums. It has a sense of tenderness that was never clear in their other albums. Even with this sense of tenderness on the recordings, when played live, the new songs didn’t lack the brutality that made me fall in love with this band in the beginning.