Concert Review: Abysmal Dawn, Vader, February 18, Velvet Underground

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment


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I first got into death metal way back in my high school days when a good friend turned me onto all of the greats of the genre – stalwarts like Carcass, Entombed, Deicide, etc. So it always does my heart good to see newer bands that are still churning out stuff with a similar old school vibe. Abysmal Dawn is one such band, although The Los Angeles-based death metallers don’t quite qualify as all that new anymore with three albums out over the course of a nearly 20 year career and another on the way soon. They are still a new-ish band to me though and one that can definitely hold their own with O.G.s such as Poland’s Vader, with whom they were sharing the bill on this evening alongside Vitriol and Hideous Divinity.

Abysmal Dawn are currently on tour in advance of their upcoming fifth album (and first in six years) Phylogenesis, coming out April 17th on Season of Mist. Frontman Charles Elliott took a moment to hype up the new album at one point, telling the crowd, “You can pick that shit up in the corner,” before catching himself and adding, “Well, a free sticker at least.”

Their set focused mostly on older material, though they did take some time to preview a couple of tracks off the new album, including lead single “Hedonistic.” Based on those tracks, the upcoming album looks promising, with each song offering up some impressive old school death metal full of blastbeats and impressive riffing. For his part, Elliott also took every opportunity to get the crowd riled up and active throughout their set.

“I want to see you moving out there,” he said, in an effort to get the whole room involved. “I don’t care if you’re in the pit, if you’re on the side … bang your head, shake your ass. Whatever.” I will admit that this comment set my mind off on a couple of different tangents, first wondering if death metal twerking was a thing, and then getting Mystikal’s “Shake Ya Ass” running through my head for a few seconds. Such thoughts, however, were quickly beaten out of my head by the band’s sonic attack.

Up next were Vader, and while Abysmal Dawn’s sound is clearly inspired by old school sounds, Vader are literally old school, having formed back in the ’80s and releasing their first album, The Ultimate Incantation, back in 1992. Much like Abysmal Dawn, the Polish legends are also touring in advance of a yet to be released album, the upcoming Solitude In Madness.

The band ran through a set of songs from throughout their career that might have felt a little too brief for the hardcore fans, though the band did mention that they would return soon once the album is out, with frontman Piotr Wiwczarek adding, “See you soon. See you next time. See you in hell!”

SXSW Song Of The Day: Ali Barter – January

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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Photo Credit: Lindsey Byrnes

In this writer’s humble opinion, some of the best, most compelling songwriters of the past few years just so happen to be Australian women with guitars – think Courtney Barnett, Alex Lahey, Julia Jacklin, and Stella Donnelly, just to name a few. And after listening to her sophomore album Hello, I’m Doing My Best, I just may have to add Melbourne’s Ali Barter to that list.

Hello, I’m Doing My Best, released in October of last year, showcases Barter’s songwriting quite well. Songs like “Backseat” and “Ur A Piece Of Shit” grab the listener with their punky attitude and energy while other tracks take a more introspective approach. “January” falls into the latter category with its lyrical portrait of someone wistfully examining their life with the advent of another new year:

Hey there January
Looks like we’re alone again
Another year is over
Left the same way it came in
Said that I’d be thinner
Said that we’d be better friends
But I’m still on the treadmill
Change the channel

And on a side note, I will point out that the video for “January,” featuring Barter laying by the side of a pool littered with empty beer cans as others continue to party around her, presents a reasonable facsimile of how one can sometimes feel by the end of the week during SXSW.

Ali Barter plays Friends at 10:00pm on Thursday, March 19.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Solveig Matthildur – Dystopian Boy

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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Photo Credit: Dean Wallflower

I was already turned onto the dark synth-based sounds of Iceland’s Kælan Mikla this past November when they made a stop in Toronto for a Taste of Iceland/Reykjavik Calling-presented show alongside fellow Icelanders Solstafir, so they were already on my list of notable acts at this year’s edition of SXSW. And with the recent announcement that Kælan Mikla member Sólveig Matthildur would also be performing as a solo artist, one more name has been added to that list.

“Dystopian Boy,” the first single off of Matthildur’s latest album Constantly In Love, definitely shares some sonic DNA with Kælan Mikla while also bringing to mind the likes of Austra and Bjork. Check out the video for “Dystopian Boy” below.

Sólveig Matthildur plays Barracuda Backyard on Tuesday, March 17 at 7:30pm.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Blushing – So Many

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment


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Photo Credit: Cody Ross Cowan

Another day, another SXSW performer profile. Today we turn the spotlight on Austin shoegazers Blushing.

The band, made up of two married couples, just released their self-titled full length debut in September of last year and will be returning to SXSW to promote it.

“So Many,” the lead track off that album, starts things off with a slow burn, taking its time to build up to the big climax until it finally unleashes a burst of distortion just past the halfway mark. Check out the video for “So Many” below.

Blushing plays Esther’s Follies on Thursday, March 19 and probably also a bunch of other shows over the course of the week.