Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Mike, I feel the same way.

Before I begin, I'd like to point out the obvious and make mention that no, neither my wife nor myself were shot last evening. Unfortunately, neither was anyone connected with the Bush White House. Oh, lighten up trolls, if I had any. I'm evidently joking. Manifestly.

"Let's keep an eye on that Randal Graves fellow."

I will, however, publicly admit my support for the guillotine.

Now, on to the concert review.

Thanks to various policy problems both foreign, domestic and internally -- wait, that's three; damn Murkan edumacation with your fancy mathery -- I've recently been feeling angry and stabby and so this three hour power chord ceremony came at just the right time. See, you Catholics aren't the only ones with long religious rituals. Psychedelic Illinois black metallers Nachtmystium dropped off the bill for 'reasons out of their control' or some other crap -- gents, that's not very metal -- so the show commenced with the Motörhead-meets-Slayer-meets-Satan stylings of riff gods High on Fire.

Standing upon a thoroughly crushing bottom end -- if drummer Des Kensel isn't the most underrated dude around, then all the other underrated dudes must be Einsteinian in their percussive genius -- vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike directed the band through such hell-stirring hymns as Waste of Tiamat, the grinding Turk, a face-shredding Eyes and Teeth, the reverberating, eight-minute thunderstorm of Death Is This Communion and sinister set closer Devilution. But the absolute highlight was the fearsome march of Face of Oblivion, which always gets bonus points for mentioning 'Arkham.' If Yog-Sothoth had a band, this is what they'd sound like. Though, not having opposable thumbs, I'm not sure how he'd play his instrument. If there's one group that encapsulates what metal is in all its loud, destructive, oppressive, hummable riff-centric glory, it's these lunatics.

After being thoroughly pummeled for a gloriously evil hour, those wistful death metal troubadours from Sweden, Opeth, came out to the lyrical and doomy strains of Heir Apparent, followed up by a punishing Ghost of Perdition The Grand Conjuration (apparently, I can't read my own handwriting) and an old Still Life nugget, Serenity Painted Death, each multi-part masterpiece of light and dark in full bloom, sentez-vous les fleurs du mal. An even greater curveball came off of 2003's slab of mellow melancholy, Damnation, the tragically beautiful Hope Leaves. Hard to believe that the same pipes that produce such an unholy wailing can turn out such bittersweet tones.

Returning to the heavy -- in between ham-fisted and comic banter completely at odds with the images portrayed in the band's music; see, told you fuckers us metalheads are a happy lot -- with the spiraling journey of The Lotus Eater, the band further upped the despondent ante with the epic shadings of Bleak. Speaking of things bleak, songs, houses, the economy, I was anything but when they pulled out of mothballs an absolute gem of a track off Morningrise, their second album. The sullen, meandering dynamics of The Night and the Silent Water positively dripped with the sadness inherent within the memories we hold of those who have left us. Stockholm's finest closed out on a venomous note with the jagged, hammering Deliverance and a thoroughly toxic version of Demon of the Fall, both tracks steeped in violence and hatred. Of course, like every band since the dawn of time, there was an encore, a stirring, emotional The Drapery Falls. Over two hours of such brilliance is about five hours too short.

You can keep your hippity-hopping, bippity-bopping, don't-know-what-the-jazz-is-all-about, power-popping, shock-jocking, eminently boring outfits. I've got Opeth, which means I've got the best band on the planet. Oh, go on and disagree with your old pal Randal. That's fine. I must warn you though, I'm still in a bad mood, so don't be surprised if I go all Cheney and shoot you in the face for daring to have an opinion of your own.

My already shitty hearing has been made worse but, as is always the case, it was completely worth it. The angry and stabby sentiment, as indicated, remains, but now I'll be stabbing while mischievously grinning, dancing in your pooling blood. Oh don't worry, the detergent I use will get those stains out.


susan said...

I may not be a metal fan but I can relate to the cathartic experience of a powerful concert. In 1987, on Black Tuesday (as it was quaintly named) we went to see REM where we sang and danced to 'The End Of The World As We Know It'. We felt fine.

Mary Ellen said...

Crap...I need to go roll one and smoke it so I could figure out what the hell this post is about...other than you're still mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

Christopher said...


Speaking of Dick "Fatty" Cheney, did you see where he had a rare, public appearance yesterday -- dashing quickly in a black Ford Excursion?

He had to move quickly or risk catching fire from the light of the sun.

People (and I use the word loosely) like Cheney, are like vampires. The sun is their enemy.

Speaking of Metal, did you get the latest edition of Rolling Stone? Great cover picture.

Dean Wormer said...

They wanted to call the band "Opus" but the lead singer has a lisp.

Utah Savage said...

Oh Dean, thanks for preceding me in this comments thread, so I can say Muahaha! Fuck Randal, I thought I was in a bad mood. But do keep this in mind--having gone to many a loud rock concert during the good old days of drugs, sex, and rock and roll, I am nearly deaf. I have a young friend who comes for a toke most evenings, and I spend at least half our stoned conversation saying "Huh?, Speak up." She thinks it's funny to mock the old deaf broad. I guarantee that your kids will be equally mocking of your geezerhood deafness.

okjimm said...

Serenity Painted Death,
Ghost of Perdition
Hope Leaves

Wowsers.....whatta bunch of cheerful titles!

Must be almost Hockey season, huh?

Randal Graves said...

susan, it's definitely a universal feeling, regardless of genre. I think REM sometimes taps the same sentiment, they just aren't as loud.

Feel fine now?

ME, I thought I'd feel better, and on some level I do, but I still feel like setting things on fire. Like one of those joints of yours.

christopher, Vader made a public appearance? Public appearance being defined as a member of our species actually seeing him outside The Undisclosed Location.

I did, and the article isn't too bad either. I've still got quibbles with the production and a couple of the songs, but hey, it's an angry record.

dean, you'd have a lisp too if you were forced to talk and live next to those humorless Norwegians.

utah, hell, what's one more thing for my kids to mock me about. Since the little bastards don't seem to be big fans of the metal, at least they'll have their hearing as they grow up.

Randal Graves said...

okjimm, unhappy music makes me happy and so does hockey, so look for my season preview soon! I can tell you're about to pass out from the anticipation. You should drink some beer, who cares if you're at work.

Mary Ellen said...

Don't worry, Randal. I'll save you from your deep despair.

La Belette Rouge said...

I love the titles. But, it is all so loud. I actually brought ear plugs with me the last time I went to a concert. When did I get old?

Tom Harper said...

What a cozy little picture of Ashcroft and Chertoff. When I saw that I flashed back to Paul Anka singing "Put Your Head On My Shoulder."

Randal Graves said...

ME, oh man, that helps so much. You're the best.

LBR, even though it's a bit too loud, I figured that being a Morrissey fan you'd appreciate their aesthetic. We're not old, everything is merely turned up to eleven.

tom, great, now I'm going to have nightmares about that joker doing a neverending Let the Eagle Soar/Shoulder medley in some seedy Vegas nightclub.

Missy said...

Has anyone ever told you--you should write for Rolling Stone.

Yup, nothing like loud angry music when you're feeling loud and angry.

I've had the TV on for an hour now, listening to the news in the background, and every freakin' thing they say is about debt, hard times, financial problems.


I'm ready for a news blackout.

Or maybe a metal concert.

Candace said...

"Has anyone ever told you--you should write for Rolling Stone."

MISSY, we have!!!

Randal - you're missing your calling, Dude.

Beach Bum said...

Ashcroft looks like he just ate a turd or saw a statue with naked breasts. And Chertoff looks like he is about to bite him on the neck.

Randal Graves said...

missy, see, those damn hippies had it all wrong with their peace and love folk rock. Crushing power chords will save the world!

Doom and gloom indeed. Did you even watch that yokel last night?

candace, don't callings require work and deadlines and such?

BB, ha! "Hey Johnny, look over there. Bleh! Bleh!"

Dusty said...

three hour power chord ceremony came at just the right time.~ I had one of those evenings recently too. ;)'s not all its cracked up to be ya know..

American Hill BIlly said...

I'm glad the concert was good, but Dude Cherthoff??? I don't think I can read anymore if he's got his eye on ya'... Ah, I'll take my chances.

United In Peace And Freedom