Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A View from the Pit: Black Breath and Red Fang

When I found it about this show a mere week before the event, I was in shock that I had not realized two amazing bands were going to be gracing the same stage with their beautiful presence. Two bands diverse enough to keep the venue full and keep the crowds attention for the duration of the night. Hipsters and heshers alike filled the floor and participated valiantly as if this were the last show that one would ever be witness to. Local black/death/thrash/crust/whatever other label you want you add on brought in the locals and new found riff master generals Red Fang brought the name recognition now that their latest album, Murder The Mountains, had decimated the underground. With the venue opening an hour and a half before the show even started (!) it was a little unnerving at the low attendance at first, but after local openers Brokaw lit a fire under everyone's asses, the crowd filled in and the bloodshed was ready to begin!

 For almost two years now Black Breath have been darlings of the underground with their amalgation of black/death/crust metal that reminds us of Entombed and their death n' roll metallic goodness. There is a rawness to Black Breath's sound that was meant for the live stage and the band members themselves validate the sound with their primative take to the stage, simply pummeling you with audible violence that leaves you with a smile on your face. Playing several tracks off their latest album Sentenced to Life as well as off their breakthrough album Heavy Breathing, the band had the crowd absolutely eating out of their hands. Deftly maneuvering between righteous guitar work, crowd vocal participation, and sheer metallic savagery, BB enticed the willing audience in a form of savagery that only starving wolves would be able to understand. Bruality, thy name is Black Breath.

When Red Fang took to the stage on that fateful Friday evening I was not sure what to expect. Would this be a calm affair as the band plays doom which is not usually as dynamic and propulsive as death or thrash metal? The vocal histrionics do not always lend to people screaming their hearts out and propel the audience into thrashing like a maniac. But holy effing riff Batman! When the continuous riff after riff compilation was mixed with the powerful yet understated vocals and pounding rhythms the crowd turned into ferals beast seeking sustenance off the gravy thick sound waves that permeated the sky. Very little between song banter was needed to keep the crowd's attention as the music itself did all the work. The sound was perfect on this night, just enough muddieness to keep the grit of the music real while still clear enough to hear every single riff line. People singing along and air riffing until the point of exhaustion rendered them incapacitated. But when the next song began the energy came back. This was undoubtedly one of the best performances I have seen in a long time and I cannot wait until these doomsters make their way back to the Northwest.


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