Mercury Lake, Exostra, Here Lies Another, Clouds Over Midgar, Neverender, Kharmuh, Mettal Maffia, Sykosis
May 25th 2013
Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH
I’ve been thinking a lot about the changes that have taken place in my life since I last visited Peabody’s. My blog has gone from a having a few dozen hits per month to a few hundred. I spent two months in rehab. My brother passed away. Our government has done absolutely nothing of importance. The buildings around Peabody’s and Rascal House have been tore down and I’ve nearly forgotten what a hangover feels like.
But in spite of all that has changed some things are still the same. Peabody’s is a great place for heavy live music.
Mercury Lake surprised me. They play the typical metal core popular at the moment and they do it well, but what really astonished me was that their female singer is actually attractive. Of course there are several good-looking women in metal music (Kittie, Otep, the chick from Coal Chamber), but I’ve never seen one in a local band. While her voice was just as great as any other metal screamer I’ve heard recently I couldn’t get over the fact that she may have looked more at home singing “I Knew You Were Trouble” into a hairbrush. I’m not complaining; it’s nice to have attractive females involved in the scene and it’s great to see a band fronted by a chick who I would bang even if she wasn’t in a band.
I can’t say I was blown away by Exostra’s performance. they still brought their electronic-fueled craziness and even added a bass player, but the guitar low notes being strangled by the amp made it hard for me to get into. I guess it probably seems shallow that a poor guitar sound can turn me off that much, but if you read the preceding paragraph you’ll see that I am indeed very, very shallow. I regret that I missed their battle with a bionic space pig but did find Mark’s vocals very nice. The best thing about them is I’m sure they’ll switch things up a bit and completely blow me away the next time I see them.
I’m not sure whose idea it was to have bands playing simultaneously on the two stages, but that’s why I missed some of Exostra’s set. When I made it over to Here Lies Another they were suffering from technical difficulties of their own. But they quickly recovered to rock their own brand of breakdown heavy metal-core.
I enjoy heavy stuff as much as the next guy but by the time Neverender took the stage I was a little full. I understand that shows need similar sounding bands to appeal to fans but after three groups that sounded very similar I couldn’t take anymore. I’ll have to check out their Facebook to try and make it up to them in the future.
Of course, something about bands wearing identical vests also turns me off. But I’m also really turned off by bands where members are wearing sport jackets and/or sandals. Especially when they have silly names that sound Tolkien inspired. This should say a lot about how good Clouds Over Midgar were to hold my attention. I guess they would be classified as psychedelic-stoner rock. I’m not sure that’s correct but with the thundering bass guitar, shouted vocals and single note guitar riffs I think that’s a close enough approximation. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see them in the future and hear more.
Mettal Maffia has improved since I last saw them. They’ve gone from sounding like a rap group with a live backing band to a single unit. The addition of a lead guitarist has done a great job of unifying them. While they still have a bit too much rap for my personal taste, they’re definitely bringing more metal to the sound than they were before. And say what you will, they have a great high-energy live show that makes it quite a struggle to remain standing still. My biggest complaint is that their new female singer looks like she might be about 15 years old and was wearing really tight pants and doing a great job of shaking her ass. It made me feel real dirty until it was confirmed that she is old enough to have her ass stared at. Maybe I should just start taking my girlfriend to shows so I can focus on the music a bit more.
Sykosis have also tightened up their sound and played an awesome set. I’ve seen other local groups headline Peabody’s, but Sykosis is the first one that came off with the energy, sound and live performance of a nationally touring act, which I’m sure they will be before too long thanks to their new record deal. While the masks tend to make you think of a Slipknot/Mushroomhead rip off, they have a much more New Wave Of American Heavy Metal sound reminiscent of Lamb of God and Chimaira. But with slightly more epic solos. And while I can’t help but feel that masks have outlived their usefulness I have to give props to the rhythm guitarist with the bow tie and suspenders. Way to shake up the cliche.
Apologies to Kharmuh. I don’t know why they didn’t stagger the bands and instead had them play at the same time. If it hadn’t been for that I would have caught your set.
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