Thursday, May 14, 2015

Antigama, Drugs of Faith, The Communion & Buckshot Facelift @ Nihil Gallery, Brooklyn 5.13.2015

The Nihil Gallery is a new(ish) venue south of downtown Brooklyn; formerly an art gallery, it's got a bar, some picnic tables to sit around and an adorable little pug who scampered around before the show started, but that's about it. [It's also got a front door without a handle, which I stared at for a full minute before being instructed to get in by pulling on the mail slot]. Which makes it perfect for a metal show. Who needs all the tchotchkes in Saint Vitus or the Acheron's kvlter than thou clientele? The sound at Nihil was great, the space was big, and the bands more than made up for the commute from Woodside.

Everyone who showed up early got to see one of the underground's best kept secrets: Buckshot Facelift are comprised of three members of DoC friends Grey Skies Fallen, but where GSF are slow, deliberate and grandiose, BSFL are a molotov cocktail of hardcore, grind, and death metal; as per their name, their music tends to go in all directions at once. They have the self-deprecating, smart ass charm of the best NY bands, but when they dedicate a song to a deceased friend, it exposes the big heart beating underneath.

Long Island grinders The Communion are new to me; they take Brutal Truth's combination of extremely fast with extremely slow and add precision. With two guitarists and no bassist, they sounded both clean and tight, approaching a sound that was blackened and terrifying.

With Rich "The Grindfather" Johnson of Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Enemy Soil, it was a safe bet that Drugs of Faith could blast with the best of them; it's when they don't that they really become interesting. "Grind N Roll" is a little bit too facile of a descriptor - with their skronking guitars and snaky basslines, DoF sound more like what would happen if a Sub Pop or Am Rep band were dosed with gamma rays, and then spliced with crusty grind. The bass all but obliterated the guitars in the mix that night, furthering the Unsane/Jesus Lizard comparisons. Or maybe they were just making up for the low end that The Communion was missing.

Throughout the night Antigama's drummer practiced his blastbeats outside the performance space. I couldn't figure out why - maybe to work off some nervous energy? [He could have worked off some more  - early into the set his kit collapsed beneath his onslaught.] The Polish band take grind's short attention span and political subject matter, then let the technical wizardry of Decapitated run roughshod all over it. Throughout their 23 (!!!) song set, they displayed the variation missing from Meshuggah's recent output and the sense of excitement lacking in most tech/death. Their performance wasn't lacking in production value: The lights and a very enthusiastic smoke machine would have led you to believe that we were all in a bigger club, and not a converted art gallery. Credit to the Nihil Gallery for that illusion, but I don't know that "80's Euro Club" is necessarily the best fit for a grindcore show.