Helgamite - This Virginia quartet lines up with drums, guitar, bass, and vocalist with some electronic equipment for the singer would prove essential as the half hour set wore on. This is a night of metal, although it is the kind of metal I go out of my way for... something with an adjective in front of it such as alt, nu, progressive, psyche, etc. The first of the four area bands that fit into this expanded metal universe took the heaviest approach tonight with a lot of death metal moves, but added many intriguing twists. First, the vocal treatments through the electronics added a lot of depth and intrigue to the heavy sounds. Instrumentally, they are sound although I found the compositions somewhat lacking at times. Their command of a heavy sound still won the day as they have a lot of moves that will interest a wide variety of metal fans. I particularly enjoyed some of the nearly jazz moves that the drummer was employing in lieu of simply pounding away. This is an intriguing band that got things off to a rousing start.
Murder Troy - Still one of the newer area bands, they have accomplished plenty in a short time. They are not quite Mogwai, but they employ many of those same powerful and soaring instrumental moves. One guitarist does plenty of shredding, while the other creates intriguing and controlled riffs. The rhythm section is heavy, but with touch. The keyboards are interesting but were a bit lost in the loud mix tonight. That is something they hopefully will work with more. They create some powerful mid-tempo drones and never have me clock watching as there is always a lot going on and a clear inviting vibe to dig into to. They even slipped in some Boris amidst their songs. This band has it together and will only get better as they keep writing and gigging.
Technicians - Well, it took 18 months but I am finally getting a repeat performance from a band I like that had a sound that mystified me last time out. Tonight, this twin-guitar quartet had a flowing set that started heavy, steadily backed off before revving up to the point at which they started. Along the way they took their Crystal Antlers meets Hawkwind brand of space rock and headed into more of a post rock territory. They do not seem to be doing a lot, but plenty is going on as these songs have a straight forward intensity. There is far less metal here, but the power and precision they possess fits right in with the creative heavy fest tonight. The moderate sized crowd was spirited all night making for a great atmosphere, and no less so for this set. Next time out, I will spend less time trying to fit this band into a slot and just let loose into their sound.
Caustic Casanova - I am too lazy to look back at the number of reviews I have written on this local favorite of mine, so feel free to roam the archives. There has been a significant growth over this time, much of which due to the guitarist change some months back, so there is always plenty to look closely at while enjoying their sound. The good news is that the guitarist integration is pretty well complete and the band seems as comfortable as ever. They blend their songs with noisy transitions and play off each other well. Even the few times they seemed a little lost in between songs, they never veered from the formula. And that formula is to create intelligent and interesting alt-metal with plenty of psychedelic touches and rhythmic flourish. The songs are powerful with lots of personal twists that set them apart from the pack. It is best just to dive in and experience for yourself. And the good news is that from coast to coast, many cities will be getting that experience beginning next week. It is scary to think how much more together they may get when they return with a long tour's worth of shows under their belt.
Ticket Stub of the Night: Courtesy of my Dayton friends who tell me this was the second ever concert at Hara Arena. Note the time... I wonder if they had to get the ice ready for a Dayton Gems hockey game thereafter.