POSITION: Saint Vitus BK.NY
At one point in the night, I remembered a line from a documentary on the Ramones, about how hard it was to drum for their shows, maintaining 16th notes on the hi-hat, nearly all night. Watching drummers for black metal bands doesn't leave you much sympathy for the poor guy. They hyperactively skitter so constantly on the kit, they almost seem like hummingbirds.
The night opened with the Acme String trio performing pieces written by Krallice guitarist Mick Barr. The constant sawing and keening was directly analogous to the black metal, wall-of-guitar style. Stripped of it's rhythmic backing and distortion, though, it was indistinguishable from modern composition. A lesson in the importance of context. That said, a packed house of half-drunk metal kids listened with rapt and silent attention, cheering wholeheartedly after each piece.
Yellow Eyes were a strong entry—stylistically on point with tight performances. Their nicely timed breakdowns deftly showed how this extreme form is in fact an outgrowth of heavy metal, and still tethered to it. They also served as a fine example of how innovative Krallice is within that form. Their drummer is more dynamic. The bassist often unmoored from the frenzy of activity and holding down complex, resonant chord phrases that counterweight the guitarists—a slow swaying force to the OCD frenzy around him. Barr and Marston are revered guitarists for good reason: rather than making the guitar heroics look easy, they push them further.
NOTES: Krallice; Yellow Eyes; Acme String Trio