A skull-crushing, band-by-local band preview of Friday’s headbangers ball:
In a rare stage performance (these guys prefer to be on ground level at all-ages shows, where the crowd shares blood and sweat and you can get clocked in the head with someone’s guitar pegs) Roñoso delivers fine crustcore without the prevalent aborted fetus imagery. Plenty of metal bands can get downright emo, lyrically-speaking, and not that you can understand Roñoso’s vocals but the band sings about “patriotic” aggression, social justice and turning off the damn television. If Greg (bass /vocals), Miles (guitar/vocals) and Mike (drums) were walking down the street, mothers would yank their babies away to safety, never knowing that they’re some of the nicest guys around. Be sure to get to the club early because being the nice guys they are, Roñoso usually volunteers for the sacrificial opening slot.
Me, I can’t tell Slayer from Ratt. If one doesn’t know better, you might tag Black Maria as heavy metal or doom rock. But the more you listen—I mean actually listen without getting swept up in the pulse-pounding splendor of the aural assault—the band is more rock and roll than immediately apparent. Black Maria is notably distinct and unmuddled for a five-man setup. Although the songs are as tight as a well-built stone wall (and make you feel like you’re pounding your head against it, enjoying it all the while) each instrument can be heard distinctly. It may be a tad buried, but there’s melody lurking beneath the tumult. Translation: You could even dance to Black Maria if so inclined. That is, if you can keep from head-banging and hair-whipping along with the boys on stage. Think Blue Cheer covering Fu Manchu with a bit of Ten Pound Hammer’s Blaine Cartwright riffs and Lemmy of Motorhead egging them on.
Mimo (throat wrenching vocals and treacherous bass), Mandy (roving riffage) and Chan (tough-as-nails double-kick drums) are the iron maidens of Suspended who wail, rock and thrash all over the place. These gals had plenty of practice since they began shredding in high school. Suspended definitely aren’t the girls you would’ve asked to the Senior Prom … unless you wanted to slam cans of beer in the parking lot with Megadeth on the radio and leave the sappy sentiment to your classmates waltzing around in the gym.
Tonight’s local band sonic assault wouldn’t be complete without some straight-up death metal. End to End take a classic thundercore sound and mix it up with the agonizing screams found deep within its self-proclaimed “inner beast.” Piercing power chords, relentless drums and tortured vocals deliver a solid wall of clamor.
Don’t plan on getting to bed too early tonight. Even if you leave the club before closing you’ll be too amped to sleep anytime soon.