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Thursday January 21st, 2016 at Riot Room in Kansas City, MO
1349, Tombs, Full of Hell, & Nefirum
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Time is short. Death is near. Or umm maybe, I don't know. You never really know. Here's a quickie:

The night began with locals Nefirum. The quintet is a local black metal band. One of the few in town that I know of anyway. Corpse paint, the whole nine yards. Good sound. Varied from mid tempo to blast beats, and even a break down or two. Strong melodies. A couple of good guitarists, each of which provided leads. Vocalist Krihlus is spooky. I think that's the idea. The band said this was its last gig for a while. My timing is bad as I'm already looking forward to its next show.

Full of Hell from various parts East was next. But you wouldn't have known it as the stage was impossibly dark. A single green spotlight lit the front of the stage, occasionally catching vocalist Dylan Walker as he paced through its beam. When the quartet fires up it's impossibly tight and fast and intense. Walker has mastered every extreme vocal style known to metalkind – every one except those that involve interacting with the audience. Instead the gaps between songs are filled with noise from a host of pedals. That same noise also permeates the compositions as well. At times the band seems to leave musicality behind, but I've no words to describe the sound that the band then transcends to.

Tombs from NYC followed. Everything about this band was turned up to 11. At first I heard nothing but power. Slowly nuance began to appear, with hints of keyboard-provided, Neurosis-like atmosphere becoming visible. Maybe "visible" isn't the right word as, again, the stage was very dark, with Tombs bringing its own fog machine to provide additional cover. Based on a little pre-show research, I expected more progressive elements, but it was really the black metal that played front and center. This is a band that no one should write about after only seeing them once, so I'll stop.

The headliner was 1349 from Oslo. 1349 is the year the Black Death made it to Norway. Nice. It's also a decades-old black metal band with a spotty reputation due to experimentation on several past albums that was not well received by the metal community (punks can think back to Bad Religions's Into the Unknown). Those naysayers were surely thankful when discovering the band's set would be built largely from its latest album, Massive Cauldron of Chaos (Season of Mist, 2014), meaning damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. The resulting hour-long, no-encore set, was tight and professional, and successfully overcame to potential disasters. First, somewhat rare for the genre, 1349 has only one guitarist, who, due to technical failures, played the entire set without any of his effects pedal, giving the band a raw feel that served as an appropriate throwback to the band (and genre's) beginnings. And second, the band's legendary drummer Frost was unable to enter the US due to his criminal record, requiring the band to call upon Job for a Cowboy's Jon "The Charn" Rice. While Rice was astonishingly technical, his corpse paint game was no match for the rest of his band members. While I thought the performance a bit icy, that may have been by design as the rest of the packed (and I mean packed) club could not have been happier.

Rock and Roll Sightings: None. It was much too dark to see anyone.

Too Much Rock / 4027 Locust Street / KCMO 64110