26 October 2009

CMJ Update #2 (Wrapup)

I only went to one panel on Friday, and it was about music and film, and may have been one of the better panels I saw. The panelists role-played and went through the choice of a song for a movie or commercial which was really fascinating and educational.

The Slayer listening party was a fun time, complete with Slayer DVD imagery and some Gallows DVD added in as well. Both DVDs are really good in fact, I might have to get them. Really bizarre but fun to see...if you like the weird and possibly grotesque. After the listening party we grabbed some authentic Chinese food in Chinatown and hopped over to the Relapse showcase.

Gloominous Doom opened up the showcase, and though it wasn't what I expected from a band with doom in the name, the music was pretty neat. The band has a bunch of technically solid players who transitioned from ska to dance to metal all in the same song, but the transitions themselves were not entirely smooth, mostly due to teh "purity" of each style played. Putting ska next to grindcore or even jazz fusion is just not entirely smooth no matter who plays it. I'd love to see this band move more progressive a la Between the Buried and Me, and less Iwrestledabearonce.

Howl was a bit more complete feeling than Gloominous Doom, though less to my liking stylistically. I was particularly not a fan of the vocals, though in general something with this band kept them from being overly enjoyable for me.

Complete Failure was a thrashy-y/grind-y band which didn't appeal to me at all. I struggle to see the appeal in music that is all blast beats and speed such that it basically devolves into noise. But that's just me.

Black Anvil were really solid. The first band of the night that the whole audience was really starting to get into, and one of two bands a lot of my CMJ friends were excited to see live. A sort of black metal-influenced hybrid, they keep the vocals black with more traditional metal guitar lines and less tremelo picking which makes for a fun and somewhat unique sound.

Revocation was, interestingly, my favorite act of the night. Normally a death/thrash sort of hybrid would hold no appeal for me, but the music was somehow catchy and good-sounding, and really got the whole crowd energized and moving.

Salome probably could have won top band of the night for me had they been a bit less experimental. Now, I'm all for bands experimenting, even live, but when you're a really doom-y, slow tempo band, experimentation for 10 minutes per song tends to drag and become tedious, very unfortunately. I also didn't dig the vocals. High-pitched screams just don't work in doom in my opinion, it detracts from the heaviness.

After the show, lots of sleep. Saturday was the day off. Did some tourist-y wandering around Times Square with some of my promoters and Kim Kelly, then hit up Jekyll and Hyde for dinner round 1, followed by dinner in Little Italy with Sarah and Becky for dinner round 2. After packing and pulling an all nighter, I hopped onto the plane bright and early at 6 am and came back to sunny Tempe exhausted and a little bit sick. A valid sacrifice for living life like a rockstar, and learning too of course.

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