All Photos & Text by Alan Hunter
Like something out of a nightmare, Seattle’s Funhouse looms in the gaunt shadow of the Space Needle, sans actual carnies. Fittingly, Monday night’s bill played out like the soundtrack to that nightmare…one brilliant nightmare I have been waiting a long time to experience. Recently emerged from the California wilderness and the fires of Stella Natura, Servile Sect, Ash Borer, and the almighty Quebecois, Menace Ruine joined local dudes, A Story of Rats.
Blanketed in thick fog and candlelight, ASOR started things off with their haunting vibrations. A blend of droning synth, hammering drums, and creeping lap steel (recent addition to the group, D. Salo) their ambient magic provides the perfect soundscape to our darker, colder autumn evenings. Druss’ eerie vocals and complex layering will make the hairs of your neck stand tall. Truly one of my favorite local acts. Look out for their newest release this fall and a European tour in the works.
Following ASOR, mysterious bicoastal act Sevile Sect took stage. Although certainly drawing from many a musical/artistic influence, their acid-laced, sample-laden, psychedelic black metal experiment is a force to be reckoned with. These are the jams with which one might summon the great Carl Sagan…or enjoy during a trip trip in the presence of our extraterrestrial ancestors. It’s a plus that their live performance includes Ash Borer’s “M” on drums.
Review + Photo Essay after the jump!
Menace Ruine’s recent release, Alight in Ashes, is simply genius and it was wonderful to finally see them in the flesh. Genevieve’s gorgeous vocals provide an interesting and spine-chilling accompaniment to their distorted, industrial, black noise. Meticulous in their sound and production – so much so they stopped to correct the sound guy mid-set – they do not upset (except maybe soundboy). Although it may be exhausting listening for some, this duo’s avant-garde approach is a good reminder that there is beauty in all…even the macabre and bizarre.
Northern California’s Ash Borer ended the night on a black metal warpath. Loud, fast, and punishing – these guys fucking rule. Their newest release, Cold of Ages, is a staple in my rotation these days. I can only imagine how epic it was to see them in their element at Stella Natura last week, but two days later and I am still stoked on the destruction I saw here in Seattle.
In a time when music bloggers and internet-junkie metalheads are so hell-bent on defining sound, I’m trying my best not to pigeonhole any of these utterly unique, genre-spanning bands – so, when this tour wages it’s dark, aural war on your town, just fucking go! At the expense of sounding like some drooling fanboy, I’ll just say this was my favorite show this year and I think it’ll be hard to top for some time. Sometimes you ACTUALLY get everything you want in one damn show.