Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Profound Lore Takes on South By Southwest" (by Sam Dumas)

The South by Southwest Music Festival has for the past few years been plagued by atrocious hipster music and masses of pseudo bohemian losers. That makes it the last place you would expect a mammoth sized showcase from one of the metal underground’s foremost labels. But last night England’s Profound Lore Records brought their mind blowing and often punishing brand of metal straight into the heart of enemy territory.
Oslo’s Altaar presented a slow grinding offering masked behind a wall of distortion, not unlike their fellow label mates YOB. While nothing was wrong with this in and of itself, Altaar’s set showed little variety and did little to make them stand out above a hundred other bands that utilize this exact sound.
Bruce Lamont of Yakuza fame had a far more interesting ambient set, while being set back by his late arrival to Austin and having to record his loops in a live setting, proved to be a very rewarding listening experience. Unfortunately one could easily tell this set left most of the audience asking themselves what the hell had just happened.
Wolvhammer quickly brought the energy level back to the venue with their own brand of hard hitting blackened, crust madness. The brutality then quickly escalated when the almost flawless USBM band Castevet took the stage. Castevet quickly proved that they could bring the same punishing black metal sound that made their album Mounds of Ashes, one of the highlights of 2010, to a live setting.
Just as everyone’s ears were getting used to being completely assaulted by the insanity that is black metal, the sometimes epic and always graceful Grayceon hit the stage. Everything about the band’s performance was dead on except for one of the main staples of their sound. Apparently while she was taking the time to tune her cello, Jackie Perez Gratz, the front woman of Grayceon, forgot to do a mic check making her vocals very muffled in the mix.
Then Ken Mode showed they could hold their own in this whipping metal storm. Their highly experimental style of metalcore had the audience pumping but the short set left everyone wanting more.
The night closed on a high note with a spectacular performance from cult metal band Slough Feg. Their hard hitting signature NWOBHM sound did not disappoint.
At end of the night there was no question as to why Profound Lore Records has become the underground powerhouse that it is.


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