Eyehategod played the first of two shows at Brooklyn metal club St. Vitus on Tuesday night to a sold out crowd. They were supported by Long Island's Grindest the Communion, BK mad scientists Cleanteeth, and DC's Powerviolent pretty boys Magrudergrind.
The Communion greeted the earlybirds a little later than expected, according to an anonymous metalhead loud-mouth outside the club: “They had the full backline set up and they still take the stage late... I bet they're from Queens, or the neighborhood right down the block. Damn hardcore bands...” Once they actually took the stage, the Communion hammered out what one crowd member vocalized as "the best of sludge and grind," reminiscent of all the groovier, slower Anal Cunt songs that everyone rifles through 20+ tracks of nonsense to find.
Armed with an Iron Maiden-sized arsenal of guitarists, Brooklyn's Cleanteeth attempted to add a little texture to this otherwise visceral night of extreme metal, but much can be lost and go wrong when you've got three frontmen and five noise-makers. Fresh out of the gate, we saw the bassist fall to a connection failure, but which connection within his massive pedal board? Apparently, the good thing about having three guitarists is that a bassist's absence is nearly undetectable—but this is a "no man left behind" crew. After a tangled battle with his cables, and a few minutes of stand-and-stare time, the bass was back. I've heard their pretty studio recordings on the Myspace, so I know these guys are all talented musicians. Unfortunately, with this much noise clutter on stage, it's hard to hear the layers of rhythm and dynamics throughout each song. This is a band that will shine in a larger venue.
Having listened to Magrudergrind since the release of their compilation 62 Trax of Thrash, I was shocked to discover their massive sound is created by only a guitarist, drummer, and singer. No bass in sight, and frankly, no bass missed. Powerviolence, being a genre known for its concentration of hardcore punk's more abrasive, is always one of the better dressed of the extreme metal subgenres, with Magrudergrind being right up there with the most fashionable. Rocking slick combovers, the guitarist and singer left little of the stage untracked. Avi's (vocals) menacing stage presence brought on the stagedivers and track stars ready to circle pit, setting the stage for Eyehategod.
Playing their first show of a back-to-back series at St. Vitus bar in Greenpoint, Eyehategod started their set with a synchronized wall of feedback before blasting into their signature sludge-infused hardcore. The crowd immediately kicked up, and the concretely defined pit from Magrudergrind dissolved into a full-room roll. Trapped between the stage and an empty road case, I found out quickly no one was safe from this crowd. Judging by the obstacle course of monitors three songs in, neither was the stage.
Seeing as EHG hasn't put out an album since 2005, there was word that the band's NYC sets would shine some light on new material. “New Orleans is the New Vietnam,” a grooved-out blues riff, is easily one of the best riffs I've heard in a long time. If this is any indication of what to expect from their new album, we're doomed. The album will kick so much ass. It's pretty easy for a listener of sludge metal to become completely lost in the absurd amount of riffs and, as a result, feel disconnected from the artist. But Eyehategod stayed engaged with the crowd, completely unshy about bickering back at the crowd. “Oh, you're punk rock! I bet you don't get paid,” Mocked Mike Williams, vocals. “That wouldn't be cool to get pai...” cut off by a flying plastic cup to the face. “Now, that's punk rock!”