Eyehategod/Brutal Truth/Nachtmystium/Earthride/Strong Intention/Harlequin Ichthyosis

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I’ve mentioned in numerous concert reviews how it seems as though more and more promoters are organizing tours that feature a whole package of well known bands. The latest tour to follow this trend is Eyehategod’s headlining tour, which follows their recent performance at the 2010 Maryland Deathfest. On this particular stop in Frederick, Maryland the band brought along Brutal Truth, Nachtmystium, Earthride, and Strong Intention along. And if you’re into any of these groups, they are well worth experiencing live.

One of the main goals of this concert seemed to be to bring some more exposure to the venue, Krug’s Place, which has been a host to a number of bands in the local scene in the past few years. Although it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of Frederick (which is about an hour and a half away from the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area) it’s a nice and cozy venue that can only hold a couple hundred people or so. This gives people the chance to be up close to all of the bands that they go to watch and this was certainly a plus when it came to watching these bands, especially considering how jam packed it was during Eyehategod’s Deathfest set.

Although they weren’t listed on the tour flier, a local opener called Harlequin Ichthyosis, who seem to be a cross between traditional death metal and black metal with some core influences. The band certainly isn’t bad and the members all seemed to have pretty good chemistry as their material was fairly tight and not sloppy but they just didn’t grab me at all. All of the songs sounded as though they followed the same formula and with song titles such as “Disco Pirates”it was hard to tell whether this was a band that should be taken seriously or not. However, with that being said they are far from the worst local act I’ve seen and with a little more refinement could become a lot better in the years to come.

Up next was Strong Intention, who are considered to be local legends by many of the people who have been a part of the Maryland/Virginia scene for quite some time. While they may have started out as more of a hardcore band over the years they have gotten faster and heavier and transitioned to material that will likely be labeled as grindcore by most. Although these guys have been around for awhile (though there have been numerous lineup changes the group has existed since 1993) they still play as fast and intense as ever and definitely impressed me. The crowd was still pretty small at this point but everyone who checked Strong Intention out looked like they were having a good time, and they are definitely a group I would like to see live again.

Earthride was the next band to play and while they are from Maryland they’ve gotten quite a bit of countrywide exposure over the past decade or so. For those who are uninitiated with the band they are a doom/sludge act that was formed by Dave Sherman after Spirit Caravan disbanded. As they are a slower group that has plenty of heavy grooves, Earthride was a perfect fit for this tour and were met by a fairly sizeable crowd. The group played a variety of material, including one of my favorite songs “Fighting the Devils Inside You”. Sherman sounds great and his gruff vocal style really hits you in a live setting. Although this genre can be fairly hit or miss when it comes to seeing it in person, Earthride’s heavy grooves swept over me and kept me entranced for their entire set. The group only got a little over half an hour to play and I would love to see them have the chance to do an hour long set at some point in time/

I saw Nachtmystium when they played with Marduk last winter and as such I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from their set. The group has become one of my favorites in recent years thanks to their combination of black metal with a variety of experimental styles (their newest album Addicts can barely be classified as black metal as it has really branched out their sound). They may not have been using as big of a sound system as this was a much smaller venue, but the band still sounded great and was able to amp the crowd up with material that was mainly from Assassins, Addicts, and Doomsday Derelicts. This seems appropriate considering it is how most people have heard of Nachtmystium, and the group definitely gave it their all. While vocalist Blake Judd can sometimes be a little bit hard to hear over the wall of noise that the band creates, they are still very enjoyable to watch and are definitely consistent.

Brutal Truth was up next, and they are a band that I have wanted to see in person for a couple of years now but have always seemed to miss whenever they have been in town. One of the first things that I noticed was how much energy the group had, as they played a 45 minute set that consisted almost entirely of fast paced songs. While this is certainly not unexpected considering that the group is a death metal/grindcore band, they do have more mid-tempo songs than others in the genre so it was nice to see them play as many of their fast tracks as they possibly could. What was particularly impressive was how Brutal Truth was able to maintain this frantic pace without missing a beat. The group moved between older material and new stuff, and if you’re a fan of their music they will not disappoint you.

Eyehategod had already impressed me a few weeks earlier at Maryland Deathfest, but I was eager to see them in a smaller setting up close. As I expected, the band did not disappoint. Many people consider the group to be one of the more influential sludge/doom bands out there and it is easy to see why when you listen to them play. All of their songs have some really heavy grooves that are catchy as hell, and Mike Williams’ vocals sound downright menacing and venomous. Although Krug’s Place is a fairly small venue it seemed as though it was it was almost at its maximum capacity as the crowd was pretty large and every person there seemed to be into the group’s music. Eyehategod sounded just as good as they did at Deathfest, and their set left me wanting new material.

This was a hell of a show overall, and all of the bands seemed to have given it their all. While the lineup was pretty varied, it seemed as though most of the people there were into most of the acts and if you have the chance to see a version of this tour in your area I would recommend it (I say your version because I’m not sure if all of these bands are technically a part of the lineup touring around the country).

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