Saturday, November 23, 2013

Live Review: High On Fire, Kvelertak, Doomriders at Metro, Chicago 2013

High On Fire | Kvelertak | Doomriders

Metro - Chicago, IL
November 22, 2013


I'm always glad when a venue does a poster for a show I'm attending, but more and more it's become obvious the artists have their own agenda and don't have a clue about the band(s). Nothing in that bullshit poster is representative of the bands. Lame.

I made the cold and brisk four block walk over to Metro and after hitting the coat check, merch stand and bathroom in record time, made my way upstairs to find my friends. Doomriders were onstage when I arrived, and while I enjoyed Black Thunder, it's not something I listen to very often. I gave the new album, Grand Blood, a listen and felt pretty indifferent about it. I've apparently seen Doomriders live twice before, but don't remember either show. To be honest, I don't remember much about this one either. Zero stage presence and nothing compelling enough to make me care. A text from a friend at the bar removed me from indifference.

While trading metal gossip and debating the merits of Trouble and The Skull, the crowd began to fill in nicely. I was the only one in our group who had seen Kvelertak before and was excited to see them again. The Norwegian band creates a twisted genre tornado of hardcore, black metal, rock and poppy hooks to create something entirely original and awesome.

Kvelertak took the stage and definitely grabbed everyone's attention.

If your night doesn't include a singer wearing an owl on his head, you ain't livin'.

Unfortunately, the frantic energy I've seen from this band in the past wasn't on display this evening. Maybe it was the smaller stage they had to work with as a support act, maybe they had been asked to tone things down. Whatever it was, something was missing. They played flawlessly and sounded great, but I would have walked away pretty bored if this were my first experience with Kvelertak.

Luckily, a friend of a friend was on a mission to ensure my beer was never empty.

Matt Pike, wearing his favorite shirt.

The crowd roared as a now-sober Matt Pike stepped onstage. Whereas some artists who any number of habits come off awkward or unsure of themselves, nothing could be further from the truth with Pike. In fact, this may have been the best HOF show I've ever seen. The band unleashed a tidal wave of volume on the crowd, where three pits quickly broke out. Pike looked down and smiled at the chaos while the band steamrolled everything in its path.

The set included a nice mix of their albums, but it was the new single "Slave the Hive" that sent the crowd into an entirely new level of fucking frenzy. The band were hitting on all proverbial cylinders at this point and didn't let up. I've personally never seen Matt Pike look/act this good in a long time. And I was especially pleased that after pummeling the crowd with "Snakes for the Divine," the band said thanks and walked off the stage. Lights up. No silly scripted encore. HOF are back and better than ever.

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