The Middle East Downstairs // Cambridge, MA // Oct. 25, 2009
Heads were banged, beer cans thrown, and bodies thrashed in a maelstrom of metal. When Goatwhore and Eyehategod came to the Middle East Downstairs, shit got rocked.
Goatwhore came to the stage as conquering warlords in search of Satan with their own special brand of punk-influenced black metal. The energy in the room peaked as lead singer Ben Falgoust battled and screamed his way to the edge of the stage where many a pumping fist and devil horns awaited. Throughout the chaotic set, Falgoust seemed to be rallying the crowd to him with a joyous anger, high-fiving anyone in the crowd who threw up a hand and throwing his long hair out in maximum head-banging capacity. Bassist James Harvey and drummer Zack Simmons stayed tight and controlled through fast and complex changes that Sammy Duet could choose to accent or shred over.
Lit cigarettes dangling from their lips, Eyehategod let feedback take over the room for a few minutes before bringing down the hammer with the brutal “Take as Needed for Pain.” Slower and heavier than the opening acts, the music became a death swagger that pulled you in and held you under until you found yourself fighting for air in an ocean of distortion and anger. Every punctuated bass note became the swing of an opponents fist, the vibrations of sound became the quiver of anger boiling up inside, begging for a release. Pushed to its limits, the crowd exploded into pits whenever the band deemed it fit to open up into faster (but no less heavy) riffs. Lead singer Mike IX Williams spoke aggressively between songs, never letting the feeling of doom lessen until after the set when he thanked everyone for coming. As the band lit up fresh cigarettes and left the stage to get a brief rest before an encore, one drunk fan shouted an appropriate summation of the night: "Fucking Metal!"
-By Garrett Frierson; photo by Max Braverman