Everything on earth divides itself into good, better and best.
If you put in a minimal effort, "good" is not difficult to achieve; "better" requires a credible effort; best means you really exert yourself on both the details and the big picture.
Last Saturday night, it was possible to see Houston's best at the top of their game. 20+ year veterans Imprecation, and a band full of mostly 20+ year veterans, Blaspherian, tore the White Swan into pieces with their blasphemous, hateful, violent and brilliant music.
This event very clearly belonged to Satan himself. Not only were the lyrics blasphemous, but the symbols were occult -- heck, even the rhythms were occult. The entire presence of the bands and fans breathed an evil darkness that drove away mortal souls.
Blaspherian took the stage first, with experienced songwriter Wes Weaver leading the charge with his downtuned axe. The bassist/vocalist, who is new to the band, stunned the crowd with his energetic delivery of both punishing bass and guttural, roaring, insane hellfire vocals. Drummer Matt was precise as always but now divides his playing between aggressive fills and relaxed cadences.
As a unit, Blaspherian were both tighter and more relaxed than they have ever been before. The band moved as one, like a phalanx sweeping over the earth, and this allowed them to deliver high-contrast tempo and riff changes, during which time you could feel the crowd shift in energy. This show caught people up in its mood and dragged them out of normal reality at high speed.
The band demoed new material in the form of the same old school death metal but with even more interplay between the riffs. Where previously these songs were the shouts of demonic angels attacking, they are now an argument scorching the heavens between several forms of darkness. I have high hopes for whatever they release next!
Imprecation are also old school death metal, in the Morbid Angel style, but with some vestiges of the old speed metal material in the vein of Dark Angel or an Americanized version of Kreator or Destruction. The result is not only hollowing gloom like death metal achieves, but a punchy and energetic motion that draws you in like Metallica and Slayer used to do.
Showcasing one new guitarist, Mike, the band roared alive with several classics from their Theurgia Goetia Summa, a 1995 compilation of their early 1990s material. They also played several new classics from the opus Jehovah Denied, which shows off an updated and more streamlined sound.
As a result Imprecation were also at the top of their form, with vocalist Dave Herrera (also of Morbus 666 and Bahimiron) whipping the audience into a fury with his warlike delivery and hoarse, vicious voice. Although the band went on close to 1 AM, the crowd surged back into life, chanting in blasphemy along with these death metal lifers.
This show was mindblowing in that it showed us the top echelon of Houston death metal bands together on one stage, and many known players in the local and regional metal scene attended. Luis Carlos and The Adversary kept the show running smoothly with a watchful eye and support of the bands, who also displayed drool-worthy tshirts and rare metal releases for sale.
When the dust cleared, Houston was littered with the corpses of the angels of light, and dark-eyed black-souled demonic entities ruled the night, leaving the desecrated corpse of goodness, purity and virtue bleeding in sodomized ignominy and existential ruin.