Fallen Martyr, Live To Die, and Ten Year Scar Rock Krug's Place
On Saturday, March 22, 2008 I made a point to get out to the best (if not only) local Frederick, Maryland metal venue, Krug's Place, to catch a local show. My main incentive to go was to see two bands I'd already seen there and enjoyed: Live to Die and Fallen Martyr. Of course, I was interested in checking out the new bands as well, and happy to get out to see some live metal and not have to drive an hour or more to do so.
Much to my surprise, Permanent Ascent, the first band on the bill, was not even metal at all. They were a punk band with perhaps a sliver of hardcore punk to them. This really isn't anything new at Krug's Place, as they book some punk bands as well. From the little underground punk I've been exposed to, Permanent Ascent seemed like the standard fare with decent music, catchy hooks and sometimes out of key but fitting singing. The most memorable moment came when they did a screaming hardcore version of "Red Red Wine." It was deftly executed and hilarious to hear the song given such an aggressive treatment. I'd buy a single of that any day.
Next up was Martinsburg, West Virginia hardcore-influenced metal band, Ten Year Scar. These guys put on an energy-packed performance of aggressive metal. Other than that, little stood out from their performance but the singer swinging the mic around everywhere, nearly hitting people with it and dropping it a couple times. I thought Ten Year Scar sounded good overall, but would have to check them out again to form a more solid impression.
Brunswick, Maryland's Live To Die were up next. They too play a more modern metal with some less-apparent hardcore influences. Last I saw them, they were in between singers, so I was curious to check them out this time with their new singer. The new singer was, in fact, good. His vocal delivery was more extreme and he frequently alternated between a raspy scream and gutteral growling delivery. The vocals seemed to fit in with the music like that's the way it was written. Perhaps they only played newer material though; I couldn't tell, having only seen them once before, several months earlier, and with a stand-in vocalist no less.
Seeing Live To Die live for the second time, I noticed this time how the band really looks like a bunch of different individuals, not your typical bunch of long-haired metalheads. Yet they rocked Krug's place as well as any other metal band I've seen there. Along with their aggressive metal, the two guitarists and bassist gave new meaning to the term "axeman," as each of them were swinging their guitars around in a semi-controlled chopping motion to the groove of their music for the majority of their set. They were swinging so violently, one could only wonder what would happen to someone (and the guitars) if they smashed into someone's face, like nearly happened to the frontman so many times.
Last up was Washington, DC area band Fallen Martyr. These guys really impressed the hell out of me when I saw them earlier this year. Just looking at the band members and their band t-shirts they were wearing, there was no question they are metalheads. Fallen Martyr played an interesting mix of blackened death metal with some old school melodic thrash guitar leads and dynamic vocals. The combination of the melodic leads and clean vocals makes me want to call that portion of their music "power-thrash," as much of the 80's thrash was, but it is only one element of the music that waxes and wanes among the death and black metal elements.
This time around I was wondering if the previous performance was a fluke for the first two songs. Either the band was playing some different songs or the mix was bad, because the first two songs were like a wall of sound with little discernable groove or melodies. Then the third song opened up, and there was a good fast-paced heavy groove and the melodic guitar leads could be heard. The rest of their set when accordingly.
For a local band, these guys have their sound and stage presence down pretty good. All of the members were up on stage wind-milling in unision for much of the set. The singer, who looks like he came straight from the 70's (but much younger), belted out a wide range of vocals - mostly growling death metal vocals with bursts of raspy black metal vocals, a few clean verses, and even one or two sung verses. The drummer's drum set is the largest I've ever seen in a local joint like this, and bigger than many established bands' as well. You can tell he is serious about his drumming, which is a considerable driving force throughout the music as well. After the set was over, a few people in the crowd shouted requests to hear a 30-second blast beat, gravity drops, and the like, and the drummer obliged.
Overall the night was full of good performances. I'm always happy to get out to one of the two or three metal shows a month at Krug's Place whenever I can. Knowing that some of the bands are good beforehand is a nice incentive too, but you can't really go wrong with a 15 minute drive, below-ten-dollar-cover, and drink prices far cheaper than DC and Baltimore. In any case, I have yet to be disappointed with a show at Krug's Place.
Photos from the show will be posted to the photo gallery shortly.
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