On Wednesday March 11th, I went down to The Blacklight District in Long Beach for my first time, to see Inanimate Existence and WRVTH yet again, this time with a whole new group of local bands. The Blacklight District is a small bar with a small stage in the part of Long Beach that contains several bars similar in style, making this area the focus for music in Long Beach. The layout is not perfect, as pool tables and pillars made it awkward for fans to find a place to stand, but the bands and fans made due for another fun night of metal. Many people who attended the Slidebar show had returned to watch these two amazing acts and to continue supporting the local scene.
I arrived late, so I did not get to see such local favorites such as So This is Suffering and Dormant Decrypt. I got there just in time to see Blood of Our Brothers begin. I had seen them before when they opened for Cattle Decapitation in La Hambra (a show that is remembered more for the events that happened than the great bands that played there), and they were able to adjust in the space well. Their brand of deathcore is full of melodic moments and breakdowns that were making their friends and other audience members in attendance headbang along with the beat. They got a great response at the end of their set.
Next was WRVTH. It was interesting to see how their set was different than the one at the Slidebar. There was no fancy lighting system, so they made due by turning off the TVs and other unnecessary lights to make it dark. Then they used their own bright lights that they set up by the drums to make it so that the members were shrouded in shadows, giving off a cool effect. The musicianship was top notch. My only complaint of the set is that the vocals were mixed too high and they did not have any reverb on it like the previous show, putting the shrieks way in the forefront. However, it did show how good his growling capability is, as we got to hear strong and well executed growls when they did happen. I got to hang out with the band and talk to them for a while after the show. They explained that the name change is representative of their direction since the addition of their new singer. The V in the name is a throwback to their old name more so than being a reference to black metal bands. However, they did tell me information about their new album that makes me very excited to listen to it when it comes out. It also made sense that their new direction focuses more on black metal like ambience and shrieks, as Thomas was wearing a Deafheaven shirt that night, and even reminded me of their singer as he was more active in this show and went into the crowd to mosh and sing in peoples faces for the majority of the set. Finally, they told me that they would be coming back around Southern California in May, so check them out when they do!
Inanimate Existence played a set that I actually thought was much better than their Slidebar show. The levels were mixed perfectly. The guitars weren’t too loud, and the vocals were perfectly in the front (but not overbearingly). This accentuated the technicality of the band as the drumming and bass could be heard much better. You could feel the groove a lot more, and this created tons of impressed faces in the crowd. The band used occasional samples for strings and females vocals that I did not hear as much the first time, but this added a whole new layer to their music as it reminded me of symphonic metal bands such as Fleshgod Apocalypse. This made me appreciate them even more, and I’m glad I went to both shows so that I had the chance to be equally impressed by them and by WRVTH. I look forward to seeing both of these bands next time they come around, and hearing both of their new albums!
The night ended with another local band, called HitlermadeMeth. I had seen these guys before at Malone’s in Santa Ana, opening for As Blood Runs Black. They have an interesting style of grindcore that is filled with audio clips from movies and other forms of media. In between the clips are fast riffs, insane screams, and heavy breakdowns. Their music feels very spastic, and the image is enhanced by the guy who handles the clips on a Mac computer while wearing a mask. They played last so that the two touring bands could get the better slots when most people are out and about (before it gets too late). This is a common practice in Long Beach and is a sign of respect. My band did the same thing at The Prospector when we played after Wings Denied, a touring band who had come all the way from Washington DC. It is always interesting to end the night with a local band after seeing the headlining bands you came for, but HitermadeMeth was up to the challenge and many stayed around for them.
All in all, I’m glad I got to see the bands at two different shows, see how the dynamics change at different venues, and see how bands adjust to those changes each show.