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Necrophagist/Arsis Live Review
4/29/2006 @ The Red Parrot Cafe (Lorain, OH)
by Anuj

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon as we set out to go see Necrophagist and Arsis. The venue is a good two-and-a-half hours' drive away from Columbus; thankfully, I wasn't driving. Getting there was a hassle in itself, as we ended up driving about 15-20 miles off course. Once we got there, we were in for a bigger surprise... the town was a complete sh*thole! We were there a little early, and there was absolutely NOTHING to do. It was something out of a bad horror movie. 

Even to find some decent food we drove a few miles away to a McDonalds (where I ate quite reluctantly). Finally around 7:00 people started to show up. We didn't feel too bad once we met a couple of gentlemen who had driven NINE HOURS (!) from Wisconsin for the show.

A local opening band began to setup their gear on the tiny stage, and after much stalling, things finally got underway. This band (I didn't even bother to find out what they were called) was terrible; they played some of the most generic metalcore possible. To top it off, they had three guitars and no bassist. They were even short of a vocalist, and recruited a friend from the crowd to fill in. Everyone was pretty much just waiting for them to finish their set. When they announced that their last song was up next, it couldn't have been soon enough. Frustratingly, they managed to drag that song along for 20+ minutes, by the end of which most in attendance were tapping their feet impatiently.

Up next on the bill was Alarum, an Australian metal band on the same label as Arsis (Willowtip). They've been described as having some fusion/prog tendencies (Cynic is cited as an influence), but I didn't know what to think of them, even after their 20-25 minute set. Most of the songs were short (3-4 minutes) and nothing seemed to really stick out. I guess you can best judge for yourself, and their MySpace page is listed at the bottom of this review.

Neuraxis was a no show for this date. My friends were disappointed, but I didn't really mind as I was there really just for the headlining band and Arsis; it was Arsis who came on next. I hadn't heard much of them until a few weeks ago, when a friend introduced me to them. They're one of his favorite bands, and since our tastes agree for the most part, I gave them a few spins and was duly impressed. The music is immensely technical (I'm sure the fact that the guitarist and drummer both being Berklee graduates helps!), and draws from everything: prog rock to black and death metal. They opened with the 12-minute title track from the "Diamond For Disease" EP, and continued with a host of songs from their full-length on Willowtip "A Celebration of Guilt". I was very close up front, and the guitar skills were mind-boggling. The drummer was highly impressive too, even during his warm-up. They could have played a song or two more in my opinion, but I was glad I got to see them. Highly recommend.

At about 10:00, the headlining band Necrophagist took the stage. Their brand of technical death metal, with its neo-classical guitar overtones, sounded almost more impressive live than on CD. The set was a decent mix of material from "Onset of Putrefaction" and "Epitaph". 

The highlights were the closing two songs, 'Seven' and 'Fermented Offal Discharge'. If I had a complaint, it would be that the Germans didn't seem to get as passionate and energetic onstage as Arsis did. However, it was a grand show overall. Another local band was on hand to close out the show (don't know who set-up the timing slots on that one!), but we didn't stick around; after all, there was a 2.5 hour drive back ahead of us!

In retrospect, I doubt I would make so long a trip again to as crappy a venue as The Red Parrot Cafe was. I even mentioned to Jim from Arsis that they'd be better off booking the High Five's in Columbus, as the proximity to campus guarantees a good turnout. Let's hope they make it here the next time around...

Necrophagist Links

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Arsis Links

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Alarum Links

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Red Parrot Cafe Link

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