Skyeater / Deathkings / Aerial Ruin / Trapped Within Burning Machinery – The Hi-Hat; Los Angeles, CA
Last night I made my first visit to The Hi-Hat in Highland Park, and it was a memorable one. I’ve missed multiple opportunities to see Trapped Within Burning Machinery since first hearing The Fifth Element at Ian’s recommendation. God knows how many times I’ve listened to that record, and how many times I’ve gone on to recommend them to other fans of doom- and post-metal. The Fifth Element is an absolutely flawless record, and it was criminal of me to rank it as low as #45 on my Top 100 Albums of 2015 list. One would have to imagine if I re-wrote that list today — or if I re-ranked the Top 100 Albums I’ve heard in the last ten years, it would be considerably higher. More recently, Trapped contributed a new composition to a split 12″ with Bloodmoon called “Abysswalker,” which is about a character from the Dark Souls video game series. I had no idea what to expect from the band in a live setting, but I was super stoked to find out.
The Hi-Hat — which I guess is going to start hosting more Church Of The 8th Day events in the wake of Complex closing — seemed an odd venue for these bands, but I liked the setup. The bar/food/pool area was spacious, and the area around the stage including the seats along the back wall were also comfortable. The sound was pretty good. I could hear Skyeater performing as I parked my car a block behind York Blvd. (!) and checked out the venue before scooting down the street to wait for friends and consume a couple beers at Hermosillo.
I’d never heard Deathkings before. I don’t know much about them. I know that Der Todesking is an incredibly disturbing movie by Jorg Buttgereit (part of his “corpse fucking” trilogy), but I’m not sure if that’s where the band found inspiration for their name. One can only hope. There aren’t enough bands named after fucked up movies. Anyway, they were loud and I liked the vocals, but I wasn’t blown away.
Next up was Aerial Ruin, who I was also unfamiliar with. I was not expecting a dude with an acoustic guitar. It takes a lot of balls to play on a bill with such massive bands and take the stage with a six-string. He’s got a great voice in the style of other Celtic and Appalachian metal singers, and I’d be fascinated to hear what his albums sound like because as I said…he was not at all what I expected. The crowd was a bit rude and loud during his set, so the closer you were to the stage the better the performance probably felt.
Trapped took the stage and introduced themselves to the small crowd gathered in front of them. I offered a week slow clap that unfortunately fell flat. Zak Esparza (guitar/vocals) took notice and thanked me for the effort, which was incredibly embarrassing but also kind of hilarious. He then introduced the first song of the evening, “Abysswalker.” It sounded fantastic in a live setting, although I’ll say their sound as a whole seemed a little thin compared to the volume I was anticipating based on how they sound on record. I quite enjoyed watching drummer Geoff Jones’ labored-but-inventive style. The second song was “Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg,” which sounded just as good as the first tune. Upon its completion as Esparza thanked the audience and invited them to hang out and drink and chat, the sudden realization that the set was over after two songs and ~35 minutes was devastating. Oh well, thankfully they’re somewhat local (Moreno Valley) so hopefully I’ll have more chances to see them in the future. Until then, check out “Abysswalker” and The Fifth Element, both of which are fantastic, singular takes on doom metal.
Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg
Trapped Within Burning Machinery – Korben Dallas [MP3]
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