Mouth of the Architect are one of the most creatively vital bands in the metal underground right now. They aren't trying to make it with a metalcore sound, nor with a so-weird-it-hopefully-sells sound, nor a Disturbed-esque poser sound. There isn't really a band in heavy music right now that you can compare to them. Their biggest influences are Neurosis and Isis, which has led no less than three metal magazines to call them the forerunners of the "Cult of Neur-isis". This was their last local show (yeah, they're from my area, wanna fight about it?) before a national tour. The support was plentiful, eight metal bands in all, but CoS and myself only got there to watch the last four. Which as far as I can tell, is fine by me.
The first band we were there for came all the way from Iowa to play for like 100 people. That's fucking metal. They were called Law is Dead and sounded exactly like Mastodon if Mastodon couldn't write very good songs. The sound was there, but not the general feeling that Mastodon gives you. A great big "meh", but props for coming so far.
The next band was a local group called The Harlots. They were grindcore, crust, hardcore punk, all those strange genres, melted together and mixed with a shitty singer. His growls/screams sounded like...wow. I don't know. Some of the high school scenesters who were there to hang out with friends enjoyed them a lot more than I did. The guitarist wasn't bad though, nor the bass player.
Then came the band I was really there to see, Kenoma. Featuring my great friend Doug McGinnis on the bass, Kenoma play mind-blowingly awesome instrumental progressive metal. Progressive, also, in the sense that they don't place boundaries on their music. The last song, entitled "Sleeping Prophet", was like a lyric-free My Dying Bride song, and at least five people that I saw were in tears after it. I'm trying to be as completely unbiased as I can, but this will sound highly biased anyways, so bear with me. Doug is easily the most entertaining bass player I have ever seen live. Not in a sense of having the most skill (though he is damn good), but in the sense that he has so fucking much fun up there. He swung his bass around while playing it, almost hitting people like me who were in the front row. He lifted it above his head and played it. His stage presence makes Janick Gers looks like Keith Richards
. Here was Kenoma's setlist, go to my myspace page to listen to "1913", I think you'll find yourself liking them if only a little bit.
By Way of Sun Storm
After a short breakdown and setup period, Mouth of the Architect hit the stage. There is hardly a more brilliant cacophany of sound on this planet, to be perfectly honest. As far as the genre that they play, they can't be topped, and the stellar new album The Ties That Blind
further proves that fact. The vocals are death vocals, but that shouldn't really scare you off if you traditionally don't like them, because a given 17 minute song could have about a minute and a half of singing in them. The instruments are definitely the important part of MOTA's sound. The guys were all very nice (I already knew their bass player, formerly of Rune) and gave me the setlist, which I only knew one song from without their help. They also played an encore after the venue's curfew. Rebels!
At Arm's Length
No One Wished to Settle Here
Great show, I'm gonna start seeing Kenoma every time I get the chance, and MOTA once they come home again