April 11th was a fair night and the crowd arrived at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester, Massachusetts for a night of Black Metal with a little Death Metal mixed in. Ralph’s is quickly becoming my favorite venue because it is the perfect balance of big-name acts with an intimate environment to see them in. I have seen Blood Incantation, Demilich, Tomb Mold, and Horrendous, to name a few; every show has been great and the staff always beyond hospitable. This particular night had a bill that I couldn’t miss; opening with Legions Descend, then Infera Bruo, followed by Suffering Hour, and the headliner Sinmara. As with the Decibel Tour, I wanted to see one band and was going to the show no matter what, and in this case it was Suffering Hour; I’ve been a huge champion of how incredible In Passing Ascension is ever since I discovered it, and seeing it performed live was a hope ever since.
The first band on the stage was Legions Descend from relatively nearby in Littleton, Massachusetts; a melodic mix of Black and Death Metal, leaning more toward the Black Metal end. I was only aware of them from this concert, but spent some time looking them up beforehand, and listened to their demo. Their demo doesn’t do them any kind of justice, they are eons ahead of what they set to tape; what I heard was a talented though not outstanding band, but what I saw was an unbelievably accomplished and fully cohesive act on stage. Everyone was far beyond my expectations, from the powerful vocals, the flaying guitars, the enormous bass, to the pounding drums; Legions Descend is one not to miss and a name to keep in mind for whenever their next release is coming.
Next on the stage was Infera Bruo, their name meaning Hellish Noise is Esperanto which is a perfect moniker for these Boston based conjurers. Supplying their own red lights around the stage, and dropping the stage lights to a minimum helped to add an evil aura to the proceedings; opening with eerie soundscape samples and ominous tones humming from the mini-Moog, it felt as though a ritual had begun and you were captive to it. What followed was an atmospheric and blistering Black Metal performance that floored me and left me thoroughly impressed. Similar to Legions Descend, they shattered any expectations I had going in; fierce, cold, and precise Black Metal stirred through the crowd and accented by the gloomy notes pouring off of the Moog. I found myself lost in the music several times throughout their set, headbanging along and transfixed, especially by the guitar performance.
Suffering Hour was the third act on stage, and the one I was waiting for. Missing out on their EP upon original release, but quickly catching on to just how good they are from their debut full-length In Passing Ascension, I’ve been a fan ever since. Getting to see them live is not something you’ll want to miss, as they continued this night’s trend of sounding infinitely better than their recordings. Very quickly it was difficult to see the stage as they began to play; a dense smoke began to roll out and filled the venue with an impenetrable cloud, stranding the audience in place as the first dissonant notes rang out. From then on the crowd was hypnotized as each song was impossibly better than the last. I was hoping for it, and leading up to the show I listened to it as many times as I possibly could; Suffering Hour closed out their set with the full EP/song Dwell, and it was a flawless 18 minutes that flew by.
Headlining the night is a member of the ever-expanding and talented pool of Black Metal coming from Iceland, Sinmara. Sharing members with other acts from the area such as Slidhr, Almyrkvi, and Svartidauði, Sinmara are phenomenal occult and mystic Black Metal. Donning sleeveless cloaks, except the drummer, all with ash painted across their faces and arms, and draped in a blood-red light; the scene was set for what was about to be unleashed. From the first few notes, it was clear that the better live trend was not ending; the haunting Black Metal of Sinmara only got better as their set went on, churning through the audience as the unholy spectacle continued. Every dissonant note, every crash and pound, and every vocal shriek and howl were in the perfect place. Sinmara are an extraordinary band and made a solid fan out of me with their stellar performance and the adherence to their style in every way from their appearance, to their intense stares.
The whole night was memorable and made me a solid and very vocal fan of all four bands, even making me a little more militant in my recommendation of Suffering Hour especially. Ralph’s Rock Diner and Codex Obscurum put together one hell of a night yet again. I’ve gone to a few of their collaborations now, and I completely intend on attending as many as I can; getting to see some of my favorite bands, and every single time finding new ones. I can’t wait to do this all over again.