My Musical Adventures

Speed Eraser: The Faceless, Dying Fetus, Beneath the Massacre @ DNA Lounge, 12/13/09

I could describe my final metal show of the year at DNA Lounge as one giant blur that sounded like a tape being eaten by a player that is being eaten by a growling bear and leave it at that. But since many people don’t even know what a tape being eaten by a player sounds like anymore, I must go into more detail.

The beginning would be like the part in MTV Cribs where they speed up the tape as the celebrity walks down the hallway- the boring ritual that occurs before every show: car parked on 10th, fast walk down the street and around the corner, obligatory ID flash to the doorman who has probably memorized my address, wristband, check in at guestlist, golden ticket, hand in golden ticket in exchange for stamp over wristband, bar, vodka cran, up the stairs, set up shop in the balcony. WAIT! Rewind- no balcony spots left since it was half closed off…must stand among the masses.

Beneath the Massacre is soundchecking, their thick French Canadian accents perking up my ears. Funny how that accent goes away once the music begins. They begin, and as the circle pit gets going and the machine gun drums and deep growls start pummeling the crowd, I look over and notice a shirt by merch: ‘HELLA FUCKING HEAVY’. Yep, that about sums it up. I’m watching the guitarist, seeing his fast fingers and hearing this almost xylophone-like sound come from his instrument. It’s this contrast in this brand of death metal that I’ve never quite come to terms with.

Dying Fetus are from Maryland. Dying Fetus make a lot of noise for a three piece. Dying Fetus is one of those band names that you say out of the corner of your mouth. I must be pro-choice if I’m at a Dying Fetus show. Dying Fetus’ guitarist and bassist share vocal duties. Dying Fetus are pretty rad live. Dying Fetus.


The Faceless are from Encino, man. I essentially missed their set when they opened for Meshuggah earlier this year. Was that really earlier this year??? Shit. There are five people in The Faceless, and they do everything in double time. I was standing nearest to Michael ‘Machine’ Keene….good freakin’ gawd….can this guy play a guitar. I used to play the violin and was thus around orchestras a lot when I was younger, and watching him play reminded me of watching someone in a symphony. But yet it’s a metal band…kind of mindboggling. His hand would contort as it glided up and down the guitar. He pulled out every advanced style of playing I could think of- and I’ve seen some decent guitar work in my days. And on top of that he would even remember to throw a headbang in every once in a while. And while this guitar player was amazing, the rest of the band was definitely highly skilled as well. I kept envisioning them as marching band nerds in high school who decided to start a metal band. So why did I only like-love them and not love-love them? Sometimes the parts can be greater than the sum. Many songs felt like vulgar displays of skill rather than meaningful melodies.


After a few hours of marveling speed demon guitarists, it was time to bid adieu to DNA for the year. Due to ABC shenanigans, they will be closed for most of January. Since the holidays are the season of giving, you can donate to the DNA legal defense fund here.

1 Comment

    I have to agree with you on the whole technical-metal thing, Jamie. I know that metal musicians tend to get stereotyped by non-metal musicians and listeners as being something short of 'real musicians'. And that stinks. That said, metal trying to be something other than metal is not a good idea unless you've got more than just the chops to do it. It actually requires good songwriting and arrangement skills. Opeth and Candiria have been doing it for quite a while now, and a few other bands can do it without sounding like musical masturbation. Unfortunately, most of these technical-metal guys are just lost on me, and I'm clearly not alone in that.

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