Bands You’re Not Listening To – Achren

I’ve recently been enjoying a live DVD for the Scottish Black/Thrash metal band Achren called ‘Impaled at Bloodstock-Open-Air 2010′. I’m convinced these guys need to tour the states with our own Skeletonwitch as there’s a lot of similarity in their musical styles – and they’re both fuckin’ brutal! Achren’s self-described ‘Blood Metal’ sound is one part chest pounding Battle Metal and one part raspy Black – all channeled thru vocalist/guitarist Scott Anderson (who bears resemblance to Soulfly’s Max Cavalera), guitarist Callum Kirk, Bassist John Clark Paterson and skin-bashing demon Gordon Johnston.

The disc features their entire set at Bloodstock, a performance that won them the ‘Metal 2 the Masses Initiative 2010’ title and in turn insured 2011 invites to Metal Camp (Slovenia), the mighty Wacken Open Air (Germany) and a slot on Bloodstock 2011. The Foursome from the Northsome (like that? I just made it up!) blast thru songs like the adrenaline fueled ‘Wings of War’, ‘Blood Soaked Banner’ (one of my fave’s – I love it’s blackened, oldschool vibe), ‘The Way of the Twilight or the Aura of Flies’, ‘Fury of the Northmen’ (another one with catchy Thrash riffs), ‘Forgotten King’, the pummeling ‘Bastards on the Gallows or Bastards on the Rack’ and instant classic ‘Impaled’ (which is included below so you can check it out yourself).

The DVD itself does suffer from a few flaws as Anderson’s guitar is muddled & hard to distinguish, and there’s scarcely any footage of the audience – which is a lot more massive than it would appear at first. Still, the multi-camera angles are professionally shot and Achren’s dominance of the stage is fully captured in all it’s glory.

Definitely give the video a watch as these guys are destined for great things in the hallowed black annals of heavy metal. If you’re interested in getting the full DVD, you can order it HERE. New album ‘The Forgotten King’ is forthcoming too, so watch their site (www.achren.com) for more details.

Evil Dead – The Musical

Made my way to the Riffe Center, Studio 2 to see a production containing two things near and dear to my heart; zombies and anything to do with H. P. Lovecraft. Being a fan of the Evil Dead movie series, I was skeptical that anyone could make a respectable production, a MUSICAL no less, out of such cherished (to me) material. But here I was, joined by my trusty pal Phil, as we ventured into a theater I’ve never been to before, to see the only musical in the world with a ‘splatter section'(which is where our seats were, of course!).

The creators of EDtM are clearly trying to cater to the Rocky Horror Picture Show aficionados – hell, the movies are already cult classics so this is a reasonable goal on their part. Upon entering the lobby, a nifty stand-up located near one entrance allowed for a little buffoonery while we waited for the doors to open. As you can tell from the picture, we availed ourselves of the opportunity. At least I wasn’t the girl. . .

Anyhow, once inside we quickly noticed our section was covered with enough plastic to make me feel like Elliot after it was discovered he had E.T. in his closet. Not only were all the chairs thoroughly covered in Saran wrap, but we were also given rain ponchos. “Wow” I thought. “this is a little unusual for the harrumphing crowd that typically comes to these productions. Bet more than one season ticket holder is PISSED.”

The production started, and away we went. And what a thrill ride it was! The first half is a tad slow, and the jokes pretty corny, but when the blood shed begins – GAME ON! The guy sitting next to me decided he wasn’t going to wear his poncho, so guess who became an instant target for every blood-spurting Deadite that crossed the stage, hmm? That’s right – and so was anyone sitting next to him! Headless cadavers, spurting limbs, exploding old lady boobs – yeah, we got hit by it all. But at the end of the day, who really cared!? I felt more sorry for the folks who WEREN’T getting any splatter action. We were having all the fun!

As for the show itself, the acting was decent and the production values (including the talking moose head and Ash’s crawling severed hand) were all very well developed.  Joe Bishara as “Ash” must have nerves of steel to go thru such an ordeal night after night, that’s all I can say.  Songs were of the old school rock n’ roll variety (again, much like Rocky Horror) but catchy & well written. I especially dug “What the F**K was that?”, “Housewares Employee”, “Blew That Bitch Away” and “All The Men In My Life Keep Getting Killed By Candarian Demons”. Getting an idea of how serious the material is?

By the time the lights went up, we’d laughed out loud more than few times, and hid behind our ponchos even more. But on the way home, we kept giggling over some of the dialogue and relishing the experience. So if you live near Columbus, Ohio – the show’s been extended until July 23rd. Get some tickets and check it out, but buy ahead because the theater is small & sells out often.  Come get some!