Picture bodies packed into a cozy garage, possibly not fully sound-proofed walls, narrow, people hanging from the rafters like the apes we are, moshing into the band, and oh so much beautiful noise. Church last night.
Third St in Santa Cruz near the Boardwalk was crammed with bodies Saturday night, wall to wall, two-stages; one garage reserved for the loud. Enter Vault Dweller hailing from Salem, Oregon trying to find their box of beer before they sound check. Then, after a lengthy tune up, they start to jam. Then there’s me, completely floored by the soul of the music. It was a groovy, doom, crust, heavy metal treat. Delicious. The bass (Big Derrick) was phenomenal, Nate hit the guitar with feeling and Brandon, the drummer on vocals was tearing through the night with piercing cries of fury. Seriously, it was great. And such an amazing turn out with all of us completely prepared to rock. The set was painfully brief so all the bands playing could fit in before the “wee hour” in Santa Cruz of 10pm when people would most assuredly complain. Still, it was enough time for Vault Dweller to conquer.
Then, the buds and I make a run for some beer before Fell Voices start their set. And we come across this beacon of light which turns out to only deceptively promise booze. Not a poison in sight. Balls! But luckily, dear friends arrive with reinforcements before the local black metal band that I had been yearning to see goes on. When we return to the garage, we find ourselves trapped in the back of an impressively large crowd of people waiting for the music. When the band started to play, I realized that I was really glad that my friends, who usually don’t have as much interest in or exposure to live black metal, were able to get a taste of Fell Voices. The songs were mainly instrumental, and since there was no mic (perhaps it wasn’t functioning properly), when I heard the screaming of what I thought were vocals, I couldn’t tell if it was the roar of Joe, Mike, or of the crowd. The ambiance was on point, and it seemed like everyone was feeling it. I was drowned in trailing, heavy, sometimes soaring melodies and still assaulted in the best way possible by the fast and deep bite of metal. I was completely enthralled by how good the sound was, and the communication of energy between the band and the people who came to see them. When I was (at last) in front, and had a clear view of it all is when I could really tell how well they were being received. It was awesome to run into friends from the station that don’t usually listen to metal thrashing around for Fell Voices and getting carried away- more head banging, shoving, and rafter climbing. Bliss.
Even though, as was the case with Vault Dweller, the set was short and left me thirsting for more, it was simply well-played. Twice. I would encourage everyone to get their hands on some material from both groups. On that note, if anyone scored themselves a Fell Voices vinyl at the show, here’s a message from your local black metal brothers:
A Note Regarding Our New LP
Fell voices is pleased to announce the availability of our new full-length LP.
It features two UNTITLED songs recorded during the winter solstice. Any information to the contrary is false and should be disregarded.
The 180 gram vinyl was released by Human Resources and Attrition records, and features original photography by Corey Riddell along with layout and additional art by Daniel Brigman. The release was mastered by Dan Randall of Mammoth Sound Mastering.
Hope to see you all coming out and supporting good local music soon!!