Tuesday, August 7, 2012

So, is it metal?

Lemmy joins Slash at House of Blues, Boston Aug. 2 Who has the better hat?

Before Slash took the stage Thursday, Aug. 2, at the House of Blues in Boston, my brother asked if I'd post a review of the show here. "Nope, not metal," I told him.

Then Lemmy Kilmister strolled on for a song, "Dr. Alibi" from Slash's guest-laden 2010 self-titled release (and would it have killed them to toss in a Motorhead song or maybe a "Cat Scratch Fever" cover?)

And here we are. Lemmy just brings the metal. Before he barked out his lines_ looking twitchy without a bass or cigarette in hand_ Slash and his Conspirators with singer Myles Kennedy were playing hard rock, not metal.

You get to the metal two ways- attitude or sound (or both). On Friday, Aug. 10 Summer Slaughter comes to The Palladium in Worcester, and that tour is metal as fuck, with Cannibal Corpse, Between the Buried and Me, The Faceless, Job for a Cowboy, Periphery, Goatwhore, Exhumed, and Cereberal Bore. In Worcester, there's also a locally curated second stage with A Wanted Awakening, Art of the Enemy, As Tyrants Fall, The Atlas Collapse, Conforza, Destroy the Legacy, Dysentery, Formless, Pathogenic, The Summoned, and Nemecide. This is heavy through and through, with screamers, brutal aggression, and a blatant disregard for anything pretty you can put into music.

Lemmy and Motorhead aren't as heavy, but their music thrashes, and the tunes all basically boil down to a variation of "Fuck You," "Fuck Off" or "I'm Fucked." Can you say that about "Sweet Child O' Mine"?

The Slash-alog (Guns, Velevet Revolver, solo) doesn't suck, but it ain't metal. There's too much melodic, pop-hunting going on, for one thing. And I have seen drunken assholes cause a ruckus at Slash-athons, but never a real pit; know what I mean?

There may be a line between metal and hard rock, but it's a divide you can easily cross. Case in point: night after Slash show, bro and I went to Toadies/Helmet co-bill at the Paradise in Boston (which began funnily enough with two dumbass girls wondering why their tickets to the next night's Moufy show weren't scanning at the door).

Helmet gets into metal turf. Page Hamilton plays gnarly, knotted guitar parts, and an edgy anger is behind every tune. Toadies are edgy and twisted, too. But the music veers off in other directions Helmet doesn't venture into, especially slow-boil psychedelic alt-rock. Together, though it was a great bill.

System of a Down and Deftones are another pair in town, playing Comcast Center in Mansfield on Thursday, Aug. 9. I'd put both into the metal camp even with their respective forays into Hitsville. SOAD's catchiness masks  a brooding discontent that's pure metal, and Deftones music is just plain crazy. Crazy is metal.

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