Eyehategod - Cobra Lounge - Chicago - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Eyehategod - Cobra Lounge - Chicago

by Texacaliago Rating: Release Date:
Eyehategod - Cobra Lounge - Chicago
Eyehategod - Cobra Lounge - Chicago

Heavy-metal, as a genre of music, is ripe with clichés, some of which were on full display Sunday night at the Cobra Lounge in Chicago. But considering the headliner that evening was Eyehategod, it was safe to say that regardless of whatever inevitable clichés were in store from the supporting bands on the bill, when it was time for the main event of the night, you could throw all that bullshit out the window and prepare for the real deal.

But sometimes heavy-metal can be most fun when a band embraces the stereotypes associated with the genre with a healthy sense of humor to go along with it. Such was the case with the opening band that night, Chicago’s own: Sacred Monster. If the name itself didn’t already give it away, this band fits the above description to a tee, but at the same time, their appearance flies in the face of most traditional heavy-metal conventions. Sporting a button-down shirt with a bright red tie and thick-framed glasses, front-man Adam Anderson displayed some impressive pipes and screams during the band’s overall pretty tight performance, all the while coming off like a heavy-metal version of Louis Tully (Ghostbusters). Needless to say, it was all highly entertaining and often amusing (in a good way), but also can’t stress enough how precise and on-point the band as a whole were as they displayed their thrashy/doomy chops quite impressively, especially for an opening act playing to a room of maybe 20-30 people. Anyway, I thought they were pretty rad. We need more red ties and glasses in heavy-metal. Oh, and cowbell (which they also had).

Gotta have more cowbell.

Sacred Monster: B+

Next up were a pretty straight-forward, generally doomy band by the name of The Pale Horsemen. Their main vocalist/guitarist was rocking a Godflesh t-shirt, so I could tell he had good taste in heavy music. I appreciated their no-nonsense presentation and sound. They played mid/downtempo, groove-centric metal with an overall noticeable lack of bullshit. And although they were a solid band, they weren’t quite as entertaining as Sacred Monster for me personally. Quality band overall though.

The Pale Horsemen: B-

Going back to the metal clichés thing, the middle band of the evening were Black Fast, and, now that I’m thinking about it, that is a pretty apt name considering their sound. They wear black (shocker) and they play quite fast. Essentially, they sported an old-school speed-metal sound (ala Megadeth) with a bit of a death-metal flavor thrown in for good measure. They played really fucking fast and really fucking loud, but that’s about all they had to offer. It all felt mildly cheesy, but, the sheer intensity of their sound was undeniable. If you were a fan of good old fashion (dare I say cliché) speed-metal, then Black Fast definitely delivered the goods on that front.

Black Fast: C+

Up next were venerable stoner-metal legends The Obsessed, who have amassed quite a loyal cult following over the years (as evidenced by the 10s of vocal fans rocking it hard in the front row that night). Although this reviewer was not terribly familiar with them, after soaking in their trademarked brand of swampy doom-rock, they might warrant further listening, as they definitely delivered some delightfully tasty riffs that night. Lead singer/guitarist Scott “Wino” Weinrich (who kind of looks like Patrick Swayze’s dad in Roadhouse) earnestly and stoically delivered waves of satisfyingly crunchy riffs throughout the evening, much to the delight of the crowd which had grown to completely fill up the room by that point. Overall, while stoner-metal rarely “wows” you, it’s not really meant to. It’s just supposed to be steady, crunchy, and groovy, and few bands have consistently delivered the goods on that front for as many decades as The Obsessed. Overall, while nothing particularly amazing from my perspective, they lived up to their reputation and put on a solid performance.

The Obsessed: B

Finally, just shortly before midnight (on a Sunday night mind you), it was time for the main event of the evening: Eyehategod. As someone who grew up “Serving Time In the Middle of Nowhere” in the rural desolation and cultural/intellectual wasteland that is the Llano Estacado of West Texas/Eastern New Mexico, the sheer bleakness, disgust, and hostility of Eyehategod’s patented brand of sludge has always resonated with me. Through their feedback-drenched assaults, they are essentially channeling the type of hopelessness, frustration, and despair associated with growing up in poverty in the American South, and all the degeneracy that can go along with that. Whether it be drug addiction, petty theft, domestic abuse, incest, racism, murder, or the oppressive, ignorant, and hypocritical “religious” culture that dominates the region, Eyehategod’s songs shine a bright, unflinching light on the dark underbelly of southern culture in the United States (or as they call it, “The Confederacy of Ruined Lives”).

All of that baggage (or at least my interpretation of it) only serves to heighten the intensity of their already thoroughly filthy sludge-metal attack, a sound that was brought with full force Sunday night. Of course songs like “Shop Lift”, “Sister Fucker (Pt 1)”, “Dixie Whiskey”, and “Blank” hit like a ton of Southern Comfort-soaked bricks, much to the delight of the crowd that promptly broke out into a swirling (occasionally gaping) moshpit that stayed consistently active throughout most of their performance. But, for this reviewer anyway, it was their relatively newer jams that really stole the show, particularly “Medicine Noose” and “New Orleans is the New Vietnam” (the latter of which was probably the highlight of the night). There was also a seeming impromptu feedback-drenched jam session towards the end of the night that evolved from Aaron Hill’s animalistic solo drumming into a stomping groove as the rest of the band joined in to coalesce the decidedly filthy jam.

And although the above description of the proceedings might lead one to believe an Eyehategod show is a purely sadistic experience (which from a sonic/physicality perspective, it kind of is), on the contrary, the band themselves projected a decidedly affable vibe throughout most of the night. Granted, chief axe-man (and certifiable N.O.L.A. scene legend) Jimmy Bower already has that reputation somewhat, but even Mike Williams was projecting a warmly apathetic vibe throughout the night (you know, when he wasn’t bashing himself in the head and rubbing his face like a mental patient). Overall, although Eyehategod sports a blistering sound by most people’s standards (with often disturbing subject matter to boot), in a live setting they came off as just a really heavy, down and dirty rock and roll band. Maybe that’s sugarcoating it a bit (they were ridiculously heavy/loud after all), but the point is, I would like to think Eyehategod’s music can appeal to those outside of the sludge-metal genre. Granted they also have always had a hardcore-punk element to their sound, as well as noise-rock, but, whatever the case, if there is art to be found in pain and suffering, and if there is beauty to be found in ugliness, then Eyehategod’s show Sunday night/early Monday morning at the Cobra Lounge was a thing of pure beauty.

Eyehategod: A-

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