by Christopher Woodford
successful CD release party, Liquified Guts returned to Gooski’s for another
round of grinding goodness. “Guts,” by far, are the least serious of the
grindcore bands in the city. During
their set, Vocalist/guitarist Jim Sherwood interacts with the audience through
lighthearted descriptions of their songs.
Leading into “The Third Quaid,” audience members are asked by Jim if
they know of Randy Quaid’s brother who isn’t Dennis. Strange questions and dialogues are often
common during Liquified Guts’ performances.
The goofing around continues as it flows into the band’s songs.
Chugging and gurgling vocals are prominent
sounds, like some overweight demon consuming pounds of flesh. It is an amusing experience for fans since
the grindcore trio are not instigating the crowd into moshing, which, given the
subgenre’s history, is a bit odd. But
having a crossover fanbase in Pittsburgh is a feather in Liquified Guts’ cap.
Derketa came out of hibernation last year, the Steel City’s first all-female
metal band has been more active than ever.
Their blend of death and doom is a lumbering force that slowly envelops
and tightens upon the first grasp.
Gooski’s small backroom with a monolithic PA system is a sonic nightmare
for some bands, due to the overwhelming sound that bursts forth and
echoes. Bad for some, but for Derketa it
sounds and feels delightful.
mix for tonight is abnormally better because none of the instruments or vocals
have overpowered the other. Bass,
guitar, and drums permeate through the bone.
The recent addition of drummer Michael Laughlin makes for interesting
transition (from blast beats to trudging stomps), though the former member of
Cattle Decapitation has suited the band well.
At the end of their set, there was a unanimous cry for encore. A request met with dirge-ish “Until Our
Brown Angel’s last show. For the special
occasion, a following of old and new fans alike came out in support. A few new songs were performed live from the
upcoming record, ‘Agonal Harvest,” which keeps up with Brown Angel’s dissonant,
yet mechnical, music. Most of the crowd
stood mesmerized by the chanting drums and screeching guitar feedback. John Roman’s stiffened drumming lacks
wildness, but it’s fascinating to watch him play with a hardened
Out of the three band
members, Adam MacGregor has the most energy, being that is the band’s vocalist
and guitarist. MacGregor contorts the notes with his guitar to create scraping
noises while shouting across the room.
As the evening comes to a close, the drawn out songs extend the final
moments for Brown Angel just a little longer.
There was no raucous shouting of joy, nor masses of people pushed all
the way back to the bar room. Just an
intimate group of friends and fans dedicated to a band that stood out from the
Closing thoughts from Christopher Woodford on Brown Angel
The first time I ever saw Brown Angel was when they played at Howler’s Coyote
Cafe with Molasses Barge in December of 2010.
The two local bands were opening for Providence, Rhode Island’s Loon, a
doom metal trio whom I absolutely adore and have their patch sewn onto my
vest. Brown Angel were, at the time,
didn’t dazzle me in any sudden way. I
found their music lacking in emotion and being too experimental at the
time. Compared with Molasses Barge and
Loon, Brown Angel lacked the hook to reel me in.
Some months later I saw Brown Angel again when they opened
for Zao at the Altar Bar. With Hero
Destroyed and Arcane Haven also on the bill, Brown Angel was certainly the odd
band out. However, they were by far, the
loudest band performing. I can remember
the upper floor of the Altar Bar vibrating when the drawn out bass notes hit
the room. It was an otherworldly
experience. No other local band has
accomplished such a feat thus far. Since
then I began to take more interest in Brown Angel and began to appreciate their
approach to music.
With Adam MacGregor leaving Pittsburgh (and the United
States), Brown Angel has become decommissioned.
And it is a big loss to see this band go. They are Pittsburgh’s version of Godflesh,
but with more emphasis on the experimental music and having an actual live
drummer. Where most local metal bands
followed a certain path, Brown Angel gave our scene an inventive edge.
Technical ingenuity was at their soul allowing for a distinct presence. One can only hope that Brown Angel will
inspire others to seek beyond the confines of tradition and normalcy.