Entering Dublin's Thomas House for tonight's Face Melter extravaganza, it's not readily apparent that there's any kind of metal gig going on at all , at least not straight away.For those unfamiliar with the south inner city venue, it's one that has in the past been home more to rockabilly,punk and trad gigs than ear raping metallic noise, and as we stroll in from the haze of an unusually bright and warm Irish summer evening, we are initially a little puzzled by all the friendly , be-quiffed and tattooed folk bopping to what sounds like Tiger Army.Directed downstairs by the cheery barman, all becomes a little clearer as soon as we push upon the door, to be greeted by some wicked noise from the evening's openers Snowblind, not to mention an enthusiastic hello from tonight's masters of ceremonies, one Aaron Gaffey of Kerouac fame, who proceeds to stuff Nihilist's pockets and various other orifices with glowsticks and merch til we're nearly weighted down.The vibe tonight is all about cutting loose and having a laugh while listening to some killer bands, and we're definitely game.Cold, frosty pints of lager at the ready, we head for the front . . .
Snowblind in action.
Unfortunately due to various public transport balls ups(well not really balls ups, just Dublin Bus being shit) and my general lack of direction, we miss about half of Snowblind's set, but what we hear is pretty impressive. Billing themselves as a thrash band, Snowblind are actually a far more eclectic bunch than that tag normally implies.Owing more to bands like Voivod and latter day Entombed than Metallica or Slayer, the young trio forge a sound that's progressive but accessible, managing to fit in some bizarre arrangements and pin-wheeling through time changes like nobody's business.An excellent cover of Metallica's 'Blackened' rounds out an excellent set,one which marks Snowblind as ones to watch.
Beltbuckle Overdrive:just out of shot, loaded war machine.
And so on to the head-liners. Looking around the tiny basement venue, everyone seems to be wearing a Marabou hoody or shirt, and the anticipation as the Wexford Three-piece take the stage is feverish to say the least.Not at all acquainted with their music,our curiosity is piqued , and we edge a little closer, wondering what all the fuss is about.It takes roughly one song for everything to be cleared up.Marabou are, as they say in my neck of the woods, the business.
Marabou, do they even riff?Yes, yes they do.
Filtering the bellicose energy of sludge through a prism of post-hardcore, crust and progressive metal, the band's serrated riffing cuts through a slightly muddy sound mix and rips heads, with a blend of off kilter aggression and killer hooks.Much like Snowblind, they're a difficult band to pin down, but if you can picture Tool at their most aggressive jamming Nausea tunes while Poison Idea knife-shank The Melvins in the corner, you're halfway there in describing their sound. This is a band that has to be experienced live, and the only complaint we have about their set is it's far too short.Everyone gets involved in the carnage too, with our promoter tonight himself lobbing glow sticks around and leaping off speaker stacks ,while a small but still fairly vicious mosh pit breaks out just in front of us at a few random junctures.In a word:mental.
The rest of the night disappears in an alcoholic haze, but it has to be said, it's been a long time since I enjoyed a gig quite this much.The relaxed atmosphere and friendly vibe is a throwback to the teen years of yours truly, and to gigs organized in church halls and school basements, with the emphasis on the music and having a laugh as opposed to getting just shit faced(though there's plenty of that as well).A cracking night had, and we're eager to see what Facemelter has in store next . . . .
Pictures courtesy of Aaron and Fallon/Facemelter Music Nights.
Check the bands out here: