TVD Live: Church of Misery at Ottobar, 11/14

PHOTOS: VALERIE PAULSGROVE | The crew who traveled from DC with me to catch the first of Church of Misery’s US shows on tour were very thankful we did. Luckily, I made it in time to catch Against the Grain and Iron Man, though we unfortunately missed Musket Hawk.

We were never the same again, all blackened and some of us bruised, but each and every one of us were forever deafened and defeated by the most epic of doom metal shows to have graced Ottobar in a long time.  (Though you who live in Baltimore are privy to an assortment of accessible metal shows, so if you disagree, I’m curious what might have topped this.)

Church of Misery

Since 1995, Tatsu Mikami and an ever-changing lineup have frequented the US with serial-killer-inspired doom metal.  “He pretty much serenaded me the entire show,” my friend Lauren cooed.  She was front and center under a sweat-drenched Mikami, whose dramatic hands repeatedly shot to the ceiling in violent emphatics and handed her the mic to sing during a few songs.

Church of Misery

Church of Misery

Church of Misery

Church of Misery’s tour would have started in Chicago on the first day of November, but due to visa problems, twelve shows were cancelled, and the tour kicked off in Baltimore.  Patch-laden metal kids swarmed the stage as obviously-influenced-by-’70s-metal, long-haired, and bellbottom-clad COM emerged from the depths of the Ottobar. Ikuma Kawabe’s amazing taste in shirts echoed the influence of ’70s psych on the band.

Church of Misery

When he wasn’t gesticulating wildly, founding member Mikami was turning knobs on some sort of mystical sound box or screaming so deep and forcibly that I had to question whether or not there was an effect on his vocals. All in front of a backdrop of gorgeous Orange amps.

I found it almost too hard to believe that such deep, velvety, penetrating sound would come from one skinny man. Then Mikami writhed around with this possessed look and snarled a knowing smile during “Brother Bishop,” and it was known  that his voice was a magical elixir of the gods.

Church of Misery

Church of Misery

Church of Misery

Church of Misery

Church of Misery

Church of Misery

Church of Misery

As anticipated, eventually  a mosh pit erupted, although unexpectedly started by a tiny metal chick brazenly encouraging bigger dudes to join in, and then it just got apeshit crazy.  Church of Misery’s energy only escalated in response with “Born to Raise Hell”  followed appropriately by “Lambs to the Slaughter.”  I think everyone’s ears were slaughtered after this show.  I think my left one is still bleeding a little bit.

Against the Grain

Against the Grain

Against the Grain

Against the Grain

Detroit’s Against the Grain got us all stoked for COM with their Motorhead-inspired speed rock. The cliché name definitely gave way to some cliché guitar riffs, but the vibe was fast and furious, and they were great to get our motors running nonetheless. (Cliché intended.)  The four-piece have been rocking since 2009 and are currently touring with COM.

I happened to catch Iron Man at The Pinch a week before this show, where the sound will in no way humanly possible  ever compare to that of the Ottobar. Replete with Judas-Priest-like piercing screams, these Maryland legends know how to fucking get down.

Iron Man

Iron Man

Iron Man

Iron Man

Iron Man

Musket Hawk are another Baltimore metal band that I was sorry to have missed. Valerie caught some excellent photos of them below.

All I know is my ears are still bleeding from this show, and I’ve probably suffered some major damage, but it was fucking worth it.  How often does a Japanese band come through screaming songs about serial killers and practically sweating blood all over the place? Not often enough.

Musket Hawk

Musket Hawk

Musket Hawk

Musket Hawk

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