Something just feels right about a cold and rainy New York night filled with droning metal. Which is exactly what the crowd at the Warsaw Ballroom got last Friday as Russian Circles and Helms Alee brought their menacing presences to Brooklyn.
Seattle-based Helms Alee wasted no time hammering away with a heavy and hardcore sound. Guitarist/singer Ben Verellen, with his long wind blown locks and weaponized guitar, looks like a Norse warrior announcing his entry into Valhalla. He howls away, all the while delivering rock solid riffs that creep right up your spine.
Across the stage from Verellen was bassist Dana James counterpunching with whopping and distorted bass lines. And right in the middle of them was the true centerpiece of the band, drummer Hozoji Matheson-Margullis. Matheson-Margullis wails on the drums like an undeniable primal force. It’s hard to take your eyes off her as her fills and beats drive right into the pain and darkness being conjured up by Helms Alee.
Then it was on the post-rock metal sound of Russian Circles. This Chicago-based instrumental three piece barely lets the light in – both figuratively and literally, as they unleash wave after wave of explosive songs. And just like Helms Alee before them, Russian Circles is powered by the maniacal drumming of Dave Turncrantz. The man spits out hot fire every time his sticks make contact with what must now be one battered drum kit. Turncrantz’s drumming never lets up as each song builds and builds toward one explosive crescendo after another.
And on both sides of him are bassist Brain Cook and guitarist Mike Sullivan. Those two keep the fuzz-filled roar going. Together the three seem to create an oncoming storm warming without ever making the audience run for cover. For all the apparent anger and dread that fuels their music, it provides an almost ironic-sense of comfort. It’s loud and ambient but on this cold and rainy night, it was warming up the jam-packed Warsaw crowd.
Article: Omar Kasrawi