Friday Night: Black Breath, Martyrdöd & More at Walter's

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Burning Love from Toronto went on next. Of all the bands on the night's bill, they were the most reluctant to thrash. Instead, the group employs a metal-tinged classic hardcore sound that reminded instantly of My War-era Black Flag -- punishing mid-tempo riffs intercut with frenetic guitar solos.

Singer Chris Colohan solidified the Flag comparison in my mind when he disappeared during the middle of one song and reappeared stripped down to a pair of Rollins-esque nylon shorts and a towel. It was pretty hot in there, I guess, but that was odd. Between belting out more lyrics, he redressed on stage.

Things got stranger still when the band asked the crowd for help finding a place to stay. Colohan said that previous experience in Houston had made him a tad picky.

"If anyone doesn't have any swastikas in your house unless they're on a book or something, please let us stay on your floor," he said.

Here's hoping they found somebody that could accommodate that request.

Excitement crackled through the crowd as people filed back in for the next band up. Martyrdöd is a brutal crossover band from Sweden that pairs melodic death metal with excruciatingly fast hardcore beats, and the Southern Lord tour is their first American trek. The buzz on these guys was palpable Friday.

Martyrdöd broke out the first real melodies of the night, which they immediately crushed from memory with jackhammer thrash riffs. Culturally, the band seemed slightly more aligned towards a metal crowd, but the punks in the audience were getting off just as hard to the group's furious shredding.

A wild circle-pit erupted when Martyrdöd's ax wielders tore out some double-time punk upstrokes that almost certainly earned them a few new fans. Speed is speed, it seems.

The sound was death metal with a hardcore attitude, mixing blackened gutter crust with classical flourishes to arrive at a sound that was as speedy and shrill as it was dark and heavy. At times, Martyrdöd's music recalled more recent Napalm Death material, minus the blast beats -- really cool stuff if your eardrums can hang. I plan on checking out more.

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith