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INFLIKT w/ Hyperthermia and Syx

  Ash Street Saloon  
  Portland, OR  
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Come along and get impacted. The sounds that come from the bands that played the Ash Street Saloon on December 17 may not be for all. But, many folks have found well deserved merit in the elicitations of the likes of Syx, Hyperthermia, and Inflikt. I was one of around 130 grateful receptors in an offering of serious sound-impaction.

The show opened with Syx. Syx is a five-piece group with Ben on vocals, Brad on electronics, Dave on bass, Jasyn on guitar, and Muppet on drums. This band creates a sound that is a pleasing crossover of hardcore rock, punk, and metal which serves to bludgeon their audiences with a delightful heaviness. The vocal stylings did not stick in any one area too long and kept me very interested with ever changing mixes of growl, scream, and melody.

Syx had instant energy, drawing a large crowd to the stage right from the beginning. They were inseparable from their music for the setís entirety. Ben jumped with fervor and power while singing, and really helped to amplify the presentation. Dave was also very noticeable and animated while providing his low-end contribution. Additional vocals were brought by Brad and Jasyn. Furthermore, Bradís electronic effects added a different dimension to the music and further added to the uniqueness of Syx. I felt that their music was creative and far from unsophisticated. On the third song, A Letter to Divide, there was a subsonic thump that loosened my dental work and made me say "WOW!" Later in the set ,the electronic effects that Brad added caught my attention again. I wouldnít say that the dynamics had a wide variable, but they were efficient enough to create the needed drama in the Syx sound. Something about this music made me want to dance, not just mosh. I really enjoyed Syxís seven song set and I look forward to seeing them again.

This show was originally slated to include Five Foot Thick out of Spokane, but, due to some problems with fog, they were unable to make it. Hyperthermia stepped up to fill the bill and were well-appreciated for it. This 4-man group played a set of straightforward, "Lemmy-esque", in your face death metal. I liked Shane Reed's dual-bass drum set. The other members of Hyperthermia are Steve Twigg (vocals, bass), Dave Death (guitars, backing vocals), and Todd Useless (guitars, backing vocals).

Hyperthermia's material seemed familiar, but they just didnít get into it with the enthusiasm I like to see. Their performance was not as exactingly tight as their recordings, and the content didn't really excite me. As Hyperthermia played, the songs all seemed similar, but this may have been because I was a first time listener. Still, there were some interesting time changes in some songs. The dynamics were a bit narrow, with the main themes being mostly loud and louder. The drummer did seem taken by the music at times, with head wildly thrashing, but the rest of the band was rather stiff. Still, Hyperthermia is, in my opinion, a great band, and I will look forward to seeing them onstage again.

The next band, Inflikt, freakin' owned the Ash during their performance. LB and his posse drew even more watchers and moshers to the stage as they laid down some metal fury that showed nothing but control and enthusiasm. The set showed that they are in touch with and enraptured by their own music, with constant movement and contribution by all members. Their creative material mixed growl and rage with melody and dynamics in a way that held my attention. I felt that all members of the band were quite impressive in both musicianship and entertainment value. They are a very worthwhile watch and listen. But did you know that the members of Inflikt are among those who wear makeup during their shows? I think that this plays a strong role in enhancing the dramatic element of the performance, and demonstrates how much more that just the music an act like this can be. In short, Infliktís presentation was penetrating and I really loved them and canít wait to see them again. Hey, pick me up some eyeliner while you are out.

All of the shows that I have seen at the Ash Street Saloon have had fantastic full sound. Someone in that sound booth really knows what they are doing. The volume has not, in my experience, been unbearably loud, although I still strongly advocate wearing earplugs at shows. The lights also really help to take the shows to another level, adding drama and keeping the visual components broad and interesting. I think the Ash Street Saloon is one of the stronger venues in the Portland area.

My reviews cannot compare to the experiences of seeing a great live show like this. There is so much more that goes on than I could ever fully convey. I want to encourage you to go out and see some local live shows, and hell, if you are impressed (or not) take some notes and write a review. Support and report.

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