Setting the Scene
It was a cold and dreary night.
The first real snow storm of the season made the roads dangerous, forcing me to take my time getting to the Hexagon Bar. The weather managed to keep all but the most eager away, including the band Blodwar, who was set to headline this show. Unfortunately, because they had members that lived too far out of town to make it in safely, they were forced to cancel their set.
KFAI has been broadcasting in the Twin Cities for 40 years (90.3 in Minneapolis, 106.7 in St. Paul). The volunteer-based community radio station promotes diversity by giving a voice to those that are ignored or misrepresented by mainstream outlets.
If you are tired of only hearing the same twenty songs on the radio, give KFAI a listen, as they are playing what nobody else is.
Minneapolis Metal at the Hexagon
Three-piece progressive metal band Redshift kicked things off. Like most prog metal bands, they have a heavy metal foundation with a distinct jazz influence.
They also aren’t afraid to take risks. Their songs include longer musical phrasing, alternating between heavy and light elements, in addition to one-off riffs. Their music is a full musical journey, as opposed to a more repetitive traditional structure.
Redshift’s sound is technical but not overbearing. Their songs are expansive and layered, combining swirling chorus and thought-provoking thickness. How three people are able to make so much sound is impressive.
If you like Mastodon, Animals as Leaders, or Gorjira, check them out.
The old-school thrash metal of Mortificator was next up. Similar to bands like Testament, Anthrax, and Slayer, they certainly get your heart rate up. Their fast, tight metal riffing, chunky bass, and high flying, shredding solos are straight-ahead classic thrash. That certainly isn’t a bad thing.
Instrumental three-piece Cymothoa closed out the show. The bands big, thick, groovy riffs were a nice change of pace. Their sound is full of splashy, fierce drumming, crunchy looping guitar, and threading fuzz bass. The lack of vocals makes it easier to focus on their dynamic atmospherics.
If you are a fan of Pelican, Russian Circles, Red Sparowes, but wish they had some sense of brevity, give Cymothoa a listen.
For Further Listening
All three bands show how diverse and talented the Twin Cities metal scene is. If you want to discover more of it, listen to Roar of the Underground on KFAI radio, which airs 4am-6am on Saturday night/Sunday morning. If that time is inconvenient, you can listen to it on demand, along with the rest of the shows on KFAI, by visiting their website.
Now that is something to smile about.