Battlehooch, Judgement Day and The Hot Moon
SF Winter Fest
Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010
Bottom of the Hill
Better than: being force-fed sand while Metallica's "Load" blasts through
headphones at full volume; Megadeth.
Tell a friend, "Hey there's this band that plays metal with just a cello, violin, and drums," and they may act interested. But another question will certainly follow: "Is this band actually any good"?
Somehow, the notion of ridding metal of its favorite props -- those pointy, penile electric guitars and basses -- seems kinda loony, on par with trying to get its fans to give up black t-shirts and long hair. Past attempts (we're looking at you, Apocalyptica) have yielded music that, while interesting, doesn't quite produce the same urge to headbang as, say, a wall of cranked Marshalls.
But on Saturday night, an East Bay band called Judgement Day played its so-called "string metal" for a bursting SF Winter Fest crowd at Bottom of the Hill ... and the answer to our opening question became obvious. Lewis Patzner's electrified cello thundered with heavy distortion and a depth that was more percussive and dark than the electric guitar. His brother Anton whipped through searing violin solos, reminding us where shredding came from, and rendered their soaring melodies in an eerie, woody tone more stinging than a six string's. Together with drummer Jon Bush, the Patzner brothers banged out dizzyingly fast, abrasive, ominous metal.