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The perseverance of New Orleans sludge metal legends Eyehategod has been well-documented. Poverty, prison and even the untimely death of founding drummer Joey LaCaze in 2013 have failed to stop them, and at this point it’s hard to imagine what could. 2014 saw the release of their first studio recording in 14 years and, to no one’s surprise, they hadn’t lost a step. Their second northeast tour in as many years, which stopped over at Boston’s Brighton Music Hall on February 2nd, proved that much the same is true of their live show. Recent revelations about the mental health of vocalist Mike IX Williams, including the fact that this very tour was carried out “fully against doctor’s orders” amid the cancellation of several overseas dates, underscore both the band’s total dedication to their work and the power of the performance itself. Before a remarkably packed house (particularly for a sludge metal show on a Wednesday night in the dead of winter), the band stirred up a massive, all-consuming racket fully befitting of their legacy.

EHG continue to operate on the unfaltering sludge metal formula of drawling, bluesy riffs that they helped to pioneer, but they never make the well-worn style sound trite. Quite the opposite, in fact; guitarists Jimmy Bower and Brian Patton spent the night alternately drowning the audience in seas of feedback and bludgeoning them with fretwork that wouldd= make Iommi proud. Bassist Gary Mader and new drummer Aaron Hill, who’s doing an admirable job filling in for a fallen comrade, were a perfectly synched rhythm section - fully in command of every song, but just loose enough. Williams, ever the inimitable vocalist, threw himself headlong into every performance, channeling general hopelessness into howling catharsis. Simply put, the band was still firing on all cylinders some 27 years into its career. As if we should’ve expected anything less. They’ll be taking a well-deserved break from the road for the time being. We extend our best wishes to Williams for a speedy recovery.

A pair of local acts kicked off the evening in alternately satisfying and slightly uncomfortable ways. Salem’s Livver delivered a solid set of crust/sludge/hardcore/general heaviness, anchored by the commanding presence of vocalist Bruce Bettis. As for Boston’s own Sexcrement…the name and the frequent presence of scantily clad women on stage should pretty well cover it. The market for death metal by way of 2 Live Crew surely exists, but I’m fairly certain I’m not in it. To each their own though, right? They were definitely having fun up there.

—Ben Stas

Livver

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Sexcrement

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Eyehategod

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This article has been updated to correctly reflect the name of the band Livver.

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