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Fletcher's; Baltimore, MD; 09/16/99

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Luckily for fans of heavy metal Hurricane Floyd made its way through the Baltimore area rapidly leaving clear skies for this evening's festivities. I had just seen both Dope and Drain sth at different shows a few weeks prior to this event, but I couldn't resist seeing these bands in the intimate confines of Fletcher's.

Primer 55 opened the show with great fanfare. Primer 55 got a great reaction from the crowd although I found their sound to be a bit unoriginal and tired. That's not to say Primer 55 didn't play well; a few of their songs went over very well. It was particularly interesting to see how well Primer 55 added a true hip-hop vocal delivery to their vocals. Primer 55 will have a major label release coming out in early 2000 from Island/Def Jam. I may not have cared for it too much, but I have no doubt the heavy metal community will be hearing from Primer 55 again.

At least I was prepared for Dope this time around. Unfortunately, Dope suffered greatly from the mixing/soundboard equipment that wasn't working up to par. The vocals were hardly audible and the music buried the purposefully distorted vocals. This show proved a couple of things to me. The first is that Dope are certainly going to be one of those bands that people will either love or hate - there's no middle ground with these guys. The second is that Fletcher's was too small a venue to really capture their excitement and energy - quite often it looked like any member of the band was going to hurt themselves by jumping too high and hitting the ceiling.

Drain sth played to a packed house. It was exciting to see everyone anticipating the prospects of Drain sth performing a proper eighty minute set. Drain sth didn't let a single second go to waste. Whatever soundboard/mixing problems that plagued Dope were no longer in evidence. 

Songs from "Freaks Of Nature" included "Enter My Mind," "Alive," "Simon Says," "I Wish," "Crave," "Leech," and "I Will Follow." The new material went over very well with the fans. The songs from their sophomore effort are taking on their own lives in the concert setting.  The great many fans singing along with the lyrics was a great testament to Drain sth's immediate appeal.

Songs from "Horror Wrestling" included "I Don't Mind," "Serve The Shame," and "Stench." The show-ending "Klotera" was delivered with force and passion - at one time I didn't really care for this song, but I now realize that it has the perfect blend of metal's crunch, rhythmic fury, and outpouring of emotion.

Maria Soljhom's voice had the effect of a deep timbre in the small club setting of Fletcher's which served the music quite well and captivated everyone. Anna K's solid bass lines are the rock solid foundation of this melodic rock outfit; I was able to hear Anna K's background vocals much better than anytime I'd seen the band previously. Flavia's guitar work was tasteful and dramatic as usual - Flavia really seemed to feed off the energy of the close proximity of the crowd. Martina's drum sound was perfect; however, the best part of the show was the clear background vocals that add so much depth to the band's music.

Seeing Drain sth headline their own show revealed that this band is in complete command when they can give a proper show; this was a special treat for new fans and old fans alike. Clearly there is a groundswell of support for Drain sth and I can only imagine that it is going to keep growing and get stronger over time. Don't miss this special band when they come to your town.

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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.