I have been listening to Lord Almighty out of Boston at the advice of others on our staff for a couple of weeks now and was excited to find out that they were playing here in Jax. It is always nice to put a face to a name so I jumped at the chance to see these guys live. I was not to be disappointed!
JettBlack and I showed up early to meet this quartet of talented musicians. I immediately recognized drummer Chris Narainen hanging out front of The Shanty Town Pub and struck up an easy conversation with him. Originally from the island of Mauritius (whose claim to fame is the dodo bird he quickly points out) just east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, he is personable, a furious drummer and a lover of all types of music.
Once joined by the rest of the band I was also able to speak to Sam “Goose” Gooseman, founder and guitarist of Lord Almighty in 2013. He is also a very nice guy and a very mature musician, songwriter and sound engineer; recording both of the band’s albums: “Lord Almighty” in 2013 and “Paths” in late 2015. The improvement in sound quality between these two releases definitely shows his growth in two short years of the band’s existence. His experience in sound engineering has really helped boost their live performances too because it’s literally his job to make live music sound good. He knows the best mics, the best wireless in-ear monitoring system their crew can use, and best speakers to take with them. He also works in Boston as a sound and lighting engineer, so he lives, eats and breathes music. Admitting he is influenced by all types of music, it is no surprise that their sound cannot be easily boxed into any particular Metal sub-genre. His writing shows heart and groove that is unusual in this, the darker, more ominous side of our beloved music. They write and play what they want. Everything is self-financed, including the tour, so I have to concur with their decision because what they play is really, really good. Why play something that your heart is not in, right?
Once inside I met with the other core member: former drummer turned vocalist and rhythm guitarist Keenan Carroll. Having a great sense of humor and vast knowledge of music ranging from Classic Rock to Jazz to Classical, we hit it off immediately. We could literally talk about anything and engage each other with favorite bands from any genre of music. A real treat since I can talk endlessly about music and have the rare opportunity to talk to someone with an equally vast frame of reference. Bass player Phil Gelinas was busy at the merch table, so I was not able to speak with him at length, but was there with a welcoming smile and handshake when I bought my gear. On stage, this man can play!
Opening for the Lord Almighty was a local, Hardcore/Punk act called Oppressive Nature. With Nick, Sean, Jake and Zach (not Zack, Zac, Zakk or Zak) on vox, bass, guitar and drums, respectively. Being the first time hearing them, I found them really good and a lot of fun to watch and listen to. Still a young group looking for some creds in the active local scene, their sound is old school and very entertaining. They definitely have the heart and attitude from 70’s and 80’s Punk acts down pat. I had the opportunity to speak to Jake and Zach after the show and found out that they are heading into the studio to record their original works. Definitely be watching out for that!
This being their ninth stop with fifteen more before wrapping up their self-funded tour and bringing their “A” game, Lord Almighty blew the roof off of the pub. These gentlemen are as tight as their CD in a live setting. Everything sounds just as it should, albeit just a hair cleaner (less compression due to the studio environment) which I really enjoyed and why seeing a band live is usually better than the CD alone. With their beautifully painted Marshall stacks and energy to spare, they roared into “I Embark“ which is furiously fast and aggressive. The crowd immediately reacted favorably and were hooked even though many had never heard Lord Almighty before. This was followed up by other songs off of their newest album “Paths” like the “Possessed“, which has a great groove and a rhythm that blasts through your entire body and “Desolate” that starts clean and gradually builds speed and intensity using very cool synchronized guitars, then slowing back down, settling where it began; showing the band’s talent for playing and their flowing song writing abilities. Closing out the show, Lord Almighty played one of my favorite songs, “Back to the Woods” off of their self-titled EP. Goose starts things off with a beautifully written, clean, finger style intro that builds into a similar, distorted groove by Keenan and then quickly explodes with Death Metal attack and savagely played drums by Chris. Again displaying their push and pull songwriting style, the chorus pulls back a bit before reigniting the powder keg and ending with a slower, dissonant outro. I could not have been more pleased! Lord Almighty shows the stage presence, playing chops and professionalism of a very mature band. Along with their obvious passion for the music and willingness to put their money where their mouth is producing their own CD’s and financing their own tour, I sincerely look forward to seeing what this band has in store for us in the future…