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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - 1905

eclectic reviews and opinions

1905 (with Fighting Dogs and The Profit$)

26 June 2004

House of Suffering Succotash (Brighton, Massachusetts)

I rode my bike to my first show at H.O.S.S. and I got kinda lost, so I missed the openening acts.

The Profit$ are an old-school shout-along political punk four-piece fronted by guitarist/vocalists Erika Ransom and Adam $. I'd seen them a couple years ago and wasn't very impressed, so the set was a very pleasant surprise. They're not innovative but they're tight, and their enthusiasm was infectious -- they really got the crowd moving. The A-side to their new single, "U.S.Atrocity" is available at

Fighting Dogs is a trio that mixes elements of hardcore, thrash, and metal into a sound so dense and pummelling that you can almost see it oozing out of the speakers (and there were a lot of speakers -- the guitar player had 12, driven by 2 amp heads). Despite all that guitar power, I could still feel every kick drum hit in my gut. The two vocalists roared their mics into submission with no vestige of melody. In between songs a strange Jekyll/Hyde transformation took place and two soft-spoken, clearly intelligent guys explained that the next composition was about the plight of lab animals or the unfortunate instutional aspects of teaching at an elementary school, and then they'd start playing again. I'm out of my depth with this stuff; the songs sounded almost identical to me. I need melodic, dynamic, or textural variation -- or at the very least enough space somewhere between notes that I can tell how tight the band is or isn't. Fighting Dogs certainly went from woaaarr to skree to chugga and back, but nothing ever cohered into anything that sounded more like a composition than a soundcheck to me.

It's been more than a year since I'd last seen 1905, and they've gotten nothing but tighter in the meantime, and have added several strong new songs to their set. They remain as difficult to describe as ever: even if hardcore, emo, and heavy metal are discernible elements of 1905's sound, the result is no predictable blend of those genres. 1905 sounds more like 1905 like anything else. Their songs are never straightforward enough for thrash or hardcore (even though some of the tempos are fast enough) and the band has a command of dynamics that's rare in a punk band. They scream more than they sing, which might be why their singing is often so startling and affecting. I can think of other bands that those sentences apply to, and 1905 don't really sound like any of them either. The best way to get an idea of what they sound like is just to listen to them.

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