Poison the WellAt Axis, April 10
Poison the Well are hard to place within the metal/hardcore spectrum. Their secret recipe mixes nu-metal and emo with traditional-breakdown hardcore, creating an ultra-melodic sound unique among young metalcore dinosaurs. Their crossover sound allows them to attract wide audiences [just like C.O.C. and D.R.I. back in the day! -- OTD], but also has led inevitably to criticism from the fundamentalist wings of their many constituencies -- metalheads joke that they might as well listen to Hatebreed, punks dismiss them as too major-label friendly. The person standing behind me during set break on Monday evening said it best: "They haven't even played Ozzfest? Then what's so great about them?" Ay, there's the question.But as soon as Jeffrey Moreira and gang took the Axis stage, all questions were answered. Any sign of softer music simply failed to materialized; the textured passages that gave PTW a deeper nu-metal side on disc were replaced by noisy acrobatic guitar assaults and straight-up screamo vocals. The older material had a much harder, louder-faster edge than what they've laid to tape. More striking than anything else was the intensity of the moshpit -- less than two minutes in some poor bastard got his nose busted, spattering blood all over the place and, worse, ruining my favorite t-shirt in the process. Critics, schmiticks: PTW's strict adherence to hardcore in concert makes for rowdy fun.
-- David Boffa