Live Review: Raw Blow at O'Brien's Pub

Material: If such a thing as pop metal exists, this Bostonian quartet embodies it, contra the supposedly bleak nature of their lyrics.

Thunderous drumming and attack bass buffets twin guitars and vocal shrieks like banshees tearing organs from their hapless victims. Sudden stops and starts add momentum to their barely 25 minute set. Fast, loud and fun is the primary directive for this thrashy monstrosity.

Musicianship: Featuring members who’ve played for the past decade in hardcore bands such as Now Denial, Furnace, Luauo and Bravo Fucking Bravo, their skills remain up to the task of properly blasting eardrums. Yet focusing on the notes is to miss their compositions, which aim to terrorize with a smile. Barring a solitary use of feedback, little distinguishes them, in either material or performance, from other bands that feature growling and scowling as a primary attribute. While Jake Quarrell’s bass doesn’t vary much, Brian Donovan’s romp-stomping drums really demolish the Devil’s Food cake.

Performance: Besides a verbal name-check at the front of their set, Raw Blow doesn’t offer any branding or self-identification. A screwy sense of humor displayed between songs (and even during mike check) hints at their potential as overall entertainers. Their vocals, meanwhile, could only be described as nigh indecipherable, which might be appropriate considering their slaughterhouse-inspired pedigree. Still, no song leaves their audience with a hook worth throwing horns over. The group’s visual presentation, meanwhile, sparks intrigue without technically offering much. Awesomeness points must be awarded to guitarist Adam Caires’ cascading power dreads.

Summary: Our hearts will always find room for intense, earnest rock & roll crushing minds at maximum velocity. Yet it is unlikely audiences will jump fully aboard when it’s presented without a catch or groove that could potentially reach earworm status. That’s the case here, and while Raw Blow have chops, stage presence and pluck, they’re missing the essential ingredients that would elevate them from working band into viral sensation.

The Players: Adam Caires, guitar, vocals; Brian Donovan, drums; Darryl Pohas, guitar, vocals; Jake Quarrell, bass, vocals.

Photo by Apple Kaufmann

Venue: O’Brien’s Pub
City: Allston, MA
Contact: rawblowma@gmail.com
Web: rawblow.biz