No RemissionSiberia is the kind of local club that is endearing in its squalor. After entering through an unmarked black door at street level in the bowels of midtown Manhattan into an otherwise respectable rock n’ roll dive bar, you descend the stairs into the perfectly shitty rock den of a basement. The bar is to the left, and right beyond it is an enormous piece of plywood leaned up against the wall that serves as the door to the bathroom. The stage is tucked away in a corner, with graffiti scrawled across the wooden buttresses that keep the ceiling from caving in and miraculously support the semi-decent sound system as well. It’s this kind of Manhattan relic in which you would expect to see a band of fat, 45 year-old bald men performing terrible Third Eye Blind and Lynyrd Skynyrd covers, with their New Jersey and Long Island girlfriends and wives closely in tow. This is why it came as a surprise that not only was there a metal show at Siberia this past Friday night, but the bands were also young and talented, led by the Sleepy Hollow, NY foursome No Remission.

The members of No Remission are all skilled musicians. Their sound calls to mind the thrash and brutal riffing of early Metallica, Slayer, and occasionally newer metallers like Fear Factory or Chimaira, with vocalist Willie’s delivery being closer to the latter (their MySpace page lists only their first names). Willie’s occasional clean-sung vocal parts are just as impressive as his Phil Anselmo inspired shout delivery, and his death-metal growls are completely convincing. The real anchor of the band comes from drummer Greg, whose double-bass chops are dead on, and he hit the skins with consistent power and precision all night long. David on bass played just the right thing at the right time, matching Greg’s drum work without ever stepping on top of what guitarists Willie and Kurt were doing. The guitar work was impressive; plenty of old-school Metallica-inspired riffing mixed in with newer-school metal chugging and the occasional twin-lead flourish, much to the delight of this author. Furthermore, the guitar tone was the best I’d ever heard out of any amplifier bearing the “Crate” logo, which is no small feat.

As a live unit, No Remission were sufficient, and definitely able to hold the attention and energy of the audience throughout the 40-or-so minute set. All crowd members were headbanging, some even attempting to start up a pit, a rarity at local shows of any kind. Amazingly there were even some cute girls in the audience. If the band has some room to improve it’s in their performance and presentation, where they could simply benefit from just playing more shows and becoming more comfortable with their stage presence and identity as a performing unit. This is to say nothing of their execution of the music, which was flawless as far as I could tell. Though their stage show was certainly commendable I feel they could elevate it to even the next level if they ever expect to really take off as a band. But I have no doubt this will come in time if they continue to push their boundaries and strive to take their craft to that next level.

This is a band that I’ll definitely keep an eye on. No Remission plays March 30 at the Mean Fiddler. See you there.

Visit the band’s MySpace page to hear four songs.


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