Maryland Deathfest X – The Jägermeister Strikes Back: Friday

It wasn’t quite so fun to wake up for this day. I successfully regained full consciousness and thought at around noon following some ill-advised autonomous challenges, all involving this.

This bountiful elixir of joy juice and pure hell is the nectar of Metal Gods, and not to be consumed by anyone less metal than say, Oliver Sykes. I made that mistake, and I am still feeling the aftereffects to this day. As much of a Charon boat ride into my lesser faculties that was, it cannot top the badness of my foolish venture into the Lean Cuisine sweet’n’sour chicken… oh god just thinking of that ruins food for me for 5 minutes at a time.

Anyhow, we were discussing one of the greatest Metal shows this side of the puddle, which turned out to be a real blast(beat) of non-stop heat, boobs, and bathroom sink water. All the merch tables and food stands were set up in all their splendour, but I won’t go into those because I couldn’t go splurging to my heart’s content, and it would make me sad to even talk of all the goodies in store, and instead you’ll have to eat my words. I’m gonna try a reviewing style akin to Redneck From Hell’s, so bear with me if I’m a trendy poser fuck. All pictures used were taken by The Rev from Returntothepit, as if the watermark didn’t make that plain as crumpet.

Up first was Castevet, a Melodic Black Metal band not to be confused with some other band of the same name who I’m assuming is Alt. or something. They got atmosphere for months, and I swear it was actually a little chilly inside the Sonar, and I’m not blaming the fanfuckentastic air conditioning. They did what most BM bands do: Howl, get laryngitis, keep howling, and blast a bit, though with a lot of influence from Post-Rock/Hardcore song structures. An average set, but I’d suggest looking further into them, as their vocals are something not heard too often in BM, and a bit more on the raspy Sludge side.

Nasghul followed suit, bringing their hazardous Death Metal/Grindcore mixture from Spain to the ‘Murican table like a barrel of radioactive waste, sloshing it on all nearby.

Deep in concentration, tired, or recovering for a wicked blaze session?

I’m sure I caught something about this being their first ever US appearance, and by Zoroaster, what better a way to introduce yourself to the unwitting sheeple than to drop in on one of the largest celebrations of heavy music there is? I thoroughly enjoyed their groovy yet unforgivingly abrasive take on the style they play, earning them good points in my book.

Right on the heels of Nasghul were… Ghoul. I swear the promoters and bookers were having a laugh when they made the running order.

Also, dozens of casualties, but more on that later.

Now Ghoul is a band that knows how to make a show into a SHOW. As in they entertain you while doing their thing almost as much as they entertained themselves. Every song had a clever-as-dick introduction, usually with a small skit in which something died, following copious spurts of viscera and crimson life fluid. Is it wrong to be a bit dismayed that I came out with nary but a few spots of blood on my shirt?

I’d never seen Ghoul before, but I was happy to realize that their set was very heavy on the Splatterthrash album, which is apparently their most fun, and I’m willing to believe that. Like many of the better sets at MDF, it all seemed over too soon, and all that we had to remember them by was a nagging suspicion that the fat one is the guy from Exhumed., even though it’s not really true, but I liked to believe it anyway.

Even though I don’t know any words to any Today Is The Day songs, I’m convinced they’ve scientifically devised their songs to unlock the Crazy center in the human brain, thus enabling you to shout along without having even so much as peeked at a word of their tunes. Even without the addition of collective throat flaying, the set was as intense and twisted as the bastards intended.

TITD are a band that is quite literally impossible to label. They’re so experimental that they seem to be actively dodging a definitive genre, running the gamut from Post-Hardcore to pummeling distorted grooves that lack classification to Sludge Metal and beyond, always maintaining the heaviness and distortion necessary to keep it claustrophobic-in-a-locked-closet insane. They’ve also succeeded in making it so that the music drives emotions to critical mass and you are at risk of injury from the tweaking druggies that were out in full force. All-in-all, great goddamn set, and I’m probably not the same person I was when it started.

At this point I took it upon myself to walk outside and peek at Macabre‘s set for a bit. I had attempted to check them out a bit, but I never found them interesting as a whole. After all, how many other Metal bands write about serial killers?

They brand themselves as “Murder Metal”, which from what I have heard is a combination of some freaky Death Metal-ish songwriting, Heavy Metal attitude, and generally not taking themselves seriously. Like, at all. Just look at the photo, the frontman’s wearing a headset to do his vocals! Can anyone say they know of any other Metal band that does this stuff? All the silliness aside, they do have some fun, catchy tunes, and I remember that they played Elizabeth Bathory, as if every other Extreme Metal band on the planet hasn’t already done a song about her or even named themselves after the cunt. But again, not taking themselves seriously, I got it.

Artillery are a band tragically unknown over in the states, having suffered the misfortune of coming from Denmark and being a bit too proggy/technical for the Thrashers in Cali. If I understand correctly, they also made MDF their first stateside invasion.

If you’ve listened to them on record and don’t like the vocals, I swear to you they’re a lot better live. More soaring highs rather than the vocalist sounding like he’s questioning himself with every line.

The pits were better than I had expected for a band of their type, especially at an Extreme Metal festival where these guys must have ranked third on softest bands after Anvil and The Devil’s Blood respectively. Stand-out performance by the nearly forgotten but still sharp as ever wolves of Thrash, and here’s to hoping they come this way more often.

Grind overlords Napalm Death heralded the blanket of night with their good ol’ fashioned barbed wire fist to the mouth approach of noise for music’s sake.

You can wake my cadaver any time, Mitch.

God save the queen, these Brits are still packing as much of a punch as they did back in their beginnings, if the songs they played from the new release Utilitarian are anything to go by. One thing I haven’t mentioned up until this point as that Maryland Deathfest seems to thrive on the energy of well-timed circle-pits, and this set seemed to be overflowing with juice, as circles that I swear were at least 6 people deep were a common occurrence.  I had never fully realized just how basic and punky a lot of ND drum patterns are, and I think I’m liking them a lot more because of it. I was hoping they’d bust out their cover of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”, and by George, they did, and it was massive. In fact, the vitriol contained was so great they could’ve passed it off as an original and I’d have never been able to tell the difference. By the final three songs of the set I was too tired to even stand, so I spent it sitting on the gravel next to the stage, futilely attempting to peer over the shoulders of all the other watchers, but to no avail. It was, despite being so tired I nearly puked (and this was the first time of many, believe it), a phenomenal experience and I’d repeat it weekly, if not just for the exercise.

Godflesh are a band that I’m sure I’ll never get, as I find their cold, industrial, nihilistic machinations a bit unfriendly on the ears. Yes, this is coming from someone who enjoys Oxbow and thoroughly dug Today Is The Day. I spent a little time walking in and out of the Sonar, just kind of wanting to nap, and by this time I was too tired to put up with any bands until Nasum, so I attempted to catch some Z’s to Unsane, which failed miserably because I found them to be quite awful, honestly. If Today Is The Day were mediocre at their craft, that’s how it would come out. Not willing to stomach this atrocity, I marched outside and sat in the gutter, which was far more comfortable than the audial Judas Cradle that was Unsane’s yelping and crashing cacophony. I also gave Setherial this treatment, because no matter what era of Black Metal you are from, I absolutely must discredit you for an isolated yell of “SATAAAAAAAAN”. Couple this with silly frowny corpsepaint and the air of total thuper theriouthneth, and I was pretty sure my ragged senses could handle no more.

I somehow managed to snag a good-ish spot in the crowd for headliners Nasum, who played their 20th anniversary show at MDF despite the untimely death of their frontman years ago, and bestowed the honour of filling in upon Keijo of Rotten Sound, who if you’ve heard his band and Nasum, you’ll see that there just may be a slight influence.

Yeah.

I feel like I really should’ve listened to more Nasum, having mainly exposed myself to Helvete. Fortunately, being a Grind band, you’ll be in luck with many songs sounding similar enough to not need to make such distinctions. Some simply have better mosh parts, some are kinda melodic, some are a bit slower and crunchier, yadda yadda yadda. Not to say that Nasum’s not worth checking out, because by all means, do, or you’re a pussy.

You may now Eskimo gas mask kiss the bride.

The picture above is from the intro to their set, which featured bomb raid sirens, artillery fire, and explosions, with me being unsure if I was looking at animatronic dolls due to their precise movements and their ability to stand absolutely still. By the time they solemnly marched offstage and the Frankenstein sample from which they derived their name came on the speakers, I put my fears to rest, and thus began a whole new breed of worries: Would I survive rabid grind fans partying as hard as possible to a legendary band’s ultimate last show? Well, since I’m writing this now, you have your answer.

Baltimore native and Misery Index frontman Jason helped out on vocals for a few songs, and someone whom several people believe is the frontman of Nails also came out for a bit for guest duties. My only counterpoint to this theory is that he was smiling, and the frontman of Nails never smiles. I do have to take into account, however, the fact that he was onstage with one of his biggest influences aside from probably Entombed, so there’s always that possibility.

A wild Shanelax also appeared

It was a great day, and held good omens for the rest of the weekend, aside from me being a human liquor dispenser just the previous night. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Deathfest Ball Z!

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Maryland Deathfest X – Preshow Power And Violence: Thursday

I’m sure I have now experienced something like the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca or a trip to Africa. It was hot, dirty, dangerous, and invigorating all the same. You feel like home in that place, even if the road and destination are fraught with potential dangers and complications. Those things don’t matter when you’re at Maryland Deathfest, because if you can simply sit in the parking lot and still have a blast just watching all the interesting people walk by and talk to those who are either tanked, injured, stoned, or just that special kind of crazy. So before I actually delve into the bands that played, since I only had a 3-day, I’m gonna ramble about my experiences just being there.

Let me just state for the record that if you’re at all interested in Punk, Metal, Hardcore, or any of their various offshoots, this is a trek you need to make at least once while it’s still happening. Baltimore is a beautiful city, though the people in it are all nutter buggers, so try not to get raped, stabbed, or dragged into the wrong party is all I can say. Always roll with a crew 10 niggaz deep, 6 at minimum. Get there while it lasts, because while there is a low risk for a murder or serious injury, I’m sure that the non-rock’n’roll folks in Baltimore would love little more than to see crazy bullet belt Satan worshipping spikey brats not crawling around their town one weekend a year. Though I must question how they haven’t wised up to the fact that every year for the last 10 years, there’s been some huge gathering of Rock’n’Roll kids in their town, and still have to ask what we’re doing. I blame it on widespread amnesia and easy access to crack. The further down south you go, the more lit up the adult video stores are, and your chances of running into a legitimate Red Light District, complete with a Hustler Club, increase exponentially. It’s a bit refreshing to see that the sordid underbelly is not quite the underbelly, but exoskeleton of everyday life in this city. With one or two murders a day, a city’s definitely got to show unwary travelers the places they’d like to skirt around.

As for the atmosphere of Baltimore at the time, just seeing so many people in a city at once who at least shared something in common with me was probably one of the most unreal experiences I’ve yet to take in. Just being able to stand outside the Sheraton where I was staying and be able to stumble across gaggles of people who shared musical interest without having to look very far is something that must be seen to be believed. Being only a few blocks away from the epicentre of a common goal of enjoying yourself and some of the finest music to grace this blasted blue ball was a gift that was worth way more than the $150 admission. You had your long-haired Metalheads wearing the usual black shirt and random pants, your Thrashers with the bent back bills, bullet belts and patch jackets, Black Metallers with insane jackets blanketed in Satanic filth, fuzzy Crusties with their dogs and shirts that they seem to have worn down to a fine sheet of bare cotton, dogs left unattended by the aforementioned crusties, old school Metal/Punk dudes that had seen it all since before many of us even learned to draw breath, people that didn’t even appear on the outside to be into metal or punk, a guy in a chicken suit, etcetera etfuckencetera. I really need to go to this more often, it’s just phenomenal how many different crowds come together without the animosity that occurs at your random local gigs.

On Thursday, I simply sat outside the Sonar, nothing more, just drank in all the different people and whatever they were wearing or not wearing. I talked to people from my town, people from Chi-Town, people from all over the damn place, all with their own unique look and feel, all with backstories and unique tastes. From the Mexican punk kids covered in patches from all the spectres of politically dissenting simplicity, to the guys who showed up in little more than a Metal t-shirt and jeans but were still fascinating, to PowerDave, the insaniac of a retro Thrasher, you got a vibrant rainbow of people to hang out with. Watching the front doors of the Sonar never gets tiring, with people flooding in and out constantly, with things to say about every band, be they good or bad. I hear Agalloch absolutely killed it, and EyeHateGod were no slobs either, having played Sister Fucker loud enough to hear clearly from the lot across the street. I’ve heard no reports about the other bands, nor do I care, because if I wasn’t there, I can pretend it never happened and be happier that way.

Post-show parties never failed to bring in some interesting people, whether it was them doing coke, bringing some herbal remedies, or brew fit for kings, it was a nightly sampler of indulgence good for the soul. Be careful, however, to find your limits. I’m going to stay as far back from mine as possible, so as to avoid blacking out and not remembering the wicked dumb things I say the next day and having to clean up after myself alone. Despite a few technicolor hiccups on Wednesday night, all went well in the Bacchanal celebrations of Metal might. I am aware I’m taking too long to write these damn reviews, but fuck you, I do things at my own speed.

Track/Video Review: Amongst Carrion – We That Should Not Be

Who The Fuck Are These Guys?

Nubile Metalcore act from Wales. And be nice! They’ve most likely been featured in Metal Hammer (which has gotten so icky I can scarcely touch it), having recently put out a new EP and video, but oddly enough felt the need to reach out to your friendly neighborhood reviewer/general slacker for an opinion. Feels good, and I mean it man.

So, What Do They Even Sound Like?

A bottom heavy Metalcore band that wears their influences on their sleeves. And in the vocalist’s case, on his ears. Holy mother of Jehova, those gauges! But that’s besides the point, they’re good at what they do, and that’s good enough for many. I hope to see them break free from the Melodeath Riff-Breakdown-Thrashy Circle Pit Bit-Breakdown formula in the future. They started out as a Metallica/Lamb of God/Killswitch Engage cover band, so yes, you can already guess how it may sound. *AhemGodForbidAhem*

And Why Is This A Track Review?

Because I can’t be fucked to go for the whole EP right now. Not due to time constraints, I’m just a bastard. So let’s dig in.

One good sign is that I haven’t felt an urge to rip my ears off when the video starts. I almost expected another By-The-Book Melodeath band due to the pretty little riffs and a guy who seems to be in a bit of a bind. *Insert laugh track*. Instead however, we’re greeted with shouts and some chugs. Nice lil’ curveball there. The fast-ish parts with the rather standard fare Melodic Death Metal riffs remind me a bit of Sylosis, so not bad, and the breakdowns, guitar tone, and song structure reminds me of many bands of their type, so I’ll go with the Australian Metalcore band Daysend.

Overall not a bad song, but I can’t help but feel like it should have been a minute or so longer. The condensed nature of the track packed some punch, yes, but it’s the same punch that Metalcore has been giving for the last few years. Since this is the single, I’ll hold out hope for the rest of the EP to add a bit more spice.

Now let’s talk about the video, and for added inconvenience, I’ll make it a breakdown of sorts.

00:12 Had too much to drink… never touching Everclear again.

00:21 JUMP. JUMP. JUMP. JUMP.

00:40 AAAAAAH!!! A FACE!

00:49 Nice gardening skills there bud!

01:13 Wash your hands before getting your supper!

01:37 A little time in prison ages the best of us.

01:47 Checkmate!

01:58 “Mother Nature, a beautiful force?” The only nature I’ve seen was the roses, and the crazy convict/barfighter that seems to be growing them!

2:40 Hah! Take that for… winning at chess! I guess he was a bad guy, he was frowning the entire video.

2:50 AH! I didn’t do anything in this video but look sketchy, yet Nature hates me!

3:14 Noo! My evil plaaaaaaans! Ruined by vines!

3:24 I’m operating under the assumption that nature killed those guys and freed the one tied up.

So the point Amongst Carrion is making here is that Mother Nature will fuck you up if you even dare to lock up some innocent guy. I think. Music videos stopped making sense sometime in the 90s.

The Verdict

They’re good, just need something to separate themselves from the Metalcore pack. If this song is any indication of their potential, then they should work at the next release a bit more. And consider steering clear of flower beds. If they had been around when I was 15, I’d have loved it, but at the wizened year of 19, I’ll say it’s pretty okay. With a name like Amongst Carrion, I expected them to play something more br00tal, but I’m finding myself glad they don’t. Here’s to hoping this pony has a few more tricks!

7/10

Redneck From Hell Presents: New England Metal & Hardcore Fest Day 1, a Revieux

New England Metal and Hardcore Festival Review

 

Metalfest is an annual gathering of good metal bands and shit bands claiming to be metal…or shit hardcore bands who hate metal. That being said, it’s the closest thing to a real metal festival us New Englanders have (besides Bobfest!), so all the grubby, long-haired, zit-covered hordes leave their collective mother’s basement to fight with the overly clean, short-haired, basketball jersey-wearing hxc kiddies who love da breakdowns. Sounds like a great bear-on-twink flick. -Ed.

This year was no different.

NOTE: I am only covering bands that I actually saw–so, if there are any omissions, that is why.

Pathogenic started off the day with their happenin’ brand of generidjent. I was actually fairly surprised at their performance, because the last time I saw the band was at Black Xmas 2010, where the room was so horrified from their aggressively awful performance that folks would have probably been happy if Mudvayne took the stage. This time around, the music still suffered from a severe case of “hey, we’re djent too, guys”–in other words, there wasn’t a single original riff played–but they put on an entertaining show and were tight as all hell. I was at the barrier for their set, and actually wasn’t sad to be there.

Hour of Penance’s set began late because of an asshole sound guy who literally ignored the band’s requests, which resulted in whoever controls set punctuality to hop on the loudspeaker and yell at the band to get going. When they finally got through to the sound guy and started playing, the set was an absolute blast. They only got to play a few songs because of the fucking absurd time limits, but they were tight, energetic, and looked like they were having a great time. The crowd was fairly bullshit though, as most of the people spent time bitching about how they didn’t play any breakdowns. I mean, FUCK, what good is it without any breakdowns??? Check out teh protoslam in Slavery In A Deaf Decay and dance. -Ed.

I only saw the tail end of Legion’s set, and from what I did see, that ain’t a bad g-thang. They were one of the worst bands I have had the misfortune of witnessing. F’real, holmes. There was nothing tight about them; the 7-8 minutes I saw were rife with mistakes and sloppiness, and when you’re playing such a simple brand of hardcore, let’s face it–that’s weak as hell. To make matters worse, the singer sounded like Mitch Lucker crossed with Frankie Palmeri. There’s really not a whole lot more to say about this. I mean, they had a lot of breakdowns, which I guess is enough for some folks, but for me it don’t cut tha cheese. Don’t forget the synchronized hops. -Ed.

This was my second time seeing Fit for an Autopsy recently, but my first without numerous technical difficulties…meaning that this time, bass drops made me want to poop my pants every time a breakdown hit. There wasn’t much of a difference between the two times otherwise, and that’s a good thing–this band may not come close to being unique or innovative, but I’ll be sheep-fucked if they ain’t damn fun every time they play. Though most of their set serves as filler in between the classic tunes “The Conqueror” and “The Jackyl”, it’s acceptably well-done filler, and certainly isn’t as offensive as, say, Legion. Solid.

Conducting from the Grave was a nice change of pace, seeing as while melody wasn’t a big factor in any of the previous sets, Conducting let their big collective melodicock dangle. I’d master that instrument from both ends. -Ed. Harmonies soared through the air like Slaughter of the Soul was just released–these guys do NOT fuck around when it comes to their precious melody. The extremely tight guitarists shred with reckless abandon, leaving the mosh pit a worthless pool of happiness and puppies. No, for real, these guys remind one of the golden days of metal, without sounding like a retro or revival band, which is fucking awesome. The great thing about Conducting from the Grave is how even though they use breakdowns, they aren’t always the climax of the song–sometimes they are–but not always, which is crucial. Their set was, again, far too short, but that’s no fault of their own, and they played a fun set of fun songs, including the stellar “And Our War Will Dawn”, “Marching Towards Extinction” and “Her Poisoned Tongues”, the latter of which caused the pit to explode in a tsunami of arm flailing. It’s also worth mentioning that Mikey Powell is an immensely powerful frontman, absolutely owning the stage–even if he does look almost exactly like Axxe from Ecliption’s evil twin.

Prog/djent/deathcore/whatever group The Contortionist absolutely wowed, opening up with one of their fairly involved numbers, “Flourish”. The song goes from techy to brutal to calming to beautiful to epic to brutal and finally techy again. Yeah, they’re one of those bands. The thing is, despite ripping off Between the Buried and Me’s stage act to a tee (what with the singer singing and playing keyboard/hopping around and growling like a maniac), they come across unique because they really don’t sound anything alike, and well…they don’t suck. My skewed reasoning aside, I really don’t see how anybody in the audience couldn’t like their set. Yes, they had breakdowns, but fuck elitists who would bitch about that anyway. They only had time for 4 songs, but they used their time well, evenly splitting the set between old and new material. The old material is great, but the new stuff gives me a good ol’ fashioned stiffy. It focuses more on the progressive aspects and, in one of the 2 songs they played, puts clean vocals in the forefront, which works amazingly well, given their style–even if the beat down sections aren’t quite as memorable as in, say, “Expire”.

The last time I saw Molotov Solution was quite a while ago, a few months after they released their sophomore album, The Harbinger. Molotov plays a brand of deathcore that, while painfully generic, is admittedly stupid fun to mosh along to. Songwriting superior to many of their peers is responsible for this, as seen in songs like “Rule by Secrecy” or “Enslaved”. That being said, they released a third record, Insurrection, not too long ago, and I haven’t had much time to spend with it yet. My initial reaction was that it wasn’t as good as The Harbinger, but upon seeing some of the songs live, I may need to revisit that, as their set was pretty fucking cool–and the new songs blew the old ones out of the water (with the exception of “Enslaved”). On a side note, you know when you’re walking down the street and see an enormously obese man and think to yourself, “Goddamn, that broski ain’t got no neck!”? Well, I bet Nick is responsible for all the fatties’ lack of necks–he’s gotta be stealing them left and right, because this guy is so abnormally tall, it looks like he has three.

I would have been more excited to see Fleshgod Apocalypse around the time the Mafia EP was released, since their latest full length, Agony seems to be an exercise in excessiveness. Keyboard melodies fly left and right, blast beats seemingly never stop, and two singers (both who play instruments as well) trade off guttural growls and operatic singing like there ain’t no thang sacred. Must be ex-gospel choir. -Ed. That being said, while it’s far too much on record, live it comes across as a rip-roaring good time. I do wish they had played “Thru Our Scars” or “In Honor of Reason”, but these metallers from the land of macaroni ‘n gravy gave us a great set nonetheless. Gabagool. -Ed.

While I like some of their material, deathcore merchants Carnifex are an INCREDIBLY frustrating band live. The first time I saw them live, they played a mix of material I liked and disliked, and were tight, but suuuuuuuuuper fucking dull, dude, and seemed bored the entire time. The second time, which was at Rocko’s in Manchestah, Namshaw, they only played 2 songs I didn’t hate, but sold the bad shit so well, with a passion and energy reserved for first-tier acts, that it was impossible not to enjoy their set. For their New England Metal/Hardcore Festival set, they played every fucking song that I wanted to see, and still managed to disappoint–they were far too sloppy (which one could chalk up to the fact that it was 420, but that’s a copout) to give a damn about their set choice. Blame it on the a-a-a-a-a, a-alcohol. -Ed. The drummer slogged along, often more than a beat behind the rest of the band, the guitarists fucked up every three seconds, the singer’s voice cracked…I’m giving up on this shit. For a metal band with the popularity and exposure of Carnifex, it’s totally unacceptable and downright reprehensible to give fans a performance of this craptastic caliber. Hopefully the tables will turn on this band soon and fucking kill ‘em, so another, better band can rise up in their place. What a fucking disgrace.

Thankfully, blackened thrashers Skeletonwitch were up next to wipe one’s memory of Carnifex’s shitshow. While not the most memorable or technical band in the world, Skeletonwitch are a great drinkin’, thrashin’, old school band who, even though they didn’t amaze, gave us a break from incessant breakdowns and lung-scraping gutturals. Honestly, even though I’ve seen this band more than my fair share of times, I’m not familiar with their recorded material as I should be–to me, they’re kind of like Warbringer or Goatwhore: lacking in substance, but able to make up for it live with buckets of energy and big ‘ol scoops of fun (like shotgunning a can ‘o Bud Heavy while lying upside down on a steep roof). Bud is terrible and you’re fired. -Ed. There’s not much else to say, really. Check them out if you give a shit; if not, it’s probz not the end of the world, yo.

Though I’ve spent quite a lot of this review complaining about breakdowns, Oceano fucking ruled, despite using them more than I smoke camel 99’s to the filter. See a lung doctor about that. -Ed. Adam Warren is a captivating frontman, engaging the audience, and even tossing out a “This one’s for the ladies,” coupled with a song title that makes the statement fairly offensive (the song was “Disgust for Your Kind”). They played a fantastic set, tight as your sister’s puss puss (yeah, I went there), and filled with songs from both records. Fuck, they even played “Samael the Destroyer”, huge doom ending included. I must have fathered a bunch of children during that song, because I jizzed so hard to it, I fucking FILLED The Palladium with my seed (sorry, Palladium janitorial staff). They closed with the requisite “District of Misery”, leaving all but the elitist fuckheads more than satisfied. Triumphant.

That being said, my personal best-set-of-the-night award goes to All Shall Perish, who destroyed all the competition without even trying. They not only played a wonderful set culling from all four albums in their discography, but played it flawlessly, with nary a mistake–and they even incited the show’s only wall of death, set to the monstrous breakdown in “Deconstruction”. Eddie Hermida is a beast on the microphone–the guy can do just about any style of metal vocals out there on cue, and he owns the stage like a boss. The interesting thing about All Shall Perish is, despite being associated with deathcore, their music feels far more on the metal side, and they play it with the conviction and attitude of an arena rock band. Take “Wage Slaves”, for example–you got the metal-as-fuck down-tuned intro, but with a cowbell keeping time, and when the whole band finally kicks in, Eddie does a Steven Tyler-style jump and shouts “Owwwwwwwww COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!” Cephalic Carnage and Aerosmith are filing a joint lawsuit. -Ed. I hope someone sees this comment and calls me out for being an asshole, but if you have watched All Shall Perish and DIDN’T have a good time, you are fucking stupid. You are fucking stupid as hell. In fact, you are such an incredible bowl of idiocy, I’m ashamed you came to this blog. Fuck off.

Nile, on the other hand, despite being a death metal classic, disappointed me for the second time, and honestly left me with a sour taste in my mouth for the drive home. This is why hookers don’t own cars. -Ed. It’s not that they weren’t tight–they were–it’s just that they’re too full of themselves for their own good. Look, guys–you have an extensive catalog of amazing death metal, fucking dive into it and play us, the fans, some classics. Their set consisted of a shit ton of tracks from their latest record, Those Whom the Gods Detest, and only one song from each other record besides their classic debut, Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, which they completely ignored. And you know what? Those Whom the Gods Detest is a great record. But when you’re an upper-echelon classic like Nile, you have to hit the classics. Sure, I got to headbang to “Sarcophagus” and “Black Seeds of Vengeance” (which they play every show), but where the hell was “Masturbating the War God”? “Serpent-Headed Mask”? “Execration Text”? “Lashed to the Slave Stick”? “Nepenthe”? “Surrounded By Fright”? -Ed. Hell, they didn’t even play anything from the upcoming record, At the Gates of Sethu. To make matters worse, most crowd interactions were generic throw-away lines like “How we doing tonight????”. While I love this band and will purchase At the Gates of Sethu when it drops, they need to re-evaluate their live show and give back to the fans for once. And I bet Karl’s pre-game snacks could feed the audience twice over. -Ed.

I didn’t stay for the final two bands because I’ve seen The Acacia Strain a bunch of times before, and I don’t like The Black Dahlia Murder. And I live in Namshaw, and didn’t want to get home at 4 AM. So fuck all y’all. Bring Your Own Protection. -Ed.

Redneck from Hell

Redneck From Hell Presents: Occupation Domination Tour Review

Note, any italicized text with -Ed. next to it are my own insertions. Of course, you’d know that if you read any magazine or online review site more legit than mine. We’re getting somewhere. Now this is getting to be a long note, so I’ll cut immediately to the part where the white guy talks about rock’n’roll.

Occupation Domination Tour Review

 

While it’s cool that the Occupation Domination Tour came to Namshaw, did they really have to pick the one town that’s more Masshole-ish than pure fucking Namshaw? Keene is a college town, which means it contains an abundance of jocks who like doing keg stands to LMFAO better than drinking bourbon shirtless, in a shitty kitchen, with Hank 3’s “Gettin’ Drunk and Fallin’ Down” playing in the background. That being said, the Railroad Tavern is a pretty cool venue, featuring no stage, and Dio on the stereo in between sets.

Oh yeah, I’m gonna give bands numerical scores for this review ‘cuz I feel like it.

I don’t know who the first local band was, and I don’t really care all that much because all I heard from the showroom were breakdowns coupled with crappy growls, so I decided to go buy cheap Chinese food. I respect this choice greatly. -Ed.

Upon my return, Zombie Fighter, a local thrash revival outfit was playing. I’ve actually shared the stage with this band, and they’re a great bunch of dudes. While their music is fun-but-unremarkable, they play with a fierce energy that makes you wanna throw on your ratty pair of Reebok high-tops and do keg stands to LMFAO. I kid. Bottom line is this: Zombie Fighter ain’t ever gonna make it to the big leagues unless they show some innovation, but there’s no reason to skip ‘em if they’re on the bill at a show you’re attending. After all, who doesn’t like the ‘80s? I don’t even want to meet the bastard who doesn’t. -Ed. 7.5/10

Conforza, the final local band, put on a set of pretty solid deathcore with some cool leads and sub-par vocals. There’s not much else to say. If you like deathcore, there’s no real good reason why you wouldn’t like this, especially since below-average vocalists run rampant in the genre (Mitch Lucker, anyone?).6/10

Face of Ruin were apparently only playing a few dates on the Occupation Domination tour, and I had never heard of them before, but they put on a solid set of solid death metal solidly. The band kinda just stood there playing, and the singer looked like a trollbeast, but the music was good, if generic, and the solos were great. I thought about picking up their EP, but decided I’d rather buy McDonald’s for lunch the next day. 7/10

Next up was the first band on the entire tour, crossovery thrash band Battlecross. I had heard of these dudes, but never actually listened to their music, because I spotted their cd in an F.Y.E. and thought the cover art sucked. Well, apparently there’s some truth to the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, because Battlecross kicked fucking arse. They gotta be hiding illegal energy supplements in their van, because they bounced and thrashed across the floor like a bunch of meth-addled bumblebees. The audience was visibly unconvinced at the beginning of the set, given that Battlecross was the only thrash band on the tour (excluding local openers), but over the course of the first three songs, the band slowly won over the entire room, and for me at least, emerged as a rising star in the metal scene; definitely one to keep your eye on. 8/10

Rings of Saturn, on the other hand, despite being over-the-top fun on record, were absolutely hideous live. I was looking forward to a tight, fun filled set of endless arpeggios and breakdowns, but what I got was a sloppy, depressing set of arpeggios and breakdowns. The new singer apparently has a secret love for Suicide Silence (again: Mitch Lucker, anyone?), unlike the previous one, who commanded you to listen with a mix of powerful gutturals and unsettling shrieks. The drums were so sloppy it hurt. If you can’t play gravity blasts, don’t write them into your songs. If you can’t play simple fills, look for a new fucking profession. The bass was non-existent, as even though the bassist was present, he just didn’t play, which crippled the heaviness factor, since Rings of Saturn sticks to high strings unless they’re playing a breakdown. The thing is, none of this would matter if we were talking about a crust punk, grindcore, or even crossover thrash band. But this is technical death metal, and you gotta be on your game. If you ain’t, get the fuck out tha ring! Fucken told ’em! -Ed. 4/10

It’s a damn good thing Aborted was on next, because Rings of Saturn’s set was about as much fun as the Jonestown Massacre. It’s pretty difficult for me to review an Aborted show objectively, since they’re one of my favorite bands, so I won’t: this is unabashed worship prose, that might as well be penned in my fucking cum. Please don’t, you’ll get the servers all sticky. -Ed. Aborted is an amazing deathgrind band that crushes anvils between its metaphorical fingers. This is a band so heavy your eardrums will explode upon hearing one note. The Belgian psychos kicked off their set with the title track from their newest LP, Global Flatline, but they played shit from Engineering the Dead, Goremageddon: The Saw and Carnage Done, and Slaugher and Apparatus: A Methodical Overture too. Their samples weren’t working, but that’s aiight; the crowd just shouted ‘em anyway. “I WILL FUCKING RAPE YOUR SOUL!”. They did, dude. They did. Perfect 10. Jizztastic. 10/10

Technical brutal death metal (I know, over the top genre classification, whatever, fuck you) hippies Decrepit Birth were on next, and their set was fairly predictable until the end, when they busted out a spot on cover of Death’s “Crystal Mountain”. That didn’t really matter, since even though material differs wildly album to album in this band’s canon, it all comes across well live, and Bill Robinson is a great frontman whose dreadlocks make him look kind of like a hippie metal octopus when he headbangs. I was hoping to hear “Solar Impulse”, but I didn’t. It’s cool though, man, let’s just smoke a big bowl ‘o herb and throw on some brutal death metal, maaaaaan. A departure towards the sun (Ignite the bong coil) -Ed. This was just an average set for Decrepit Birth, but that’s better than most of their peers anyway. Man. 8.5/10

California vegetarian deathgrinders Cattle Decapitation are one of the most innovative forces in metal today, combining texturally/sonically different soundscapes to create a genre I have coined Cattle Rock, since I’m that fucking creative. Seriously though: during their 35-40 minute set, one could hear traces of the obvious death metal and grindcore, but also (less obviously) post rock, doom metal, black metal, and slam. None of these styles are portrayed separately like a spazzcore band such as Iwrestledabearonce would do–they are all integrated seamlessly into the rock-solid deathgrind foundation, creating a sickeningly evil vortex of sound, native only to Cattle Decapitation’s members’ twisted brains. That they played shit spanning from their not-yet-released new record (It has since been released, this review was written when it actually happened, ya see. -Ed), Monolith of Inhumanity, all the way back to their Metal Blade debut, To Serve Man, is just a bonus (though “Chunk Blower” kicked arseface). 9/10

Honestly, I’m not as much of a fan of headliners Origin as some of the other bands on the tour, but I’ll be damned if the tech-deathsters didn’t win me over. They played a Composted-style set of silliness, involving a Wheel of Fortune-inspired set wheel that had slots for everything from songs to orders for chicks to show their tittayz. And even though I didn’t know most of the material that well, they won me over via sheer force. It didn’t even matter that drunk non-metalheads came into the pit just to fuck with people and throw them on the ground (said assholes ran into trouble with security and wound up getting kicked out). There’s a reason this band can headline national tours. When your shitty band can command a room this well, you can too. 8.5/10, but only because I’m not all that familiar with Origin.

If you weren’t at this show, you missed out on an incredible night of metal goodness, and one band so bad, they made maximum security inmates thankful they weren’t present. Fuckheads.

Redneck from Hell

The 2012 Manly Awards, Hosted By A Picture Of Cam Pipes

Quit being fags and wear some form-fitting leather.

Thanks Cam. Y’know, I’ve decided since 5 seconds ago that I should catalogue a few of the most badass bands in various categories, because I feel I haven’t been paying enough attention to the Dude, and as a result, you pay less attention to me. It’s sad, and teetering on tragic but I’ll right it all and bring sunshine to Mordor. Manowar is not invited, so fuck you. Honourable Mentions are just the ones that came off the top of my head and are subject to change. Keep in mind, this is all opinion, but my opinion is as good as fact, so deal or die.

Names That Aren’t To Be Fucked With 

The Winner: The Fucking Champs

 

Progressive Metal whenever they feel like it, Indie Rock by trade, whatever that means. Their name is sweet, and earns them top dog as the ballsiest name of all time. They’re so badass, in fact, they title their albums by number, and flipped off the conventional wordy kind.

Runner-Up: Lightning Swords Of Death

Lightning is manly. Swords are manly. Death is manly as a muhfucka. Mash ’em up and you get something chunky and effluent, but chock full of muscle-building protein. Black Metal that sounds like the inside of a motorcycle engine is not for girly girls.

 

Honourable Mention:

Aborted

Rotting Christ

Shark Punch

Refused

Austrian Death Machine

Badass Beginnings

The Winner: Asphyx – Deathhammer

“This is real Death Metal, ya bastards!”

Runner-Up: Judas Priest – Painkiller

Think your drum fill is awesome? Fuck you, ‘Priest did it better than anyone has or ever will.

Honourable Mention:

Dragonforce – Black Winter Night

Morbid Angel – Dominate

Nunslaughter – Burning Away

Coffins – Cadaver Blood

Unleashed – Far Beyond Hell

Ideal Barfight BGM

The Winner: Motörhead – Runaround Man

Sing those bitches the blues.

Runner-Up: Entombed – Seeing Red

Being angry is cool.

Honourable Mention:

Accept – Balls To The Wall

Volbeat – Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza.

Prong – The Banishment

Panzerbastard – Hell’s Gate

Down – Eyes of the South

Shed Those Manly Tears, Boy

The Winner: Stratovarius – Forever

Runner-Up: Devin Townsend – Hyperdrive

Honourable Mention:

Dark Tranquillity – Fabric

All Shall Perish – Awaken The Dreamers

Thou – Acceptance

Officium Triste – The Silent Witness

Cynic – King Of Those Who Know

Shai Hulud – Solely Concentrating On The Negative Aspects Of Life

Album Covers For The Hairy

The Winner: Amon Amarth – Twilight Of The Gods

Simply looking at this illustration of Thor mercilessly giving Jörmungandr a taste of the business with Mjolnir for 5 seconds grows you several more facial hairs. Regardless of gender.

Runner-Up: Bolt Thrower – War Master

Yes, that man’s stance is not appropriate for battle, but he should care why?

Honourable Mention:

Pantera – Vulgar Display Of Power

Anal Cunt – Fuckin’ A

Belphegor – Lucifer Insestus

Type O Negative – Dead Again

Altar – Provoke

Break Stuff

The Winner: EyeHateGod – My Name Is God (I Hate You)

This song makes me want to bang my head against the table I’m sitting at until I at least have several hairline fractures and a nosebleed.

Runner-Up: I Declare War – New Age Holocaust

Beating Your Best Friend With A Shovel-core

Honourable Mention:

Ancient Filth – Ancient Filth

Municipal Waste – Upside-Down Church

Abacinate – By The Righteous Hands

The Red Chord – Demoralizer

Devourment – Incitement To Mass Murder

And now we move on to the Battle Hymns. You’ll notice that I’ve left out all traces of Symphonic stuff, because that’d be too obvious and bloodless. Instead, here’s stuff to actually kill to.

Battle Hymns (Metal)

1. Iron Maiden – Invaders

First Iron Maiden song I had ever heard. Damn good for ransacking that unsuspecting savage village in the Andes!

2. The Haunted – No Compromise

If you bought rEVOLVEr, you paid only for this song and none of the others.

3. Misery Index – The Seventh Cavalry

the Hans Zimmerman of Metal. Yes, I’m putting them above the Symphonic bands.

4. Unleashed – Blood of Lies

Someone appoint Johnny Hedlund to Secretary of War, if such a position exists in Sweden.

5. Exhumed – Casketkrusher

What Berserkers listen to after a relaxing bloodbath.

Battle Hymns (-core/Punk)

1. Trap Them – Manic In The Grips

If you’ve got Trap Them on your side in a fight, you’ll not need more than a minute to finish the clown who stepped to you on the BBall court.

2. American Me – Flybag

Beatdown belongs here, not on your knuckles.

3. Have Heart – About Face

if only they’d about face from being broken up.

4. Ramlord – First Breath//Last Breath

It even starts out with a howl for added spice.

5. Leftöver Crack – Atheist Anthem

The Manliest Men Of Metal. Mmm.

Ben Weinman

Also known as the “Iron Man” or “GERONIMO!”, which I’m going to start calling him since he hasn’t died or suffered permanent injury due to his timelessly dangerous stage antics, which include jumping off of stacks of amps, hanging from rafters while playing guitar, jumping into the crowd with reckless abandon, and all manner of acrobatics, without missing a single note. Such a lack of regard for his own safety earns him a place in the Manly Hall Of Fame.

The Dillinger Escape Plan may not be Metal, but Ben must be made of adamantium.

Varg Vikerness

This guy lives in a cabin in the woods. In Norway. That’s all I need to say.

Lemmy Kilmister

The man is 66 years old, plays in one of the biggest and longest running Metal bands currently existing, perfected the art of connecting a handlebar mustache to muttonchops, has more virility in his forearm than a fit man my age despite smoking and drinking nonstop, has a voice that could tear the flesh off a callused rhinocerous and the face of a stoned troll, yet still somehow gets laid consistently on Rock’n’Roll merit alone. This is why he is, quite predictably, the number one contender for Manliest Man in Metal. You are now dismissed.

We can finally stick a fork in this shitshow of an awards ceremony. No band members even showed up despite my inviting them over facebook wall posts and a promise of free candy with a side of sex. I’ll never repeat it again, and I bid you never speak of it as long as you live.

In Remembrance Of MCA: Nice Guys at the Box Fort

Hola, niños. I’ve been too lazy to write, so fuck off. I’m also waiting on content from a bearded man from the north, who will make this “me” into a “we”, and will exponentially increase the silly. So without further ado, I’m back, but only by necessity. I could’ve broken into the Trailer Park Boys show, but I did this instead, just for you.

Sean and the Eckle Mans

I’m not even sure if this is a real thing or an experiment in how many random covers one can do without necessarily being a cover band. Not exactly the tightest band I’ve seen/heard, but it was still fun to watch this two-man outing chew the scenery with some admittedly borrowed tunes and reading a setlist from an iPhone. Phancy. They elude Google Fu, so I’m not sure if they even really exist. But if one of them is named Sean, they’re doing the noble name a service, and I salute them. Though I stand by my statement that the White Stripes are NOT HEAVY.

Masingo

They want to believe. Do you?

As disappointed as I was that their name is in fact not Missingno, they were quite good regardless. They’re one of those bands that’s all at once experimental while also keeping a strong undercurrent of stability. Nearly mathy start-stops coupled with straight up Indie/Punk melodies make for a confusing but not altogether bad listening experience. Good vibrations.

Nice Guys

NICE GUYS/BAD DECISIONS

People go hard for their surf punk. In fact, some of them treated the crowd like water. With the highest combined liquor/pot to flesh ratio of any band playing, they set out to show you that they don’t suck, and I think they did well, all the mad yelping included. They certainly didn’t lie when they said they’re Beach Boys x Black Flag slash fiction put to music, with those adorable surf/spy rockin’ riffs melding seamlessly with all the drunken aggresion of punk, at times teetering on burned out denial of imminent despair. Did it make sense? Not at all, but that’s why I write, because it’s the only medium where I can get away with it. If you’ve already checked out their bandcamp demo, go see them live, they’re actually not horrible. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they’re good. Just don’t break anything, it’s already broken enough. Wavves better watch out, because that pussy’s going in the dunk tank.