A three-day music festival in the woods with rock, punk, metal, copious amount of drinking, and an undying sense of community… throw that all in a blender with some camping and yard games and you get RPM Fest. The “Heaviest Party of the Summer” and the unofficial end to the summer in the New England metal scene. This was my 2nd year at RPM Fest so I knew what to expect, but at the same time, I didn’t know what to expect. As it is never a repeat of the year prior at this loud and dirty circus. Continue reading
Salem, Massachusetts modern metallers Carnivora is a band Ghost Cult has been following for many years and through several incarnations. The band has continued to grow and improve while keeping what makes them, them for a lack of better verbiage. They have always placed an importance on monster riffs, deep grooves and generally short blasts of fun metal tracks that don’t overstay their welcome. On their new single ‘Bogdweller’, the band has hit a new level with the addition of vocalist Haydee Irrizary (Aversed, Zahra Lux). Continue reading
For the third year in a row, Ghost Cult is co-sponsoring a charity concert to benefit those less fortunate, using the power of heavy metal music to raise money for those less fortunate. This years’ event features two New England-based fundraising groups joining together for the common good: The Big 4 Charity Tribute Concert Series and Metal For Nepal Boston. The two day event features top flight musicians from all the Boston area and all over the country, and a deep raffle of incredible prizes. Details below. Continue reading
I tend to feel spoiled living in Massachusetts. Why spoiled? Because it’s very easy for me to sit back, enjoy a Miller High Life, and put my elitist hat on when it comes to extreme music. Just look at our track record. The dirty water state has given us bands like SS Decontrol, Sam Black Church, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Converge, Shadows Fall and The Red Chord. We’ve had it pretty good.
But unfortunately with such a strong pedigree comes the risk of complacency. It’s easy to rest on those laurels because we assume that the old guard we be there forever. All it takes is watching the latest deathcore clone or third-rate djent band posturing as progressive metal at the Palladium for me to realize that “The Bay State’s” reputation can be tarnished. We cannot soil our history with guitar backing tracks and shitty neck tattoos.
While it is always best to air on the side of caution, I dare say that the future of Massachusetts metal is safe and sound. We have young bands like Pathogenic, My Missing Half, The Summoned and George Orwell the Musical to fly the flag. Joining that vanguard of New England brutality is Carnivora with The Vision EP.
I was fortunate enough to have as guests on my radio show, Stress Factor, in 2013 when they were promoting their first LP, Eternal. The shred was strong on that début offering and I wasn’t the only one impressed as they embarked on a seamlessly never-ending string of regional shows and battles of the bands.
Less than two years later and with appearances on the 2014s Summer Slaughter Tour and Mayhem Festival, the gentlemen from Danvers have returned with an even sharper collection of songs. While everyone has stepped up their game, it’s the guitar tandem of Cody Michaud and Mike Meehan that take center stage on tracks like ‘A Vision in Red’ and ‘Razors & Rust.’ So much so that if given time to further develop they’ll be hanging with great Massachusetts guitar tag teams like Ken Susi and Buz McGrath of Unearth or Shadows Fall’s Matt Bachand (who manages Carnivora) and Jon Donais.
So no need to worry. I say that the future is ours.
Recently inactive Boston metallers Shadows Fall will headline The Big Kaunha Festival in August. Taking place at Fêtemusic Hall in Providence, Rhode Island on 8/22, the bill will also feature regional acts such as End Time Illusion, Anaria, Carnivora, Oath over three stages, with many other bands yet to be announced.
The band commented on the show:
“We may add a few more shows around this date and these could possibly be the only Shadows Fall dates of the year.”
The band released a statement last August stating of the intentions of the band to take at least a long open-ended hiatus:
“Touring full time in a band these days has never been more difficult financially. When you have to ensure the future comfort of your family, difficult decisions have to be made. Another reason is the fact that our lead guitarist (Jon Donais) is now in Anthrax, which makes it hard for us to do any extensive touring with our full lineup.
“This has been a real hard decision for all of us to make, but we feel at this time this is the right thing to do. We don’t hate each other, we’re not bitter,;we, in fact, still have a really great time together, but the ride has slowed down and it’s time for the next chapters in our lives, whatever that may be.
“For the past decade and a half, we have been able to create the music we have always wanted to hear and share it with music fans everywhere. That being said, you still may see us at a festival or two over the next few years… If they ask, we will come!”
In addition to Donais’ work touring and recording a new Anthrax album, Brian Fair has performed with Overcast, Matt Bachand has launched a management company called Manshark Entertainment and joined Act of Defiance on bass, and Jason Bittner has joined Flotsam And Jetsam. Shadows Fall’s last album release was 2012’s Fire From The Sky on the Razor & Tie label
Boston modern metal upstarts Carnivora have unveiled their artwork for their upcoming EP, The Vision, to be released later this spring. Combining the brute strength of classic metal (tech death, thrash) with the melodies and grooves of more recent legends, Carnivora is a band you ought to have on your go to playlists. The Vision was produced by Anthony Lopardo, at Westfall Recording Company of Long Island, NY, Mixed and Mastered by Ray Marte, and Engineered by Juan Ortiz. You can see the artwork created by Fivemiligrams below:
Carnivora formed in 2011. In addition to slots on The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Summer Slaughter, Gigantour, and The New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, the band has shared the stage with Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth and Avenged Sevenfold among others. They are managed by Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall) and his company Manshark Entertainment.
Sometimes dreams do come true, and sometimes not so much. As much as I have been a supporter of Summer slaughter in all its incarnations, it has been some time since it really lived up to the billing of “The Most Brutal Tour of The Summer”. I even heard a NASCAR or WWE wrestling announcer’s voice in my head as I typed those words. Still, it’s the true to say that this tour has been lacking in the brutality department for a while and even though I rather enjoy prog and djent bands, and the “whateverthehellyoucallit” style of bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, something was lacking the last few summers. It was death metal and balls to be blunt. Well this year the tour got all its balls back and then some with an amazing lineup stacked pretty much top to bottom. A death metal fans dream to be sure.
Of course my life has a way of clusterfucking my plans over sometimes and so on the big day of the show I got waylaid by a bunch of BS things all happening at once. I ended missing a good half of the bands I wanted to see most, which had me in sick to my stomach to be honest. I hate missing any bands, let alone some amazing locals and bands I admire like Fallujah, Decrepit Birth, and Origin but that’s what happened. I showed up in time to see Goatwhore and heard a bit of their set before I had to run and interview Alex from Fallujah. He was so cool, that it almost made up for the BS I went through.
The first full band performance I saw was Thy Art is Murder and these guys are always excellent live. I actually enjoy them in concert, even more on record. Perhaps it’s because I think their explosive live act hasn’t fully translated to a recording for me yet. Nonetheless, they destroyed the stage, the pit was insane and the crowd of moshing hooligans were feeling it. I know some people griped about TAIM being higher on the bill than Origin, but believe me, they deserve the props they are getting.
The Faceless was up next and I have covered them a lot in my career. At one point it seemed like they were going to be a hybrid of Cynic and Meshuggah and be a legendary band. At times, they actually are. They were cursed by really setting the template for all the “Sumerian” bands to follow them on that label and others, similar to Unearth with metalcore. Still, on this warm August night, The Faceless reminded everyone in the room just how much ass they can kick when they want to. Playing a predominantly old-school set (for them) mainly from the Akeldama and Planetary Duality albums, they just crushed it. Geoffrey Ficco long ago came into his own as the front man of this band, but he left no doubt about his mastery of brutal vocals, his domineering stage presence, and his great sense of humor. Michael Keene as usual played great. He could smile a little less, but I guess he is allowed to feel smug based on what he created here.
Even after the last notes of ‘Zenochrist’ rung out from The Faceless, it was all about Dying Fetus. Fetus is as close to a religious experience as it gets for tech death. They are flawless live and possibly the best band in all of metal in concert. The reason being is they insane virtuosity coupled with their extreme style is just a perfect match for many fans of the genre. They were flawless on this night, true masters of the sick tempos and heavy grooves. They played a short (always too fucking short for me) set list of deep cuts and classic tracks. John Gallagher’s growl is only matched by his unrelenting guitar style. I can’t really believe I have only seen them headline one time ever, but it’s true. ‘One Shot, One Kill’, ‘Intentional Manslaughter’, ‘Justifiable Homicide’ were all mind-blowing! Trey Williams is almost underrated when you start listing the best drummers in death metal. He certainly is never mentioned by most within the first few names, but he should be. He is one of the few drummers in all of metal that can still play super fast double-bass, but still hit for power when he wants to. ‘Praise The Lord (Opium of the Masses)’ was a fitting closer, despite not getting to play ‘Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog’ (again). If I ruled the world, DF would be contractually bound to play that song every single show. And at my house on my birthday!
At last it was time for Morbid Angel to take the stage. I was impressed at how fast and pro their crew was getting set up with nary an extra soundcheck to be done or needed. The band came out to some fitting intro music before lighting up the stage with ‘Immortal Rites’. The band was on-point and note for note perfect. I know David Vincent and crew have had their well-documented missteps, but the band was fierce and played like they had something to prove. Actually they do, and that is they still deserve to be mentioned among the greatest death metal bands/legacy acts around. The set list choices were phenomenal. I think a lot of people forget how many killer songs and albums this band has produced. ‘Fall from Grace’, ‘Day of Suffering’, ‘Maze of Torment’, ‘Curse the Flesh’ and so many more were so good to hear! Trey Azagothoth is still an insane level guitar player and performer. I wish I was able to see more than his elbow, since he hung to his side of the stage mainly. The only guy I was less than impressed with was Tim Yeung (Divine Heresy, World Under Blood). Don’t get me wrong, Timmy can play his ass off. I’d just rather him skip the Tommy Lee worshiping drum stick twirling, and pointing crap. Dude, that shit is lame and you are not getting laid because of it.
Meanwhile, everything on this end of the night set sprang from the presence of David Vincent. Ring leader, demon master, king; he was not to be denied as he curated the set bit by bit. He kept his comments entertaining, but thankfully short. The guy is brilliant and was great at motivating the crowd to keep their energy up after a long day and night. As tonight’s performance indicates, the band is far from over, certainly can still deliver live, and are not to be trifled with!
Until next year Summer Slaughter
Morbid Angel Set List:
Fall from Grace
Day of Suffering
Maze of Torment
Vengeance Is Mine
Ageless, I Still Am
Curse the Flesh
Where the Slime Live
Blood on My Hands
Word of Shit (The Promised Land)
God of Emptiness
WORDS BY KEITH CHACHKES