The Hip Priests open proceedings for the evening as the sole support and the small crowd around for when they arrive welcomes them quite warmly. While the numbers grow slowly but steadily through their set, this warmth continues throughout, with the newcomers showing a respectable level of appreciation for what is a well-played, in your face Punk set. They are tight and well up for the gig, doing themselves justice with their performance, with the Midlands five-piece giving their all despite the lower turnout by the time of their set, with at least one of their songs surely known by those around me, given their split single with our evening’s headliners, The Dwarves, they deserve a bigger crowd than they have, but at least do have some new fans to show for it!Continue reading →
Another night another show at Saint Vitus Bar. There’s a certain magic to the venue. The fact that there is an entire cult of people in New York City who realize if they go on any given night they are going to find music that they want to see. Music of a darker sort, the kind of stuff that is hard to discover but once you do there is no escape. Such was the case last night as the gathered masses basked in the magic of three of the finest bands in modern black metal, Falls of Rauros, Wayfarer, and Saor. Continue reading →
Hot on the heels of the release of their latest album, Demons (Century Media), London based Savage Messiah are wasting no time in getting out on the road and promoting the hell out of it. Of the nine songs the band tears through in front of an excitable Coventry crowd, ‘The Fateful Dark’ is the sole representative of any of their previous releases, the others culled exclusively from the new record.Continue reading →
We were gathered at The BB&T Pavilion to pay respects to the life and times of the almighty Slayer. Joining us here in the congregation is Cannibal Corpse who showered us in hymns new such as ‘Red Before Black’ and old, like ‘Hammer Smashed Face’. A funeral pyre of from Amon Amarth which included ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’, ‘As Loke Falls’ as well as Raise Your Horns’. A fitting tribute.
Situated near the heart of The Black Country – an area in the West Midlands which gave birth to bands such as Judas Priest and perennial Christmas faves Slade – The Robin 2 in Bilston tonight plays host to other local heroes, Diamond Head. Formed in 1976, about ten miles away in Stourbridge, Diamond Head sat proudly at the forefront of the legendary New Wave of British Heavy Metal scene, going onto inspire many up and coming bands, the most famous of which shall remain safely nameless for the purpose of this piece. Continue reading →
2200 hours: People are milling about. They are still buzzed after an exhausting Devildriver performance. The last strains of a sound check happens: drums, guitars, bass, vocals. Hey Hey Yup. Yep. Hey A. The floor fills quickly to the sound of Boston“Rock and roll band… everybody’s waitin’ … getting’ crazy anticipating love… and music… Play Play Play….” Christina says, “I haven’t seen them in a long time. It’s the first time in 19 years seeing them. I’m here to have a good time and see a great band.”
Devildriver, by Melina D Photography
2213 hours: The lights go out and the crowd erupts into chants of “Hatebreed! Hatebreed! Hatebreed!” Eerie creepy kid horror music is piped in. “Arizona! Are you ready?” Why yes, Jamey. We are indeed ready! “I’ve been a Hatebreed fan since ’99 when I was in the ARMY. It’s his (points to 7 year old son) first show.”, says Tony. Tony’s son says Hatebreed are “Awesome.”Jamey Jasta hits the stage looking more like Mike Muir. “Destroy everything!” he commands as a pit, a tad smaller and milder than Devildriver’s breaks out. To wit, I think the crowd is a bit tired. They are densely packed yet hardly moving. There are, however, lots of cell phones in the air.
Hatebreed, by Melina D Photography
Jamey reminds his erstwhile captives that the new album The Concrete Confessional(Nuclear Blast) is the #2 rock record and #13 on Billboard charts. Hatebreed then launch into ‘Looking Down the Barrel of Today’. Live, the song has a wicked funk sound and the pocket is strong with Chris Beattie and Matt Byrne. “The party is only just begun!” Jamey tells us. Finally, the pit has grown. The crowd was a slow burn. They fed off the intensity of the band. Multiple crowd surfers rise above the masses. It’s now a packed house on a Monday night. I was told by a Marquee employee that a good 2500 were in attendance. ‘A.D’ causes a proper circle pit to erupt. Live, ‘A.D’ is a psychotically intense old school thrash song. But, alas, a majority of the crowd stood about like deer in headlights. “They know what they do and they do it will. They stick to it.”, says Patrick. Some are bobbing their heads while others just have this glassy look to their face. I guess I’m just a rabid Hatebreed supporter. Such a laid back attitude towards live music is an anathema to me.
Hatebreed, by Melina D Photography
“Everyone of us are in it together. Everyone leaves with a smile on their face. Everyone leaves with no voice left from a Hatebreed set.” –Jamey Jasta
Hatebreed are killing it on stage. There is elegant beauty in their brutality. It’s been 3.5 years since they played in Tempe. Live they exhibit a tribal feel. Matt’s drumming is deep and mesmerizing. The light show makes me feel like I’m being inducted into the cult of Hatebreed. There are eight discharge lamp/beam/wash moving head fixtures on stage. They shine and flash to the audience; a code of induction. They illuminate the band from behind making them seem larger than life. I drank the Hatebreed kool-aid a long time ago. But tonight I grabbed the chalice and drank deeply again. “I take this vow of hatred, never to be broken.”
“There is no family drama. There’s no death. There’s no suicide. There’s no poverty.” – Jamey Jasta.
“People hear the music and they think we’re crazy. This is music. It’s transformative. It helps people.” – Jamey Jasta.
“This is punk rock as ****”, Guitarist Trevor Peres said himself in a flash of genius, not including his work in the band he was to slay us all with mere minutes later. He said this having surveyed the small and dim wooden interior of the President’s Rock Club of Quincy. Indeed, seeing one of the most legendary Florida death metal acts on a level floor where coming into contact with them was not only possible, but unavoidable if you even wanted to get your money’s worth, is fucking punk. How else would one describe the ability to mic-share with John Tardy if they so wished, as though they were a dingy basement street punk band unloading and reloading decrepit u-Hauls from one rat’s nest to another in suburbs across America rather than the household name in dark and evil music that oft bellows warlike from the stage, an altar of outlets and grander designs befitting their fame? I’m not even a huge fan of Obituary (being a grateful appreciator is the least one should do if they consider themselves into heavy music), and I’d be damned if I didn’t walk out feeling like I had seen history.
An odd choice for an opener was local hardcore punishers Floods, whose riffs carry some of the death/doom/sludge punch that would make their opening for Obituary not too unusual. But it still begs the question of why make it glaringly obvious where the genre lines begin and end with. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they put on a good set, and their Celtic Frost meets Weekend Nachos style is blisteringly heavy, but it’s just not the most captivating sound out there for a young band when Xibalba, The Acacia Strain, and New Lows, to mention just a few, are making the heavy metal-inflected hardcore sound a thing we can look at with some fondness. However, if they opened for Nails, it would be worlds more practical for their fan-base.
Next up were Soul Remnants, who played some trying-to-be-evil death/thrash/black metal that didn’t rub me well. They’re one of those local bands that lives in infamy in my mind only because they seem to open for almost every lacklustre extreme metal show that I have no plans of attending, and for good reason, I’ve now found.
Luckily Maryland’s Strong Intention blast(beat) that bad taste from my palette with their furious blend of grindcore, thrash, powerviolence, and sludge. There was virtually no pit during, which would have been sad had I not just been in total awe of Jesse, the drummer of this band’s capabilities. By Jove, if you’ve ever watched a drummer go as fast and precise as this man did, with fluid and seamless transitions between sections, betraying his humanity only through his beet-red countenance and profuse outpouring of perspiration, you would be similarly too transfixed to entertain the notion of moshery. It was like a moment at the symphony where you catch yourself eying the graceful and impassioned movements of a particular player, and are lost in daydreaming mists of their sheer technical ability. This guy was fucking good, and the rest of the band were no slobs either, if only a little stiff for the type of music they were playing, which I’m sure, if manifested into physical object, would easily exceed speeds upwards of 200 k/h. I realise my whole review has been about how this drummer was built to blast, essentially, and I have no regrets.
Obituary came almost without warning, as the grim reaper himself oft does, and set about their work in sonic canon-fire, leveling the pit with the classics ‘Chopped In Half’, ‘Turned Inside Out’, ‘Infected’, ‘I’m In Pain’, and ‘The End Complete’ with no embellishments, only brutality. Donald (Tardy) pounded away dutifully as I tried not to be knocked into Lee Harrison’s pedal-board by the eldritch pit of swarming drunken horrors, and John Tardy looked on with visible glee as the crowd tore at itself with fervor unexpected, showing no dissatisfaction with the unorthodox cozy face-to-face setup that’s almost totally foreign outside of a DIY venue. There are few shows that could top the uniqueness of a dive bar on the south shore of Massachusetts being the chosen venue for one of the pioneers of that slow-churning, vomit inducing, ichorous sweet death metal that sickos like myself have come to love and millions of concerned parents and educators have come to hate. Perhaps nothing short of Pig Destroyer playing a gazebo in a park somewhere will reach this level of ‘I’m dreaming’.
Two nights in a row I visited the storied Palladium in Worcester MA to see a great metal show. I’m not a kid anymore so by the end of the second night I was feeling my age. But until the final chord rang out on this evening I was rejuvenated by the sounds of the metal I grew up on. Not only are these veteran acts some of the premier names in Thrash Metal history, each one is proving vital and important as ever. Continue reading →