Korn and Breaking Benjamin, if ever there was a 90s/00s tour to be at, it’s this one! The angsty, JNCO jeans and hockey jersey-wearing white boy in me jumped at this one. This tour is a melting pot of old school fans and new school fans alike. People such as myself that grew up with Korn’s self-titled début, Follow The Leader, and Issues alongside people who grew up listening to Breaking Benjamin’s We Are Not Alone, Phobia, and Dear Agony coming together to join in a loud AF holy matrimony that sold out the SNHU Arena with 12,000 people. So let’s hop into this mufucka, shall we?Continue reading
Rap and Hip Hop, not what you’d expect from us here at Ghost Cult, but we cover independent artists here as well as a major label! And the “It’s Different Now” Tour is quite literally the definition of an independent tour. Let’s dive into this, shall we….Continue reading
We were back at the Worcester Palladium for the massive fall tour co-headline tour of Municipal Waste and Napalm Death, with Sick Of It All and Take Offense as support! The venue had been home to the annual Rock and Shock all weekend, “3 days of Metal and Horror”. The weekend had already seen the likes of Korpiklanni, Eluveitie, Revocation, with locals like Vivisepulture, and Ice Giant (Day 1) and Day 2 was dominated by the folks over at Psychopathic Records with the Insane Clown Posse and all their friends as well, with a few local bands opening on the second stage upstairs.Continue reading
Southern Rock inspired punk/metal, 80’s Thrash Metal, a band comeback after twenty-three years, Trump decapitations, crack busts, and semen canons?! You, my friend, either just walked into your new neighbor’s apartment… OR a GWAR concert. Let’s pray for the latter and jump into the fray! The Paradise Rock Club. Legendary venue, tiny floor space, and a sold-out show. All the makings for a Sunday night show to share with everyone at the office on Monday morning.Continue reading
Do you like experimental jazz fusion with dizzying drum patterns and enough time signature changes to make any music theory student do their version of the happy dance? Then have I got a show for you! Chon with DOMi and JD Beck!Continue reading
Rocklahoma 2019. Three days in the sun, dust, and more sun over Memorial Day weekend (four days technically if you count the Thursday night pre-party). This was the 12 year of this annual festival and it was set to be one for the books from the get-go. Getting to this massive party was no small task on my part. Driving from New Hampshire to Oklahoma isn’t exactly a relaxing Sunday drive. Two full days of driving, two full-on tornadoes, and 1,700 miles later, I had arrived at my Air BnB in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Roughly 50 minutes outside of Pryor.Continue reading
Heading into the newly renovated Worcester Palladium, I didn’t really know what to expect. I have been coming to shows here for years, all the way back to 2005 to be exact. And to be honest, I had grown accustomed, even fond, of the “hole-in-the-wall” look of it all. Both upstairs and down. Continue reading
On the same night in Boston when nearly a hundred people were hospitalized due to intoxication and drug overdoses at a trance show, the crowd at The Middle East in Cambridge, MA could only complain of short show. After a trade in bands and another band not appearing at the Cambridge stop, The Conquerors of the World Tour came down to just 4 bands: local opening band Forced Asphyxiation, mid tour replacement, Black Crown Initiate, co-headliner Fleshgod Apocalypse, and the masters of symphonic death metal, Septicflesh. After hearing that Necronomicon would not play on this night in Cambridge, the Middle East staff had the downstairs emptied and an hour was killed off as no replacement bands could be found on short notice. As some fellow metal heads in line were a little disgruntled over this news, the bill tonight would surely make up for this slight inconvenience.
Starting the night off first was local band, Forced Asphyxiation. A “classic” death metal band with lyrics that ranged from smoking some sweet ganja to having an epic fight back in the medieval times. Small pits opened up from time to time to show appreciation for the band’s appearance as the Cambridge crowd was getting into the band more with each song. Unfortunately, Forced Asphyxiation’s set was shorter than most were hoping given the delayed start of the show. However, I am certain that for those locals who had not heard of this band before, became fans after this set. Next up was one of my most eyebrow raising bands of the night, Black Crown Initiate.
Having taken over for Hour of Penance on this tour, Black Crown Initiate had quite the shoes to fill, and personally, I think they overfilled them. For those who may not know of BCI, and I was one of them, let me explain what this band sounds like. A melo-death band that plays with djent beats, a death metal lead vocalist with some of the deepest growls you’ve ever heard, and then topped off with jazzy sections and clean vocals from their bassist. I spent most of BCI’s set trying to come up with that sentence as I would lose myself in each song’s complex structure. It was extremely hard figuring out when one song would end and another would begin as each song would smoothly transition to the next. When done right, in this case it was, it can make for quite an experience both in a studio and, a little more challenging, during a live show. I am making it a personal goal to see BCI the next time they come to the Northeast US area as they had certainly left their mark on this warm June night.
Next up on this great night in the heart of Boston was the six piece from Italy, Fleshgod Apocalypse. After hearing of this band a few years ago, and the hype that followed them, I made it a goal of mine to get around to listening to them. Up until this night, I failed miserably. Having said that, I think it was a good thing as this band literally made my jaw hit my sternum on a multitude of occasions. Coming into this show, I understood they were, as some put it, “a lot like Septicflesh.” The death metal outlook, orchestration, piano, and some operatic vocals immediately came to mind, but still I underestimated Fleshgod Apocalypse. All of the members of the band were dressed in old orchestra clothing that had been ripped and tarnished. Each member came complete with a very tasteful corpse paint, and when I say corpse paint I mean they looked dead with pale faces and dark sunken eyes, not trying to impersonate Kiss. Lastly, the two guitarists and bassist each had designs on the bodies of their instruments that made them appear to look like classical instruments with the wooden color and black clef marks. Each and every song that came out of the amplifiers and entered my ears continuously made me so angry that I never got around to listening to this band prior. Songs like ‘The Hypocrisy’, ‘Elegy’, and ‘Pathfinder’ had me itching for more and more as the set moved along and the crowd grew more and more hostile. The night for Fleshgod Apocalypse ended with the amazingly epic closer, ‘The Forsaking’, which left all wide eyed and mouths wide open in amazement at what they just witnessed. At one point, I turned to a friend of mine and proclaimed that I would go home, destroy my iPod, and start over with this band being the first to be uploaded. Just when I thought this night could not get any better, it was time for the main event.
The foursome from Greece known as Septicflesh was here and ready to destroy what was left of the Middle East. Having just released their newest album, Titan, I was hoping for a few new songs and then a few goodies off of the past two releases. When the orchestration hit marking the beginning of ‘Vampire From Nazareth’, I knew we were in for a good night and so did the rest of the crowd behind me. The symphonic death metal gods played a great selection including: classics from Communion like ‘Anubis’, ‘Lovecraft’s Death’, and ‘Persepolis’ to favorites from Great Mass like ‘Pyramid God’, ‘A Great Mass of Death’, and the closer, ‘Five-Pointed Star’. The Cambridge audience was also blessed to hear two new tracks, ‘Order of Dracul’ and one of my favorites, ‘Prototype’. I was impressed to see how far Septicflesh have come in popularity these past few years as finally at my third show, this being the second headlining spot, the fans in attendance actually knew who they were. This time around, everyone around me knew most if not all of the songs and the accompanying lyrics to said songs. These guys have worked so hard to reshape themselves into the well oiled machine they are now and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Overall, this tour did have its changes and last minute cancellation/delays, but I was more than pleased to have been in attendance. One of my favorite bands today, Septicflesh, has started to receive the attention they deserve, Fleshgod Apocalypse smacked me right in the face for never listened to them prior, and Black Crown Initiate made a stand with their very unique style. I also can’t forget local openers, Forced Asphyxiation, now having seen them a second time since their opening spot with Aborted a few months ago, they have gained a fan in me! If you have yet to get out to this tour and a stop near you is coming up, I highly recommend you get a ticket, bang your head until your neck hurts, buy some merch, and enjoy one of the best shows you will see all year.
Septicflesh Set List:
The Vampire From Nazareth
A Great Mass of Death
Order of Dracul
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
The last stop on this year’s Paganfest America tour was Worcester, MA, in the tiny upstairs portion of The Palladium. With a lineup consisting of the Finnish darlings Korpiklaani and Turisas, Taiwan’s Chthonic, Germany’s VARG, and Cincinnati’s own Winterhymn, it was bound to be an excellent way to spend a Sunday night.
Wait a minute. A folk metal band…from Ohio? It’s true! If you’re like me, you’re used to folk metal coming from European countries but Winterhymn plays the part well, violin and all. It may have been the last show of the tour but they played as though it were the very first and the crowd danced and drank along with every song. Even their tour mates in VARG got involved when they came onstage to prank the band by slathering them in fake blood in the middle of their set. All in all, it was a job well done.
Let’s get this out of the way right now: I love Germans and I probably shouldn’t be allowed into their country unsupervised. That said, how did I feel about VARG? I loved them too and judging by the crowd’s reaction, they agreed with me. I had heard of this band in passing but this was my first time actually being exposed to their music. One of the highlights of the evening was when Winterhymn came back out to stage dive and crowd surf near the end of VARG’s set. They were the heaviest band on the bill and easily wound up sneaking into my number two spot because of this. They were loud, energetic, and perhaps even a tad intimidating. I would love to see them again in the future.
The third band on the bill was Chthonic. Their sound seemed a bit out of place compared to the other bands. It was bit too monotonous for my taste but they were visually interesting. Chthonic was using screens and lights in an area where most bands choose to not to simply due to the lack of space for anything, but the musicians themselves. Overall, they weren’t bad but they also didn’t wow me either. I didn’t have a very strong opinion either way after this performance but I am willing to give them another shot the next time they come Stateside.
I have to be completely honest and say that the reason that I even went to this show in the first place was specifically to see Turisas again. If you have never had a chance to see them live, you can usually pick out fans in the crowd by their red and black war paint. There were more crowd surfers during Turisas’ set than any other band but it was their closing song that really took the cake. Sure, they have a ton of great original material but everyone and their mom has a huge soft spot for their cover of Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’. The band pulled over a dozen people up on stage to dance and sing along with them. It was a great way to end things and I’m glad that years of demanding to have that song played has finally paid off.
Headliners Korpiklaani seemed a bit more subdued than the last time I had seen them. I was expecting lots of dancing and men resembling wizards making strange hand gestures. The typical playful banter was instead replaced with their brand of face melting folk metal. Korpiklaani definitely put on a top notch show and things were significantly less boozy until the band ended with ‘Happy Little Boozer’ and we danced with our Jager Bombs held up high. It was a mess. It was interesting to see a group that I usually consider more of a “party band” take a different approach and I believe it worked well. Could this be a sign of things to come? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what these Finns have into store for us next.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t enjoyed attending a Paganfest show. From the great lineups bursting at the seams with incredible talent to fellow fans dressed in full Viking garb, these events are not to be missed and grow in size every year. Here’s hoping Paganfest 2015 gets moved downstairs so we can get some real dancing in.
WORDS BY ALEIDA LA LLAVE
Compared with last year when I had already started January off with five shows in three weeks, 2014 started rather quiet. These days as Ghost Cult’s chief editor, I simply don’t get out as much as I used to. So you know I wouldn’t brave the (over-hyped) Polar Vortex conditions and hazardous roads for just any show, but I did for Chimaira. It has been well documented that a lot of other bands would have quit in the face of adversity ten times over after what these guys have been through. Still, what keeps me interested as a journalist and earns my respect as a fan is their dedication to take every negative and turn it into a positive, and in the most hostile way conceivable musically. So with a planned set list “Celebrating the Chaos” of their career, and on the strength of another tour supporting the excellent Crown of Phantoms (eOne) release, I was all in for this.
With my buddy and photog for the night Chris Small in tow, we got the the Palladium early in time to get in and mingle with some of our local metal brethren. Beers and Happy New Year’s greetings out of the way and we were ready to get hopping. Starting things off was Reflections, who played a pretty typical bunch of screamy death-core. I was immediately shocked by how bored to tears they looked on this, the first night of the tour. Their emotionless faces, except for the front man James Foster, put me off in a big way. I just couldn’t figure out why. They have enough potential musically for me to say I will give them another shot down the road. Second openers Fit For An Autopsy could not be more different in how they set it off from their first notes. I have seen these guys grow steadily more and more impressive over time and they are definitely coming into their own. Straddling the tech-death/traditional death metal horse with an occasionally fierce breakdown, it was hard not to be amped up for every second of their set. See this is what an opening band should do, be a cool warmup act, and provide a hint of what is to come the rest of the night.
Oceano is one of those bands for me, that it really depends on the day or the show how I feel about them. They have made some killer songs and there is no denying their ability to pump up a crowd and throw down in the death metal/deathcore style. You could also single out their fans in the house on this night by who looked like they were their to punch people, and not really there to watch the show. I’d feel bad about per-judging some of these pit ninjas, but for the most part, I was proven right by the end of their set when about 25% of the crowd left. On the plus side, Oceano is over that entire we’re quitting/we’re back phase and they are just out for blood right now. Front man Adam Warren was all over that tiny stage, imploring the crowd to get violent and trying to drum up their energy. Based on the crowd response during ‘Contagion’, that energy was high. Warren also had some compelling things to say about being a hungry band with a new record out, (Depths on Earache) that not a lot of people know about.
Iwrestledabearonce is in a good place in the penultimate spot in the line-up on this tour. They confound and anger the battle-vest wearing set with their wry sense of humour and mashing-up of sub genres. Seeing all of the day glow shirts, booty shorts, and tons of core kids, outside opinion doesn’t matter tonight as the band came out and crushed it. Playing a short (for them) set of their hits plus a few recent tracks from Late For Nothing (Century Media), the band made the odd choice of having some of their typical production value from their headline set. Strobe lights and amp covers/banners seem a little out of place on the tiny stage when no one else had them, but it is part of their schtick I guess. Courtney LaPlant has really risen to the challenge of coming into a popular band and replacing a popular singer and she has killed it on every level, ever since. Her stage persona makes for the perfect master of ceremonies, and she slays all the material in case you still had doubts. Closing with ‘Tatses Like Kevin Bacon’ is a reminder why this band made it in the first place. These guys are still growing I think it will be exciting to see where they take it next.
The front line gear was removed for a very simple set up as the remaining crowd filled in the front of the stage. I watched from a perch in the balcony, in relative safety, mindful of the the many brutal Chimaira mosh pits I have been tossed around in. The change over was quick as the fans were ready for the final music of the night to ring out. The band took the stage and immediately launched into ‘Cleansation’ and it was pure bedlam in the pit. The band was tight as usual, and as usual on the side of the pit was a group of Eli Werstler worshipers. Watching Eli shred and abuse his guitar is worth the price of admission alone, and he has absolutely carried the mantle of great guitar work in the band. Of course Mark Hunter is front and center in the midst of the chaos. He is always focused, connecting with the crowd and really seems to enjoy his job with an evil relish. The set list was carefully crafted showing the greatness of the bands history, as well as the recent albums too. Sean Z helps take the music to another level with his terrific backing vocals. People forget sometimes that Sean fronted his own, worthy band in Daath not too long ago.
Like a well-oiled machine the band cut through the set list of hits and deep cuts. Mark smiled and cracked jokes between songs, and then menaced and scowled appropriately to the material such as ‘Crown of Phantoms’, ‘Pure Hatred’, and ‘Power Trip’. Simple, Brutal, and tight describes the relentless performance, more akin to a boxing champion than a metal band. ‘The Dehumanizing Process’ for years was a great choice as a set opener, but here towards the end of the night it proves the strength and talent of the band. I finally shed my fear and ran down to the floor to Eli’s side of the stage, of course, to finish out the night. Not quite an encore, but more like an extended ending ‘Resurrection’ would have been a fine choice to end the set. However, the band stayed on stage to play the song that is their new video, ‘Wrapped In Violence’. Proving how strong their last album as with this bruising cut, and hearing everyone left in the venue screaming their lungs out, was killer. What a way to start what promises to be a great year of concerts.
Words: Keith (Keefy) Chachkes
Photos: By CWS Photography