It comes as no surprise that this year’s Aftershock Festival was once again sold out. I mean, how could it not with big-name talents such as Slipknot, Tool, Korn, Rob Zombie, Blink-182, Lamb of God, Dropkick Murphys, Marilyn Manson, Bad Religion, Chevelle, and many others. And with the über-early announcement of next year’s headliner—Metallica, for those of you living under a rock—there’s no question that 2020’s Aftershock will sell out as well. In fact, as of this writing, VIP weekend passes were all gone. A year in advance! So, how was this year’s outing? Damn good, in our humble opinion. Continue reading
It’s the final cross-country voyage of the Vans Warped Tour. Since 1995, the unofficial punk rock summer camp has introduced us all to iconic acts from Bad Religion to Katy Perry. Continue reading
A little off the beaten path compared to L.A. and San Francisco, Bakersfield resides in in the California suburbs. The town is actually more well known for its legacy of punk rock more than a hotbed of metal, so it was a little surprising to see the major tour of metal legends Slayer, the well—loved thrashers Testament and death metal leaders Carcass planned a tour stop here. No doubt many resident has driven the traffic heavy, palm-tree lined highways of the 101 and I5 for glimpse of these bands in other towns. But tonight all you had to do if you were a fan of classic metal bands of the last 30-plus years, would be to roll downtown and get a ticket to the big show.
Slayer and Testament are regulars on the annual touring circuit, rarely taking time off to record these days. UK bred Carcass is still on the road supporting 2014’s Surgical Steel album (Editor’s Note: The Ghost Cult Album of the Year for 2014), and have been regular visitors to the USA since their return. You never know these days the way this year has gone if the next time you see a band will be your last, so it was good to see a lot heads in the house early. Carcass ripped through a short set of “hits” the fans seemed to lap it up’ Jeff Walker was seated for the show due to a broken foot, but it made little difference to him. The band is talking about having a new album out in 2017, so hopefully we will see Carcass again sooner than later back on our shores.
Testament themselves are well-known road warriors. Bay-Area bred thrash metal titans, the band serves as a great opener to Slayer. You would be hard-pressed to find a fan in the building that didn’t like both the headliner and this band, and maybe some preferred the former. Testament has been busy working on their new album, but we heard no new songs tonight. They played their set with an energy and a hostility of the much younger, hungrier band. They slammed through their songs, ran around the stage, and basically had a great time. Led by hulking front man Chuck Billy, his voice is the only thing bigger on stage than his form. Testament knows how to put on a show worthy of the top spot on any bill, not just this one.
Considering that Slayer has toured so much, the crowd here tonight was decidedly pumped up, again owing to the choice of market too. The band as masters at setting the pre-show mood with their mysterious 30-foot tall curtain. When the lights go down the crowd gets pumped as the only soft part of a Slayer show; the intro music and the lights against the curtain, right before the first notes take hold. Once the curtain drops it’s pure madness as the band opened with the title track from their most recent album, Repentless (Nuclear Blast). The band played a good number of tracks from that recent album, but ultimately leaned on older songs. That is what the crowd wants from Slayer: the classics, every time. It’s not really a Slayer show without hearing ‘Mandatory Suicide’, ‘Seasons In The Abyss’, ‘Dead Skin Mask’, ‘South of Heaven’, and ‘Chemical Warfare’, is it?
The band still get high marks for showmanship, especially Kerry King and Tom Araya. With the three year anniversary of the passing of founding member Jeff Hanneman near, the band pays tribute to him nightly, not just with his music, but with a huge banner draped in hiss honor. Closing of course with ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Angel of Death’, Slayer continues to be a thrash metal institution. I can’t wait for them to come back!
Slayer Set list:
Die by the Sword
God Send Death
When the Stillness Comes
You Against You
Pride in Prejudice
Seasons in the Abyss
Dead Skin Mask
South of Heaven
Angel of Death
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Senses Fail just put the cap on a terrific 2015! they reunited as a band, put out a cool new album Pull The Thorns From Your Heart (Pure Noise Records) and headlined The Warped Tour. When you do all that, what do you do for an encore? Go out and slay venues all over the world of course! The band spent the last half of the fall co-headlining with another seminal post-hardcore/screamo band, Silverstein. Each band has had a similar career trajectory and much in common (huge followings, Warped Tour alums) so touring together made sense. Bringing along hardcore heads like Hundredth and Capsize (not pictured) this was a slick bill that played to many full houses with tons of passionate fans moshing, screaming a long, and having a ball. Meg Loyal of Meg Loyal Photography caught the tour at one of Ghost Cult’s favorite venues, The Worcester Palladium. Keep going out there and supporting these bands in 2016 and you might just be rewarded when your favorite band reunites and comes to your town for a show!
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For over a decade IndieMerchStore has been an indispensable partner to bands and record labels as a great place to sell band merchandise and music. You may not know this, but many bands only make money off of stuff they sell on tour and with the prowess and power of IndieMerchStore, they have a partner with a vested interest in making online sales easy and seamless. In the time since the company formed, they have also been a great help to the touring industry, sponsoring huge tours all the way down to small, get-in-the-van type artists. This holds especially true for underground bands in rock, metal, and death metal. So to celebrate their 10th year the brand booked a tour featuring death metal acolytes The Black Dahlia Murder and a cadre of killer bands. These tours also represented TBDM’s first tours in support of their recent album Abysmal (Metal Blade) Booked in two legs across the USA, the recently completed second leg featured Goatwhore, Iron Reagan, Entheos and Artificial Brain. Each band brought their own special something to the tour. It was loud, it’s was sweaty and in general, everyone raged. Ghost Cult’s Meg Loyal of Meg Loyal Photography caught up with the tour for us at The Sinclair in Boston, and you can see for yourself a sample the energy delivered each night.
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I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to their sound check due to a parade in the city slowing traffic down. I finally get to the Gramercy Theatre and bassist Ryan Zweifelhofer comes outside to get me. My heart is pumping and head is racing. It’s been 9 years since I’ve talked to or seen some of the guys in Acceptance. I used to go to all of their shows in or near Los Angeles. I spent hours upon hours with these guys, but I was nervous to see them. I was excited for this to be happening and happy to be in the presence of some very good, long-time friends who are amazing musicians.
I walk in and I wave to everyone and start to tear up. It’s that moment your heart explodes from happiness because you’ve realized that pieces of your heart are all in one room again. I take a seat for a little bit to watch them. They start sound checking and I close my eyes, I’m instantly taken back while listening to them rehearsing ‘Glory/us’. It was as if the band never broke up and they have been doing this non stop. It was perfect.
It’s show time!
The show opens up with Modern Chemistry from New Brunswick, NJ. Their music was catchy and you can hear a distinct Brand New feeling to their writing and sound. Definitely worth checking out if you see that they are playing in your town!\
Back in the dressing room Acceptance gathered in a huddle before hitting the stage. The most nervous I have ever seen them, but the music starts playing and they start walking out on the stage. The crowd goes insane! This was the first time Acceptance has ever headlined a tour, let alone a tour that has sold out for the most part faster than you can flip a record. They started the show with ‘Take Cover‘ playing everything from In Too Far and Different. The crowd sang along perfectly with Jason Vena to every song. During ‘Different’, Sean Mackin from Yellowcard joined them on stage to play violin for the song. Sean is an amazing musician who adds that extra special touch to such an already amazing night. The guys ended the show with their new song ‘Take You Away’ and the promise to come out with a new record in the near future. Now we can rejoice Acceptance is back, they’re selling out show after show and letting all of us know that ‘nothing is permanent‘.
GWAR is on the road again for the GWAR Eternal tour, searching for their missing leader, Oderus Urungus, and steamrolling every venue, and every fan with madcap mayhem in the process. The band is out on their first tour since the passing of Dave Brockie earlier in the year and they last show of the current leg ends tonight in Seattle with Decapitated and American Shark. With Decapitated leaving and, the band is being joined by their fellow metal/punk brethren in Corrosion of Conformity for the next leg beginning on 11/15. The current stage show, which addresses the disappearance of Oderus, and features of who’s who’s of scumdogs, including new additions Blothar and Vulvatron, in a hilarious, wholly reprehensible and heartfelt way that Brockie would have loved. Meg Loyal caught GWAR in front her lens during their stop at this years’ Rock And Shock Festival in Worcester MA. Check out her photo set:
MEG LOYAL PHOTOGRAPHY