Maryland Deathfest X Day 3: Saturday

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The first band I caught on Saturday was Looking For An Answer. Usually I’m wary of bands with that many words in their name, but these guys were actually pretty good. They’re a grind act from Spain and I have to say they were pretty impressive live, plus I was still in a mood for grind after last night’s killer Nasum performance ended the night. This wouldn’t be the last nor best grind act from Spain I’d see that day though. I wasn’t really close enough for good pictures but I did shoot a video of them live that I highly recommend watching the whole way through as it gives a good perspective of what their sound and live show were like. There’s also a video by Total Fucking Mayhem here too, enjoy!

The next band I saw was the UK based Dragged Into Sunlight. I had heard good things about these guys but they exceeded all my expectations. If I had to pick a band that I was unfamiliar with that most impressed me at Maryland Deathfest X it would be this band. I guess they’d be called a black metal band but they were pretty unorthodox musically. Also, the entire band faced away from the audience pretty much the entire show, and all the lights were turned way down except for a strobe that would go off in time with the music sometimes. It was a creepy effect that really helped set a mood that fit perfectly with their sound. I was very impressed and they were a great way to start what was the most black metal loaded day of MDF X. I shot a decent video of the first song of Dragged Into Sunlight’s set that should give you an idea of what they were like live.

Dragged Into Sunlight at Maryland Deathfest X

Dragged Into Sunlight at Maryland Deathfest X

I caught part of Hellbastard‘s set next. They’re a crust band from the UK and in fact they are the band that coined the term “crust” to begin with. This band was highly entertaining, mostly due to frontman Scruff Lewty’s wild stage presence and overall enthusiasm to be playing. This man is passionate about his music and it really showed! They were also really fun to photograph live as he was constantly running around on stage making faces and doing all kinds of shit like, uh, biting his guitar. I’ve got video of them playing but Total Fucking Mayhem posted footage of the same song so I’ve posted that video instead because it is higher quality than mine.

Scruff Lewty of Hellbastard

Paul O'Shea of Hellbastard

Scruff Lewty of Hellbastard

Scruff Lewty of Hellbastard

Scruff Lewty of Hellbastard

The next band I caught was October 31, a band from Northern Virginia and featuring King Fowley of Deceased fame on vocals. October 31 plays a more traditional style of classic heavy metal, though they certainly have some thrash elements as well. Sticking with the Halloween theme, King even threw candy at the audience during their set, among various other goofy stage antics. They were entertaining but I think Deceased would probably have fit on the bill better, although this was the same day Anvil was playing so perhaps the MDF organizers put October 31 on this day for Anvil fans who probably didn’t know a lot of the other bands playing this year. I shot a video of October 31 playing a couple songs and I’ve also posted a video from Total Fucking Mayhem.

October 31 at Maryland Deathfest X

October 31 at Maryland Deathfest X

Brian 'Hellstorm' Williams of October 31

Brian 'Hellstorm' Williams of October 31

October 31 at Maryland Deathfest X

Matt Ibach of October 31

King Fowley of October 31

Next up was Morbid Saint, a thrash band that only ever officially put out one full length album, Spectrum Of Death, though they did have another that was never released make the bootleg rounds after their break up in 1994. Morbid Saint is from Wisconsin and they reunited in 2010 though really it’s only the singer and one of the guitar players who are still the same from the old days. Regardless, their 1988 release is considered an underground classic of thrash metal and for this show at Maryland Deathfest they played it from start to finish. They put on a pretty damn good show and the band was tight, however I think they mentioned their merch being for sale about 1,000 times between songs. Check out these two videos I shot of songs they played early in their set.

Pat Lind of Morbid Saint

Pat Lind of Morbid Saint

Pat Lind of Morbid Saint

The next band I watched was Archgoat, a black metal band from Finland. With a name like Archgoat you sort of know what to expect, and while they were pretty grim and kvlt and all that, and they had some cool songs, I still felt they were the weakest live performance of the black metal bands I caught at this year’s Maryland Deathfest. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they sucked, but they weren’t that spectacular and didn’t really do anything that stood out much or really grabbed me. They definitely had the typical imagery down, they wore corpse paint, they had fake blood dumped on themselves, however they didn’t really play anything that stood out or really grabbed me that much either.

Lord Angelslayer of Archgoat

Lord Angelslayer of Archgoat

Lord Angelslayer of Archgoat

Lord Angelslayer of Archgoat

After Archgoat I kept my place on the rail so I could be sure to see another black metal band from Finland up close, Horna. I had wanted to see this band play live for years and I’m glad I finally got the chance, however I wasn’t expecting that at the beginning of their song Piina that vocalist Spellgoth would squat on the stage, whip out his dick, piss in his hands and then wipe it all over his face and hair. The band kept playing and the audience didn’t seem to even notice much, but I’ve got video of it posted below (the second video). All watersports action aside, they did put on a great black metal performance and played some of my favorite songs of theirs too.

Spellgoth of Horna

Infection of Horna

Qraken of Horna

Spellgoth of Horna

After Horna I went outside to catch Brujeria, a Mexican metal band that has two vocalists reciting Spanish lyrics about stuff like running drugs over the border and revolutionary politics. The band all wears bandanas on their faces to hide their identities, and while they are said to be from Mexico most of the “mystery” members are actually from England, including Shane Embury of Napalm Death, Jeff Walker of Carcass and Nick Barker of, well, too many bands to list here. They’re a band I used to listen to back in my high school days and I never thought I’d ever get to see them live. It was pretty fun, even if I was getting a Mexican flag whipped in my face most of the time while I was trying to shoot! They seemed to mostly just play older classics, which was fine by me since those are the songs I know. Check out the two videos I shot of them below.

Fantasma of Brujeria

Brujeria at Maryland Deathfest X

El Brjuo of Brujeria

Brujeria at Maryland Deathfest X

The next band I saw was the day’s headliner, Morbid Angel. They’re one of the big three American death metal bands and they haven’t played on the east coast in quite some time. The last time I saw them was in 2006 for their big tour when David Vincent had just rejoined the band. I suppose a long of younger people have never gotten the chance to see them play live, and even though their last album was laughably terrible, they still got the audience to go crazy. Well, at least for the three or four songs I was there for. The crowd got really rough during their set and as I was shooting video of them playing Rapture a stage diver landed directly on my head which I didn’t even see coming. So I didn’t get a lot of great footage of them but I decided I’d get inside to get up front for the final three bands of the night. Besides, I’ve seen them play before and I didn’t want to taint my memories of Morbid Angel live by catching them play any of their new material. I heard guitarist Trey Azagthoth had a rockstar moment and after an equipment failure during their second to last song he walked off the stage leaving the rest of the band to play their final song without him. Also, their set started about 20 minutes late due to more technical issues. At least this time there was some hilarious banter from the head sound tech yelling at the guys on the stage who were supposed to be “fixing” the problem.

Trey Azagthoth of Morbid Angel

David Vincent of Morbid Angel

David Vincent of Morbid Angel

David Vincent of Morbid Angel

After waiting by the rail for a while during Morbid Angel’s set I was ready to see yet another black metal band I’d been wanting to see for many years play, Tsjuder! This was the only actual Norwegian black metal band at MDF this year, and this was their first US show ever. The three piece was fucking excellent live, and played a set with plenty of my favorites from their album Desert Northern Hell, the album they are probably best known for as well as my personal favorite of theirs. The three piece was pretty entertaining on stage, the guitar and bass players switching sides of the stage multiple times. They ended their set with two covers, which seemed a bit excessive since they have plenty of good original material to choose from. The first was Sacrifice by Bathory and the last was Deathcrush by Mayhem (video of that below). They didn’t really add anything special to the songs so I don’t know why they felt the need to play two typical songs for black metal bands to cover but whatever, they were still fun crowd pleasers. Despite the double cover ending, I still think they were my favorite set to watch on this day of the fest.

Nag of Tsjuder

Tsjuder at Maryland Deathfest X

Tsjuder at Maryland Deathfest X

Nag of Tsjuder

Nag of Tsjuder

After Tsjuder ended the day’s excellent black metal line up, the next band to play was Haemorrhage, a goregrind band from Spain. They put on a hell of a show, coming out in their various medical themed costumes: a surgeon, a nurse, a doctor and vocalist Lugubrious played the blood soaked patient. It has been a long time since Haemorrhage has played in the US and fans of the band were psyched to see them. They played a lot of songs from their latest album, Hospital Carnage, as well as some of their classic older songs, which was fine by me as I like most of their material. The show was a hell of a lot of fun to watch and you can see that for yourself in the footage I’ve posted below.

Luisma of Haemorrhage

Lugubrious of Haemorrhage

Lugubrious of Haemorrhage

Ramón Checa of Haemorrhage

Lugubrious of Haemorrhage

The final band of the night was Winter, a recently reformed doom band from New York City. They broke up in the early 90s after releasing just one album, Into Darkness, back in 1990. It wasn’t until they had broken up that they gained a cult underground following, meaning most of their fans had never gotten to see this band live. For this show they played the album live from start to finish, and overall it is a very slow paced ordeal. I can get down with some ultra slow and heavy doom but by this point in the evening, well after midnight, the amount of time I had been spending on my feet the past few days was starting to take its toll. I did enjoy their set but unlike the night before’s Nasum set, it didn’t leave me with a lot of energy. Still, I wasn’t about to walk out on such a rare performance. Vocalist John Alman seemed surprised that so many people had stayed around to see them play, which was kind of funny. I think they’d have been a better fit somewhere in Sunday’s killer doom line up and not at the very end of the night, but I’m still glad I got to see them. Check out this video I shot of their opening song.

John Alman of Winter

John Alman of Winter

John Alman of Winter

Stephen Flam of Winter

Continue to day 4: Sunday here.
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Death and Memories

I don’t mean to dwell, but I can’t help myself. 10 years ago today the father of death metal, Chuck Schuldiner, died at the age of 34 after struggling to fight a brain tumor. He had been undergoing chemotherapy when he caught pneumonia and his body simply couldn’t take any more. While the nation still reeled from the September 11th attacks and the fallout they caused, the international metal community lost one of its greatest visionaries.

So today I ask that you play your favorite Death album in remembrance of all he did for the underground metal world. I don’t even know how to attempt to list all the things he did for fans of extreme heavy metal and I’m sure Chuck Schuldinerif I tried I’d just make a fool of myself for missing so many obvious things. Instead I’ll tell you a favorite memory I have with my favorite Death album, Symbolic. One night in August 2005 I was at a bar with a very old friend, one of my friends that I had grown up through childhood with, and I remember on the way home he put the Symbolic CD on in his car. I distinctly remember him saying how he loved this album and it was one of those albums you just never get tired of. I agreed, though I feel that way about most Death albums anyways. Unexpectedly, a week later my friend suddenly died. Now every time I listen to Symbolic I think of him, and today I thank Chuck Schuldiner for creating music that means more to me than just the notes being played and the words being said. Symbolic, as well as being a great album, is a gateway to memories of good times with an important person in my life who is now gone, and a way to make sure I don’t forget those times or the great person he was. Music is powerful in the way it attaches itself to memories and emotions like that, and that is one of the main reasons I love music so much.

I know this post hasn’t really had anything to do with the DC area’s metal scene, but today is an important day of remembrance in the entire metal world, or at least it should be. So think of your favorite Chuck song or album or even memory and post a comment here or on your Facebook wall, on Twitter or wherever you like to be heard. I’m not really sure how to wrap this post up so I’ll just end it with a few lines from Symbolic’s opening and title track that always resonate with me when I hear them…

Savor what you feel and what you see
Things that may not seem important now
But may be tomorrow

Metal Marathon – Days 4, 5 and 6

Ok, so my Metal Marathon posts are a bit behind, but I’m still going to recap them because the shows I saw during those 9 days were just too damn good. This is my second of three posts covering the 11 concerts and I’m going to recap the metal concerts I went to from Tuesday, March 8th 2011 through Thursday March 10th in this post. Three great shows, especially considering they were all in the middle of the work week.

On Tuesday I borrowed a friend’s car and drove to Silver Spring after work to catch a DIY show at the Corpse Fortress. The touring band was Earthling and they were playing with Baltimore based Revolta and the DC band Spine Buster. There was also a surprise set by Ilsa at the end of the night. Spine Buster had just started their set when I got there, and they were pretty entertaining but Harrisonburg, Virginia’s Earthling came out and just shredded for their entire set. They played what must have been the longest set of the night and it was high energy and just a lot of fun to be there for. I hope they play around here again because they really are worth seeing again. If you don’t believe me check out the thrashtastic video I’ve got of them at the bottom of this post. The video quality sucks visually but the audio is great and it’s a killer song! The next band to play was Revolta, a sort of punkish thrash band from Baltimore. I’d seen them a few weeks before at the Candlehaus with Fatal, though they had another guitarist then. Their set seemed a bit short this time, I think there were outside time constraints going on that were made worse since Ilsa was still yet to play. Ilsa did play a good but short set, I think it was basically a practice for their show coming up on Saturday opening for Dropdead (more on that show in my next post). I’m not sure why, but the band’s vocalist, Orion, started puking all over the floor at the end of the set. You gotta admit that it’s pretty damn metal to be barfing your guts out, mic in hand, while your band plays. I’m really glad that I wasn’t the one who had to clean that mess up! In all the show was a lot of fun and the venue was really laid back, even for a house show, and I got to talk to a lot of great people all night between sets. It was really a fun atmosphere and a great experience for my first show at the Corpse Fortress.

The next show on my list was Rotting Christ and Melechesh on Wednesday the 9th of March at Jaxx. If you go to a lot of metal shows in the DC area you’re going to find yourself at Jaxx sooner or later and fittingly this was the only venue I’d be at twice during my Metal Marathon. Some people complain about various aspects of the venue but at the end of the day, they are the only place in this area that will play any number of international metal bands and if it wasn’t for them I’d surely have seen a lot less of my favorite bands from Europe and even farther away. This night was a perfect example of this fact when the Greek band Rotting Christ headlined a show with Israel’s Melechesh. Two great black metal acts that happen to not be from Scandinavia. The tour also features the Polish black metal act Hate but they weren’t able to make it to this gig, the first show of the tour. When I got there Melechesh was getting ready to play and I quickly secured a spot in the very front. These guys are one of my favorite bands these days and I was really excited to get to see them again. They had played their first US concert ever at last year’s Maryland Deathfest (my extensive recap of that is here) and this night’s show at Jaxx was going to be their second US show. Their set at MDF had been cut short and they had a new album out since then too, so this concert’s set was longer and featured new material too. Simply put, they hit the stage and just killed it. Yeah I’m pretty biased about these guys but even most of the people I talked to afterwards said they also thought Melechesh had put on the better show. Their sound is certainly black metal but with a distinct middle eastern bent and they have some really catchy riffs that really make the sound work. That all said, Rotting Christ didn’t put on a bad show by any means. Their set was heavy with a lot of songs from their latest album, Aealo, which is ok but I think their album previous to that, Theogonia is the best of their 20+ year career. They did play several songs from that too, but the last time I saw them they were touring in support of that album and the setlist was just superior. They didn’t play much of their older material though. I was hoping they’d play some of their classics like Under The Name Of Legion and Sorrowful Farewell but I guess they’re trying to appeal more to their newer fans. I enjoyed the material they did play and combined with the set by Melechesh would say this show was definitely worth the price of admission.

Thursday the 10th of March was the sixth day of my nine day Metal Marathon and since my car was in the shop I found myself in need of a ride to see Atheist play at Sonar in Baltimore. Luckily one of my readers, a really cool guy named James (who I’ve run into at a few shows now after this night) gave me a lift in the pouring rain up to Charm City. This show was a bit of an odd line up. While I was there to see Atheist and catch opening act Revocation, I didn’t care about some of the metalcore opening acts, A Life Once Lost or Last Chance To Reason. This show was the first time I’d seen Revocation and they certainly come from the Galder school of on stage facial expressions. They were making all kinds of faces during their highly energetic set. I’d heard they were a good band live but even so I didn’t expect them to be that entertaining. They also played a cover of the Death classic Pull The Plug which is always a good way to get extra points from me. My only problem with their set was that they weren’t the last support act for Atheist. After they played A Life Once Lost hit the stage. I wasn’t familiar with their material but it seemed to be pretty typical metalcore, which I’m not a fan of and after a couple songs I’d heard enough and found my way to the bar for a beer I’d gladly enjoy out in the hall. After some good conversations out there, I went back in while Atheist was setting up to get right up front for taking some pictures. Atheist is a progressive technical death metal jazz fusion band. Yeah, that’s quite a description but pretty much sums them up. They were around in the late 80s/early 90s Florida death metal scene but broke up in 1994. They reunited in 2006 with guitarist Kelly Shaeffer sticking to just the vocals because he was unable to continue playing guitar due to some medical issues. I saw them play at Jaxx in July of 2009 but this time they had an album of new material, their first in 17 years, and this was the first tour that they’d be playing any of the new songs live. Luckily the new album, Jupiter, kicks ass and fits in with their older songs perfectly. The set was pretty awesome except for two things really, they skipped over Mother Man which was on the setlist, and their final song, Piece Of Time, was totally screwy due to technical difficulties. Those are my two favorite Atheist songs so that kinda sucked, but otherwise the show was great. They have a unique sound that fans of either technical heavy metal or jazz will enjoy, not just people who are fans of both. The band is really tight live and it sure is fun watching them play those kick ass tunes in person. The audience begged for an encore but guitarist Chris Baker came out on stage and said they couldn’t because of the technical difficulties they were having. Sort of a shitty way to end the night but what else could they do?

Well, that’s what I did on days four, five and six of my nine day Metal Marathon. You can read about the Metal Marathon plan here or about the concerts I saw on the first three days here. My next post will be covering the four concerts I went to in the final three days. So stay tuned to hear about my impressions on concerts by Meek Is Murder, Dropdead, Trap Them and Apocalyptica in my next post. Until then you can check out some of the videos I shot over days four, five and six of the Metal Marathon below or go to my YouTube page to see all of them. You can also check out my Flickr set here that has pics I’ve posted from this awesome string of concerts.

Review of Cannibal Corpse gig at the Rock And Roll Hotel

This tour had, without a doubt, the best death metal line up of any North American tour this year. Devourment opening for Vital Remains, local favorites Dying Fetus and the kings of death metal themselves, Cannibal Corpse. On Sunday the 21st of November they all brought their combined brutality to the Rock And Roll Hotel in Washington, DC (you thought I was going to say Jaxx, didn’t you?) and aurally assaulted this venue like never before. Now I’ve seen a few metal shows at the Rock & Roll Hotel before, but they have not had any death metal, and what a great tour to bring in for their first extreme metal show at the venue! They didn’t have any local support, but luckily I’d just gone to see a great set of local death metal the night before at Jaxx, (my review of that show is here) so it was sort of like the openers played the night before.

When I first got to the venue, Devourment was already playing. I’m not sure how long they played but I saw them play four songs. There was already a good size crowd amassing so I stayed to the back of the room near the soundboard so that I wouldn’t damage my nice camera (they wouldn’t let me use it so I had to store it during the other bands’ sets). Because of all this I wasn’t in a great place to get video or still shots of these guys. They had the crowd already going though when I got there, and between every song I saw, and also in the middle of half of their songs, the lead singer, Mike Majewski, would instruct the crowd to mosh in a circle pit. The set seemed to focus on older material, I remember them playing Choking On Bile as well as closing with Babykiller. This was kind of odd though, since the band is hardly the band it used to be. Choking On Bile is from the band’s first full length, Molesting The Decapitated. That album totally rules, don’t get me wrong, and if you want to hear some of the best underground death metal there is, check that album out. But the band playing this night only had one member remaining from back then, the bass player, and he was now on vocals! This and the fact that Devourment will also be playing again in May at Maryland Deathfest (much more info about that on my calendar here) made me not so upset about missing some of their set this night. Also, their guitarist put on a white horse head mask for the final song, I have no idea why.

The next band to play was Vital Remains. No, Deicide‘s Glen Benton was not playing with them, though their bass player was wearing a Stench Of Redemption shirt. I’d put my DSLR away and had my point and shoot camera ready and was standing in the front by the time they took the stage. The vocalist, Scott Wily, had on these spiked Immortal-esque bracers and was again telling people to keep a circle pit going. Ok, really? I remember thinking how dumb it was watching hardcore kids do laps in circle pits, why are these death metal bands encouraging this instead of straight up brutal mosh pits? Whatever, it was all to my back for the most part anyways. They did play a great set made up mostly of material from their two most recent albums, Icons Of Evil and Dechristianize. That’s fine by me, even though I often want bands to play older songs I’ve always enjoyed their more recent material as I think they really refined and defined their sound. Plus it’s fucking faster than their old stuff, and trust me they don’t slow it down live. Most of the people near me seemed to know most of the words to Dechristianize and were screaming along with it, which goes to show the power of getting an iconic vocalist like Benton on those studio albums. Of course with their long songs, their set seemed to fly by and since there were still two more bands to play their set was shorter than I’d have liked. They also didn’t play the song Shrapnel Embedded Flesh (a personal favorite of mine) but other than those two minor gripes they really did a kick ass job of taking the brutality up a notch.

The next band set to play was Dying Fetus. Now, before I make my next statement here, let me first say that I haven’t seen them in quite a few years and that might have something to do with my opinion on the matter. That said, Dying Fetus fucking killed it this show and really, I think they showed up Cannibal Corpse. Their setlist was great from start to finish, and while their stage time was shorter they didn’t talk a lot between songs. For the most part they just played some brutal fucking death metal, of course with all those grind elements and breakdowns their sound is known for. Dying Fetus is from the DC suburbs of Maryland and I don’t know if that was the reason why, but they did play a lot of older material, including two songs off of the Killing On Adrenaline album, which was awesome. Some of these songs I hadn’t even listened to in years and I really enjoyed remembering them as they played songs from their entire back catalog. They even played the song Eviscerated Offspring from their 1994 demo! The mosh pit went crazy, combining brutal death metal with catchy breakdowns will do that, haha. There are a lot of bands who do that now of course, to the point it can get really annoying really quickly, but after seeing this gig there is no question in my mind that Dying Fetus are still the best at it. They opened with Praise The Lord (Opium Of The Masses) which really set the tone of the show from the start, and the intensity didn’t let up until they finished their set with Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog. In all, it was a great performance by one of the leaders in death metal.

Finally it was time for the headliner, Cannibal Corpse. They played the area not too long ago, when they came to Jaxx back in April (my review of that is here) and this concert wasn’t a whole lot different really. There are some things you can expect at a Cannibal Corpse show these days, brutal music is one of them of course. But you also know that when their vocalist, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher says the next song goes out to all the women in the audience, they’re going to play Preacher Of Sodom (used to be Fucked With A Knife but that song doesn’t seem to be part of their set list any more) and you know when he says Hammer Smashed Face is their last song of the night, after it’s done he’s going to say he lied about it being the final song as they start playing Stripped, Raped And Strangled. This show had all that of course, but there were a few surprises. For one, they played the song Gutted off of Butchered At Birth, and Corpsegrinder said that he grew up in Baltimore so the show was a sort of coming home and he reminisced about coming to see concerts at the 9:30 Club and the like and he said the Rock N Roll Hotel had a similar feeling to those places back then. He also challenged the audience to keep up with his extreme headbanging during the song I Cum Blood, and I’ve got video of that below you can watch. A few touches like those aside, the show was fairly typical for Cannibal Corpse, and while I’ve seen them play a hell of a lot of times, you could tell by all the X’s I saw on people’s hands that many of those in attendance probably hadn’t seen them before and the aspects of the show I see as becoming a pattern were all new to them. The venue was pretty packed and I saw the guy in the full body chicken suit in the mosh pit (hadn’t seen him around in a couple years!) as well as a guy in a V For Vendetta style Guy Fawkes mask. Yeah, Cannibal Corpse draws an odd crowd. Their set was intense and sweaty and brutal as always, and it was a lot of fun. And I know I’ve seen them play at least 10 times before, but I’ll never get tired of watching Cannibal Corpse play Hammer Smashed Face and Stripped Raped And Strangled back to back while standing two feet in front of me. Those are two of the most iconic death metal songs ever written and essentially define the band, if not the death metal genre itself.

At this concert I could tell the District is hungry for more metal and several people asked me about my site after seeing the logo on my shirt, all basically saying the city needed something like that. Even the manager of the venue told me he’d be interested in having a regular metal night there. I sure as hell would like to see something like that happen. Even though the bands were crammed on the stage, this was a great show to bring death metal back into the city with. I know a lot of the people there won’t head out to places in the suburbs like Jaxx for concerts a lot due to transportation and other issues. It was another good turn out, reinforcing the fact that heavy metal is on the rise in the entire area, not just the suburbs. It was also my second great death metal concert in a row, what more can you ask for? Now check out the videos I shot of the final three bands below.

Review Of Hate Eternal gig at Jaxx

Disclaimer: I’ve been rather busy and also gotten sick since this concert happened so I’m not going to do a complete review of the gig, and it’s late getting posted too so deal with it. It was Friday the 27th of August and I went to Jaxx to see Hate Eternal, Cannabis Corpse and Order Of Ennead play. There were some local bands that played first, but I didn’t get there in time to see them. I did hear that a band called the Dead End Kids performed some rap and so many people left the main room because of this that that they were having a problem with crowding in the hallway.

I arrived at the venue a few minutes before Order Of Ennead played, which was good because I certainly wanted to see them again. They’re a Tampa, Florida based death metal band, and their drummer is Steve Asheim of Deicide fame. I’d seen them open for Deicide a while ago, but it was good to see them standing on their own this time. They played a tight set and I liked it more than the first time I saw them. Partly because I caught the entire set, and also because I think they’ve practiced a lot more and gotten their sound really down. I guess I mean their performance just seemed more professional and polished. In all, a brutal way to start of the night, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Next up was Cannabis Corpse, a sort of joke band from Richmond. Their song titles are all parodies of Cannibal Corpse songs, but changed to make them about smoking pot. For example Skull Full Of Maggots becomes Skull Full Of Bong Hits. That said, their songs are not covers or Weird Al style humorous lyric swaps, they’re more thrashy really. You may recognize their bass player, Philip Hall, from the band Municipal Waste, though the stand out on stage was vocalist, Andy Horn. Even though Cannabis Corpse was the band I was least interested in seeing, he was by far the most entertaining person on stage all night. He was almost constantly moving around, making strange and funny expressions and hand gestures, and even doing things like stumbling around like a zombie on stage. He really kept their set entertaining to me, and he was good at getting the pit going too. Going into the show I thought they should be playing before Order Of Ennead but I think they were a good fit between the two Florida death metal bands. They were a nice change of pace and kept the show from getting monotonous. And even though they weren’t headlining, they finished their set with an encore song, the rarely played live Chronolith (video below).

The next band set to play was the headlining act, Hate Eternal. The other Florida death metal act on the bill, this three piece band is technical and relentlessly brutal. Vocalist/guitarist Eric Rutan is probably best known for his time spent in Morbid Angel, but Hate Eternal is his own baby. Most of their songs aren’t particularly catchy, but then you don’t go to death metal shows to grind on sluts all night do ya? No, you go to hear fast, brutal tunes with insane solos and gutteral vocals so you can let off some steam in the mosh pit. Hate Eternal delivered big time this night, and though the crowd wasn’t by any means the biggest I’ve seen at Jaxx, there were enough people there that the place didn’t feel empty. The band didn’t move around a whole lot on stage, tho Eric would walk to the edge of the stage in a few choice spots and get right up in the audience’s face which seemed to get people excited every time. The band was really tight and really crushed it, especially on songs like I, Monarch and King Of All Kings. They were definitely worth seeing and my ears loved the pummeling.

Well, that’s about it for my “short” review which seems to have gotten to a decent length now. The people at Jaxx were cool and didn’t give me any gruff for shooting video this night, so I shot a lot. The guys in Order Of Ennead actually posted links to their MySpace and Twitter feeds of the vids I posted of them, which is cool. Well, on to the videos:

Review of Cannibal Corpse gig at Jaxx

So Friday night, the 23rd of April the infamous death metal band Cannibal Corpse was coming to Jaxx. Awesome, I hadn’t seen them since they played the 9:30 Club in October of 2007, so I was pretty pumped. Somewhere there was a communication breakdown between the bands and the venue though, as 2 different set times were announced the day of the show, the final one saying that Cannibal Corpse would be hitting the stage at 9:30 pm because they had a early load in time the next morning in Boston. Pretty shitty for me since I didn’t get off of work til 8! I really wanted to see Diabolic play, but since the show started so early, Skeletonwitch was already playing by the time I got there. Since 1349 wasn’t able to get into the country at that point (apparently due to the volcano Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland) that meant Cannibal Corpse was going to be the next band to play. For those of you outside the area, 1349 will rejoin the tour on April 25th in Long Island.

Skeletonwitch put on a good show. I had meant to catch them at The Red And The Black in DC back in February but I had gotten sick and couldn’t make it. I think they were just starting when I got there so I did catch most of their set. They’re pretty fun to watch live, great thrash with catchy riffs and death metal style growling vocals. Though most of the band didn’t do much but head bang in place, the vocalist, Chance Garnett, had great stage presence and really got the audience into the show. They really were a good band for warming up the crowd, though I’d have like to have seen Diabolic and/or 1349 too. I ended up buying a Skeletonwitch pint glass at the merch stand after they played, hard to pass up at just $5 (by comparison Cannibal Corpse was selling a bottle opener for the same price).

There was a rather long delay before Cannibal Corpse started to play. The crowd was getting anxious and started chanting “Corpse!” and within a minute of that the band got on the stage. They came out shredding and the crowd was eating it up. I’ve seen Cannibal Corpse many times before, and this set included the least amount of Chris Barnes era songs, though they did play 2 songs from their debut album Eaten Back To Life, A Skull Full Of Maggots and Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains (someone in the audience was screaming for Born In A Casket during most song breaks though, which they didn’t play). Also of note, they played The Cryptic Stench, from Tomb Of The Mutilated, which I thought was sort of out of left field (they of course played Hammer Smashed Face also). Despite the audience’s requests for songs like I Come Blood and Fucked With A Knife, they didn’t really play many of their more sexually disturbing or misogynist songs, though they did close with Stripped, Raped And Strangled. They also played a couple songs from their latest album, Evisceration Plague, and most of the rest of the set was a sampling of the material from 1998 on. Regardless of what songs they were playing, they played them fast and tight, and the audience was losing it. I did see a couple crowd surfers, a rarity at Jaxx, and the pit was pretty much constant. Their vocalist, Corpsegrinder, talked a bit more between songs than the last few times I saw them. At one point someone yelled out to play the Barney The Dinosaur theme song, which he did not find funny and he went off on a rather entertaining rant about people requesting “retarded songs” before going right into A Skull Full Of Maggots. Still, it probably would be pretty hilarious if they actually played a song like that in the classic Cannibal Corpse style. As usual they didn’t do the typical bullshit encore thing bands seem to always do, which is cool. So lame when you plan your own encore ahead of time. They announced that Hammer Smashed Face would be the final song of the night just before they played it, though just like the last time I saw them in 2007, when they finished playing it Corpsegrinder immediately said they had lied and the band went right into Stripped, Raped And Strangled, which the audience went crazy for.

After the show I hung out a bit talking to some of the people I had met up with for the show in the first place (didn’t have a whole lot of time to talk to them earlier due to the show being early and my late arrival). Local thrash metal band Cab Ride Home apparently played after Cannibal Corpse got their stuff all loaded out, but I didn’t hang around long enough to check them out. I had lots of pics and vids to sort through and the Caps game to watch on DVR. You can see the videos I shot at this show below, though I have 2 more that YouTube is having trouble with for some reason. They both keep getting hung up at about 80% when I try upload them and I don’t know why. I’ll post them here if I can get them to upload correctly, not sure what the problem is. Not a big deal as these vids should give you a good idea of this brutal concert regardless. Enjoy!