Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Been a Long Time to Slaughter

Hails and pixels metalheads! It’s been quite a while since I last updated this exciting blog. A ton of shit has gone down, both in my personal life, out in the metal world and in the video game world. I moved into a new place, so that is one reason, outside of laziness, why the blog has not been updated. I’m also without a reliable internet connection so that will impede matters a bit.

E3 has come and gone with some pretty exciting news. Kinect actually looks like a lot of fun, especially Kinectimals. I can only hope that the game will include a tiger mauling simulation. The dance game from Harmonix looks like fun; hopefully they’ll introduce Air Rock Band to make people look more retarded.

A lot of new metal albums have come out, or are coming out. I picked up Nevermore’s new album, the Obsidian Conspiracy, and it is a solid slab of progressive thrash metal that is expected of the band. Decrepit Birth recently dropped a new album and the Summer Slaughter just recently came through my area, which I attended. So to break up the dry spell, I’ll go ahead and recap my experience at the tour.

Summer Slaughter Tour

The Blackened Skies
I arrived at the venue at around 3:20pm. Not too many people around, whom I expected since it’s the middle of the day and I’m sure a lot of people, are still at work. I just wandered around the venue checking out merch stands of the bands and ended up picking up a few items. The first band to come on was a local band by the name of the Blackened Skies. OK, generic metal title, but things could look up. I’m expecting maybe a symphonic influenced band with a tinge of black metal. Nope. Mediocre metalcore. Perhaps if the band came out 10 years ago they might’ve been good. But at this point, they are not doing anything special to go anywhere. Sure the musicians are competent but they are basically doing metal by numbers.

The singer sounds like Phil Labonte, which is not a bad thing, just has really shitty growls. Well let’s hear the next band!

Vital Remains
Vital Remains is next and they open up with their classic, Dechristianize. Personally I love this song for its sheer brutality and epic-virtuosic-melodic solos and melodies. Unfortunately the mixing was poorly done that all I could hear were the incessant double-kick drums and low end guitars. If I strained my ears enough, I could hear the solos. They also played Devoured Elysium and Hammer Down the Nails from Icons of Evil. Performance wise they commanded the stage well, even though singer Scott Willy looked a little ridiculous with his spiked gauntlets and stiff actions. Despite the sound problems they put on a great show and I even picked up a shirt of theirs.

Animals As Leaders
And then I thought that Carlton Banks started up a band, because that’s exactly who lead guitarist Tosin Abasi looked like. The only things missing were a sweater draped over his shoulders and him performing the Carlton dance, which would’ve been awesome! I was thoroughly impressed by this instrumental band. Abasi conquered the 8-string neck while the rest of the band provided a strong music backbone. Animals as Leaders are sort of the odd man out on a bill dominated by death metal and deathcore, but they won over plenty of people and I would love to see them again.

So far the show is shaping up very nicely. Let’s see how the next band is. Fuck. Carnifex? OK first of all, that’s a terrible name. Secondly, you fucking suck. Extremely generic, uninspired, tough-guy deathcore. I’m sitting this one out.

Decrepit Birth
Ah, now some real good metal is on next. Decrepit Birth opened up with Living Doorway which is a great song with the right amount of brutality and virtuosity. The rest of their set consisted of songs spanning their three albums from …And Time Begins through their newest, Polarity. The sound was perfect and the performance was spot on. I can’t wait to see them again when they tour with Suffocation.

Cephalic Carnage

After that brutality, it’s time to mellow out with a more pot influenced band. Well, Decrepit Birth did make some marijuana references in between songs; Cephalic Carnage has entire songs dedicated to the plant. And they are pretty brutal mixing in grindcore with death metal. I think the band is alright personally. I only have Lucid Interval, and they thankfully played the title track as a closer. Even hearing songs spanning their discography, including upcoming new material, I felt that entire song is their best at how well written and varied it is. Beyond that they were pretty entertaining.

Veil of Maya, the Red Chord, All Shall Perish
The next three bands were just three long moments of suck. Veil of Maya was up next. Despite taking their name from a great Cynic song, they manage to be a cookie cutter metalcore band and play it worse than others. The Red Chord was the next band and I’ve seen them before with Cannibal Corpse. Actually, seen them is incorrect. I sat outside the venue in order to avoid them, which I did to them as well. Typical tough-guy deathcore. The last band of the suck was a band that I was into a bit. Sure, they’re deathcore, but the few songs I downloaded had some great moments of death metal. Seeing them live erased all love I had of them. The sound was terrible, but that didn’t detract my enjoyment of Vital Remains too much, unfortunately the music could not hold up at all. Typical breakdowns, with pinch harmonics and tough-guy vocals. Blech.

The Faceless
In order to make up for the entire suck, the Faceless slaughtered the audience. The vast majority of their set contained songs from Planetary Duality with a handful of Akeldema-era songs. OK, I’ve made a point of my distaste of deathcore before, but these guys incorporate enough technical death metal to make me enjoy them. Plus the moments of –core that they have are well done. Rather than riding the low open string at alternating slow and triplet picked rhythms, they use different chord progressions and really just slow it down as opposed to making room for mosh fighting bullshit.

Michael Keene’s fretwork really impressed me and took in a greater appreciation for the complicated songwriting of the band. There is never a dull moment with the songs weaving through the musical landscape only to draw the listener back into the pits of Hell.

With the Faceless, I fully expected Decapitated to dominate the show. They opened with A Poem about an Old Prison Man from Organic Hallucinosis. The rest of the handful of songs were from that album as well, with one from their first album, the title track Winds of Creation. I’ve never been a fan of their newer album, especially when they replaced vocalist Sauron with Covan. They went from some of the best death metal vocals to just typical deathcore shouts. Unfortunately for the band the sound was horribly muddled with weird phase shifting effects happening when everyone was playing fast in unison.

Combined with my fatigue and hunger, I had to leave early especially since they weren’t playing songs from Negation and before as often as I liked. It is a shame what happened to Decapitated, and they’re still one of my favorite death metal bands. I unfortunately felt that they fell flat performance wise. Hopefully they’ll tour again on their own in the near future. 

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