Ok, so it was tough not to be a skeptical sally on this one. The bill includes some legitimate death metal up-and-comers as well as some notorious bands (and no I don’t mean in the romantically defiant John Dillinger sense). Look at us! Out raging two nights in a row, BOTH school nights no less. See, that sounds like a dig at myself but it’s actually a subtle dig at the lameness of most Seattle metal crowds during the work week. So some bros and I ventured out on muggy Tuesday afternoon to experience the tour for ourselves. Vids from BDM and Darkest hour after the jump as well as the full set from Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Where to start…on the scene a little after 3PM, purposefully this time as I wasn’t really stoked about the addition of Within The Ruins to the bill over the likes of Revocation. Nonetheless, I timed it perfectly to catch Fleshgod Apocalypse. Their brief and brutal four song set is viewable below in its entirety as well as on our Youtube Channel. The Italian sympho-tech deathsters blazed through a set that included new single “The Violation”, “In Honour of Reason”, “The Egoism” (also from the upcoming album) and “Thru Our Scars” leaving pretty much everyone at King Cat that night over the age of 17 somewhat disappointed considering they were making room for the likes of Oceano and As Blood Runs Black. (missed these bands while copping some McD’s. Oops.) FA delivered these four songs with crushing brutality and really makes one anxious for a legit death metal bill sometime down the line. Imagine these guys touring with Behemoth, Vader and Decapitated. But hey, you can’t win ‘em all; nobody should be surprised at the short sets on cash cow supertours like this one.
Dying Fetus made their usual appearance. Personally, the band has never been the same for me since they became a three-piece. Though they still wield indisputably superb musicianship, made more apparent in comparison to the more formulated bands on the bill, the live energy of the show just isn’t the same as it was about circa 2005. Nonetheless, “Praise The Lord” put a huge smile on my face and brought back great memories of stagediving while I watched the kids up front hurl themselves into glory (and occasional injury). No wonder our educational system is in the dumps. These kids can’t even calculate that a swan dive into a crowd that extends only four rows from the stage just MIGHT faceplant them into the concrete. Well about a half-dozen tosh.0-worthy highlights and a couple ambulance cameos later, King Cat Theater may be thinking twice before hosting another such exhibition of liability risks. Powerglove was the halftime entertainment. Dressed halfway like GWAR, they handed inflatible swords and mallets out to the crowd as they ripped through stuff like the themes from Mortal Kombat and Tetris.
Darkest Hour is up next. As I wrote about their previous appearance in Seattle, this band is a force in person and one of a limited number of redeeming landmarks in a genre often berated for its commercialism and routine approach. Mike Schleibaum and Michael Carrigan’s axework is impeccable. Vocalist John Henry’s delivery hacks its way through the music with alternating hardcore shouting and pitched screams ala In Flames. The guy has really come a long way. Check out the vid for “Love As A Weapon”.
We missed Whitechapel while pissing the night away at the bar and shooting the shit. Oops, again. Mike was not happy that I made him miss the half-naked jailbait that was sure to prance around the stage. On this point he was right to be angry with me.
This brings us to death metal’s “It Girl”, The Black Dahlia Murder. Now I have to say I love “Ritual” and have even gone back to give “Deflorate” some more listens in anticipation of this show. These are both amazing records. Still, bloggers have been slaving away trying to figure out why some more discerning death metalers lump them in with deathcore and metalcore trends. Simple elitism may be part of the equation but is a bit of a cop-out explanation. Maybe it’s the neck tats? Maybe it’s bassist Bart Williams’ choice of stage attire? To his credit the mesh basketball jersey did have what I believe was “Trapped Under Ice” scrawled across the front. Maybe it’s Trevor Strnad’s boardshorts, hardly appropriate attire for a melodic death act that writes songs about murder and witchcraft. Maybe it’s his belly tat which reads “Heart Burn” in a semi-circle i.e. “Thug Life”; this must be an inside joke. IMHO, the answer may lie closer to the contrast between their older and newer records. Older BDM simply features some metalcore elements. Though not enough to maybe slap the MC bumper sticker on these guys, the half-time palm muted melodic switch-ups (shall we call them breakdowns?) shouldn’t surprise anyone in their ability to turn away some more judgmental fans, especially when combined with the band’s look. Of course, as many point out, it’s this very appearance that has been an impeccable business decision. Fact is, as with many other bros, this will never be my favorite band because of their limited riff catalog. However, it is one that has been rapidly growing since Ryan Knight (ex-Arsis) joined the band for “Deflorate” and “Ritual”. It’s no coincidence that these albums stand out. Anyway, who cares? Check out a vid for “Moonlight Equilibrium”, this songs shreds faces. Now back to nursing my hangover.