Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Slaughter 2013 or, Why I had to Explain to my Co-Workers why I Limped into Work Today

Last night I went to catch this year's iteration of the Summer Slaughter Tour, a yearly North American touring metal/ hardcore festival filled with mediocre deathcore bands and a handful of decent death metal groups. This was my first time hitting up Summer Slaughter because this year they actually had bands worth seeing on the bill, and tickets were mad cheap. I mean, 35 bucks for 10 bands? Even for a mediocre bill, that's worth the price of admission, but 35 bucks for 10 bands, including Revocation, The Ocean, Cattle Decapitation, and Dillinger Escape Plan? Holy monkey balls, I don't think it's even possible to get a better deal for a festival.

Because I'm a big kid now and work 8 hours a day, Monday to Friday, I missed the first few bands. Door opened at 3 or 3:30, and I ended up missing Thy Art Is Murder, Rings of Saturn, and Aeon, which really, I'm not heartbroken over because I'm not a fan of deathcore or tech-death, and I feel like I would have done nothing but hang around the merch booths until they all finished up. I did however, arrive just in time to catch Revocation, who put on a high energy set filled mostly with older material and crowd favorites ("Dismantle the Dictator" and "No Funeral" garnered some of the biggest circle pits of the night), but they jammed two new tracks off their new self-titled album too, which nobody seemed to mind.

The next two bands were The Ocean, and Cattle Decap, and I remember reading a review of a different tour date where the main complain the the sudden drop of energy in between Revocation and Cattle Decap because of The Ocean's slower and sludgier sound, but either that was an off day for the German metallers, or Toronto got a wicked treat last night. Loïc Rossetti, their vocalist was going absolutely nuts on stage, jumping off of it and nearly into the pit no less than 5 time during their half hour set. The rest of the band kept up as well, brandishing some entry-level Dillinger Escape Plan stage moves like jumping on monitors and flailing guitars around to keep the momentum going. I don't know what happened at that other concert, but The Ocean  dominated the stage at the Sound Academy last night. Definitely my second favourite performance of the night.

Cattle Decapitation rounded out the section of the show where I cared about the bands, but for a majority of their set, I was off getting pizza with a buddy of mine. I was really impressed with Travis Ryan, who stalked the stage like a madman, hitting every single crazed wail, scream, and growl he's ever put to record. The rest of the band was tight, especially their bassist, who we found out mid-set was actually Oli Pinard of the legendary Cryptopsy!

Next up were Norma Jean, Periphery, and Animals As Leaders. I wasn't particularly excited to see any of them (I hadn't even heard of Norma Jean before seeing their name on the bill for this show), but I was happily surprised by the latter two. Norma Jean started off with what I can only assume to be the most misleading intro track of all time, laying down some Southern sludge riffs with the bass cranked all the way up. I thought I was in for some Weedeater or Electric Wizard type shit, but my dreams were crushed faster than when they were in W-Men Origins: Wolverine when shitty metalcore filled the hall and the pit turned into a dojo. Snapbacked scene kids in skinny jeans started beating up the air and doing spin kicks to prove how HxC they were filled the centre of the floor, and honestly, my friends and I took a solid 30 seconds to laugh at all those goofballs. Once Norma Jean finished their way-too-long of a set, Periphery and AAL brought everything back with some high energy metal tunes and solid stage presence. I had already seen Periphery before,and they didn't really do much for me, but that was at a huge outdoor festival. Inside a smaller venue is where they really shine. AAL took me by complete surprise, not because I doubted Tosin Abasi and co.'s ability to play their music, but because I expected AAL to be a snorefest between Periphery's great set and Dillinger. They really got people moshing, jumping, and headbanging along, even though it was just three dudes chugging bass strings and sweep picking for 45 minutes.

Finally, after many long hours, it was time for Dillinger Escape Plan to hit the stage. Holy fuck. I was right up front and centre, and this was without a doubt, the most intense show I've ever been to. I've seen Slayer, I've seen Amon Amarth, and I've seen Rotten Sound, but nothing, nothing would have prepared me for this. Dillinger was off the fucking walls. Literally. There were bodies and limbs flying everywhere, I think I was covered with at least three dozen's peoples' sweat, beer, and once I got home, I noticed I actually had someone else's blood on me. I know whatever I write won't do it justice, so I'll post some videos of other gigs of theirs so you know what you're in for when you go see them.

Yeah. Fucking amazing.

My entire body still hurts, and I wasn't able to take any pictures or videos of bands, but I did run into a somewhat familiar face at the merch booth:

There are way too many Davids in this picture.
That's David Davidson (yeah, seriously, that's his name) of Revocation. He was a cool enough dude to actually hang out and chat with people at the merch table, but I didn't really get a chance to talk to him much.

My final verdict on Summer Slaughter 2013 is: totally go see it if it comes to town. It was hands down one of the best shows I've ever been to, and every band (shitty metalcore excluded) played to the nth degree and beyond. And for 35 bucks a ticket, how could you not go?

That's all for now, folks! I'm going to go sleep for a weekend to recover.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Blastbeat Reviews: Gore Edition! Carcass, Exhumed, Basement Torture Killings

More quick reviews because I'm a lazy asshole. This time around we're taking a crack at Carcass' comeback album, Exhumed's follow-up to 2010 comeback, All Guts, No Glory and Basement Torture Killings' just-a-few-days-short-of-a-2013-debut-release The Second Cumming. Crass, I know.


I've been hyping this album like mad since the teaser dropped a couple weeks ago, and the wicked jam "Captive Bolt Pistol" dropped a week later, but deep down, I was so scared that the single was going to be the only good track on the album. Maybe my beloved Carcass had gone the way of the dollar (or pound in their case) and released one solid track to rope everyone in, then unleash a mediocre attempt at reliving their past fame. I mean come on, the old 1980s logo, the Tools of the Trade rip off cover, and it's been over 15 years since their last studio album. This practically spells out gimmick and moneygrab all over the goddamn place. My jimmies were beyond rustled at the thought.

I finally listened to it, and instantly, my jimmies were soothed. They entered a state of bloodthirst and transcended into a state zen, a shift only attainable from an album as good as or perhaps, dare I say it, better than my beloved Heartwork. This album is Carcassas they were meant to sound. Melodic, grinding, heavy as balls, and headbangable as balls. Go buy this. Or torrent it. I don't care, just let the almighty Carcass eviscerate your ears with this unfuckwithable album. Score: 5/5


Exhumed blew me away with their last album, All Guts, No Glory. It was the first I'd actually heard of the band, a band that followed suite after Carcass pioneered the goregrind genre, and likewise, had a breakup and recent reformation. Now off the bat, I've gotta say that Guts was a way better album than Necrocracy. This album is still really solid, but it just lacks the ferocity and grind power it's predecessor did. Exhumed go for a more straightforward death metal sound here with some melodic elements thrown in. Unfortunately, everything seems to sound like a Heartwork b-side. Fortunately, everything seems to sound like a Heartwork b-side. The riffs show off some tight finger acrobatics and the album definitely gets your blood pumping, but I think the band tried to go as brutal as possible, but forgot what made All Guts, No Glory so good: how catchy it was. Score: 3/5


I honestly forget how I was introduced to this band. All I know is that one day I end up on their Bandcamp page blasting "31 Stabwounds to the Face", and I was loving it. This band whips out no holds barred goregrind, with non-stop blasting, tremolo picked riffs, and a wicked combo of raspy high vocals and guttural low vocals that would make even Bill Steer blush with envy. Over all I gotta commend these guys for making some goregrind that sounds like actual music amongst the masses of underground bands that release albums with production values that rival even Reek of Putrefaction. Come on guys, it's the 2010s, and BTK is doing it right. Why can't you?

The album loses some points because of the zillion samples that are used in the music which honestly take away form the crushing atmosphere of the album and get pretty annoying roughly four songs into this album, but they make it all back up with the greatest cover of "Pretty Woman" I've ever heard. Score: 4/5

That's all for now, folks!