As we reach the final hours of 2016, we reflect on our top five best metal shows we attended for the year. While there were many, the final installment of this countdown rounds out our absolute number one favorites for varying reasons. As for 2017, here’s to more headbanging, moshing, and great times for all!
Chris’ #1: Carcass with Crowbar, Ghoul and Night Demon at Gramercy Theater.
Chris: This is mainly my number one because I never got to see Carcass until this point. Not only did that finally happen but I also got to interview Bill Steer at that show. He was a super nice guy and I got a free beer out of it. I was supposed to interview Ghoul but they have a lot of family in New York so there was too much going on. We finally did it a few weeks ago. Crowbar ruled. Definitely surprising as I wasn’t sure how they’d be live.
Anthony: Yeah, Crowbar are great live. I saw Carcass this year too but at The Chance with Inter Arma who were a nice surprise and Deafheaven who were…..ugh.
Chris: Night Demon was ok. Too much of Anvil meets Motorhead. They were cool but sounded too much like their influences. I’m not sure why everyone loves Deafheaven so much. They’re just ok.
Anthony: Night Demon are pretty bland. A lot of newer-trade metal just sounds off.
Chris: My runner up is Conditon Critical and Game Over at Lucky 13’s. Mostly because Condition Critical are my boys and I’d like to think I helped break them in and put them over as they were on their way up. Game Over blew my mind. Very nice Italian boys. They were the second coming of Overkill.
Anthony: Mike is a cool dude. I interviewed him awhile back.
Chris: Yes he is. Can’t wait for the new Lich King album.Was also a pleasure to finally have them on the Thrash Bash this year.
Birdman and Lyon’s #1: Sonata Arctica, Dark Tranquility, Swallow The Sun, Leaves Eyes, Omnium Gatherum, Enforcer and Starkill at The Upstate Concert Hall
Birdman: I think Lyon and I are tied for our favorite show of the year so we’ll talk over each other.
Lyon: We sure are.
Anthony: That’s pretty sweet. I’d love to see Swallow the Sun, DT and Omnium.
Lyon: Those three sets in particular were amazing.
Birdman: I guess the first reason it’s my favorite is that there was not a single bad band on the bill. Even Enforcer was mildly entertaining whom Anthony and I have mocked in the past. Leaves Eyes was a nice surprise as well, not too big a fan of symphonic metal.
Lyon: They do it well and Dark Tranquility is one of my favorite bands.
Anthony: They are one of my top melodeath bands for sure.
Birdman: And of course, that was a show where I got to interview three guys from the Century Media bands from that show.
Lyon: They played a lot of songs from their new album. The new stuff is great, they played a bunch of great old shit too.
Birdman: Omnium was definitely Rob’s favorite of the night.
Lyon: Omnium surprised me the most with how good they were, Swallow the Sun hits all the right notes for me too. And their set was long and great .Starkill was honestly really entertaining.
Birdman: Didn’t get to see Starkill because of the interview. Sonata was great to hear live again after a seven year lapse.
Maryland Deathfest 2016
Anthony: Didn’t go Thursday this year and I was sad that both discharge and Destroyer 666 dropped, but overall it was a great time and saw many awesome bands.
No locals unless you count the side bar as part of the fest.
Lyon: Sweet. What were the top three acts?
Anthony: Dragged into Sunlight, Demolition Hammer and Angelcorpse.
Lyon: Dragged is fucking sweet.
Anthony: Runners up will be Exciter,Venom, Hirax and Rotten Sound. I’m guessing this is it for the round table. I’m sure Mayhem, Nuclear Assault and Testament all sounded great there to. I skipped them for Magrudergrind, Infest and Hemorrhage since I’ve seen them all. Cool chatting without guys going to try to get it up for the end of the year.
Lyon: I always try to get it up for the end of the year!
If you read the first part of our best metal concerts countdown you’l notice things are a bit different from other sites. With so many shows, we enlisted some help from RÖÄRGH and Minotaur’s Redemption guitarists Birdman Dan and Lyon. Without further ado, we continue to go against the grain with this roundtable discussion.
Chris’s #4: King Parrot and Child Bite at St.Vitus
Chris: Here I also interviewed both bands. Some of my favorite humans.
Anthony: King Parrot is a lot of fun live. I saw them open for Superjoint Ritual last year.
Chris: So funny and Shawn Knight from Child Bite not only has a cool name that rhymes with his band name but hes also extremely intelligent.
Anthony: Nice. Parrot is hilarious.
Chris: It was there that i noticed the 1988 painting of Donald Trump with the world in his hands in the basement. Youngy mooned it and I took a picture. I have no idea why he even bothers wearing clothes.As soon as I saw the painting I said to Youngy “If he becomes president then this might be proof that time travel exists.”
Birdman’s #4: Diamond Head at the Chance.
Anthony: Oh God, yes. That show ruled.
Birdman: I love how they stuck to songs form the metal records instead of the wanna be prog-rock records.
Anthony: Agreed. Almost the whole debut was played.
Birdman: I’ll bet if Metallica didn’t make “Am I Evil” famous, their “legacy” would’ve been “Sucking My Love.”
Lyon: Bands recognizing their good shit is important. I’ll segue that in like 30 mins.
Birdman: If I ever start a Vinyl collection I’ll grab lightning to the nations before I grab the Iron Maiden debut.
Anthony: I could see that sounding great on analog.
Birdman: They have a great new frontman as well and it was awesome getting a pic with Brian, who I interviewed earlier this year.
Anthony: He seemed like a pretty chill dude.
Lyon: When was that show?
Anthony: November 19th. Two days before the both of us went back for Carcass.
Tony’s #4: Belephegor, Shining and Origin at the Gramercy Theater
Lyon: Sick. I saw Belphegor a few years ago – fun show.
Birdman: Did Niklas cut himself during Shining’s set?
Anthony: Very fun night. All of those bands ruled live and it was cool to see my friends Coco and Herb who I rarely see. As for Niklas cutting himself, no he didn’t but it didn’t bother me because they sounded great. He did do some goofy improv live too. For a psycho Niklas seems nice. He was hanging out with fans at the bar and letting people get pics with him. He remembered my interview with him where he talks about making a Christmas album. He then sang Christmas carols to me.
Lyon: Live shenanigans are like half the reason to go to a show.
Anthony: Yeah but music is most important. Anyone who hates their set just because he didn’t cut himself isn’t a real fan to me.
Lyon: Oh, for sure music is #1. I was mostly referring to whatever goofy live improv you mentioned.
Birdman: They’re especially not a fan if they didn’t like their set because he cut himself lol.
Anthony: Belephegor stole the show though. They are just a heavy choking machine live, and of course, Origin is always great.
Lyon’s #4: Dead City Crown, Necromancing the Stone, Allagaeon, Battlecross at Dingbatz
Lyon: It’s not because we’ve played there before – DCC, Necromancing and Battlecross all put on blisteringly raw and fun sets.
Birdman: Anthony did you hear the Necromancing the Stone record that came out this year?
Anthony: No I haven’t.
Birdman: It’s got James Malone from Arsis shredding it up.
Anthony: I saw it has him and members of Black Dahlia Murder and The Absence so I’m sure I’ll like it.
Lyon: Allagaeon basically didn’t play because of band mates having to go home on family emergency, but the rest of the show slayed. I knew Battlecross was gonna be fun (third time seeing them), but Necromancing really blew me away.
Birdman: What you basically witnessed is how hard the band will actually work in times of pressure, Allegaeon I mean.
Lyon:Yeah – it’s nuts they even played three song with no drummer and a failing backtrack.
Birdman: Including the Rush cover
Anthony: Which song did they cover?
Lyon: It’s actually my favorite Rush song.
Birdman: It was how rob and I used to play RÖÄRGH shows, except Allegaeon put up a picture of a stick figure.
Lyon: They kinda lost it at the end, but for the most part it was sweet.The dudes from ‘cross were as nice as ever, too. The show just had a real “we are all here for the metals” vibe.
Birdman: I made it rain in Allegaeons tip jar twice, I had to. And the singer gave me a hug each time.
Only two days after seeing Diamond Head, Birdman and I headed back to The Chance for godfathers of goregrind, Carcass.
We arrived shortly before it started and ran into many of our friends inside. Unlike Diamond Head, however, the venue was pretty crowded.
First one were the Poughkeepsie-based hardcore/ noise rock band Dissolve. I had seen these guys once before two years ago play with All Out War. I found them to be one of the better openers on that bill. Again, they did a pretty good job. They sounded better than last time as the sound at The Chance is better than The Loft, and had great energy. The band made for a fun warm up.
Next up was Inter Arma. I’d always heard good things about this band and had many friends who liked them, but never took the time to check them out. Inter Arma played a pretty interesting mix of death/doom, sludge and black metal. They were crushingly heavy and made me regret not checking them out sooner.
After a crushing set from Inter Arma, came on the main support for Carcass, Deafheaven. Neither Birdman or I were ever fans of this band and weren’t excited to see them. We were both open-minded enough to wonder if they could at least be good live (they weren’t). The songs sound just as bad as they did in the studio and their performance was corny. The band all looked like Hawthrone Heights and seemed like they didn’t want to be there. The vocalist also moved his hands in a corny Broadway style.
After Deafheaven got off the stage, all of the young hipsters started leaving the crowd leaving it a venue of mostly metalheads. I had once seen Carcass two years ago with Gorguts and The Black Dalhia Murder, and that show was amazing.
This time around, their live tone was unbeatable and Jeff Walker’s banter was hilarious. They had a great set covering greats from Surgical Steele, Heartwork, Necrotism, Reek of Putrefaction and Symphonies of Sickness (and believe it or not, they even played a track from Swansong for whatever reason). All these songs sounded great and I was glad to see them once more. After the show, we left and we both do plan to return in Febuary for Mayhem and Inquistion.
Editor’s Note: In the wacky world of publishing, some stories don’t see the light of day. Whether they sit on the back burner until they become irrelevant, positions change hands or they just plain get cut, it’s just one of those things. Today, one of those unpublished articles will finally get its due as we traverse the archives of “The Vault.”
When seeing the lineup for this year’s (2015) Summer Slaughter tour, I was not impressed.
The only bands on the bill I would care to see were Obscura (who would later drop), Beyond Creation and Cattle Decapitation due to all three bands being early openers as well as having seen Obscura and Cattle Decap before. When I saw that Tainted Entertainment booked two of the only worthwhile bands at a venue not too far from me I knew I had to go. I bought a discount ticket off of Will from Necroptic Engorgement (one of the local openers) and the awaited my first time at the Loft all year.
The first band on was the local powerviolence band Doomscenario. I had seen these guys before play a local show with local grindcore greats BillxNye. Like last time their set was short and sweet!
After Doomscenario were done I ran into my Connecticut buddy Rodey as well as two members from local thrash greats Prime Evil. Declension are a deathcore band from Albany, NY. I once had to sit through these guys two years ago when they opened for Dying Fetus and Exhumed. Like back then, the band wasn’t very impressive at all.
After being bored by Declension, Middletown’s Necroptic Engorment were set to go on. During this time I caught up with my Albany friends, John, Filip and Craig. Necroptic is one of my area’s most beloved local bands. They have opened for many great bands including Macabre, Cannibal Corpse, Malignancy and Gorguts and are cool guys too. I’ve seen them many times and never get bored once. These guys plays really crushing brutal death metal with tunes of energy.
While waiting in line for the doors to open, I was chatting with Will from Necroptic as well as the sound guy for these Montreal tech death masters. I hadn’t heard too many songs from this band, but what I had heard I really enjoyed. This set made me want to explore their discography a lot more. The band mixed ultra technicality with a lot of energy and weren’t boring for a minute.
Cattle Decapitation have always been one of my favorite bands ever since checking out their Humanure album due to the graphic artwork. The mix of extremity and brutality along with Travis Ryan’s over-the-top vocals drew me in fast. I had seen them once three years ago and they were long overdue for a second sighting. The band played a mixture of older and newer songs. Ryan did his typical over-the-top theatrics. The crowd was wild but not as wild as I expected. All in all I enjoyed seeing them again.
I recently saw that The Chance booked Cannibal Corpse with Cattle opening in October. For that story you can go here but as far as tonight is concerned, I had an awesome time and eventually went back to reality.
Flordia is known for being one of the first places to have any death metal acts. Legends like Death, Obituary, Nocturnus, Morbid Angel and even some hidden gems like D.V.C all hail from there.
Now in current times, the scene has spawned a new gem known as Sapraemia. The band is young but already impressing both the new and old generations of Floridian metalheads. But this band alone isn’t enough to satisfy bassist/vocalist Julian David Guillen’s need for extremity. To cure this hunger Guillen decided to form a grindcore band called Munchausen, where he plays guitar while his girlfriend Shyann Rodriguiez does vocals. Today, the two lock up with The Bonesaw to chat about these amazing hidden projects.
How would you describe Sapraemia’s sound?
Julian: We’re influenced by Death, Nile, Wormed and lots of really brutal shit. We listen to a lot of the new school and the old-school. I guess the best way to describe us is a fusion of Origin and old-school Suffocation. People seem to really like us. We get a mixed crowd to of tech-death kids and old-school guys who loves bands like Incantation.
What does the name mean and where did you come up with it?
Julian: It’s a blood disease that eats all of your healthy blood cells. You are pretty much rotting from the inside. It’s a pretty metal disease and I found it to be a really cool word. A lot of people mistake us for the band from New Jersey called Sapremia. Maybe one day a tour of both of us will happen.
Any plans for any new material?
Julian: We are working on new material and trying to sell it to labels and stuff. We play new stuff at shows here and there and we do plan on recording it. Hopefully we will have an album before the year is over.
I see you played in Solstice for a short while?
Julian: I played with Solstice for a couple of months last year. When I was offered to join I had no idea who they were but then realized they are legends. It was a great experience playing for a classic band. I was younger than all of them by at least 15 years but it was fun. They’re all great guys.
Can you tell us about your other project Munchausen?
Julian: I was sitting at home one day and I was coming up with grind riffs. Nothing was going on with my other band at the moment so I figured to form a small fun project. I then talked to my girlfriend Shyann and said, “Hey, we should make some grindcore or something. Maybe you can sing.” She told me she didn’t know what to do and I said, “Well, just yell.”
Shyann: Then we discovered that I sound like bullshit. I honestly thought I sounded like crap, but everyone else loved it. I don’t know why, since I’m not trying to do anything spectacular. But I get good reactions so I’ll keep doing it.
Julian: You combine Barney from Napalm Death and Mike from Eyehategod, then make it a girl voice and you’ll get Shyann.
Well if you think about it, grindcore vocals are good for grind but in general are shit vocals.
Shyann: Yes, it works out that way.
Julian: Unless you’re the dude from Insect Warfare. His vocals are just awesome.
Are you guys working on an album? Anywhere people can hear you guys?
Shyann: We do have a bandcamp where you can hear our stuff. We have two singles up on there. We might upload others. Who knows.
Julian: Shyann wanted to keep us as low-key as possible. We mostly just focus on playing shows instead of mostly putting our music out there. I find it annoying when bands over promote. I see it all the time, bands trying to force you to like their Facebook page or wear their own shirts live or even remind you they have merch between every song they play. I’m just like, “Dude, let them find out.”
Shyann: It just pisses me off whenever a friend of mine has a band and their stuff is just all over the place. It’s not just 3 or 5 friends, it’s many assholes online who just spam everywhere. “Like Us on Facebook. Check Out our bandcamp. Look, we’re in this video. Look at our Instagram.” It’s over saturation and just way too much promoting. With Munchausen we just set just set out to make music for fun and don’t care about being huge or forcing our band down peoples throat on stuff like Twitter. I think Twitter is the dumbest shit in the world.
I noticed a song called “Comparing Turds” where you bash random bands in the lyrics. How did you come up with this song?
Shyann: I used to join all these metal groups about a year ago. I think I first saw it in this group called “Unpopular Metal Opinions.” Most of the time when someone compared two bands if someone thought both sucked they would comment “comparing turds” or some variation of it. The one who used it the most was this one girl who was an obvious black metal elitist. We became friends since we both like raw black metal and hate everything. She’s very weird. Whenever we chat she always randomly says that a random band sucks. I eventually got banned from those groups and me and her made our own metal opinions group together. I randomly searched the chat and typed in the word sucks and I got many results such as “Mastodon sucks,” “King Parrot sucks” and “Aeon sucks.” I agree with these bands being bad and we decided to write this song as a tribute to her.
Julian: We aren’t bashing her in any way. We love her. It’s a tribute.
Okay, time for the last question. If you were trapped on a desert an could only bring one album which would it be and why?
Julian: Damn that’s hard. I’d have to go with Blut Aus Nord’s “777-Sect(s).” Some of the nastiest, most experimental black metal out there. I love that band. Very varied and dark. The art is amazing too.
Shyann: For me it would be Alice in Chains self titled album. Alice in Chains is my favorite band of all time. People find it weird when I say that because I’m known for listening to all this ambient black metal. They’re pretty much what got me into I guess you could say heavy music. That album in particular has gotten me through hard times. So if I was trapped on a desert island and somehow had a CD player, that would be the album I’d hope would somehow be there.
Editor’s Note: In the wacky world of publishing, some stories don’t see the light of day. Whether they sit on the backburner until they become irrelevant, positions change hands or they just plain get cut, it’s just one of those things. Today, one of those unpublished articles will finally get its due as we traverse the archives of “The Vault.”
When Superjoint (formerly known as Superjoint Ritual) got booked only 40 minutes from me I was pretty curious. I’ve been a fan of Phil Anselmo’s work for many years and while I don’t like Superjoint as much as Down, Pantera, Viking Crown or Necrophagia; I do find Superjoint to be a fun project and way better then The Illegals. When I got to the venue I bought a ticket off of Kurt from Blast Furnace (the show’s local opener). After talking to a bunch of fellow metalheads at the door, they finally opened up and the show began.
First band on was Middletowns own Blast Furnace, who play really heavy old school death metal. Being from the area, I’d seen them play several times before and they are always a fun watch. Blast Furnace is definitely a band from middle to upper New York worth checking out.
Next up was one of several Housecore Records artists (including the headliner) Fulgoria. As mentioned in my Maryland Deathfest 2015 article, this band plays some sort of sludgy death metal. Album-wise I’m not a huge fan of the band but just like MDF they performed well.
Around this time the show started getting crowded. Because of this,the venue opened up the balcony. Child Bite plays some kind of weird post-hardcore. The set was mostly boring except when they covered “My War,” my favorite Black Flag song.
I have always heard hype about this band. Even at the show my friends Cheyenne, Mercedes and Ray all talked about how excited they were to see them and how over-the-top they are. Throughout the whole set vocalist Matt “Youngy” Young was wearing nothing but pants that were too big for him and shoes. This caused his ass to be seen during the whole set (not making this up). He would also spray the audience with water over and over. King Parrot played a mix of thrash, sludge and grindcore with vocals that were just high pitched squawks. These guys were the second best band of the night (the first seems obvious).
It was finally time to see the main act of the night. Superjoint’s sound is a little hard to describe. They play very short thrashy songs with sludgy riffs. This is mainly because Anselmo hates the use of subgenres – something he mentioned at the show. I was stoaked when he praised Blast Furnace and laughed when he bashed MetalSucks.
Superjoints energy was intense. They had a great set playing classics like “Fuck Your Enemy,””Dress like a Target” and “Ozena.” They also randomly covered “My Sharona” by The Knack. Sadly no Pantera songs were played but seeing Superjoint was good enough on its own… so good it made a random guy shit his pants (seriously).
Another year, another MDF and another adventure. With an amazing line up as always, I knew I wasn’t going to break the chain of MDF every year.
The night before, my friend Matt and I stayed at our friend Herb’s and headed for the annual metal fest the next morning. When got to the hotel we dropped off our stuff, met up with our friend Jason and headed down to the venue. After taking a cab down, we got there around 3:50 and started watching the band that was on.
We got there during the middle of Swedish death legends Centinex’s set. Due to en-route traffic, we missed Horrendous and a good chunk of this band’s set. However, I was still able to catch several songs from them including the classic track “Moist Purple Skin.” Centinex sounded great and the fans were not disappointed.
Next up were Chicago’s melodeath/doom giants Novembers Doom. Around this time I ran into some of my Chicago friends who included members of Nucleus and Morditorium. I also ran into members of a Facebook group I’m part of. While I do like Novembers Doom I was never a massive fan. With that said, I did enjoy their set and thought they sounded great.
Spain’s brutal death outfit Wormed transitioned the tone of the crowd from slowly brooding to intense and mosh heavy. Being one of my favorite bands of this subgenre, I was stoked to see them and my expectations were exceeded. After their set Jason and I head to Soundstage.
Bruce X Campbell
With a name liked that who would skip them? Bruce X Campell are a power violence act named after the one and only Bruce Campbell himself. And like the man with the iron chin, they were awesome.
After Bruce X Campell I head back to Edison lot. During this time slot, the classic death metal band Sinister was supposed to play, but due to dropping at the last possible minute Gruesome (who were already scheduled to play the next day) took the slot.
Gruesome is a band I have mixed feelings about. I don’t dislike their music but at the same time feel no need to listen to it as it sounds so much like Death that it feels pointless when Death’s music still exists. I watched them with an open mind. They sounded good live and were fun to see. They also did a great job with the Death covers they played.
After Gruesome I went back to Soundstage with Herb based on a recommendation from Herb’s friend Sam. He compared them to acts like General surgery, Exhumed and Carcass – all of which we’re both big fans of. Hemdale was very entertaining and the vocalist told hilarious jokes about the internet.
I raced back to Edison Lot to catch Paradise Lost. As a fan of mainly just the first 2 albums I was curious of how many tracks from that era they would perform. They played mostly newer songs that were performed well and sounded good live. Midway through the set I did get to hear some tracks I enjoy such as “Rapture,” “Dead Emotion” and “As I Die (the latter being the only post-Gothic song I like).”
Samael was one of the bands I was curious about seeing once it was announced that they were playing all of “Ceremony of Opposites.” This is my favorite album by them as well as the last one they made that I liked.
When they started I thought they were playing one of their later songs until I realized it was on the album. The band looked like rejects from a bad 2000’s EBM band. They were playing their old songs but remixing them to sound like the later stuff. Though it sounded awful, I was wanted to see how my favorite Samael track “Baphomets Throne” would sound. Sadly, they really fucked it up with not only replacing riffs with synth but with “St.Anger” sounding drums. Once I heard this mess I went back to Soundstage.
Though Mayhem were playing at Edison Lot, I figured I’d go see Magrudergrind since I’d seen Mayhem once before. When I arrived I ran into my friends Nick and Cheyenne. All three of us were excited to see these grind greats as we missed them every chance we got. Magrudergrind sounded great and had incredible energy. This was a nice change in pace as the night just got crazier from here.
Being one of my all-time favorite (and one of my first) grind bands I was stoked to finally see Rotten Sound. Continuing the trend of the night, Rotten Sound were even more energetic than Magrudergrind. Using Soundstage’s great sound to its full potential, they were among the best bands of the whole fest.
Next up on Soundstage were grindcore pioneers, Repulsion. I only watched about 20 minutes of their set as I wanted to catch Angelcorpse at 12:30. From what I was able to see, the band really killed and continued the late great shows of Friday night.
After 20 minutes of Repulsion, I went over to Rams Head for the last band of the night. Being the main reason for Rams Head Friday, Angelcorpse were the biggest must-see band of the night. From start to finish, Angelcorpse put on one of the most intense live shows I’d ever witnessed. The band’s fast and in-your-face style of blackened death metal really worked. Not a second went by that wasn’t amazing during their set. Angelcorpse was one of the best bands of the fest for sure.
After Angelcorpse, Herb, Matt and I went to our hotel (Jason had no Rams Head tickets) and went to sleep to prepare for the next day’s events.