Last month I got the opportunity to see two bands that I have always wanted to see in concert, but have always missed my chance to see. Either I didn’t have the money to see them, or found out about the show too late or some other stupid thing happened keeping me from going to the show. Well apparently April was my time! I got to see both Cannibal Corpse, and GWAR within a two-week period (Cannibal Corpse on the 5th and GWAR on the 18th). Both shows were completely fucking awesome and easily the two best shows I’ve ever been to. Like any good show I wanted to see each band again right after they played their last song.
As a big fan of death metal (betcha’ couldn’t tell could ya?) I have enjoyed Cannibal Corpse’s music for years and have wanted to catch them in concert after first hearing one of their albums. So I was ecstatic when my wife called me at work and told me that not only were they playing at a small venue not far from our house, but that they were also playing with Exhumed. Fucking Cannibal Corpse and Exhumed in one show! I was sold, and I knew that I was not going to miss this opportunity. My wife also told me that GWAR was playing at the same venue two weeks later. The metal gods were truly smiling down upon me with their jagged, pointy-toothed grins.
Cannibal Corpse and Exhumed with special guests Abysmal Dawn and Arkaik
The day of the show I had a very hard time focusing at work and the clock dragged ass all day. We got to the show just in time to hear the last two songs of a band that I can’t remember the name of and that I’d never heard before. They weren’t bad, but I was too preoccupied with finding the perfect spot for the rest of the show to pay much attention to them.
Arkaik set up, did a quick sound check and kicked off their set with Womb of Perception. They played a great set in their 30 -45 minutes; A lot of stuff from their 2010 album Reflections Within Dissonance, and a few cuts of their forthcoming album, Metamorphignition. They are a very tight band, have good stage presence and play some very good Tech-Death. I enjoyed their set and I would see them again in concert.
Abysmal Dawn took the stage and wasted no time launching into Programmed to Consume the lead track from the album of the same name. I was stoked about this, because I really like that song and was growling right along with the band. Abysmal Dawn is a three-piece band that plays very guttural, straightforward Death Metal. Their stuff at times almost veers into Melodic Death territory with some vaguely Black Metal vocals. Great band that I would absolutely go see again.
Exhumed are absolute showmen and with out a doubt LOVE playing to the crowd. They opened up with As Hammer to Anvil from 2011’s album All Guts, No Glory (their first full album since 2005). Their style, or particular brand of Metal has changed over the years from complete Goregrind to a style that incorporates their gory roots, American Death Metal, and overtones of Swedish Death Metal. They put on a really great show; interacting with the crowd them selves, bringing out a Chainsaw wielding Maniac to menace the audience, and looking like they were having the time of their lives on that stage. The look of pure enjoyment on all the band members faces was very cool to see. Bands that have been playing for as long as Exhumed has can become jaded and forget the simple joys of rocking a venue. Matt Harvey has definitely not forgotten and still enjoys playing the music he loves for a cheering crowd. Can’t wait to see them again.
Cannibal Corpse were absent on stage one minute as the lights went down and the next minute when the lights came up there they were blasting out Demented Aggression the lead track off of Torture; louder and heavier than I thought possible and larger than life! They played 4 songs in quick succession before taking a short break so Corpse Grinder could cajole the crowd. “This song is about stabbing people…” Corpse Grinder starts but a roaring cheer from the audience cuts him off. “You like that shit?” Another cheer. “You’re all a bunch of sick fucks!” He laughs and then the band begins shredding through As Deep As The Knife Will Go, my personal favorite cut from their new album. Their set contained a great mix of old and new stuff. Obviously they were out promoting their new album, but they also know that their fans want to hear the classics too. Over the course of their 20 song set list they played every song I had hope to hear and a couple I wasn’t expecting; they ended the show with Hammer Smashed Face and Stripped, Raped, and Strangled. I had hoped that they would play the former and had not expected the latter. I had figured that those songs were too old and they were likely as not trying to just do newer stuff, but the Corpse did not disappoint. I left the venue in a state of euphoric, ringing-ear, metal bliss. Seriously my ears were still ringing by Monday morning. Corpse Grinder and company put on a hell of a show that I won’t soon forget. Without question I will be seeing them again when they come back to my area.
GWAR with GHOUL, Kylesa and Legacy of Disorder
Fast-forward to the 18th and again I am having trouble concentrating at work because I am again pumped to see a band I’ve listened to for years, but never gotten a chance to see. Of course on that day I had to stay a little later than usual to finish something that could not wait for the next day; Murphy’s Law eh? (Damn you Murphy!) It worked out, because we got to the venue just after Legacy of Disorder got done with their set. Which was fine with me, because I do not like their music at all.
GHOUL took the stage and had a brief intro where a black garbed, shroud faced “priest” condemned the Ghouls of Creepsylvania, and the rest of the audience, to hell. So they knocked his head off, and as his neck sprayed blood everywhere, they began playing Off With Their Head from Transmission Zero.
Their set was about half Transmission Zero and half a mix of their other albums. During their set they had various characters come out and spray, slosh, and dump a plethora of clothes staining substances on the crowd, that I’m sure smelled lovely. GHOUL put on a great show that was full of humor, tongue in cheek gore and some fantastic Thrash (or SplatterThrash) Metal that I would absolutely go see again with out hesitation.
After GHOUL finished their set I thought that GWAR would take the stage… nope. I had to suffer through Kylesa first… meh. They took half an hour to set up and do their sound check, and then once they started, it was impossible to understand what the fuck the chick lead singer was saying. Not that I particularly cared mind you, but if I had come to see them and they had sounded like that I’d want my money back. Seriously… they sucked, and I have no idea why they were playing with GWAR in the first place. My guess is that the only reason that Oderus let them on the tour is because they had some really good weed... just a theory.
GWAR walked out on sage in all their hideous glory to roaring cheers from the crowd. They jumped into Zomibes March!, the first track off of Bloody Pit of Horror. It’s a song that is not only a great opener, but also shows just how fucking awesome and incredibly talented a guitar player Corey Smoot (Flattus Maximus) was. They played all my favorite tracks from Bloody Pit in their set (except Tick-Tits) and Balsac really stepped up, filling in for Corey. Their sound is not exactly how it was with two guitarists, but that did not stop them from tearing the roof off, and I think that GWAR works as a four-piece band for the time being. Their set contained lot of older gems as well. Some songs that I had felt certain they would play (like Jagermonsta) and some that I had not expected (Crack in the Egg). I flipped out a bit (in a good way) when they played Bring Back the Bomb and War Party. Through out their whole set there was of course gallons upon gallons of blood sprayed from various hacked off limbs, cut throats, and skinned torsos.
|The Cuddle Fish Spurts|
I’ll admit it; there was no small part of savage glee that welled up inside me when "Snookie" waddled out on stage to be skinned and have her mutant two headed baby ripped from her womb and swung around by it’s umbilical cord like a fleshy, red noisemaker. Techno Destructo showed up to menace the group and fight with Bonesnapper. This of course led to more freshets of blood spurting out onto the crowd. And speaking of spurting onto the crowd, toward the end of the show, one of the slaves hooked up Oderus’ “sack” allowing his Cuddle Fish of Cthulhu to spray an endless stream of blood directly into the faces of the happily awaiting audience while the band performed The Road Behind, which the band dedicated to Flattus Maximus and was their last song. During that last song one of the slaves had set up Corey’s guitar in a stand on one of the back monitors.
|To Flattus Maximus - Forever Missed|
The stage went dark as the band left the stage and Corey’s guitar was cast in a spotlight while Frank Sinatra’s My Way played softly in the background. The band came back out to the wings sans costumes and makeup to hold their lighters up in honor of their absent brother. It was a wonderful, bittersweet way to end the show, but absolutely effective in making one realize exactly how much was lost when Corey passed. Come back soon GWAR!
I left the venue once again with my ears ringing and a huge grin on my face. April was indeed a great month to be a metal head. Now if only Dying Fetus or Fleshgod Apocalypse would come play shows near me.
Photos by De'Vera Phoenix