Summer Slaughter 2017, Live at Gas Monkey

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Summer Slaughter North American Tour 2017, Featuring The Black Dahlia Murder on their “Nocturnal” 10 Year Anniversary

 

Angelmaker

Ushered in by two local bands, Angelmaker, hailing from Vancouver, Canada, opened the night with a plentiful serving of heaviness. Starting from the very beginning, they had the majority of the crowd headbanging with their mixture of deathcore–esque heaviness blending into an almost slam styled groove. Featuring two vocalists, they traded off throughout, highlighting the strengths of one another quite well, whereas one had better highs and the other had filthier lows. Performing for a short amount of time, they played a handful of songs that kept the crowd engaged from start to finish.

Setlist
1. The Bridge Between
2. The Curse of Earth
3. Abysmal
4. Day by Day

Angelmaker

Betraying the Martyrs

Next in line was melodic metalcore act Betraying the Martyrs, a solid act from France that hooked those in attendance albeit a short performance. Backed by vocals from the guitarist and keyboard player, their music was catchy and stood out a bit from the other bands on the roster, bearing high energy alongside tight riffing. In between thrash beats, synth samples, and chugs, they played to the crowd rather well, with the keyboard player holding his entire keyboard down low like a guitar at one point and displaying their great stage presence. Though they may not be the ultimate tech death band with a billion notes, their performance was a good listen and broke up possible monotony amongst the other bands, and enjoyably so.

Setlist
1. Lost for Words
2. Wide Awake
3. Unregistered
4. The Great Disillusion

 

Betraying the Martyrs

 

Lorna Shore

Lorna Shore followed afterward, a band that underwent a pretty radical style alteration on the last album. I’d seen them a few times and they were heavy but a bit underwhelming in the past, and this time around they blew me away. Moving away from the 15 second ring out breakdowns and into a more blackened death metal sound, Lorna Shore impressed with a much tighter and direction oriented sound, as well as a more intelligible vocal style over faster and more intricate riffing. Vocalist Tom Barber would go on to lend his guest vocals to a handful of other bands throughout the night, leaving me wondering if his powerful vocal chords ever grew tired.

Setlist
1.  Denounce the Light
2.  Offering of Fire
3.  Flesh Coffin
4.  FVNERAL MOON

Lorna Shore

Rings of Saturn

Rings of Saturn took the stage next, missing guitarist and mastermind Lucas Mann. Bearing quite a weight, guitarist Miles Baker played circles around himself in an attempt to match the chaotic cacophony of notes the band wields. Though quite impressive, they fell a bit short missing a guitarist and running a bass backing track, leading their sound to feel a bit empty, though still heavy. Rings went on to perform new and old songs, joined during “Seized and Devoured” by Lorna Shore vocalist Tom Barber for the memorable chorus.

Setlist
1. Parallel Shift
2. Unsympathetic Intellect
3. Margidda
4. Seized and Devoured
5. Inadequate

Rings of Saturn

Origin

Technical death metal legends Origin came up next, opening the circle pits up rather quickly as drummer John Longstreth’s lightning fast and powerful kicks echoed through the standing area. “This would be a good time for a circle pit”, vocalist Jason Keyser stated as they moved through their set. I wasn’t actually able to find a single moment in their performance where it WASN’T a good time for a circle pit, but the sentiment remains. Leading into another, Jason once again directed the crowd to move, though in an interesting twist, announced it would be a “Wall of Death 2.0”, divided by political stance. With the left side identifying as more liberal, the right side as more conservative, and the dead center as “free thinkers” (which he claimed), they brought the crowd together amidst their death metal tunes and did their best to make light of such a divisive topic in today’s world.

Setlist
1. Infinitesimal to the Infinite
2. Accident and Error
3. Cascading Failures, Diminishing Returns
4. Expulsion of Fury
5. Thrall:Fulcrum:Apex
6. The Aftermath
7. Truthslayer
8. Unattainable Zero

Origin

Oceano

Deathcore masters for almost a decade, Oceano wasted no time getting down with the downtuned riffs and unbelievably heavy breakdowns. Though the lineup consisted of a single guitarist, bassist, drummer, and original vocalist Adam Warren, no amount of heaviness or impact was lost as they performed. Adam’s vocals are in my opinion the undisputed best live deathcore vocals I’ve ever witnessed, proven time and time again. Oceano played quite well to the crowd, with tons moshing and throwing their hands in the air to the grooves. By that time the venue was quite full, to which Adam remarked on the size of the building and how it seemed to be nearing capacity in the standing area, and his thankfulness to those in attendance for coming out. The sound remained as tight as could be, with the riffs matching the kick patterns so perfectly it almost seemed like a studio compressed experience… only live, and few could resist the urge to headbang. Adam went on to address the crowd a few more times, not to preach but to plead, stating “Expand your mind, and don’t take anything from these people in power. Do your research before you develop an opinion and shit on others”, imploring those in attendance to keep from jumping straight to hatred and instead educate themselves on fixing the failing world state.

Setlist
1. Dead Planet
2. Viral Re-Animation
3. District of Misery
4. Slaughtered Like Swine
5. Path to Extinction
6. Human Harvest
7. Dawn of Descent

The Faceless

Despite the recent adversity The Faceless have been met with, they took the stage fairly quickly and brought their A-game. It seemed as if many in attendance were quite set on either disliking them due to what they’d heard on popular metal news sites previously, or were just uncertain on how to feel. As they went on to perform featuring vocalist Ken “Sorceron” from Abigail Williams and guitarist Justin McKinney from The Zenith Passage, they gradually won the crowd over. Opening with a track from their hit album “Planetary Duality”, their set was tight and impressive, especially after having only performed with the drummer on this tour alone. Justin’s guitar tone was flawless, proving his addition to be invaluable to their sound. Guitarist and mastermind Michael Keene lent his clean vocals throughout, sounding close to album quality. Though their set was shorter than I would’ve liked, they luckily made it through 3 albums worth of material and the single released in 2015, transitioning rather flawlessly through all three “Autotheist Movement” pieces from their album “Autotheism”.

Setlist
1. Sons of Belial
2. The Spiraling Void
3. An Autopsy
4. Autotheist Movement I: Create
5. Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate
6. Autotheist Movement III: Deconsecrate

The Faceless

Death metallers Dying Fetus performance followed, with copious circle pits and moshing in every direction to follow. Toting disgustingly low vocals, thrashy and groovy riffs, and exceptional crowd control, they played a very straightforward set to be expected from a band with the track record they have. Arguably the largest pit of the night, it maintained its momentum through their entire set to match the whirlwind of notes and drum hits let loose by the 3 piece.

Setlist
1. Justifiable Homicide
2. Intentional Manslaughter
3. Subjected to a Beating
4. Fixation on Devastation
5. Invert the Idols
6. Your Treachery Will Die With You
7. Wrong One to Fuck With
8. Killing on Adrenaline

 

The grand finale was The Black Dahlia Murder taking the stage to perform their album “Nocturnal” in its entirety. Released 10 years ago this year, Nocturnal sounds far more perfect than one could expect live. I wanted to try to explain in lengthy detail just how phenomenal of a performance this was, but next to no words can describe the feeling that washed over me as I heard the crickets opening the song “Everything Went Black”. Black Dahlia is one of those bands that continuously puts out great records, and it’s amazing to see where it all started as this album (for me) was one that really got me into extreme music. There were times throughout the performance that I felt myself getting a bit choked up, due to either how ridiculously great the performance was or how happy I was to be able to see one of my favorite albums of all time played hit for hit with some embellishment by the newer members. Guitarist Brandon Ellis, also lead guitarist of death metal titans Arsis, put his own unique flavoring over the leads, between additional tasteful shred or the exaggerated vibrato of singular notes, adding emphasis and power to already memorable and tasty solos and lead runs down the fretboard. Between songs, vocalist Trevor Strnad gave a short idea of who or what the song was written about, whether it be a famous serial killer, a famous murder, monsters, freaks, or whatever typically taboo subject he touches on, woven between his tasteful lyricism and vocabulary. Seeing as how most of these songs rarely if ever see any live performance, it was awesome to witness a few that probably wouldn’t have been performed live any other time, especially “To A Breathless Oblivion”, one of the more powerful songs and a personal favorite, alongside “Warborn”, easily my favorite TBDM song of all time. The impact these songs had on my own personal life as well as how masterfully executed they were on the album had me anticipating them from the moment I’d arrived, and the actual performance surpassed any and all expectation I’d had. From open to close, this performance hit harder than any metal show I’d attended in recent memory, and closing out with a new song from their upcoming album “Nightbringers”, and album closer “I Will Return” from “Deflorate”, I assure you a thousand times over that The Black Dahlia Murder is the real deal and a band not to be missed live.

The Black Dahlia Murder

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