With the Metal Alliance Tour of 2014 hitting three of the biggest Texas markets on a weekend, it was hard not to convince myself to attend every single one. My location of choosing was Austin, Texas. One of the music capitals of North America, right? I’m not too sure if Austin is known for it’s death metal scene, though Hoek’s Death Metal Pizza makes the metalhead presence known. Come and Take it Productions hosted the 2014 Texas Independence Music Festival. A concert which combined tours of the Metal Alliance tour (Behemoth, 1349, Goatwhore, Black Crown Initiate, Inquisition), Wayne Static’s “Wisconsin Death Trip” tour (Wayne Static, We Are The Riot), Abigail Williams, and Silence the Messenger. Locals that battled for the spots to play the show included Tarim (DFW, TX – woo!!!), Head Crusher, and Casket of Cassandra. and Myra Maybelle.
As I was extremely stoked for the Metal Alliance Tour, there was one name that stood out on the Austin show that made me do a double take; Wayne Static, formerly of Static-X. Say what? Wayne Static was playing a black/death metal show?! Though I was never really into Static-X during the entirety of the big industrail/nu-metal era, I was quick to hype up the fact that he was there and made sure to catch their set. ‘Their’ meaning Wayne Static and his current members of course. It was so easy to spot the members of the band walking around the venue as well, big surprise eh? Throw on a little eyeliner and crazy make up elsewhere. And you know what? You’d think with the amount of corpse paint at this show you would see more black and white in the crowd. Nope. Not even for the fans of Static-X.
Wayne Static took on the show like any and all times before. Yes, he still has his trademarked hair style, but he has definitely grown a little older. Overall I was quite impressed with his act and quality of sound. He even played some classic Static-X songs for the long time fans, and for nostalgia’s sake. After Wayne played I took a breather outside as it was a GORgeous day outside. As always, you could hear the music perfectly fine from the smoking patio out back.
Metal Alliance 2014
Behold, Black Crown Initiate. It was officially time for the Metal Alliance line up to begin. With a little over 10,000 likes on Facebook (like that matters?) Black Crown Initiate was given an opportunity they couldn’t refuse; a full tour with the legendary Behemoth. Skeptical at first, I was extremely interested in how their set was going to turn out to be. Especially with a description such as this on their Facebook info, “…the sound of a sentient being at war with itself and everything else; an entity holding on for dear life as its inner and outer world dies.” Yes, I creeped on them before they went on!
James Dorton (vocals) reminds me of a Bill Robinson (Decrepit Birth) that can also sing, and sing WELL for that matter. With a night full of the blackest black and pissy satanists (O.K. maybe no one was pissed), it holds to be true that the vocals are always harsh. Black Crown was by far the most melodic band of the evening with James and Andy Thomas (guitars and backing vocals) harmonizing throughout their set. Andy Thomas’ voice was surprisingly pleasant and did nothing but compliment the progressive aspects of their music. You know how The Faceless released Autotheism and there was a huge hoopla of the clean vocals Keene recorded? Andy Thomas nails it for Black Crown Initiate (i.e. the successful way to have clean vocals in death metal).
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After their set, I was craving M&Ms. What was that? There’s “ins and outs” allowed? Off to get me some candy. When I came back inside Inquisition had already started. I walked inside, saw corpse paint, heard the vocals, and decided I wanted to go back outside to finish my M&Ms. Inquisition is an established Black Metal band from Seattle, Washington. They received a great response that night, but just wasn’t my thing.
The set times lied to everyone and now Goatwhore was going on before 1349. Maybe switching it up on some dates? I’m sure of it. I have seen Goatwhore twice in my little metal head life, and both times they got the short end of the stick on venues. First show was in 2010 at a shitty little venue in Houston, TX that the promoter failed to promote. Second show was at the first Fall version of South By So What Music Festival in 2013. This time around they shouldn’t have ever been booked on this festival. The only thing comparable in any aspect was the fact that they played on the same stage as GWAR. O.K., so what’s my point here? Goatwhore couldn’t have fit more perfectly on the Metal alliance line up for 2014 with Behemoth. A show and line up spot well deserved and long overdue.
The moment Goatwhore took that stage the crowd went wild. No fan was outside on that previously mentioned back patio at this point in the night. Ben Falgoust (vocals) and Sammy Duet (guitar/vocals) always bring havoc every show they play. Goatwhore has the thrash, they have the groove, and they have the shred to dominate any stage and any crowd. I would also be lying if I said Sammy wasn’t an intimidating brute. James Harvey was no exception to the energy on stage. I will note as well that it’s bad ass to see a classic four piece as such ripping it to shreds.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/32884403″ params=”color=ff9900&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /] 1349.
Enter red stage lights, because red stage lights are the only thing suitable for real black metal. [#Photographerrants] Besides the fact that the lights completely sucked, I was confused by their whole “black metal look”. Or should I correct myself and say the sound of “the soundscape to Hell, unrelenting and intense” (Info from Official Facebook). Corpse paint throughout the members and a cloak on another. Maybe I’m just ignorant of the symbolism they are trying to portray on stage. Once again, 1349 is a legendary Black Metal band hailing from the one and only, country of Norway. And anyone in the Black Metal community will tell you nothing but good things.
With much preparation and without further ado, BEHEMOTH!
The Texas Fest’s banner was dropped to reveal Behemoth’s monster of a backdrop. Geometry covered the stage along with candelabra style decor that ran with the new album look. As the stage hands “set the mood”, Behemoth was just on the other side of the doorway ready. The stage grew darker as the voices in the crowd grew quieter. Two strobe spotlights on either side of the stage gleamed upward like two towers of light awaiting to be occupied by the masters.
Enter The Satanist. Orion (bass), Seth (rhythm), and Inferno (drums) entered unto stage first within the darkness. Orion and Seth had taken positions in the tower of lights on stage left and right and Inferno was waiting patiently up on the riser. As the lights flickered, they revealed the silhouettes of Orion and Seth. Silhouettes that seemed ready for battle. As a concert photographer, I am able to watch the beginning of every show as if I were in the first row as I await the perfect moments to capture. Let me tell you, I had a huge grin on my face throughout the strobe lights that lasted at least a minute before Nergal was seen. The set up, the lights, the attire, the corpse paint, the decor, the everything… was glorious. Then a nervous laugh came, from myself of course. All I could think, “How fucking brutal… what am I to expect?” Orion is a monster in size, and while he was on that riser it was someone your instincts tell you to fear. Nergal then entered with fire in his hands, his grande entrance amazing all on lookers.
Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel. First song to introduce Behemoth’s night. Nergal’s eyes had the look of evil and everyone wanted a glimpse. Strobes, purples and blues were used often and conveyed a cool tone the whole night. And though The Satanist came out just a couple months before, massive amounts of voices were heard chanting all choruses, missing not one song. The sound that night was no less than impressive and band’s playing was on point at all times. Their stage presence and energy make everyone else look insignificant. Behemoth is a band that triumphs over death and black metal alike. They have, needless to say, lived up to their chosen name. Though the band is quite often labeled as Black Metal, I would say the only thing Black about them is their lyrical content, which yes, is a huge part of a band. But other than that, hints of all genres are alive in their music. Nergal has a very “Death Metal” growl unlike many. The solos have a personality that let you drift away from where you are.
O Father. O Satan. O Sun. The grand entrance is always concluded with a grander exit. Surrounded by the color of blood, the red lights surrounded Behemoth on stage and suddenly they appeared out of the darkness with goat’s horns head dresses adorning their skulls. Beneath the cloaks around their faces, metallic masks shielded their faces from the light.
Hear me, and make all Spirits subject unto Me;
so that every Spirit of the Firmament and of the Ether:
upon the Earth and under the Earth,
on dry land and in the water;
of Whirling Air, and of rushing Fire,
and every Spell and Scourge of God
may be obedient unto Me.
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If you happened to miss the Metal Alliance Tour of 2014, you may want to consider flying to a date ASAP. If you are unable to do that, you need to travel back in time. Facebook statuses cannot accurately describe the weight of this show and the impact it had on thousands. It is April of 2014 and Behemoth’s show outranks any and all metal shows that have happened this year yet. You thought that Between the Buried and Me tour was pretty sick, huh? Think again. Would I go so far as to say it will outrank the upcoming Meshuggah show this Summer? Yes. Yes, I will go that far. Time will tell. But for now, this show ranks on my Top 5 Concerts in my “little metal head life”.