I had just closed up a very busy month of July with shows like Charred Walls of The Damned, Soilwork, Fear Factory and last night’s Michael Schenker Show and figured that all were a pretty solid representation of Metal’s elite. Of course I’m not even counting the shows I missed such as the mighty Brits of Iron Maiden, but here we were ready to continue the Metal adventuring and what better way to start than with the annual Summer Slaughter tour. I am not sure when this event first came into being but I did begin documenting it for the Metal Republic when Black Dahlia Murder headlined. It’s usually on one long day but last year had been separated into two days with some bands appearing at one show while others would be scheduled for the next. This year it was back to one lengthy presentation and with this being the case would start very early. The headliner would be a rebuilt Decapitated and their direct support would come via The Faceless and All Shall Perish. The slaughter for 2010 would also feature The Red Chord, Veil Of Maya, Animals As Leaders, Carnifex, and many more. I arrived as early as I could to document the maximum amount of bands and as I walked into the rechristened Irving Plaza discovered that Vital Remains were already on the stage.
Vital Remains: I misunderstood the time of the event start against that of doors and even though I was getting there nice and early it was not quite early enough to properly enjoy the set of Vital Remains. As I entered the venue I had heard that they were already one for a few minutes and by the time I managed to actually get inside their set was finishing. They sounded good but I had seen them a few times before and did not think it an actual issue about missing them. I was sure that they would be back soon enough. Of course I admitted a little bit of a surprise about a band like this being the first up on the roster as they are a little more known and also more popular than some of the others who would be playing. The next band up would be Animals As Leaders.
Animals As Leaders: I only knew their name going in and that they were an instrumental band so that made me rather curious. I have a lot of love for Progressive Metal as long as it doesn’t get too extensive and boring so I was happy to find what these guys were doing to be rather interesting. They are a Prosthetic Records band and their debut album is self-titled. While this is an instrumental group the closest thing to a front man would be the band leader and guitarist Tosin Abasi who showed that he was a very capable player this evening. The core of their songs had to come from the Prosthetic debut and I will have to get my hands on that one for a better observation about their material. It did sound good and a lot of folks found it amusing when the guitarist spoke to the crowd for their final tune by first speaking in clear calm voice only to correct himself and then growl the name of their final number. It’s good to find a sense of humor in these Metal bands from time to time that is for sure. Carnifex was up next.
Carnifex: The band Carnifex was still celebrating the semi-recent release of their third album “Hell Chose Me” which comes care of Victory Records and if you’ve not heard of them before they amount to a Deathcore band and thanks to singer Scott Lewis can be a very intense experience since he is so into the numerous breakdowns that the band delivers. Having missed Vital Remains, it seemed as though the audience was beginning to come to life while Carnifex was on the stage. The crowd was doing their moshing and even the hard core style of dancing that I don’t really like being too close to since I’m holding a camera. The band was tight as a drum and rather solid but like the other acts that preceded them would only play for about 25 to 30 minutes. The Metal menu was moving quickly so far but it was no where near time to relax as there were still seven bands to go and Decrepit Birth was up next.
Decrepit Birth: In my circle of Metal friends I was on the new side to what Decrepit Birth was all about but having caught them in concert a couple of times over the past two years and feeling that I am now officially up to speed. The band is now signed to Nuclear Blast Records, and would be the first band from this company performing tonight (there were three in total). Their latest CD is called “Polarity” and the band is fronted by the unforgettable Bill Robinson who once witnessed in action is hard to forget. His wild mane of dreadlocks and his very emotive movements make him one of the most entertaining of Death Metal’s front men. Tonight Bill would incite the crowd against the security personnel which I didn’t really agree with but what can you do and he also got some serious response when he asked how many women love women in here tonight. Yes, there were a lot of responses to this inquiry and even some from guys who obviously didn’t hear him properly. This band seems to come around a lot so if you see their name listed on a bill, make sure to arrive early enough to enjoy them. Onward the night moved and now it was time for some Cephalic Carnage.
Cephalic Carnage: The Metal barrage continued along as Relapse Records’ own Cephalic Carnage took to the stage. I had not seen them since the Mayhem show and while it was not exactly my cup of tea they were very entertaining to the crowd. Tonight I would enjoy them a little bit more and think that it was because I was finally getting what they were all about. While primarily a Grindcore and Deathgrind band they do incorporate other elements into their Metal and show that they are very capable players. Lead singer Lenzig Leal was really getting into it this evening and even appeared to enjoy a little huff of a doobie if I saw this correctly from my vantage point. I felt that so far in the running that they were the most intense of the players in terms of speed and there was a clear love of Suffocation being displayed by the guys who sent some shout outs to that bands members who were milling about in the audience. While I am not sure if the whole band was there I did see guitarist Hobbs, Marchais and bassist Derek Boyer. It was cool to see such a legendary Death Metal act coming out to support the scene.
Veil of Maya: These guys were also new to me and the first Sumerian Records band on the bill of the total two. Their latest album is called “Id” and I didn’t know all that much about them other than they were a Progressive Death Metal band that had been around since about 2005. I thought their set was pretty good and made some mental notes about looking into them a little bit more after this whole event was done with. The upside to the Summer Slaughter is that it gives you a lot of homework and of course this is also the downside. Coming up next and starting to round out what I felt were cited as the evening’s “heavy hitters” was The Red Chord.
The Red Chord: Let’s review the Metal memory banks for a second, oh yes, the last time I caught The Red Chord was when they were opening up for GWAR and that was a strange bill in my opinion even though every single band on that tour was a Metal Blade Records act. I got a kick out of the set that the band did that night so was a little more receptive to them this evening. They managed to assault the audience with their sonic melodies this evening and as someone had mentioned needed to do so with other bands instruments. I was not clear on why they had done this but the band was totally up to par. Given this was about the fourth time seeing them I had to say that I was enjoying them the most with this appearance when comparing it to what I recalled about the others. It’s no-nonsense Death Metal that shows off some talented chops and lets them be leaders in a relatively large pack. Their most recent album on Metal Blade Records is the 2009 released “Fed Through The Teeth Machine”. If you are a fan of the Grindcore aspect of what they do then you shall like this as there is an even mix if you asked me. Now it was time for All Shall Perish.
All Shall Perish: I was finding it interesting to realize that I had never seen All Shall Perish before even though I have enjoyed their releases and supported a number of tours that should have had the band on them but didn’t. Tonight I would make up for this as the second of the three Nuclear Blast Records bands took to the stage. The crowd was very animated at this point of the night and I was trying my best to take all of this in. The band uses a lot of the same themes that we find in Metalcore, but they struck me as more of a Death Metal band and while there were ample breakdowns there was also a lot of musical flair being demonstrated. The band is fronted by Eddie Hermida who seemed very happy to be on this tour and so high in the running order as well. He would head bang, growl and even offer up the occasional scream during their set which seemed to focus on “Awaken The Dreamers”. They might have also touched upon its predecessor “The Price Of Existence” but I had to say that I was not always noting down the set lists for the groups tonight since the whole affair was moving like a steamroller on an icy road. Either way, they were enjoyable and a band that I felt was deserving of such a space in the list. They entertained and the bodies were a flying as soon as they began.
The Faceless: I’ve seen The Faceless quite a few times and am always impressed with not only their level of play but in how they seem to affect the crowd that assembles in front of them. When the band took to the stage the audience appeared to be at its most volatile and the swirling circle pit got larger and larger while the hardcore dancing all the more intense. I’m not personally a fan of that which I think I already said and feel that it can ruin the show for those who are just there to go wild in one space while watching the band. To me all this moshing around causes you to miss more of the show than you see, but I guess this is my age showing. This Technical Death Metal band hails from Encino, California and is another Sumerian Records artist. They get some great gigs and are on the popular side. One would almost think they are the most popular on the Sumerian label right now based on the attention they are getting. The band is fronted by singer Michael “Machine” Keene” and he really gets you into it with his growls and delivery. They are due for the new album as their last one “Planetary Duality” had been released way back in 2008 which is a long time in Metal years nowadays. Even though the venue was not at capacity there seemed to be no quarter for the fans standing in the sidelines while The Faceless were meting out their own brand of justice and I had to give them some props for that but then the weirdest thing happened…….once the band finished their set, at least half of the audience headed for the door. Yes it was now officially late and it was a Sunday, but there was no school unless you were in Summer classes. Could half of the crowd actually have had no interest in Decapitated? It would appear to be the case. Be that as it may, I was here to see them and thus continued the scribbling of notes.
Decapitated: As the stage was prepared for Decapitated a large banner was hung across the wall that showcased their logo and said the words “from pain to strength” and to my knowledge this is NOT the name of a new album but more a statement about the band at this point in time. Everyone who knows about the band recalls how a terrible accident back in late 2007 took the life of drummer Vitek and left singer Covan unable to perform for the longer duration based on his injuries. After a couple of years hiatus guitarist Vogg would choose to re-assemble the band and take their music into the future with a lineup that would do justice to the fallen and recovering members. After playing guitar with Vader for a tour it was time for Decapitated to get back to business and now the lineup includes Vogg and Rafal Piotrowski on vocals, Kerim "Krimh" Lechner on drums, and Filip "Heinrich" Halucha on bass. When they took to the stage there was still a healthy amount of Metal heads present, but it was purely the Technical Death Metal legions at this point and ones who worshipped at the altar for Decapitated’s teachings. I only saw the legacy Decapitated play twice and loved just how solid Vitek was as a drummer and had to say that Lechner was doing a fine job of the fallen skin basher’s work. Vogg himself was a flurry of motion with his hair spinning wildly as he shredded his guitar and their newest vocalist Rafal was as imposing as he was intense. He seemed to be a giant of a dude from where I stood and his gaze was one that showed you he meant business. I could tell that he was not trying to be a vocal clone of Covan or even Sauron for that matter and was instead doing these songs with his own voice and this was a good thing since his will be the voice that people hear for a very long time.
During the early part of the bands set they were joined by someone else who helped out with the singing. I did not catch his name at all nor did I recognize him. I did find it strange for the band to do this since they were essentially headlining but oh well who am I to direct how a band handles their set. Rafal spoke to the crowd a few times and while there were chants for Vogg there were of course the expected chants of Vitek which had to make the guitarist feel good as the memory of his brother still beats strong in the Metal heart. I gave Vogg credit for doing this all so well as it could not have been easy to choose to continue the process and then make it all work out. The whole show was done and over at about midnight and out into the hot Summer night air we went. Closing up I would have to say that this was a good time for those who braved the entire length of the show as they clearly got their money’s worth. Those who arrived late or left early did not if you want my opinion on it. Granted this is a long show to deal with but one that does let you choose from a wide selection of Metal’s new underground legends and those who are on the way up. I wonder who will be a part of this next year. There would be a slight break in my schedule as far as shows were concerned but next week it would pick up as three Hard Rock acts would be hitting B.B. King’s with the Y&T, Lillian Axe and Night Ranger shows. I would have my hands full next week that’s for sure.
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Official Web Site: www.decapitated.pl
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/thefaceless
Official Web Site: www.allshallperish.com
Official Web Site: www.theredchord.com
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/cephaliccarnage
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/veilofmaya
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/decrepitbirth
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/carnifexmetal
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/animalsasleaders
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/vitalremains
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