Along with some nasty weather, a sonic tornado rolled through the town of De Kalb, IL on June 7, 2007. The House Cafe, owned and operated by NIU music professor and Chicago music legend Fareed Haque, was the scene for some musical mayhem provided by Tribunal Records in the guise of Killwhitneydead, Woe of Tyrants, and The Demonstration.
Shadow of the Reaper, a local band, kicked off the evening. These guys are long on chops and attitude and I expect to hear more from them as they mature and get wider recognition. Their twin-guitar attack, along with some solid drumming, bode well for the evening.
The Demonstration came on next. Singer Zachary Messick has one of the strongest voices I've heard in some time, I'm here to tell you. I understand Mr. Messick is a fairly new addition to the band. Great guitar playing from Charles Matheny and David Shoaf was undergirded by the crushing rhythm section of Josh Coe on bass and Peter Jackson on drums. Listening to these guys made me wonder what they put in the water in North Carolina, from which they hale. I'm looking forward to hearing more from these guys. Their latest release on Tribunal Records, Words of a Con-Artist is worth picking up.
On a personal note: during their set a pretty large guy planted himself right in the middle of the floor which was filled with kids two-stepping and windmill kicking. This guy got clipped by a hand or fist, a common hazard when one gets in the middle of the pit. He starts pounding on this much smaller kid, an egregious breach of mosh pit etiquette. My oldest son, who had come to the show with me, flies out of nowhere, grabs this big lug around the neck, pulls him away from his target and moves him to the back of the venue. I was pretty proud of my son for standing up to this mosh pit bully. I like to think my wife and I raised him right. It's a shame that this happens frequently at shows. There is always some cretin who is not there for the music or the camaraderie of the pit but just looking for trouble and a fight.
Woe of Tyrants, out of Ohio, came up next and played a blistering set of thrashed up metal. Old school influences were evident but these guys don't live in the past. They have an approach not unlike Lamb of God. Heavy, intelligent music will never fade away as long as there are bands like Woe of Tyrants who combine the best of the old with a fresh attitude and perspective. Look for their latest release, Behold the Lion, out on Tribunal Records.
I have been looking forward to seeing Killwhitneydead ever since I heard their debut, Inhaling the Breath of a Bullet, which is described on the Tribunal web site as "A frantic combination of grind-core, death metal and Slayer influenced dance floor hardcore (Kerry King solos included), which is then overlapped and intertwined with layers of samples, killwhitneydead pound out eleven tracks in just less than 15 minutes. To say that killwhitneydead push the boundaries is an understatement; they are prepared to annihilate everything and everyone standing in their way. Killwhitneydead have arrived so let the mayhem begin. Violence never sounded so good!" And I whole-heartedly agree.
Killwhitneydead is actually the studio project of Tribunal's boss, Matt Rudzinski augmented in live perfomance by the able talents of members of The Demonstration. Their set ignited with "If It Ain't Johnny Cash, It Ain't Country" from Inhaling the Breath of a Bullet and it just got sicker as the show continued. They played material from their latest release, Nothing Less Nothing More, which did not disappoint. I remember seeing the Chariot a couple of years ago and they used lots of movie samples in their show but it was distracting and did not enhance the songs. Killwhitneydead's use of samples from films like Full Metal Jacket and American Psycho always fit and never seem like they were tacked on as an afterthought.