While mainstream America hasn’t quite come to grips with extreme music just yet, it’s refreshing to know that people across this great country still have a penchant for the heavy. Metal Blade Records has been delivering the goods for 25 years now, and what better way to celebrate than by gathering up the most brutal bands on your roster and leaving a trail of destruction behind in each city.
Sunday night brought the lunacy to the Rockyard in Fort Worth, Texas. Due to the long drive from my side of town to the venue, I missed Goatwhore and The Absence. From what I was told by some friends in attendance, I missed two very solid sets. I did get there in time to catch one of my current favorites, Revere, MA-based The Red Chord.
With what is described as a mix of death metal and grindcore, The Red Chord immediately began their pummeling set with “Antman,” off their 2005 release Clients. Vocalist Guy Kozowyk commanded the crowd of 600 or so with his ear-deafening growls, while guitarist Mike Keller and Mike McKenzie kept the intricate guitar work coming at full speed. Currently supporting their latest release Pray for Eyes, they went into the title track with fury. Always tight and precise, The Red Chord did not fail at making their 40 minute set feel as if you just ran into a train.
Main supporting act The Black Dahlia Murder came up next and continued the massacre with enough blast beats to appease anyone’s extreme appetite. With their latest release Nocturnal due out on September 18th, the crowd was treated to a few new ones. But it was songs such as “Miasma” and “Flies” off Miasma that got the crowd going. Vocalist Trevor Strnad looked like he rolled out of bed and onto the stage (which may have been the case) and blasted out his mixture of death metal growls and high shrieking vocals with a dash of hardcore yells. Guitarist Brian Eschbach and John Kempanien provided a great display of brutal riffs, and drummer Shannon Lucas (formerly of All That Remains), proved that he is more than able to handle the drumming duties, after the departure of Pierre Langlois. Relentless and driving, TBM delivered another memorable performance.
Since forming in 1988, Cannibal Corpse has established themselves as the godfathers of American death metal. With violent and gore-laced album covers and lyrical content, it's no one wonder that Sen. Bob Dole once accused them of violating human decency. The aforementioned crowd of 600+ didn’t want it any other way. Vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher furiously delivered the epitome of the low growl, and guitarists Rob Barrett and Pat O’Brien seared through precise and anger-fueled guitar work with classics such as “Vomit The Soul,” off their 2002 Butchered at Birth, and “Entrails Ripped From A Virgin’s C***,” from Tomb of the Mutilated. In the end, the crowd was exhausted but content as Cannibal Corpse provided a clinic in what extreme music should be.