The Metal Files

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Archive for the ‘thrash metal’ Category

Sepultura, Destruction, Arsis, Starkill & Headcrusher Concert Review, Austin, TX, June 10, 2015

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posteruseEarly shows on weeknights.  I love ’em.  Last night’s show was done by 10:30 and that was sweet.

To be honest, I was most excited about last night’s show to see Arsis again.  They’re one of my favorites.

Prior to the show I got to meet Sepultura who were really cool.  Got Paolo and Andreas in The Book.  I’ve got no problem saying that if Beneath the Remains was the only album that they ever recorded, they could have been my favorite thrash band ever.   But…

Headcrusher was the local support (originally from Bogota, Colombia) for the show and they played a tight energetic set on a hot stage going on right around 5:25.  They crushed it to an unfortunately small crowd.  Always a pleasure seeing them, even if I’m not the biggest death metal fan.

Chicago’s melodic death metal band, Starkill, was up next and to be honest, I couldn’t care.  I had listened to a few tracks earlier in the day and they just didn’t catch my ear.  They were pretty sloppy, too.  Maybe the heat was too much.  Don’t know.  Can’t care.

Arsis came on next and did what they do best…SHRED.  They played an intense 7 song set opening with Handbook for the Recently Deceased from their latest album, Unwelcome.  Not only do I like their riffs, I really dig the lyrics.  Malone writes some pretty cool stuff that goes outside of the “hey look, we love satan” type lyrics in a lot of death metal.  Great show, but always too short for my tastes.

Destruction came on next and hit the growing crowd right in the face with Curse the Gods.  They were tight but I could tell they were dying from the heat up there.  I missed the middle part of their set as I went to the bar next door to sit down for a few minutes.  My foot has been bothering me lately as well as my back (getting old!) and I needed a place to sit down for a little bit as Empire Garage doesn’t have seats anywhere.  When I came back I caught The Butcher Strikes Back and Bestial Invasion.  Shortly after their set, their tour manager invited me and 2 other guys onto their bus to hang out.  Schmier and  Mike were very welcoming guys.  Schmier had made a comment from the stage about the Germany/USA soccer match from earlier in the day and I commiserated with him about it.  We then got into a great discussion about Thin Lizzy.  Mike is a huge fan.  Good dudes.  They also signed The Book!  Seriously two of the nicest guys, along with their drummer, that I have ever met.

When I left the bus, Sepultura was already on stage.  The crowd had filled in quite a bit.  They sounded super tight, but I just couldn’t invest much time into them last night.  They weren’t playing anything that I really cared to hear, so I went home.

Arsis!  :)

Militia Concert Review, Austin, TX 8/3/2013

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Militia is back!  If you weren’t at Multiply Infest (the former Antone’s) last night, you missed a speed metal/thrasher’s dream show.   The Texas metal legends played their first show in about 4 years to a crowd of 100 or so metalheads.

Militia released Strength and Honor last year and I think it was a killer release.  The band had suffered a slight personnel change with Phil Achee’s departure.  Mike Soliz handled drum duties on the album and did a fine job.  For last night and hopefully on a permanent basis, Mike Botello is handling drum duties.  Botello and Soliz have some quality Texas metal history as they were both in Assalant together.

When I last saw Militia, 2009, they were great and I expected last night to be the same.  To be honest, they were better.  This was my favorite of the 4 shows I’ve seen since 2008.  Mike’s vocals were stellar.  He recently turned 50 and I am amazed that he can still hit those insane high notes.  The whole band was tight and Botello’s drumming was a perfect fit.   Tony and Jesse’s guitar work and Robert’s bass work was as badass as it has ever been.  I really enjoy watching him play.

Militia mixed the setlist up with 7 classic songs and 7 from Strength and Honor.  They were solid and the crowd was totally into it.  It was great seeing some other Texas metal legends from Devastation and Solitude Aeturnus come to town to see the show.

I’m looking forward to more shows from them.  Long live classic Texas metal, I only wish I would have been here in the 80s to have experienced it first hand.

And make no mistake about it, no matter how many great metal bands there are in Texas these days, Militia is ruling the roost once again.

Written by The Metal Files

August 4, 2013 at 10:19 am

Power Trip – Manifest Decimation (2013) Album Review

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ptripHaving seen Power Trip several times since FUNFUNFUN fest 2010, I had always wanted a full length album from them.  Thanks to Southern Lord Records, I got my wish.

Power Trip take me back to quality mid-to-late 80s thrash…Nuclear Assault, Devastation, a little Slayer…and thankfully, I don’t hear any Pantera (Panterrible) influence.  A lot of folks mention the DRI crossover punk/hardcore thing, but I never really listened to any of that so I cannot say for sure.  I may hear a little Cro Mags, though.  And I do like the Cro Mags.  This young band from Dallas does it right.  It’s high quality thrash and unlike many of the screamo shit mall hot topic metal bands out there today, these guys play guitar solos.  You heard me.  GUITAR SOLOS!  Good ones, too.

I bought this CD (yes, a CD) last week and have spun it at least 10 times now.  I absolutely love it.  If you’re into classic thrash, I highly recommend this band.  There are a lot of newer retro thrash bands out there, but I think Power Trip is a cut above them all.

While I like Riley’s singing style, I think they could have been produced a little better.  They are washed in the mix too much for my tastes.  But it’s not much of a detraction from the overall vibe and sound of this album.  I also don’t think there are any songs worth skipping on here.  It works perfectly beginning to end.  The album runs through quickly and can easily be played through twice.

9/10 – Enjoy!

Testament, Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam & 4arm Concert Review, Austin TX, 2/5/2013

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Not too long ago it was announced that Testament, Overkill, Flotsam and Jetsam, and 4arm were coming to Emo’s. What a lineup! I bought a ticket as soon as they went on sale.

Let’s just get right into this. You’ve seen me talk about The Book several times and my outer metal nerd was in full effect yesterday. I left work and went straight to the venue to do some hanging around trying to catch up with Bobby and DD from Overkill and the Flotsam guys.

There was a guy and his son hanging out as well who had made a nice huge canvas screen print of a current Overkill photo with their logo on it. When those guys rolled up, they signed it cheerfully. I had Bobby and DD sign the book and got the usual question of, “What the hell is this?” Right after Overkill headed to their hotel, Gene Hoglan came out of the venue and I spoke with him for a little bit. Ten years ago I gave him a ride from his Strapping Young Lad show to go see Nuclear Assault at another venue. We laughed about shoving his huge frame into my little Saturn wagon.

A few minutes later I saw a friend of mine who works at the venue and he went ahead and walked me in with him before they started letting people in. Testament was doing their paid meet and greet on the patio and I was standing at the merch booth when Eric AK from Flotsam walked up. I shook his hand, talked to him about my F&J history of seeing them in Virginia. He remembered both venues saying something to the effect of, “The Peppermint Beach Club? Cool place on the beach? Loved playing there. But the Boathouse was a dump.” Mustaine said the same thing about the Boathouse when I met him in ’06. I loved that place (RIP), but whatever. Mike Gilbert came up as we were snapping a picture and photo-bombed it. I then had both guys sign the book and again a “WTH?” reaction. Eric said, “Come find us after the show, we’ll get Kelly and Ed to check this book out.”  Sweet!

The doors open up and a small crowd shuffles in. Australia’s 4arm was the opener at 645PM. I had just listened to a few of their songs earlier and while not overly impressed, I didn’t think it was awful…other than their name. They had a 30 minute set of standard thrash and were solid. I heard a little Slayer meets Bay Area Thrash in their sound. They were solid enough, but nothing groundbreaking.

Up next came Flotsam and Jetsam. They sounded great and to be honest were the band I was most excited about seeing. The last time was 1992 opening for Mercyful Fate. They were only given 35 minutes for a set and just came on and killed it. They sounded great in general, minus some sound issues from Ed Carlson’s amp…snap crackle and pop were all in attendance. Haha. They played Hammerhead and Escape from Within and 3 others. They were super solid, though. Kelly’s drumming was still as spot on as it was 20 years ago. I stood about 3 people from the barricade with a huge smile on my face the whole time they were on.  Just great.  Eric’s vocals started a little rough in the first song, but by song #2, he was in full AK mode sounding great and powerful.  I’m ready to see them again ASAP and hopefully with a longer set.  Eric told me after the show that they’d definitely add Der Fuhrer and She Took An Axe when they tour on their own.  I almost squealed like a little girl.

Overkill was up next and to be honest I wasn’t enthused about it. I absolutely love Feel the Fire and Taking Over and a few tracks each from Under the Influence and Years of Decay, but without Rat Skates’ insane drumming and Bobby Gustafson’s uniquely styled riffs, they lost a lot. That this man’s opinion. Overkill hit the stage and I got what I expected, a cross section of their long career. They did Rotten to the Core and Wrecking Crew and while I love those songs, they just didn’t feel right last night. Way too fast and a tad sloppy. Almost like ‘let’s just get through these as fast as we can’. I’m such a curmudgeon. They also played Elimination and Fuck You, but I only heard them from outside the venue and my friend Carlos who was getting ready to interview Flotsam called me to their bus to get Ed and Kelly to sign the book. Score! I’d missed Overkill the last 2 times they were here and I had heard that they were both good shows and that they had even played Deny the Cross(!!!). But not last night. Oh well.

Last night was my 7th time seeing Testament since ’87 on The Legacy Tour opening for Anthrax. They’ve never put on a bad show in my opinion and tonight they were on it. I think Chuck Billy’s voice sounded better than it has in years. He used his cleaner voice more than the rough voice he’s done a lot live in recent years. The setlist was a good mix of old and new with all of the usual suspects except for one, and to me it’s a major one…Disciples of the Watch was not played. To me, that is the defining Testament song. I can’t have everything, right? But overall the band was great. The new album is good and a lot better than Formation of Damnation. Gene Hoglan was on the kit again for this tour and the guy is so incredibly awesome that it hurts my soul a little. He’s so fluid in his playing that it makes it look like he’s not even trying. Skolnick’s playing was spot on as always but I always get the feeling that he’d rather be doing his solo jazz thing these days.

Overall it was a great night for $20! I bought a shirt from both Flotsam and Testament, Overkill didn’t have a design that I liked. Saw lots of friends and made some new ones. Flotsam said they’ll be doing a US tour after their new album, Ugly Noise, comes out in April. I hope they can make some Texas dates. Great to see Austin continuing to get some quality metal tours.

I didn’t get any shots of Overkill or Testament as I was playing the “old man” and hung out near the back of the venue.

4ARM

4ARM

More Flots

More Flots

Erik AK says, "Horns up!"

Erik AK says, “Horns up!”

Eric AK and I being photo-bombed by Mike Gilbert

Eric AK and I being photo-bombed by Mike Gilbert

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Sigs from "Blitz" and DD of Overkill in The Book

Sigs from “Blitz” and DD of Overkill in The Book

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Arsis – Lepers Caress Review

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ARSIS-Lepers-Caress-604x604Arsis have returned from a short break and released a new EP entitled Lepers Caress via SCION A/V.  The album returns to a little more of a brutal sound when compared to Starve For The Devil.  Starve received mixed reviews from the Arsis fan base but I thought it was excellent albeit a little more lighthearted than their previous releases.  This album reminds me a little more of 2008’s United in Regret.  This EP is apparently a preview for the upcoming full length release called Unwelcome.

Lepers Caress is killer comes with my highest recommendation, especially if you’re already an Arsis fan.  While the whole thing is killer, Six Coffins Wide, Carve My Cross and Denied are my favorites.

You can download the EP for free from here.

10/10

Written by The Metal Files

December 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Evil United – S/T Album Review

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I’ve been meaning to post my review of this one for months now.  I was given an advanced copy  and have even seen them live 3 or 4 times now, but yet, no review.  So here it is.  Who is Evil United you may ask?  Evil United features some legendary dudes like Jason McMaster (Broken Teeth, Dangerous Toys, ex-Watchtower, Ignitor etc), Don Van Stavern (Riot, SA Slayer, Pitbull Daycare), JohnValenzuela (Pitbull Daycare), TC Connally and Json West (Muderdolls, Sebastian Bach).  Not  a shabby group of folks to get together and make a band, eh?

This album is…well…this album is HEAVY.  Very heavy.   From beginning to end it’s in your face.  McMaster’s vocals go from his shrill to a good tenor backed with power.  I really like it when he’s in his lower registers.    It’s a nice change and he’s got a great clean voice which he has used with Ignitor.

The band is as solid as it gets.  The riffs are tight and the drums are as solid as you would want.  In a live setting this band is especially tight.  Again, the drummer is a badass.  The styles on this album flash from old school thrash and some power metal to some nu-metal sounds with some homage to Pantera.  The production is the one thing that bothers me on this.  It’s a bit too clean and the drums are overtriggered (at least they sound that way to my ears).  But that’s my opinion.  I want all albums to sound like an old Omen record.  haha

Highlight tracks include Walking to Sodom, Dawn of Armageddon, Rise and Fall of Earth and Man, Blasphemer and Hexorcism.

If you need a dose of heavy that’s not of the normal cookie cutter brand, I recommend this album for you.  And thankfully there’s no screamo/growling/cookie monster vocals.  It’s a nice change of pace.

You can stream the whole album on their Reverbnation page.

Thrash!

8/10

Written by The Metal Files

September 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Anthrax and Testament: Together Again!

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Anthrax/Testament/Death Angel coming to Emo’s East October 29, 2011

I first saw these 2 bands together in 1987 at the legendary Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  It still hails as one of the best shows I have ever seen.  Testament opened the show and were on The Legacy Tour while Anthrax was supporting Among the Living.  I remember the crowd being so tight and jam packed that it felt like you could life your feet off of the ground and you’d be held up.  A lot of movement back and forth as well.  It was pretty crazy and both bands were pretty awesome.  Both bands were great.

I’ve seen Testament several times and not once have they ever disappointed.  I think they are the most consistent live band ever.  Let me think about it a moment…how many times I’ve seen Testament: 87, 88, 91, 2000, 2008, 2010…There has to be another in the 90s and I think one more time in the last 5 years.  Anthrax I’ve seen a few times as well:  87, 88, 91, 2005, 2010.  They were good every time I’ve seen them as well.

I’m no Death Angel fan but everyone says seeing them live is pretty sweet.  They are a band that I have tried to like over the years and have even owned their stuff multiple times in hopes of enjoying it.  Minus a couple of tracks (Mistress of Pain and Room with a View), they just don’t do it for me.

Click here to see tour dates.

See you there!

Written by The Metal Files

September 9, 2011 at 11:41 am