At least, that’s what they call it. When I walked into Webster Hall around 7:30 PM to a six person fist fight, I remembered that the Summer Slaughter Tour always lived up to its tagline. Give metalheads enough alcohol and eight hours of heavy music and there’s sure to be some aggression. Yep, you read that right. Eight hours. Attending the whole show is pretty much the aural equivalent of running a marathon.
In past years, I’ve managed to survive the marathon. However, I opted for the abridged version this year. Mostly because I’m getting old (24, lol). While I was mildly disappointed that I just missed tech-death masters, Origin, I did make it in time for the three bands at the top of the bill: The Faceless, Dying Fetus, and The Black Dahlia Murder.
It’s been a few years and many lineup changes since I’ve seen the Michael Keene Project, er, The Faceless perform live. While I do love the band, they are notoriously unreliable and have suffered a string of bad luck lately. Unfortunately, the bad luck followed them to Webster Hall. The band started their set almost fifteen minutes late due to unknown technical difficulties. Lead guitarist and clean vocalist, Keene looked frustrated for much of their performance. At one point, his guitar completely cutout during a key solo in their last song.
Technical interruptions aside, The Faceless still put on a solid performance. The new band members, including vocalist Ken Sorceron, all seemed to sync well. The Faceless have some of the most dedicated fans in metal and the crowd didn’t hold the equipment issues against them. The group really hit their stride when they closed out with the mesmerizing three-part “Autotheist Movement” from their most recent album.
It had been even longer since I’ve seen these guys live, and I somehow forgot how insane a Dying Fetus set is. Over-the-top, goofy band name aside, they play some of the most brutal death metal that’s ever been recorded. I feel like some bands’ heaviness doesn’t translate well to a live setting, but Dying Fetus is not one of those bands.
During fan favorite “Your Treachery Will Die With You,” vocalist John Gallagher asked the crowd to “turn this place into a fucking warzone.” They happily obliged. I have not been that scared for my life in quite some time.
The Black Dahlia Murder
Now let’s move onto the real reason I made the hour and a half trek into New York. Way back in 2007, The Black Dahlia Murder put out an album called Nocturnal. To this day, it’s one of my favorite metal records and it proved to be the album that would put them on the proverbial map. When I found out that TBDM would be playing the album in its entirety for Summer Slaughter, I was instantly sold on the show.
It was, hands down, one of the most memorable performances I have seen in some time. Every song was razor sharp and the crowd went absolutely insane for every one of the album’s ten tracks. Leading their attack was Trevor Strnad, who continues to be one of the best frontmen in metal. It’s genuinely refreshing how he always looks like he’s having the time of his life, something that’s too rare in the genre. Even death metal can be fun, right?
Stay metal fam.
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