"Slaughter" of the soul (Summer Slaughter review)


9 juin 2007, 22h52m

Mon 4 Jun – The Summer Slaughter Tour

First and foremost, this is pretty lengthy. If you want me to sum it up in a shoutbox message, let me know.

After a 5 and a half hour drive, one screwed up hotel booking incident, and getting lost twice trying to find a warehouse that was turned into a "club," I finally made it to Spartanburg, SC to catch the tour that was dubbed "the most extreme tour of the year": the Summer Slaughter tour. Upon arrival, there were two things I noticed: there was no real parking lot, and that there were no announcements of Necrophagist not being able to make the show (though it had been confirmed through various sources such as blabbermouth and smnnews). The venue made no effort to even tell people at any time that the headliners wouldn't be at the show. The only time we heard about it was from Travis Ryan of CD during their performance.

Oh wait! There has to be an actual review of the show. My bad. Well, on to said review then. I'll review each band by the order they went on.

The only bands I were not able to fully catch were the various second stage bands (such as By The Sins Fell Angels and Bull Durham) but judging by the snippets of them I DID see, I didn't miss anything.

From Graves of Valor started things off on the main stage. I've seen them at least 3 or 4 times before, and they contain, to my knowledge, at least 3 ex-members of Through the Eyes of the Dead. You figured they'd try to do something a little different from their old band, but in the (not so) good old fashion of Norma Jean and the Chariot, they sounded nearly identical to their old band. That being said, they were still a fairly fun band to watch and I can give kudos to their drummer having some good chops. 6/10

The last time I saw Daath, they were supporting Goatwhore and Cattle Decapitation. At said show, I thought they came across as nothing more than a heavier Chimaira (ironic considering they have Kevin Talley drumming for them). The band seems to have improved all their skills, and their singer had a pretty solid "growl" going for him. The definite highlight of their set was their death metal medley, in which they covered brief parts of Praise The Lord and Hammer Smashed Face and pulled it off flawlessly. Their original material was also pretty solid, still having a bit of a Chimaira and Hypocrisy vibe (albeit less obnoxious). 8/10

Tech-death-core Canadians Beneath the Massacre were up next. I was familiar with their full length Mechanics of Dysfunction and its undeniable heaviness and talent. Any hopes I had of completely liking the band were crushed after witnessing them live. The jackhammer drums, while punishing on record, couldn't be duplicated at all live. The vocals and guitar made them seem like a poor man's Suffocation and their "breakdowns" seemed to very forced. A complete and utter disappointment. 4/10

And now on to Arsis. The main band I came to see were about to take the stage, though I was still perplexed as to why they were playing so early on a tour when they had directly played under Necro themselves before and had even taken out other bands on this bill as support. Those minor complains aside, Arsis managed to deliver a near-flawless performance. I only say near because of all the moshing nearly ruining photo opportunities. The addition of a new touring bassist (Noah Martin, formerly of Lilitu/Blood Promise) and singer (James Malone still hasn't fully recovered his voice from a few tours ago) gives them a much needed boost in stage presence and energy. It also gives Malone and new touring guitarist Ryan Knight (formerly of The Knife Trade more time to show off their talents on the six string. By the time they closed with Maddening Disdain, they had won the crowd over and had ignited what was undoubtedly one of the nastiest mosh pits of the day. 9/10

Understandably, it would hard to follow up such a show-stealing performance, but Ion Dissonance sure tried. Well, at least the actual band did. I almost forgot that since releasing the pretty unique Solace, this band had acquired a new frontman. Unfortunately, his vocals weren't nearly up to par with that or their old singer (and neither was his stage presence) and it took away from quite a bit of the performance. Choosing to focus on their more breakdown-friendly new songs rather than their "Dillinger on crack" mathcore songs, you could tell they left a lot of older or casual fans rather disappointed. I do have to admit though, that I couldn't help but scream along into the mic for the end chant of Play Dead...And I'll Play Along. 5/10

The only band on this bill who I was truly not a fan of was As Blood Runs Black and lo and behold, they were up next. ABRB remind me of why I've become so distant from metalcore, and why I despise nearly the entire "deathcore" genre. Predictable breakdowns and song structures, a vocalist who seems to have learned all his techniques from new school "brutal" acts such as Job for a Cowboy and Despised Icon with a drummer who's honestly too good to be wasting his time with a bunch of half-wits like these guys. 2/10, and that two is only for "Bring the Ruckus" reference they used in one of their songs.

The Faceless has been getting quite a bit of hype from several different cliques and scenes of sorts, and its easy to see why. They're young, talented, have many things in common with the headliner with this tour (in terms of sound at least), and possess a good attitude to boot. But unfortunately what they LACK is soul, and, I hate to use this word, OOMPH. That certain thing that makes every note of their music actually memorable. That thing that makes them stand apart from the rest of the "tech death" crowd. What good is talent if you can't do anything but wank off your guitar or do nothing but obnoxious blast beats? 4/10

My second most anticipated band of the evening was up next in the form of Cattle Decapitation. If you ever want to imagine what the image of pure insanity may look like, well, go see The Dillinger Escape Plan or Converge. But, if you want very hyper and entertaining goregrind, CD is the band for you to see live. Travis Ryan may have used up an entire case of water for their 40+ minutes just alone, and could have possibly the most inhuman voice ever created. The man spent most of his set sounding like a mixture of various dying organisms, while his bandmates laid out some truly impressive chops and "licks." This first fight of the night also occurred during their set, with a local Spartanburg "crust" kid attempting to start a fight with a random individual, but unknowingly to him, said individual was a venue security guard. My only regret is that due to time restraint, they couldn't play their brilliant opus The Decapitation of Cattle. :D 8/10

Psycho-grind-jazzers Cephalic Carnage were the second to last band of the evening (Decapitated were chosen to close the tour until Necrophagist could get into the country) and were given a rather nice amount of time to do their one and only "thing." The band was rather animated and lively, and seemed to be in good spirits too. Playing a good mix of older material(Lucid Interval and Observer to the Obliteration of Planet Earth were nice treats) and newer tracks from their just released Relapse release Xenosapien, they tore through their 45-50 minute set with determination and anger. The band even invited fans to hang with them after the show, so that they could smoke weed and get drunk. 7/10

I had seen Poland's Decapitated last October in my town of Wilmington (it was also my first show as a 21 year old) and they delivered a rather headsnapping performance the last time. The pressure seemed to be on them to make up for the headliner's cancellation and they sure as hell did their best. Though they didn't seem to be as animated as one would think, it didn't seem to bother the rabid death metal fans who came out in a (surprisingly) good number to see them. A good mixture of material from past and present were thrown into the set, such as the fantastic Mother War, but nothing really picked up steam quite like the closer Spheres of Madness. The floor turned into a bloodbath, with a mixture of death metal push moshers and dancers leftover from the ABRB and Faceless sets, seemingly battling to see who would overtake one another. An admirable job gentlemen. 7/10

At the end of the night, I decided to head back to my hotel to get some much deserved rest instead of stay and chat with various band members like I usually do. I think I've had my fill of "extreme" music for a few weeks. Time to go and listen to some Coldplay and PJ Harvey.


  • the O factor

    some guy came up to me at the Houston show thinking I was the As Blood Runs Black guitarist with a sharpie in hand looking for an autograph. wtf

    13 juin 2007, 4h51m
  • therothstanator

    I just wanted to say that I enjoyed this review. I am glad that Arsis is getting rid of that Mike Parks dude though.

    17 sept. 2007, 22h19m
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