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The Summer Slaughter Tour At Concord Music Hall - Chicago 8/3/2016

Photo of Cannibal Corpse

Band Photo: Cannibal Corpse (?)

I'll admit that I've been out of the death metal scene for a few years and mostly listening to a lot of already established artists at the expense of new ones. In fact, I haven't been to a Summer Slaughter since 2011. So it was good to see a concert full of artists who I mostly haven't seen yet. Some really impressed me, other didn't. Either way, I wanted to be surprised by hearing artists who I mostly wasn't familiar with.

This year's Summer Slaughter Tour was primarily backed by Sumerian Records (who were also a major backer of Chicago Open Air) as a promotion of Sumerian's upcoming entry into films with American Satan. I'd normally have a problem with the biggest annual heavy metal tour in North America being rendered into a commercial for something completely unrelated but the former bearer of that torch was really just an advertisement for Monster Energy Drink.

I missed the first band since doors opened later than they were supposed to and the line was more than a bit long. If anyone knows who they are, please provide a name and a link in the comments. They didn't even have a merch table and the merch vendors who were present didn't even know their name.

Forces of Nature

The first band who I was able to catch was Forces of Nature. They're a bunch of old bearded guys and a female drummer. I'd never heard of them before but they're from Ohio. They didn't lose me at any point but didn't win me over either. I don't really have a very strong opinion on them since they just seemed mediocre and didn't leave any sort of impression on me.

Enterprise Earth

Enterprise Earth on the other hand, did leave an impression on me and a very positive one at that. They're a really solid deathcore band. They have much better songwriting than most deathcore which is my main gripe with the genre as a whole. They were a late addition to the tour but a great one. More importantly, their solos are absolutely mind-blowing which isn't surprising since the guy playing them is former Rings of Saturn guitarist Joel Omans. This band is seriously going places despite only having one album under their belt and being on a no-name record label. The only downside is that their vocalist needs to lose the scene haircut. It's way too 2008 and scenecuts have always been ugly to look at.

Ingested

Ingested was next. I had a chance to talk to some of the other people in line near me before the doors opened and apparently the hot new genre now is slam death. I've never been a huge slam fan although that might have everything to do with my first exposure to slam being Waking the Cadaver. I remember when slam wasn't just a joke but an internet meme so I had some low expectations. Ingested managed to surpass them by a wide margin. They're the first slam band who I've actually enjoyed and that counts for something with me. I not only want to see them again just to hear a longer set but I'm also checking out more slam death stuff and I'll be checking it out with a much more open mind now.

Slaughter To Prevail

Slaughter To Prevail allegedly have some rather sketchy political views so I was a bit wary at first considering that they were a brand new band to me and that was the only thing which I knew about them. Keep in mind that I'm not sure if anyone in the band currently holds those views. Frontman Alex Shikolay has inked over his questionable black sun tattoo and he is on a tour with both Empire Earth and Suffocation who both have African-American members. I also haven't heard any rumors about his behavior on tour like I've heard about Malevolent Creation or Winterfyllth and so far Shikolay hasn't said anything as abhorrent as For Today have.

For what it's worth, Alex Shikolay did take a photo with the mixed-race and heavily female crowd as a souvenir and the past Slaughter to Prevail tour had an anti-Farage shirt. He also did address the issue head-on on Facebook. My guess is that Alex has changed his views over the past few years but I'm always going to be on the lookout for any controversy coming from the band. I'd suggest still giving them the benefit of the doubt if you have unresolved questions but keep them on a short leash.

Now that the elephant in the room has been addressed, I did like the music. For such a new band, Alex really comes across as confident on stage. I dig the demon mask and guitarist Yaroslav Antonenko is capable of pulling off some sick solos. It's a shame that Alex puts the mask away after a few songs since metal needs more bands like Slipknot and Portal who wear elaborate costumes on stage. Their bassist on the other hand was boring to watch and just stood still the entire time like he was some sort of statue. Overall I liked them despite me wanting to find a reason to dislike them over their aforementioned rumored authoritarian leanings. They have my approval... for now.


Krisiun

I'd heard of Krisiun before but I never took the time to listen. All that I knew was the name. I'm glad that I took the time to actually hear them since these three Brazilian siblings have some serious chops. Their guitar riffs are both catchy and technical and above all, really, really fast. For a band who do as much shredding as Krisiun do, they still manage to have a stage presence. They were not only the best band on the tour but also one of the best live bands I have seen in my life.


Revocation

I still don't get Revocation. Yeah, they can play their instruments but their songwriting just doesn't click with me. I don't get their appeal and doubt that I ever will but their sound guy did give them a really clear sound which is good if you like them. I just don't. It's something that I can't quite put my finger on but they seem somehow lacking to me. Nobody else really sounds like Revocation but I get the feeling that nobody else sounds like Revocation for a pretty good reason.

Carnifex

Carnifex have a glow in the dark guitar which I think is pretty cool but are otherwise a band who I feel lack much in the way of originality. I honestly can't tell the difference between a Carnifex song and one by As Blood Runs Black. I openly dislike most deathcore so I'll admit that I'm biased and deathcore bands have to fight an uphill battle with me. Their vocalist also looked too much like he was playing in a black metal band to be playing deathcore. The strange part is that I picked up next to no black metal influences in their music. It's just pure old-school deathcore. Granted, there are plenty of deathcore bands from the mid 2000s who have changed their sound enough to get regular listens from me like Job for a Cowboy and Whitechapel. The problem is that Carnifex don't do anything interesting with deathcore and have been around for quite some time so they have no excuse.


Suffocation

Suffocation are stuck in the same position as Slayer where many of the members most associated with the band are no longer part of it. Without Guy Marchias, Mike Smith or Frank Mullen, they're a de facto new band who are still playing Suffocation songs. But they sound sick live which is the important part even if they're now Terrence Hobbes and the Suffocations. New guitarist Charlie Errigo is boring to watch live, presumably because Suffocation songs are some of the most demanding pieces of music known to man. Ricky Meyers can't match Mullen's stage presence either. They could both pull off Suffocation songs but much of what made Suffocation so fun to watch is now gone. New drummer Eric Morotti is also competent but has a man bun. Man buns going mainstream have made samurai less badass for everyone. Morotti also has no real track record like Mike Smith or Kevin Talley both have but he sounded decent to me. Suffocation should change their name when they record their next album in the same way that Kyuss without Josh Homme became Vista Chino.

After The Burial

After the Burial are a band who I never bothered to listen to due to the deathcore label and I feel like shoving a cinder block into my face over it. I was expecting something like Suicide Silence and instead got something that's more like The Red Chord meets Meshuggah with some death and roll elements. While not as good as Krisiun, they were an extremely close second for me.

If you like catchy yet technical riffing, face-melting solos and an incredible stage show, watch After The Burial. The entire band exudes a type of controlled energy and Anthony Notarmaso has great control of the audience. It sucks that they didn't get the chance to hire a replacement after one of their guitarists died but I honestly couldn't tell the difference since the band was new to me at the time. I really want to see them again just so I can see them headline.

Nile

Nile mostly played lot of old songs but that's hardly a bad thing since they weren't headlining. Dallas Toller-Wade was wearing a shirt for the new Doom game which I thought was pretty cool. I thought Karl was the only gamer in the band. “Kafir” was played which takes a lot of balls to do after a jihadist blew himself up at a German music festival earlier this year. Just the sheer audacity to go there gets props from me. George Kolias is always the best part of Nile since he's like a faster Neil Pert. At one point he was able to toss his drum stick up in the air, catch it and still kept playing. I took a view from the second floor balcony just to see how he handles both bass drums. He moves his legs so fast that it doesn't even look like he's making fluid motions and can even blast beat using one leg. He also manages to look strangely bemused when playing, like his drumming isn't even taxing him in the least. His kit also has more types of cymbals than he knows what to do with. I'm convinced that he's somehow a type of cyborg. There's no way that he's human or even organic. So yes, I did like seeing Nile again even if it was mostly songs that I've already heard live because they're a band who truly know how to put on a good show.

Cannibal Corpse

I mostly came to Summer Slaughter to see Cannibal Corpse since I keep missing all the tours that they appear on. George Fisher sounded hoarse on stage and looked a bit gaunt so I'm guessing he was sick with something. He did fix his voice after a few songs and even acknowledged it on stage by saying something along the lines of, “that's more like it.” It just sucked that “Death Walking Terror” was so early on their setlist.

I give Cannibal Corpse a ton of respect for coming out and playing in that state since most bands would have canceled. Cannibal Corpse still chose to play regardless of health (unlike Asking Alexandria) and even when they aren't feeling their best, they still give it their all unlike some other bands who'd just compensate by getting high and giving a sloppy performance (namely Marilyn Manson). If anything this just makes me want to see Cannibal Corpse again since I know that they'll still hit the stage and play to the best of their ability regardless of what happens to them on tour. It doesn't hurt that they're one of those bands who've written far too many classic songs to possibly play all of them in a single show.

I actually enjoyed Summer Slaughter better than Chicago Open Air. Partially since there weren't any radio rock acts at a metal show but also because it was a very strong lineup. There were a number of artists who I either overlooked or never heard before who won me over through a strong stage show. Considering that Summer Slaughter is the only major summer metal tour right now, I'm hoping that it continues to grow and possibly hits some bigger venues with some bigger bands next year. Maybe not to the level of what Ozzfest or Mayhem Fest were but with a bigger headliner who can play in some larger clubs. If Summer Slaughter still hasn't come to your hometown, I'd suggest taking the day off work since it's a solid lineup.

Dasher10's avatar

Matt is a freelance writer living in Chicago, Illinois and a metalhead since 1999.

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1 Comment on "The Summer Slaughter Tour At Concord Music Hall"

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1. Forces of nature writes:

Thanks for the write up .. Sorry we didn't resonate with you on this tour , and I'm very happy all in all you had a great time .. Everyone in Chicago was awesome to us .. And the metal heads raged all night long .. Thank you Chicago , we will return .. Hopfully you can catch us next time and maybe we can reach you a little better ., hailz

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