Summer Slaughter at Chicago's House of Blues 8/8/2011
Band Photo: Within The Ruins (?)
The House of Blues once again had issues with their guest list coming in too late. And of course that meant that I missed the first three acts and therefore have absolutely nothing to say about Within the Ruins, Fleshgod Apocalypse or As Blood Runs Black. Despite me giving an otherwise positive review to the new Fleshgod Apocalypse album, I had to wait in the front foyer while they played.
Thankfully, I was able to get into the venue by the time that Oceano began playing. Even though I hate ripping on hometown bands, Adam Warren sounded like he was choking on something throughout the entire set. Outside of their vocalist sounding hoarse the entire time, there was nothing remarkable about Oceano. They're yet another generic deathcore band that does nothing to stand out. I seriously can’t tell the difference between them and about twenty other deathcore bands that I've heard.
After Oceano finished playing, I was thankfully treated to Powerglove, a video game music cover band. I'll be the first guy to admit that I'm a complete and utter nerd and I've been a gamer since the Sega Genesis, so I naturally loved this band. And given that there is a TON of video game music that needs a metal remix, I'm hoping to see Powerglove have a long and prosperous career. (They still need to cover Grabbag from Duke Nukem 3D.)
And even for non-gamers out there, Powerglove put on a VERY good show. Between having a contest to bring the band the head of a stuffed animal and tossing blow-up swords into the audience, they were clearly one of the best band's there in terms of sheer theatricality. I'm really looking forward to seeing this band do a longer set in the future.
Next up was Dying Fetus. As much as I like the band their stage show is incredibly boring. It mostly consists of John Gallagher and Sean Beasely standing perfectly still while playing their instruments and trading lines. It honestly reminded me of a puppet show. Also, any band that makes use of guitar solos needs a rhythm guitarist since the band sounded horrible during solos. I was horribly underwhelmed by Dying Detus and I think that I'll just stick to their albums since their live show is profoundly boring.
I missed most of Six Feet Under's set due to interviewing Tommaso of Fleshgod Apocalypse but I caught the band's last song which was from Chris Barnes' old Cannibal Corpse days finally proving to me that yes, Six Feet Under does indeed want to be a cover band. Six Feet Under might be aware that everything that the band has come up with for their past three or four albums of original music absolutely sucks and they keep recording (poorly done) covers of other band's songs to compensate.
And of course the last three acts were bands that I’d already seen before. This was my third time seeing Darkest Hour. They still remain the band that I’d show people if they wanted to know what metalcore sounds like. That said, Darkest Hour is far from the definitive metalcore band, just the most generic without being crap. I've always liked Darkest Hour but I can't say that I love them. Darkest Hour is just kind of there for me. Not horrible but they don’t do much to stand out.
I was actually dreading seeing Whitechapel again. I remember having to sit through them when I saw Protest the Hero and Unearth back in 2008. Three years of touring can really improve a band's stage presence and Whitechapel were actually bearable this time. They still don't need three guitarists and their music was still just a bunch of chugging with some guitar solos thrown in but they weren't so horrible that I'd have to go over by the merch booth this time. They aren't anything I'd listen to on my own but if deathcore is your thing, you can do a LOT worse.
Finally, The Black Dahlia Murder was playing their headline set to remind me why I was even at this tour despite missing Fleshgod Apocalypse. The Black Dahlia Murder is still the best live band in metal even if it was hard to recognize Trever Strnad clean-shaven with a buzzcut. Though I was wearing earplugs which kept me from hearing the distortion due to my hearing not being what it used to be, the band still sounded amazing. The plus side of wearing plugs was knowing that the band was hitting every note perfectly. This is an incredibly tight band and Ryan Knight is an amazing guitarist. The lack of Christ Deformed on the band's set was made up for by being able to hear four new tracks off the band's excellent Ritual album. The fact that this band has been touring for the past eight years means that there’s no reason why you shouldn't have already seen them.
Despite my own jaded tastes, I can't get enough of seeing The Black Dahlia Murder live. Moreover, they've recently brought a man in a gorilla suit out for when they play Statutory Ape. Yeah, it's cheesy, but cheesy in an Iron Maiden way, which was made even better by a stage diver dancing along on the set. Basically, if you haven't seen this band yet, do so. You won't regret it and they certainly made up for the otherwise mediocre bill on this year's Summer Slaughter.
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