Macabre & Withered In San Antonio, Texas
After leaving a trail of dead bodies across North America with Exhumed, Cephalic Carnage, and Withered, the minstrels of murder — Macabre came to San Antonio as the headline act. While Exhumed and Cephalic Carnage didn’t follow in their “nefarious” footsteps, Withered stayed in tow, leaving their native Peach state for a just a few more days.
Without the four-band-touring ensemble, the Korova club (named after the milk bar in “A Clockwork Orange”) overloaded the bill with local talent. All the bands that played were good, but as small clubs so often do, the local bands seemed to snatch a few minutes from the headliner.
The club opened at 7 P.M.—and unheard of early time for a club. The serial killer artwork and memorabilia that lined the walls known as “Sinister Art Exhibition” was sort of given the opening time slot, even though serial killer-obsessed patrons could bring in all the madness anytime throughout the night. Without a band to contend with, the owner of said art pieces became the featured act.
In some circles, San Antonio wears the title “Metal Capital of the World.” This distinction rings true, in part, when observing Korova’s location next to another metal club, Bonds 007. Of course, the droves of metal heads that come to shows, especially death metal shows, may have something to do with that dubbing. San Antone’s famous river walk sits on the other side of the Korova, which offers outdoor recreation to kill time before your favorite band hits the stage.
Frequenters of live extreme metal should know Withered. Over the past couple of years, the group has never seemed to stop gigging. I saw the them open for Danzig and Watain, so this was the third time I’ve seen Withered in the past year. With each performance, I gain more and more respect for this band.
Withered plays an eclectic mix of death, black and doom metal that keeps their music dynamic. Whether slow or fast, each part is catchy, although sometimes redundant. Even though the group had been in a van for three weeks, they seemed at the top of their game. If Withered opens a bill and you have never heard of them, make sure to check out these guys.
Macabre took its time setting up. The group had technical difficulties due to a PA system and other issues. The same PA caused sound problems throughout the set. While standing at the bar, I couldn’t hear Corporate Death’s intros to each song. The bar could not have been more than 100 feet away. The gruesome details he emitted from his wireless microphone came out as a jumbled mess of half-words. I didn’t have this problem while standing just a few feet from the stage. Of course, at that distance I could hear everything he said without the use of his mic.
Kinko’s doesn’t have enough paper to copy all of today’s death metal bands, so it’s refreshing to see a band like Macabre. Macabre’s mix of thrash, death metal, nursery rhymes and any type of other music that fits each song truly makes them stand out.
Normally associated with pop stars such as Madonna and Lady Gaga, wireless mics are a rare occurrence amongst singers of death metal or metal in general. This instance marks a time when function definitely rules over form. By using a wireless mic, Corporate Death was free to move around on the stage, get the crowd dancing to old-timey rhythms and concentrate on his ripping leads. Additionally, this microphone is part of spectacle that is Macabre—bib overalls, face-pinching gesticulation and diabolic head turns.
Corporate Death offered enough gruesome detail before each song to start a serial killer Wiki page, but that wasn’t enough. The group had to bring these killers to us, of course, in a funny fashion. Someone dressed like an old man, cane and all, wearing an Albert Fish mask accosted the crowd during “Albert was Worst Than any Fish in the Sea.” Later in the set, the same person (I assume) came out in the infamous black robe of the Zodiac killer, shooting cap guns at the crowd.
Macabre treated songs from “Sinister Slaughter,” Macabre’s break out album, as the main attraction. “Night Stalker” elicited one of the night’s most destructive responses from violent pit makers (many came out of the pit with bloodied brows). “Mary Bell” brought out the “Morbid Campfire” soft side of Macabre. The group ended their set with the cadence, “I’m gonna strangle you and I’ll slit your throat too…” leading way to the song that’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys—“Vampire of Dusseldorf.”
Although they opened the set with “Serial Killer,” the group mostly left out material from “Gloom” and “Grim Reality.” Other highlights from their set include “Scrub a Dub Dub” from the “Dahmer” album and “The Iceman” from “Murder Metal. Touring in support of their latest album “Grim Scary Tales,” Macabre played stand outs suck as the Italian-opera themed “Nero’s Inferno” and the nursery rhyme about a real werewolf “Big Bad Wolf.”
Combining humor, ghastly details of murders and bulldozing power, Macabre put on the most animated and entertaining set that I’ve seen. The poor lighting (blinding lasers), bad sound and sloppy playing—I attribute this to van fatigue—did not ruin the sanguinary fun that is Macabre.
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