The innovators of Deathcore Stayed Sharp While Cannabis Corpse Preferred a Blunt-er Approach
Band Photo: All Shall Perish (?)
The dark, dank halls of Red 7 summoned the youthful masses to see two leading groups of today’s breakdown-heavy metal scene. Speaking of dank, weed grinding death metallers, Cannabis Corpse complimented The Black Dahlia’s core-meets-death sound with a more traditional, Florida death metal offering. Although Red 7 didn’t overcrowd the bill with locals—The Black Dahlia Murder, All Shall Perish and Cannabis Corpse were afforded long set times—a lone local band warmed up the PA system. I didn’t catch this group’s name nor can I “breakdown” their performance. What I can say, though, is their bouncy, burlesque sound proved the ideal style for the night’s lime-lighted acts.
In the case of Red 7’s lighting system, the colored-coded adage listed above denotes strict figurative usage. Fluorescent light bulbs could have been a fitting source of light for Cannabis Corpse and equally illuminated the group. The stoners blazing blunts at the front of the stage meant even lesser light for photography. Those out of range from smelling the sweet leaf might have thought, “Wow, they’re using dry ice! Nice fog effect!” Rolling audio brutality into symmetrically shaped jibs, the Virginia-based band force-fed the crowd a meal of slamming grooves, katana-bladed guitar tones and slick bass solos.
Andy 'Weedgrinder' Horn pushed out screams owing to George Fisher’s vile-natured highs and Chris Barnes indecipherable lows. Instead of utilizing known fill-in words such Tom G. Warrior’s famous “Heeey” or Rob Zombies “Yeaaah,” Weedgrinder threw out quick, fitting phrases such as “get high.” Led by the Hall brothers--Municipal Waste bassist, Phil “Landphil” Hall and drummer Josh 'HallHammer' Hall, the quartet’s frenetic head banging super-charged Mary Jane horror film scenarios songs. “Blazing” through material from such Cannibal Corpse parodied albums as “Tubes of the Resonated” and “Blunted at Birth,” set highlights included “Sentenced to Burn One,” “Dead by Bong” and set closer “Skull Full of Bong Hits.”
Dreadlocked singer Hernan Hermida took a defensive stance early in All Shall Perish’s set. He pleaded to the crowd not to throw their glass-bottled beers on stage. Everyone took his words to heart, keeping the show from falling into bloody chaos. The death metal fans who strictly came to see Cannabis Corpse could have expressed their dislike for the group’s metallic hardcore style, but were probably too stoned to give a shit. The Oakland act’s bouncy breakdowns instigated a concrete moon walk, and noodling, guitar scales invoked a sea of fluidly moving fingers in front of the stage.
After watching All Shall Perish’s set, I could see why their performance moved so many attendees. From melody to brutality, simple, bludgeoning guitar parts to complex, flowing solos—the group conveyed the most popular aspects of the metalcore sound. Even though Hernan Hermida’s emotive, clean vocal parts caused a twitch in my face, some of the realism in their lyrical topics struck home.
While the novelty of deathcore wore out its welcome several years ago, one should respect The Black Dahlia Murder. Sure, deathcore has become trendy, but these guys started the trend. Back in 2003, I watched The Black Dahlia Murder open a Detroit gig. Just a few months shy of signing with Metal Blade, The Black Dahlia found little appeal with the power metal-minded fans that had come out to see Blind Guardian. My friend and I liked their t-shirts and At The Gate’s influence. Tonight’s performance refreshed my mind as to what drew me to the band in their early days.
From lineup changes to stylistic explorations, The Black Dahlia Murder is hardly the band I saw in ’03. Trevor Strnad and Brian Eschbach are the remaining members from those days. Both still exude a fine stage presence, especially Strnad. His bold postures, enlivened hand gestures and crowd interaction help define his dramatic stage flair. Although sped up considerably from the thrash style drumming of Gothenburg bands, Shannon Lucas seemed slow and bouncy compared to the hyper blasters of today’s death metal scene.
Regardless of drumming style and band members, the crowd banged their heads and moved their hands and fingers in quick succession to Black Dahlia’s performance. The Detroit act’s set catered to old and new fans alike. Tracks from the 2007 release “Nocturnal” exemplified the group’s ability to experiment, showing a vampiric black metal influence. Of course, the group had to include a few tracks from their most recent album “Ritual.” Two older highlights included the Donkey Kong Rampaging “Statutory Ape” and personal set favorite “Funeral Thirst.”
All bands took advantage of long sets, but the lack of more openers led to an early exit. After playing a couple more songs to appease the crowd’s insistence for an encore, Black Dahlia left the stage around midnight, an early time for the Austin club scene. The fact the show was on a weekday and the influx of minors may have played a hand in this decision, too. This allowed the bands more time to speak to their fans, another reason The Black Dahlia Murder has built such a large fan base.
Check back in to Metal Underground for a photo gallery of the show and interview with Cannabis Corpse.
Darren Cowan owns and operates Louder Than Hell.net. He has written for several metal publications. An avid metal head for over twenty years, he has attended concerts throughout several regions of the U.S.
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