Nashville-based Intruder Is "Still Psycho" For 20th Anniversary Show
Working hard in the underground from 1987-1992, Nashville-based old school thrash metal band Intruder was given the cult status of tightest thrash band in that underground. For reasons unknown, they were dropped from Metal Blade records while beginning to enter the charts from the release of their third full-length album, "Psycho Savant," just as everyone was getting a whiff of the '90s. The band ended up breaking up and reforming in 2002 for various festivals, such as the Keep It True and Headbangers Open Air festivals in Germany and the Classic Metal Fest in Ohio.
Fast forward to nine years later, back where they started in Nashville, TN: Saturday, November 12th, 2011. Intruder reunited for the 20th anniversary celebration of "Psycho Savant," with DownSlave as the opening band. Of course I don't remember any of the Intruder early days that I just recounted to you all, because I was only four years old when they had disbanded in 1992, but I did my research on their history before coming to the show and was completely blown away.
In this day and age, with Metallica seemingly lobotomized, leaving Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer as just a "Big Three," I think the world needs an old school thrash band to step up and take the fourth set of reigns. As a student of the old school, but not having been there during their major days, I won't claim to know how Intruder was in their "prime." However, I'm more than capable of accurately judging a band by how they sound right in front of me. On this night, I was almost ready to substitute Intruder for Metallica in my "Big Four."
There was a cold snap this evening in Nashville, which made for the perfect weather for zombies. Metaphorically speaking, Intruder was about to rise from the ground like one such undead beast, hungry and out for blood. The venue, "The Rutledge," was going to host this show, known for their professional live sound and lighting setup. When I arrived just after nine o'clock, the bar was full and people were slowly making their way in. After a short time, Knoxville-based DownSlave got up to the stage and prepped themselves.
This was my first time seeing DownSlave, and they immediately struck me as a half-breed of sludgy southern metal and ass-kicking thrash. Their vocalist, Brad Parker, was given an extra "oomph" for the night by the sound engineer with a nice dose of quick 80s slapback echo. His vocal styles are a dead ringer for Phil Anselmo's "Vulgar Display of Power"-era styles. Guitarists Scott Kirkland and Dalton Cochran exchanged guitar solos throughout the songs, deftly getting the crowd warmed up. The drums and bass were pretty tight as well, although overshadowed by the excellent flying-V-up-on-my-knee guitar solo poses that were rocked on the monitors up-front.
The band was a great choice to open for a fellow thrash band, and it was a real shame there weren't more people down up front for them. The Rutledge is more suited to having people sit up on its raised and tabled back area behind the sound booth, to which the audience mostly took to. DownSlave finished to a nice applause and vacated the stage for the main event.
Intruder took the stage around 10:30, opening up with "The Martyr." Vocalist Jimmy Hamilton screamed "LOCK THE DOORS!" and the band launched their assault. Guitarist Greg Messick was a demon, flailing his hair and getting up to the mic occasionally to join in a group shout, which Intruder does well. New bassist Jeff Staggs was quite well-prepared and contributed nicely to the sound. Drummer John Pieroni barely let up to breathe, even managing a drum set that was partially falling in on him through one of the songs. Guitarist Arthur Vinett was ripping extremely technical solos effortlessly every few minutes. The video below was taken during the opening song of the set:
The band pounded away for over an hour through songs like "Geri's Lament," "Killing Winds," "Invisible," "Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity," and even threw in a fun headbanging rendition of The Monkees' "Not Your Stepping Stone." I was amazed at what I was seeing, because these 40 and 50-something guys were outplaying many of the 20-somethings I know!
The band made a heartfelt dedication to a local metalhead who had passed away recently and was a big Intruder fan, then launched into his favorite song, "Cold-Blooded Killer." They wrapped up their set around midnight. Thankfully, more of the audience had come down to the stage area in the course of the set, making for a better crowd experience. All in all, it was a very promising show. Metal needs an injection of old blood into the system once more, so Intruder should prepare a needle.
A photo album from both bands can be found in the gallery.
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