CHRISTIAN DEATH AT THE NILE UNDERGROUND
5 | 18 | 22
Christian Death Is
Valor – Male lead vocals, guitar
Maitri – Female lead vocals, bass guitar
TOURING-Chuck Lenihan (Chains) – guitar
Pao – Drums
As I was headed to Mesa AZ It was a hot one as the highs hit 102 degrees. I was ready to experience Christian Death at the Nile underground and get away from the heat. My journalist and I got their early to have a sit down with Val before the show.
It was right around 10pm when Christian Death took the stage. They all came out one by one dressed to impress in the finest goth wardrobes. They set the tone with all blue lights and, with this being the Nile Underground, it created an intimate setting. This is death rock at its finest and Christian Death takes no prisoners. The vibe in the air was a beautiful one with Val and Maitri beautifully going back and forth on vocals. These two definitely complement each other. If there was one way to describe a Christian Death show, it’s the entire club in trance just dancing the night away completely consumed by the music and not having a care in the world. Maitri is powerful on the bass and with her operatic singing. It was beautiful, loud, and you didn’t want to take your eyes off of her. Val has his own stage presence that is both dark and beautiful. He reminds me of a dark poem that is so beautiful and dark it will fill your little black heart with joy all while sucking the soul from your body. I was exceptionally excited to watch them perform Blood Moon. This song is one of my favorites from the new album EVIL BECOMES RULE. Catch Christian Death on tour now!
We're not just dark - we're dark and light. So we try to encompass as maly frequencies as it takes to create those emotions, you know, from the darkness to the more uplifting things yol know?"-Val
To speak with Valor Kand of Christian Death is to find yourself submerged. He is a truly unique artist, one who speaks his mind candidly about any subject he finds himself discussing. While we spoke, his long fingers gesticulated and his eyes were shadowed behind oversized sunglasses under a mop of dark hair. A natural in front of the microphone both on stage and off, Val is one of a kind. In an interview that ranged from audio engineering to live performance to a discussion of the Book of Enoch, I came to learn that he is a true iconoclast, one who is unwilling to compromise when it comes to his musical explorations in the studio and the stage. -
Speaking a couple of hours before Christian Death took the stage at the Nile Underground, Val was candid about the challenges of translating an album into a live performance. -
“Well, the reality of audio engineering is that in every different environment, you have to deal with a different challenge,” he said. “And the more you can minimize that is the way most people approach it. The frequency responses of the room and standing waves and shit bouncing around the room, hard surfaces, soft surfaces, parallel surfaces - they're all an issue. So we figured the best we could do is start at a place where the album sounds great.”
Val went on to elaborate on the live performance and the challenge of translating this year’s excellent new album, Evil Becomes Rule-
Due to the nature of the Christian Death sound, a certain amount of technological assistance is necessary to portray the full vision for a live audience. “We wanted to translate live. We've taken out the guitars, taken out the drums, and taken off the vocals and left all the extraneous other elements in there,” he explained, describing how they play to a backing track of sorts. “And then we placed them in the same frequency field and level that the album is in. And ultimately, the theory is that we will end up with something vaguely close to the album, which is very, sonically full.
”Describing the recording experiences of the band in recent years, Val is candid about his increasing knowledge and the room for growth that he still believes he has. While a considerable amount of his expertise is due to experience, some is derived from time spent studying audio acoustic engineering at North London Polytechnic.
The knowledge gained from this education has given Christian Death new opportunities to sonically explore the world around them. Just listening to him explain the mixing process behind Evil Becomes Rule was an education in itself.
“We've heard it on every system and I mixed it mostly on a boombox first,” he told me. “Because then you're not getting coloring from anything in the room. And of course, you can use headphones. But I've never been a big fan of that. So that's an old school approach that a lot of old pros have used…So what we've done is we've tried to set a platform where we know that our sound, if it sounds good on the record, the songs are at optimum, and we're excited by it.
”Speaking about the changing landscape of recording and the rise in home recording, Val is incredibly candid.
“I mean, people kind of were doing that anyway, because the technology is available to them economically with, you know, software and stuff like that,” he mused. “But there's still a lot to learn. I mean, you know, you can have all the plugins in the world and still make it sound like shit if you haven't got a clue. You need to understand frequency, you need to understand the spectrum. You need to understand how it works and how to place it in a mix. And, I mean, there's some people that are naturals at it…And I have to say, even in the beginning, even after going to tech school and stuff like that, I still was struggling for a long time with completely understanding it in a three dimensional audio sense. You can understand everything from 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz, which is the frequency spectrum for a human being, but it doesn't mean anything if you can't put it together.” Luckily for all of us, Evil Rules All is a stupendous example of when songwriting and recording come together to create a dark and beautiful beast.
When speaking about the album itself, I asked if it was among the ranks of the many “pandemic albums” that bands released after quarantine and lockdown. The answer, surprisingly, was no.
“Well,” Val stated in his typical firm, authoritative voice, “it's important to me that, you know, we get the best story straight is that this album was recorded before the pandemic, okay? I mean, the lyrics were written before the pandemic. All we did is take that time to embellish it. We probably would have had a lower standard of record if we'd have done to rush, get the fucking thing out in May 2020. And in fact, it was only a year later that we were done with the mastering. So it's been a year since the album's actually been finished.
”While the album was recorded before the pandemic, its themes of good versus evil are just as relevant today as they were in 2019 and 2020.
What surprised me, however, was the almost occult background of the story of the album - something that perhaps should have come as no surprise because of Christian Death’s long standing anti-Christian views.
“So this is really a continuation of the concept of evil, which was the last album, which was the root of all evolution going on, and that the beginning of the record was heavily influenced by the Emerald Tablets, which nobody really knows where it comes from.” Here, Val morphed from confident frontman to confident academic, speaking about the Emerald Tablets and the Bible with aplomb. “It was like a tablet that was translated into several different versions, but the general gist of it is it talks about creatures coming from above and then going into either the earth or into the ocean. But eventually, they settled in the base of the Earth, either underwater or in the hollows of the earth. And then they come up randomly, and they would steal people. So they would abduct children and women in particular. And of course, these stories, you know, coincide with biblical stories. And this particular one, one of the books that was left out of the Bible, which is the Book of Enoch. That talks about, you know, the Nephilim, and more detail than the Old Testament does. So the stories of the Nephilim, and all this stuff are actually amazingly found in many cultures around the planet. And it kind of morphs from there. It's about polar opposites - juxtaposition, negative, positive, yin, yang, male, female, dark, light. And so that's right, it's in the middle of the albums, it's smack dab in the middle, because we start on one end, which is very dark. And then we come to a unification point in the middle. So positive and negative throughout the album.”
As we neared the end of the conversation and stood to shake hands, I told Val how impressed I’d been not only with his career output, but with Evil Rules All. To this, he smiled wryly and thanked me.
“We try to at least have a psychological impact on people to come up with conclusions themselves instead of preaching, which is something I have a bad habit of doing.” He paused, laughing ever so slightly, before leaving me with this:
“But if you could come up with something yourself and we just give you subtle or you know, somewhat obvious sometimes, you know, signposts to follow the road. Let everybody take their own path, because together is how we rise and shine. Together, we will stand.”
Review and photos by: Michael Olivas
Interview by: Blake Carrera
ROTTING CHRIST AT THE NILE
5 | 20 | 22
DEVASTATION ON THE NATION TOUR 2022
The Devastation on the Nation tour came through Mesa AZ on Friday night. The line up included Veil of Pnath, Stormruler, Ghost Bath, Abigail Williams, Borknagar, and headliners Rotting Christ.
This was a stacked lineup of black metal, experimental, and pure face-melting music. Every band on this tour came out swinging. Ghost Bath was a band I’ve wanted to see for quite some time and they absolutely impressed so I was glad I was able to catch them. With so many bands on this line up you knew you were in for a late one, as Rotting Christ hit the stage a little before 10:50 and their set lasted a little under an hour. Rotting Christ opened their set with “666.” This was a solid choice and such an epic progression into the gnarly riff that you can’t help but bang your head to. As soon as they went into that riff it felt like I was hit by pure adrenaline and ready to go. They went directly into “P’unchaw Kachun” and the opening drum fill by Themis Tolis was even better live. Next was “Elthe Kyrie” off of Rituals (2016), another song that just absolutely slays with blast beats and disturbing samples. Rotting Christ wasn’t taking their foot off the breaks, slamming away doing their well-known low head banging stance. As they started “Apage Satana” they really pushed the crowd to match their energy on stage, demanding everyone start chanting with the opening of the song. Kostas Spades was crushing his fist on his chest and raising it in the air to get the crowd all chanting. Sakis Tolis was going back and forth from one side of the stage to the other, hanging his guitar over the crowd and having fun with the people recording . If you ever seen Sakis live you know his stage presence has no parallel. He’s always been a solid front man commanding the stage. His vocals are still at the top of the game with that signature Greek black metal sound. Up next was “Dies Irae” which is another favorite of mine and I had to stop taking photos of the show to head bang to this one. Kostis Foukarakis was an absolute man on guitar with that stance where his legs are spread and headbanging violently. It was impressive. Up next was “King of the Stellar War,” which is a slower banger and once again the crowd was chanting and raising their first to the down beat. For any old school Rotting Christ fan the next song was a total treat as they played “Figment” off They Might Contract. This was an impressive set list ranging from newer to older and an all around great set. If you are a true fan of Rotting Christ you definitely walked out of the Nile pleased with what transpired. Make sure to check them out soon, as the tour ends in Los Angeles.
AMORPHIS AT THE NILE 5 |1 | 22
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS UADA, SYLVAINE, AND HOAXED
To say that the night of May 1st at the Nile Theater in Mesa was full of surprises would be an understatement. Melody mixed with brutality to present a night of sonic delight, one in which we as an audience were battered, bruised, and uplifted all at once.
Openers Hoaxed were reminiscent of both The Pixies and Blackwater Holylight. Their energy was fantastic without being over the top, as the band chose to focus on the earnest meaning of their poignant songs. Their lead vocalist and guitarist, standing resolute as she belted her way through the songs, proved a nice contrast to the refreshingly energetic assault of their bassist.
The second band of the night, Sylvaine, was new to me. At first glance and listen, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Their music began as atmospheric post-rock, bringing absolutely beautiful melodies that verged on the classical to our ears. Suddenly, Kathrine Shepard, the mastermind behind the band, erupted into a black metal scream that brought me reminiscences of the legends of Norway and Sweden. The band launched into a vicious set that melded the drone of shoegaze, the melody of post-rock, and the brutality of black metal. The crowd was simply stunned, myself included. Sylvaine is without a doubt a band to watch out for.
The third band of the night, a personal favorite of mine, was Portland, Oregon’s Uada, masters of modern melodic black metal. To say that their performance was memorable would not do it justice. Their faces obscured by their hair and their black cowls, shrouded in fog and backlit, Uada played a roaring set of their most well-known songs including off of their recent album Djinn. Frontman Jake Superchi’s voice ranged from a guttural roar to a high pitched, eerie wail, covering the spectrum of black metal’s vocal styles. The lighting, perfectly accompanying Uada’s naturalistic lyrical content, gave it an atmosphere of evil and mystery. The crowd was raucous, throwing up devil horns and roaring at the conclusion of every song. While I’d seen Uada before, I had never seen them play with such ferocity, tenacity, and energy. Do not miss out on this band next time they come to town.
The final act of the night were the headliners, Amorphis. The Finnish metal stalwarts, celebrating the 30th anniversary of their debut album, played a raucous set of melodic death metal. One of the most remarkable features of the band was the distinctness of each musician and the way that they layered each song, an impressive feat for a six piece band. Vocalist Tomi Joutsen, with the band since 2005, strutted and swayed his way across the stage, captivating the audience. As the setlist progressed, the energy increased and the audience reacted, moving more and more as the band continued to play. As legends of the Finnish metal scene, it was amazing to see them take the stage at the Nile.
All in all, it was an excellent night, one characterized by diversity of sound and approach. For those who missed the night, make sure you follow these bands so you can catch them next time they come to town.
On the Dark Waters
Seven Roads Come Together
House of Sleep
CODE ORANGE AT THE NILE MESA AZ 4/18/22
Out for Blood Tour 2022
The Out for Blood Tour came through Mesa az to the one and only Nile theater!
This line up was stacked and full of new talent across the U.S. The opening act was Dying Wish, who absolutely destroyed it. I will never miss this band if they come through on tour. Up next was Vended which I never heard of before this. Griffin Taylor was fronting this band (Corey Taylor’s son). I was honestly quite surprised with them and will have to go pick up their record after this. They put on a phenomenal show. Up next was loathe from Liverpool, UK. I’ve been listening to Loathe for quite some time and this band is everything as advertised. It’s rare they come around to the states and even the singer acknowledged that. You do not want to miss Loathe next time they come around.
Just a little after 10 pm it was time for Code Orange to take the stage. The anticipation was killing everyone and one by one they started walking out. There wasn’t a person in the Nile that wasn’t yelling. It's undeniable the energy that Code Orange brings to every performance. This band just doesn’t stop while on stage. It’s a straight onslaught of electronic hardcore. I have the most out right respect for this band that started out in 2008 as Code Orange Kids and has worked endlessly to the top ranks. With a Kerrang award for best international breakthrough and having been nominated for two Grammy awards for best metal performance, Code Orange has come a long way since the very beginning and refuses to let go of that gas pedal. Since this is the Out for Blood tour of course they opened up with “Out for Blood,” which set the tone for the rest of their set. Jami Morgan is a phenomenal vocalist who I can only describe as a complete madman with a mic. He is absolutely insane up on that stage. Reba Meyers holds down the guitar and vocals and the best comparison of her energy would be Sean Yseult from White Zombie. You can’t help but pay attention to her talent and commanding stage presence. Dominic Landolina is an amazing guitarist and flings his guitar around like it weighs nothing, thrashing around stage with no fear and not skipping a beat. I had to run back and forth between Reba and Dominic to catch some great moments and it was worth it trying to get my camera safely across that insane mosh pit. Joe Goldman is a beast on the bass and such a strong presence to this band. Just last year Code Orange recruited Max Portnoy (the son of Mike Portnoy of Dreamtheater) to fill in on drums. This guy can hold it down and it’s no wonder why they recruited him.
Code orange delivers a high energy presence and delivers on every front. They feed off that chaos and craziness. This was a solid setlist from top to bottom and a nonstop attack on The Nile. They brought in their huge LED screens to mix the lighting with astounding backlighting. The entire setup was incredible and mixed in with their energy, it was a night to remember. Do not sleep on this tour or second guess yourself about going.
Code Orange performs the second weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio on April 22nd
The set list consisted of:
Out for blood
Cold Metal Place
Who am I
Back inside the glass
Spy You and You alone
Bleeding in the blur
Swallowing the rabbit hole
UNCLE ACID AND THE DEADBEATS
“Turn on, tune in, drop out” was a popular phrase in the sixties spurred by the psychedelic research of Timothy Leary. The phrase was often used in reference to the psychedelic sounds of bands such as Jefferson Airplane and their contemporaries in the late 60s. A phrase has never fit a modern show so well as it does what happened Tuesday night at the Crescent Ballroom when Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and guests King Buffalo took the stage.
Openers King Buffalo performed a transcendent set of heavy psychedelic rock tinged with the exploratory sounds of progressive rock. Songs carefully selected from their entire discography peppered the setlist, entrancing a packed crowd that dutifully headbanged as King Buffalo moved from spacey psychedelia to hard-edged rock and roll. Guitarist and lead singer Sean McVay, shrouded in shadow at the front of the stage, held sway over the audience like a judge in court, manipulating the sonic frequencies of his keyboard and guitar. All around, King Buffalo showed that they are not an act to be trifled with and deserve their own headlining tour soon.
Uncle Acid, upon taking the stage, was met with riotous roars of approval from the very start. Performing in darkness in front of a projector-lit backdrop, the band channeled the visual stimulation of 60s San Francisco with the darkness of the Velvet Underground and their light shows. Sometimes disturbing images displayed on the screen, melting away to new images as the band progressed through a set of hits that included “I’ll Cut You Down” and “Death’s Door.” Glass-edged harmonies cut over the hard fuzz of their guitars and bass, forming a sonic wall that immersed the audience in murder-laden songs of violence and debauchery. As the crowd pulsated with energy and pushed forward closer to the stage, Uncle Acid delivered a set to be remembered, one that perfectly matched the visual and sonic stimulation.
Overall, Uncle Acid and King Buffalo delivered one of the most visually stimulating shows I’ve seen in a while. The visual aspect wasn’t the only peak however. From the setlist choices to the energy of the performances, this was a night that will live in the memories of all who had the pleasure to be present. - review~ Blake Carrera photos~Bearded Gonzo Photography
SHAWN JAMES AT THE CRESENT BALLROOM
The Crescent ballroom is one of the most elegant venues in phoenix with a capacity of 500.00 I was actually pretty nervous going into this show since I’m a huge Shawn James fan. I entered the venue and noticed Shawn was just walking towards the back of the club with his pug in hand. I headed towards the back to see if I could get some shots of him with his touring mate. I walked up to Shawn, not nervous at all, and asked if I could get some shots. He agreed without hesitation. I watched Shawn James walk around the club talking with his fans, sharing hugs and jokes and laughing it up. To see an artist interact with his fans like this adds another level of respect.
The opening act was Gravedancer from Arkansas and I was highly impressed with his beautifully soulful, but dark tone. It was just him and his guitar until Gravedancer called out Shawn James to do a couple of songs together. The chemistry these two had was powerful being that they were in Shawn James and the Shapeshifters together. They were laughing and flipping each other off, having the best of times. Then eventually the violinist Sage Cornelius made his way out to do a couple of songs with Gravedancer. Gravedancer stopped for a minute to point out a good friend of his in the crowd and how they served in Afghanistan together. This was truly a touching moment while multiple people thanked them for their service. All the jokes and laughs during Gravedancer made this moment extra special.
Before Shawn James hit the stage his wife walked up to me to introduce herself and said I could shoot from anywhere in the club. For any photographer we live for that with no limitations. We talked about photography, staying safe on the road, and trying to get back to normal after Covid hit.
It was a little bit after 9 when Shawn James hit the stage and of course he opened with my all-time favorite song, “Burn The Witch.” This set the tone for the rest of the night. It’s one thing listening to Shawn on Spotify but hearing him live, he sets the bar even higher. His powerfully soulful voice not only commands the crowd but it is beautifully haunting. He completely draws you in from his highs to lows and then hits those screams at just the right moment, embracing those past blues legends like Howlin' Wolf or Llightin’ Hopkins.
On this tour Shawn James brought his entire band which was such a treat. Sage came in strong with a flying V violin headbanging and singing along to every song. This guy is talented and absolutely shreds on the violin. He reminded me of Zakk Wylde and Dimebag Darrell on the guitar but with a violin. After going through a few of his songs, Shawn James went into the acoustic part of his set and brought the mood down for a bit before he got into the heavier side of his new album. I overheard Sage saying he wanted to do “The Number of the Beast” by Iron Maiden. I was like a little kid in a candy shop, beyond excited for this moment. This helped me through some dark times in life and being able to hear him do it live almost brought me to tears. Sage started it off and I instantly had to put down my camera to hear this. I was just completely in a trance by both Shawn and Sage. The other cover Shawn did was a song by Audioslave, “Like a Stone.” Chris Cornell would have been proud to hear Shawn do the song justice. Finally, the entire band came back on - it was time to have some fun. The drummer came out and instantly ran back to the green room to grab a bottle that they all shared on stage. That’s when they hit the ground running and tore into the rest of their set. As the night went on the set got heavier and rowdier.
I don’t recommend skipping out on this tour. Check out Shaw James and Gravedancer on tour now.
CANNIBAL CORPSE ANNIHILATES THE VAN BUREN
It was a warm and pleasant day in Phoenix, Arizona. The city, well the metal heads, were buzzing with excitement! The line in front of the ticket office at The Van Buren was short. Everyone had already gotten their tickets and if you were in search of one, it was too late, the concert was already sold out. People were lined up early, the line wrapped around Ziggy’s Pizza and down the block. Those who were not in line yet were grabbing a quick bite to eat before the chaos ensued. Tonight, was the night, the night that Cannibal Corpse was going to unleash their greatness for all to see. The minute you walk into The Van Buren, it’s packed and full of energy. The merch line wraps around the venue floor like a snake, while the rest of the crowd is filling up the floor in front of the stage.The first band to open the night was Shadow of Intent. This deathcore Connecticut band was a perfect way to start the night! The band was formed in 2003 by Ben Duerr and Chris Wiawman. Their band name is truly unique and from the Halo series. Shadow of Intent also releases their albums independently because they currently are not signed by anyone. Their music has also been compared to Dimmu Borgir and Fleshgod Apocalypse. The band is made up by Ben Duerr- lead vocals, Chris Wiseman- Guitar/Backing and clean vocals, Andrew Monias-Bass/backing vocals and Bryce Butler-drums. Shadow of Intent got the crowd roaring, psyching everyone up. The level in the room instantly rose. Although there was not a lot of interaction with the fans, they still were able to connect with them. Their set started at 7 and ended at 7:30. The song they opend up with was “Barren and Breathless Macrocosm” and their closing song was “Blood in the Sands of Time”. All in all, this band is one to keep an eye and follow because these young guys are going places.Set List:Barren and Breathless MacrocosmIntensified GenocideThe CatacombsThe Coming FireWhere Millions Have Come to DieBlood in the Sands of Time
The next band to hit the stage was Revocation hailing from Boston, Massachusetts. Revocation’s sound is a combination of technical death metal and thrash metal. The band consists of David Davidson- lead guitar/lead vocals, Brett Bamberger-bass and Ash Pearson-drums. A few people began to leave the long winding merch line to see Revocation perform, they started at 7:45 pm on the dot. One person in the crowd could be heard by those around them say “is he the singer too?! I’ve never seen anyone play guitar and sing in a metal band”. As soon as the house lights dimmed, the stage lights came on and the music began the crowd grew ever more excited. The band emitted a new kind of energy. People began to mosh, scream and even a select few began to crowd sure. This was the moment everyone knew this night was going to be legendary. Revocation opened their set with “Madness Opus”. Not only are these guys talented and energetic, they are truly very nice. Bamberger was seen at their merch table after their set talking and engaging with fans who recognized him, he was even seen taking photos with those who asked. Bands who acknowledge their fan base are truly special and make being a fan so much fun! Set List:Madness OpusOf Unworldly OriginThe Outer OnesThat Which Consumes All ThingsOnly Spineless SurviveCommunion.
The third band to take the stage was Whitechapel. Many people were there to see this band and their excitement could no longer be contained. Whitechapel is a deathcore band from Knoxville, Tennessee and they are signed to Metal Blade Record. Whitechapel has released fourteen music videos and seven studio albums since being formed in 2006. The band is made up by Phil Bozeman-vocals, Ben Savage-lead guitar, Alex Wade-rhythm guitar, Gabe Crisp-bass, Zach Householder-third guitar and Brandon Zackey-drums (he is currently a touring member). The minute the first note rang out for their opening song, “Brimstone”, the crowd grew even more frenzied. Instantly tons of people began to crowd surf and mosh. People from all over the venue could be heard singing and screaming along. Bozeman moves around the stage very little; he mostly stays in the center of the stage with one foot propped on a small podium and hunched over as if he is screaming at the crowd. They absolutely went wild over Whitechapel’s set.Set List:BrismstoneForgiveness is WeaknessBlack BearA Bloodsoaked SymphonyThe Ones That Made us Our Endless WarLost BoyProstatic Fluid AsphyxiationThis is ExileLet me BurnThe Saw is the Law
It was almost time for the last and final act to come on, the one and only Cannibal Corpse. Everyone had been waiting all night for this band, to be honest they had probably been waiting for months in anticipation for this show. Cannibal Corpse was formed in Buffalo, New York in 1988 but they are now based out of Tampa, Florida. The band is made up of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher-vocals, Alex Webster-bass, Paul Mazurkiewicz-drums, Rob Barret-rhythm guitar, and Erik Rutan-lead guitar. The crowd began screaming for Cannibal Corpse before the band even took to the stage. As they came out on stage the house lights went down and the stage lights came on. The moshing was instant, the crowd began to sing along and fans were being carried from the back of the venue to the very front. Fan were also determined to get their cannibal corpse merch, the line never let down or shortened, it was a constant fight of patience and waiting to get to the front. Corpsegrinder was truly the most engaging artist to be seen in a long time. In between sets he would talk to the fans. The most memorable part of the night was when he said “unfortunately” and the crowd began to boo! He then said “ugh why are you booing? What if I’m going to say unfortunately, we have 20 more songs?” The crowd began to cheer in happiness! “So, you’d be happy? So, until you know what I’m gonna say, you can boo, okay? Now I’m gonna start it over again...Alright, now I’m gonna say it again. Unfortunately, this is our last song of the night. Now you can boo.” Cropsegrinder announced to the crowd who were clearly not happy. But in the end Cannibal Corpse ended up playing not one but three songs! These songs were: “A Skull Full of Maggots”, “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” and “Hammer Smashed Face”.Set List:The Time to Kill Is NowScourge of IronInhumane HarvestCode of the SlashersFucked with a KnifeThe Wretched SpawnGuttedKill or BecomeI Cum BloodEvisceration PlagueDeath Walking TerrorNecrogenic ResurrectionCondemnation ContagionUnleashing the BloodthirstyDevoured by VerminA Skull Full of MaggotsStripped, Raped and StrangledHammer Smashed FaceThis show was truly one of the greats! It was an amazing way to experience different genres of metal. It was also wonderful show to see different metal bands who have either been in the game for many years or are just starting out on their own metal journey. This show was truly spectacular and brought all sorts of metalheads together in one space where they can share their love of metal and being a part of that ever growing scene.
Review and photos by Megan Fontana
AIWASS AT THE REBEL LOUNGE 3|25|22
Aiwass at The Rebel Lounge 3|25|22
Aiwass the newly trio that hails from Phoenix AZ came to life on Friday night. I’ve been listening to Aiwass for about a year now and I couldn’t wait to see them live The trio consist of Blake Carrera lead guitar/vox, Wade Von Bogs drums, and Mike Hintz bass/vox. Both Wade and Mike were previously with Hovenweep another huge name in Arizona. The fact that Blake was able to pull Wade and Mike into the band made them a behemoth in the AZ doom scene. These three complement each other in every aspect. Their first live show proved they are not to be taken lightly in the AZ music scene. Especially their first show being with Firebreather and Monolord. That’s a lot of pressure to deliver for any act.
Both Blake and Mike share singing duties and perfectly harmonize without skipping a note. Mike’s professionalism shows outright commanding the bass and once he gets that crazy look on his face hes letting you know he means big business! Bringing Wade into this band was a no brainer as he is one of most prolific drummers in this scene. I wouldn’t have gone with anyone else. You can literally hear every hit he makes along with his stage presence he’s taking Aiwass to new heights with his drumming. If you’ve ever met Blake in person you can’t help love the guy, his intelligence is through the roof and one of the nicest guys I’ve met. Seeing him on stage brought a whole new level of power! He has a stance on stage most musicians wish they could own and only a few come to mind that have it Matt Pike and Lemmy killmister.
Aiwass opened up with Titan which is such a mammoth of a song. Minus some technical difficulties with Blake’s mic they set the tone for the rest of their set. As they climbed the latter with their set Aiwass started to dig a little deeper with each passing song. The second song In the light of Darkness is when they really found their grove and really started grind it out. You can tell how high the musicianship is in this band by how tight they are. Especially only being together for 4 months. If you’ve ever listened to their album Wayward Gods you know how heavy Man of god is, but to hear it live took the song to a whole new world. From chains was their closer and God damn did this song slay. I would feel bad for any band at any level to follow this up. The new ending of this song also signifies in which direction the band is headed with the new members and it’s a damn good sign of what’s to come! If you took the heaviness of Primitive Man mixed it with doom heavyweights Sleep this would be the result. For this being their first show and only being together for a short amount of time the AZ doom scene better be prepared.- Review and photos by -Michael Olivas
In the Light of Darkness
Man As God
ELEMENT A440 AT THE NILE 3|26|22
Element a440 at the Nile
Jonahcolypse 2022 presented by 13th floor entertainmentAnyone who has been apart of the AZ music scene knew Jonah. He was in some pretty incredible bands and supported so many local musicians in the scene. From Ikonoklast to Hardwire and of course his most recent project Goth Brooks he was such a great soul with a huge heart. This benefit show was all about Jonah and the life he lived through music. The line up included Skeleton Army,80D, Al1ce and Mankind is Obsolete. May he rest in peace Element A440 hasn’t played in a while and it was a treat to see them take the stage again. Obviously the circumstances weren’t ideal but you could tell how Element A440 took that energy and went full force for Jonah. I’ve been listening to Element A440 for years now and never had the chance to seem them live. I was completely blown away by the entire performance. As soon as Halo turned around you knew you were in for a treat.. he literally went from person to person and grabbed their hand and twirled then around the excitement was radiating off of him. Halo is a treat to watch in every way and is what every lead singer should arrive for. He's consistently engaging with the fans and doesn’t ever stop moving on stage. The entire bands stage presence is not to be taken lightly, from there huge props to the passion that drives this band, you can’t help but be fully consumed by their live show. Katt the bass player was a ton of fun making faces at the crowd and owning the bass. I’d have to say this is one of my favorite bass players I’ve witnessed in a while. Her talent is through the roof. The drummer Kat is a God damn beast on the drums and when she’s not drumming for Element you can catch her dj’ing across the valley as DJ Kat Seven. The guitar player Brian is another element in the band that holds it down all on his own. Watching Brian throw around his guitar as if it weighed like nothing was incredible to see. I have to say every single person in this band can hold their own and having them all together creates an industrial powerhouse. I hope to see them live again real soon
GOATWHORE AT THE NILE
At first mention of the term “blackened death,” the casual listener may be brought back to medieval times. But to the fans who gathered at the Nile Theater on April 26th, this term evoked the bludgeoning speed and power of the legendary New Orleans all star band Goatwhore. Long time members L. Ben Falgoust II (of Soilent Green fame) and Sammy Due (of Acid Bath fame), joined by Zack Simmons and Robert Coleman, have cultivated a world of chaos and apocalypse, one that is satanic, irreverent, and above all else, more fun than almost any band in their genre.
While the music is paramount - and Goatwhore never fails to impress there with their sonic barrage of evil and riffs - this is a band that you don’t want to miss when they come to your town. Falgoust towers over the audience, strutting with the confidence of talent and years of being on the road, legs clad in black skinny jeans and arms wrapped in gauntlets. Duet and Coleman moved back and forth from side to side of the stage, switching places before standing next to each other for the climax of a song. Duet was particularly impressive with incendiary solos and whammy bar dives that cut through the chaos of the band’s overall sound. Simmons, head freshly shaven, commandeered the bruising rhythm, persevering even when one of his symbol stands collapsed.
As the setlist progressed, the audience became more and more immersed. Falgoust often ended songs by fist pumping and high fiving the rows of fans that crowded towards the stage, just barely escaping the pulsating energy of the raucous circle pit. As Goatwhore completed their set with “Apocalyptic Havoc” and its question of “Who needs a god when you’ve got Satan,” the crowd was frenzied and frothing at the mouth for more.
Though Goatwhore is known perhaps best for their massively impressive live performance, this is more than an act. They are leaders in their scene and have the songs and riffs to back it up. Make sure not to miss Goatwhore next time they swing through town opening for Gwar.
An End to NothingAlchemy of the Black Sun CultChaos ArcaneBaring Teeth for RevoltCollapse in Eternal WorthDecayed Omen RebornFBSMankind Will Have No MercyIn Deathless TraditionApocalyptic Havoc
MINISTRY AT THE VAN BUREN 4|12|22
Ministry announced in 2021 they would hit the road to celebrate the 30th anniversary for the album The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste with supporting acts Melvins and Corrosion of Conformity. Well, the time has finally come to see this amazing lineup.
Openers Corrosion of Conformity took the stage with intensity and fire to the tune of ZZ Top, livening the growing audience with a sound that blended punk rock, southern rock, and metal. Pepper Keenan demanded the attention of the audience, enrapturing casual fans and delivering on decades of experience with a setlist of newer songs and classics. Particular highlights were “Vote with a Bullet” from 1991’s Blind, “Albatross,” and closer “Clean My Wounds.” The pit moved furiously, the audience sang along with every word, and guitarists Pepper and Woody responded with blazing guitarwork as bassist Mike Dean held down the rhythm. All in all, it was a spectacular set that created the tone for the night.
Next up were Melvins. Led by legends Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover, the band took the stage with a long set list that, much like Corrosion of Conformity, mixed newer songs with classics. The audience had swelled to considerable numbers and the band reacted with intensity, fire, and drive. Opener “The Kicking Machine” was powerful, incendiary, and enrapturing. The highlight of the setlist, however, was when Ministry drummer Roy Mayorga took the stage to create a two drumkit powered backbeat on classics “Hooch” and “Honey Bucket.” Playing in front of a projection of a 1950’s housewife, Melvins were surreal, powerful, honest, and true to rock n’ roll. While many are familiar with the sound of Melvins as they’ve been around for almost 40 years, seeing them live is a treat unlike any other. Make sure to check them out on their headlining tour this summer with Helms Alee.
Ministry took the stage about 9pm and came out swinging by opening with “Breathe,” a slower tempo song at first but definitely a straight punch to the throat. You could definitely tell everyone one here was ready for some mayhem. By the end of the first song someone was already throwing their beer into the photo pit. As soon as Ministry broke into “The Missing” off The Land of Rape and Honey the Van Buren erupted! I’ve seen Ministry multiple times and you can tell when Uncle Al is into it. This was one of those times! Uncle Al was grabbing the large fence across the stage and shaking it so hard I thought it was coming down. He was using every opportunity he could to engage the crowd and with the mic at his side he screamed at the sea of Ministry fans. Staying in the era of The Land of Rape and Honey, they went right into “Deity,” another banger while keeping the same momentum. This whole setlist was full of hits like “Supernaut,” “Burning Inside,” “NOW,” “Thieves,” and “Just One Six.” When ministry went into “Just One Fix” the mosh pit went into an absolute frenzy and a prosthetic leg went flying through the air. The last couple of songs were mainly newer tunes besides “So What.” Ministry ended the night with “Alert Level,” “Good Trouble,” and the finale, “Search and Destroy,” all off their latest album Moral Hygiene.
From top to bottom this was a killer set by Ministry and I wouldn’t miss this killer lineup of bands.
Al Jourgensen – vocals/guitar
Cesar Soto – guitar
Monte Pittman – guitar
Paul D’Amour – bass
Roy Mayorga – drums
John Bechdel – keys
Ministry on tour now
Article by Blake Carrera & Michael Olivas photos by Michael Olivas
MAYHEM AT THE NILE MESA AZ
Norwegian black metal is among the most legendary and infamous of extreme metal subgenres. It’s pioneers committed crimes that echoed their lyrics, ranging from arson to murder. Their music was and remains abrasive and jarring - it certainly is not intended for everybody. But don’t tell that to the hoards that gathered at the Nile Theater to see one of the founders of Norwegian black metal, Mayhem, and openers Midnight.
Midnight, a band I would describe as mixing the speed of Motorhead with the attitude of crust punk, kicked off the night with a set that channeled the furious energy of punk n’ roll, rising the crowd from their pre-show stupor and setting the stage for the monstrosity that was to come. When Mayhem took the stage, the massive all-ages crowd erupted in a roar of ecstatic joy and raised devil horns. The set was a masterful collection of newer songs and old classics. The first highpoint came after a costume change in which the band donned monk’s robes and played their early 90s classic “Freezing Moon.” However, the highlight of the setlist was a selection of songs from their early Deathcrush EP, a selection that threw the fanatical crowd into a frenzy. Frontman Attila swayed and swooned, holding magisterial command of the stage and the audience. Guitarists Teloch and Ghul crafted ice pick riffs that cut through the sonic barrage. Bassist Necrobutcher strutted across the stage with the force of presence that only comes with a long and legendary career. Drummer Hellhammer battered his massive kit like an enemy, force feeding the crowd the energy they needed for one of the larger moshpits I’ve seen in an indoor venue.
Some reviews of a live performance are more difficult than others because of inevitable disappointment with some aspect of a show. Reviewing a performance by Mayhem doesn’t come with those hazards. Their legendary live show refused to disappoint. Instead, catalyzed by a thrilling setlist and one of the most engrossing live shows I’ve ever seen, I was thrilled and energized. Even if black metal isn’t your general cup of tea, this is not a show to miss.
DEAF CLUB AT THE BEAST TEMPE AZ 5|7|22
Deaf Club was originally supposed to play The Valley Bar in Phoenix and at the last minute it was canceled. Big ups to Delivan from Pig City for picking up the pieces last minute and helping out the promoter to combine an already ongoing show at The Beast in Tempe. This was a night of pure D-beat, crust, hardcore punk, grind, and experimental.
The first band to kick the night off was Yellow Cake, a four piece band from Phoenix AZ consisting of Raul on guitar, Zach on bass, Genesis on vocals, and Mike on drums. Yes, the name can throw you off and if they did this intentionally I applaud them. It’s definitely a D-beat crust sound which reminded me of a mixture of Flux of Pink Indians and Disrupt. This being their first show I was impressed and can’t wait to catch them again.
Up next was Cobarde, who I’ve seen a couple times now and they are always impressive. They're not just another D-beat band lost in the mix. Fronted by the highly talented Laura aka Baby Doodoo, they also throw in that old school punk/crust into the mix. Her talent is far and wide with being an amazing tattoo artist and talented singer. Matt on drums is pure energy, throwing everything he has at his drums. You can’t help but hear Manny's musical presence on guitar and Raul tearing it up on the bass. This 4 piece is not short on talent.
Before we get into Deaf Club, Träumer from Los Angeles was third to take the stage. A 4 piece punk band from Los Angeles California featured Pabs on vocals, Brenda on guitar, Dom on bass, and Kris on drums. They’re a straight up hardcore punk band that doesn’t fail to impress. They’re fast, loud, and don’t give a fuck about what you think of them, which is everything I love about punk music. This is what a punk band is supposed to be and I love them for it. Every single member in this band is highly talented and unforgiving. Check them out on band camp. https://1753.bandcamp.com/album/tr-umer
Deaf Club is Justin Pearson (The Locust, Dead Cross, Planet B), Brian Amalfitano (ACxDC), Scott Osment (Weak Flesh), Jason Klein (Run With The Hunted), and Tommy Meehan (The Manx). To best describe Deaf Club I would say it’s like watching the opening scene to Nocturnal Animals while on a meth binge covered from head to toe with blood and spit. As soon as Deaf Club hit the stage it was pure insanity filled adrenaline with blood, sweat, and tears flying everywhere. This band just doesn’t stop and pushes every button you have with no guilt or concern, which is exactly what every Deaf Club fan needs in their life right now! There wasn’t a spot in this venue that the band didn’t explore. This show was a journey into hell and back with Justin Pearson being our tour guide. You couldn’t find a better vocalist for this band. He commanded that small stage at the Beast and the entire venue. From crawling on booths and standing on the bar to hanging from the ceiling of the venue, all while yelling and growling throughout the entire set, he even took a minute to make fun of a naked micro dick Gene Simmons which is the artwork for their new EP called Bad Songs Forever EP. Brian Amalfitano is and will always be a beast in the music scene. The amount of respect I have for this musician is huge. He does this back bend with his guitar that is unnatural and one that only a processed human being could pull off. If you’re ever in the San Fernando Valley check out his record shop The Midnight Hour! Scott Osment holds down this whole project and is a living and breathing unnatural beast on the drums. He’s currently in several projects and I honestly don’t know how he holds all of them down. His talent alone on the drum set would explain it. Jason Klein is holding down the bass duties and not only is he talented but if you pay attention to him you’ll be cracking up. Given the stage last night was small he was pushed to the back. At one point during a break between songs he just said “screw it I’m going to sit down for this” and played while either sitting on a chair or his bass amp, I couldn’t tell which one. He was just thrashing away on his bass without a care in the world. The last member and guitar player Tommy Meehan is pure destruction and can care less about safety with his body. He was literally flying around everywhere. He crawled up on the bass amp and then on to the full guitar stack to fit in the tiny space between the head of the amp and the ceiling. At one point he ran into the crowd. This one time he jumped up into someone’s arms and then was barely being held up when 4 other guys jumped in to hold him up. Let’s just say this trust fall didn’t go as planned. As soon as he sprawled across the other guys’ arms he came crashing down with his back on the edge of stage. Tommy popped right back and acted as if nothing happened with blood dripping down his face. I also have no clue how he cut up open his forehead but then I wouldn’t expect anything less coming from this band. If you’re thinking about skipping out on this tour when they come to town, just go ahead and slap yourself across the face and then go!
Deaf Club on tour now.BAD SONGS FOREVER TOURMay 6 Vegas, CA @ Backstage BarMay 7 Tempe, AZ @ The BeastMay 8 Albuquerque, NM @ LaunchpadMay 9 Tulsa, OK @ The Whittier BarMay 10 Dallas, TX @@ Rubber Gloves May 12 Austin, TX @ Oblivion FestMay 14 San Antonio, TX @ Paper TigerMay 16 El Paso, TX @ MadreMay 17 Tucson, AZ @ Club CongressMay 18 Los Angeles,CA @ The Smell
BODYSNATCHER AT THE NILE MESA AZ 5|13|22
It was only fitting for the Dying Fetus tour to come through Mesa Arizona on Friday the 13th. The supporting acts were Chelsea Grin, Bodysnatcher, Frozen Soul, and Undeath. This was an already amazing line up and The Nile was packed from the start.
Even with this solid lineup I was there for Bodysnatcher! I know, I know DYING FETUS is headlining this tour and I will always have love and respect for them and they never disappoint. Bodysnatcher was third to play and came on right after heavy hitters Frozen Soul. This is a tough act to follow as Frozen Soul from Texas have made a dent in the death metal scene and their live show is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time! Bodysnatcher doesn’t seem like the band who cares where they go and will come out with that same hardcore attitude regardless of where they are on the bill. They’re Florida natives who are unapologetic and straight to the point. This is straight up deathcore at it finest. It faintly reminded me of the earlier days of bands like Job for a Cowboy, The Red Chord, and Despised Icon. These guys came out swinging and didn’t stop swinging until they hit that last note. They were literally throwing everything they had at the crowd in Mesa AZ at The Nile Theater. If you came into this thinking you weren’t going to be slapped across the face with chunky 2step breakdowns you definitely lied to yourself! Bodysnatcher is a straight up filthy breakdown machine that doesn’t become repetitive. Throwing in the occasional blast beat, the band kept it as heavy as it can be.
Honestly, watching Kyle the singer take people’s phones who were recording live was a huge highlight! He was screaming into the phone and making faces at it. Even though this is a deathcore band, it’s eye opening to see them still having fun on stage rather be mister serious the whole time. Kyle did it multiple times and every person who he did it to loved every minute of it. The looks on those people’s faces were priceless. It’s rare you find a band who supports the live recordings but they embraced it. There were a couple of moments in this show where you can catch a glimpse of the drummer Chris and singer Kyle making faces at each other and having a blast on stage, all while the other two Kyles in the band were chugging away on their instruments. With every hit and every note they played it seemed as if they kept on getting heavier and heavier. Their set list included “Wired for Destruction,”“Take me to Hell,” “E.D.A,” my personal favorite “Behind the Crown,” “King of the Rats,” “Black of My Eyes,” and closed out the show with “Twelve/Seventeen.” This is one talented bunch of musicians and anytime they come to your area you don’t want to miss out on them! They’re a must see and are definitely taking the deathcore scene by storm!
CATCH BODYSNATCHER ON TOUR NOWArticle: Michael OlivasPhotos:Bearded Gonzo Photography
LUNA 13 AT THE NILE UNDERGROUND
Luna 13 came through Mesa Arizona to the Nile Underground while supporting headliner Christian Death. It was a night full of goth wave, nu wave and pure blasphemy. Luna 13 is a hard act to follow and Christian Death of course had no problems doing just that. I actually got to the venue a little before the doors opened and had a conversation with Doc from Luna 13. It’s always great when an artist takes a moment to have a conversation while out on tour, as a tour schedule can get hectic. The conversation ranged from religion to discovering other artists and how they moved record labels. The previous label they were on told them they had to tone down the evilness and satanic imagery. For any satanist that’s the last thing we want to hear. Luna 13 was offered to come over to Cleopatra Records, where the record label said they were free to be as evil and satanic as they wanted. Once the conversation ended I had to let Doc get back to pre rituals and setting up. 13th Floor Entertainment brought in some heavy hitters for supporting acts as Murder Me kicked off the night with their raw energy and talent. Up next was U.S Grave, who is more along the lines of nu wave or goth wave. They actually reminded me of Ritual Howl and Tempers. What a great band - I can’t wait to catch them again.
Up next was the almighty Luna 13. This band is an experience all on its own. I can honestly say if Satan had a house band for hell they would be it. I’m a huge fan of hardcore techno and industrial as I’ve been a Ministry fan since I was a child. Industrial music always spoke to me. Luna 13 takes the cross and turns it upside down with their music. This is pure filth, aggression, and hatred towards organized religion. Everything is live, by the way, and you can’t help but be impressed by the set up and attention to detail that goes into Doc’s beat making mastery. Once Doc started pounding away on his machines, Lilith came onstage with her corset, wings, and signature horns. I’ve seen a multitude of frontwomen over the years and Lilith has to be one of the best ones I’ve witnessed! Her performance of dancing and acts of ballet around the stage put everyone in the room into a trance that only Lilith could do. Then it happened - she started to scream and growl and even I had to put down my camera as I was completely blown away with her voice. As each song progressed, Doc started to pound even harder on his equipment and the entire Nile Underground was slowly being consumed by the darkness. It was fitting that they went with all red lights as if we were in hell. Mid-set, Lilith bent down to grab something from a box and at first I thought it was eggs, but when she came up it was a tiny rubber fetus covered in blood. She smashed around with the fetus gnawing on it and spitting it out of her mouth. She then kneeled down and acted as if she was giving birth to a tiny little creature to which she would later consume. Not one part of this show was dull or boring. This was a fucking show! As the set progressed some more Lilith started to undress and took a human skull and started to pour blood all over her body all while belly dancing around on stage. This is where the night was cut short and it just ended. No Fault to Luna 13 and even they looked confused as to why the sound was cut. My little black heart grew a couple inches this night. Do not miss this band if they’re coming through on tour - Satan demands it!
GWAR AT THE MARQUEE THEATER
Sunday May 29th 2022 GWAR blasted and painted the sea of scumdogs of the universe red at the Marquee Theater in Tempe AZ. In support of their new album, GWAR returned to the road this Spring on “The Black Death Rager World Tour.” The tour started May 19th in Ft. Wayne, IN and runs through June 17th in Reading, PA. Pre-order “The New Dark Ages” here. The album will be released on CD/Digital June 3rd and Vinyl and Cassette September 16th via the band’s own “Pit Records.
The lineup included The Native Howl, Nekrogoblikon, and Goatwhore. Native Howl is an interesting band. They’re the kind of band you light up a bonfire on a Friday night with a gallon of whiskey and sing along to with all your drunk buddies. They’re fun, rowdy, and sing about moonshine. This was my first time experiencing Neckrogoblikon and honestly it did not disappoint. While the band is talented, the Goblin running around was definitely a huge highlight. It was a little after 9pm when Goatwhore took the stage and this being the second time this year I’ve covered them made me feel lucky. Goatwhore never disappoints and comes full throttle for your throat. Ben, Sammy, Zack, and Robert are a powerhouse in the extreme metal scene.
It was time for the main course of the night and the crowd was absolutely losing it and chanting GWAR over and over again. They were throwing up the horns, screaming, and you could see smiles across the sea of white outfits ready to be splattered with blood and guts. While it seemed that it took a lifetime for GWAR to come on stage, only 15 minutes had passed. The lights dimmed and the crowd lost it again. One by one they started making their way to the stage to “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. There was one major thing that stood out and that was that The Berserker Blóthar was not present. My guess is he had to head back home to the world of mist to enjoy life and hunting moon moose or that Beefcake the Mighty got hungry and ate off one of his 3 genitals and he had to have surgery to have it reattached. Either way the Mighty GWAR trekked on as if nothing had happened. Pustulus, Balsac and Beefcake all took on vocal duties with Pustulus mainly being the lead. They ran through about 16-17 songs with of course all their hits including “Sick of You,” “Saddam a Go Go,” “Meat Sandwich,” and “Immortal Corrupter.” The set was just about 2 hours long so you got the full GWAR experience. The first person to get slayed and beheaded was of course a dummy of President Biden. Right as his head flew off the crowd got their first state of blood as Old Man Joe's blood sprayed everywhere. As GWAR went into “Sick of You,” literally everyone was singing along. After the first three songs, I had to brave it in the crowd. To say GWAR’s scumdogs are insane is an understatement - they’re loyal and on another level when it comes to thelive show. They live and breathe this band and go absolutely nuts. As I was making my way through the crowd I had to stop because the gimp brought out a huge crack rock with a giant life size bong. The next person to grace us with their presence was Vulvatron's breasts as they pranced around stage in a silk robe to “Rocky Horror.” Blood sprayed everywhere after they were ripped apart. I had to hide behind a very tall man to hide my camera. As we all know with GWAR no one is safe and the next one to get killed off was Putin. As they sliced his hands off and then took the destruction to his chest, blood once again started to reign. One thing I’ve learned over the years is to never take a GWAR show lightly or think tonight’s the night they don’t decapitate, cut off body parts, smoke crack, or slice and dice their night away all while painting the sea of scumdogs red with someone else’s blood. This was another fantastic show in the books for GWAR as they continue to trek across America spreading their filth.
GWAR ON TOUR NOW SET LIST BELOWReview and photos by: Michael Olivas
Set list 2022War Pigs(Black Sabbath song)Let Us SlaySick of YouThe SalaminizerWar ToyMother Fucking LiarImmortal CorrupterKrak DownWomb With a ViewSaddam a Go-GoMeat SandwichBerserker ModeEl PresidenteBring Back the BombCrush, Kill, DestroySex CowFuck This Place
FAILURE AT THE CRESCENT BALLROOM
Failure came onto the scene in 1992 with their first release Comfort in the summer of 92 for Slash records. When Failure went into the studio for their second album Magnified I their drummer decided to leave the band and in came Kellii Scott. This was around the time the band started to see success and Tool took them out on tour - even Adam Jones would come out on stage with them to play “Macaque.” Then in 1996 their 3rd album Fantastic Planet was released. This was a huge turning point for Failure. This album was a staple for anyone in the mid nineties that was into alternative or metal, as it broke barriers and molds. The band disbanded in 1997 due to differences in the band. They would reunite in 2013 with their first show back at the famous El Rey Theater in Los Angeles in 2014. It's that time of year in Phoenix, AZ where the heat keeps rising and when Failure released the time slots I saw that V.I.P ticket holders had to be at the venue at 4:30, when it was at least 102 outside. That’s straight up dedication and while I’m pretty sure everything was set up inside, you can tell how strong the fan base is for this band. There was no supporting act for this tour as Failure was showing a 30 min documentary about the rise and fall of the band and the resurrection that occurred. To be honest, I arrived a couple minutes late so I missed the introduction. It’s a deep dive into the band’s long running tenure with appearances from Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams, Tool’s frontman Maynard Keenan, Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe, Butch Vig of Garbage, Troy Sanders of Mastodon, Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age, and actors Jason Schwartzman and Margaret Cho.
Maynard-“It just made more sense to take out somebody that we respected,”
Sanders-“The art that Failure has made is very authentic to me” In a world of rock ‘n’ roll, I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it weren’t for bands like Failure.”
Tommy Lee“A lot of guys from my era were like Ah, this is bullshit ” “I never saw it like that. I saw it as ‘Fuck, finally, some new blood injected into this sport!’”
Failure’s documentary is due to be released in 2023
It was just around 9 pm when Failure took the stage and the crowd at the Crescent Ballroom was ecstatic. This was the first time I saw an under 21 section at the Crescent which speaks volumes about Failure and the impact they’ve made with their music. I started listening to them in 98 or 99, a couple years after Fantastic Planet was released. There are a couple of bands that really defined my life and made a huge impact, so being able to cover this show was a huge honor. Opening the set with “Submarines” was a powerful decision and set the tone for the rest of the night. Hearing this song on record is one thing, but hearing it live completely blew me away. That opening riff is downright headbanging material. As I was making my way through the crowd to get pictures, I had to stop multiple times to be completely consumed by their live sound and sing along to songs like “Salt Wound,” “Frogs,” “Counterfeit Sky,” and of course “Stuck on You.” Whenever I did stop you could see the smiles on everyone’s faces and how entranced they were watching Failure slay away on stage. Their music touches on so many areas and it’s an understatement saying their sound/ live show is beautiful, passionate, a mind trip, and definitely a heart pounding experience.
There was one moment where it sounded like the whole night was about to come to an end. Failure was already a couple songs deep and as soon they started a song there was this loud pop and no sound was coming out of the speakers. The whole club was about to be flooded with tears. Luckily it didn’t last long and they were back at it. The whole set list consisted of multiple songs from every album. The precision in this band is far beyond most bands I’ve seen live. It was definitely hard to try and take photos while they were playing. If you’ve never Kellii Scott on the drums then you're in for a treat. He is an absolute beast and doesn’t hold back when hitting his set. Every song they played you could feel his hits and the love he has for this band and their songs. Ken Andrews and Greg Edwards all share bass, guitar, and vocal duties. It was absolutely electric and amazing to see them change instruments all while sharing vocal duties. Ken was on stage smiling away and having a blast. Greg looked like he was completely in the mode with pinpoint accuracy on the instruments. Their vocals couldn’t have sounded any better and after all these years they’re still on point. You don’t want to miss this tour as Failure is back on top doing what they do best, making you feel ways that only they can make you feel. This is some nostalgic, warm, heart pounding alternative rock.
Review and photos by: Michael OlivasEditor:Blake Carrera
HEALING MAGIC AT THE BELASCO THEATER
Healing Magic came through Los Angeles CA Saturday June 18th 2022 to the one and only historic and beautiful venue The Belasco Theater. They’re currently supporting the “Cavalera Return Beneath Arise Tour 2022.” The doors didn’t open till sometime after 7pm and when I got to the venue around 5pm there were already people lined up waiting to get into the show. The Belasco was SOLD OUT - resale tickets were going for upwards of $160. This is probably the most anticipated metal tour of the year.
If you weren’t already aware, Healing Magic is headed by Igor Cavalera, the son of Max Cavalera, and Johnny Valles on drums. Once you hear Igor scream you can definitely put two and two together and hear Max’s screaming. I will point out that he does set himself apart with a raspier mid scream that is full of power and angry as hell. It reminded me of mixing Lemmy and Max. This band is a unique one and definitely well rounded as they don’t limit themselves to one genre. Their sound is driven from deep in the Arizona desert and anyone who lives there or who has visited in the summertime knows it’s a living breathing hell. Their music reflects that pain and suffering. Hearing them live was an experience in itself as the band is polished and clearly well rehearsed because their transitions from doom to thrash to even sludge is flawless. I even heard reminisces of straight up brutal heavy down tempo chugging that reminded me of the band Will Haven. Igor Cavalera and Johnny Valles got right down to business and opened up with “Smoke Horns” off their new album “Vol 1:Fire”. This is a grab your friend by the neck and drag him into the pit kind of song. It starts off with a fast thrashy riff and Johnny going off on his drum set. They were not messing around and came to melt faces off. The next song was “The Lions Throne,” which had a bit of a slower Tempo but still maintained that heavy chugging. It reminded me of the riffs Kirk Windstein of Crowbar would write. It was as if Healing Magic took that heavy chugging of Crowbar and made it their own. The “Lions Throne” was one of my favorite songs of the night. This song also teeters on the experimental side with the guitar harmonies and melodic riffs added in. They continued their set with “Leaving Ashes” and ended their set with “Beast Summoner,” where Igor turned into a complete mad man and was throwing himself all over the stage, all while Johnny was screaming and bashing away on his drum set. All the raw emotion came gushing out of them and they left nothing in the tank.
Watching Igor and Johnny on stage was a true metal experience and if you weren’t banging your head you definitely have a problem.
Review: Michael OlivasEditor:Blake CarreraPhotos: Michael Olivas