SUMMER SLAUGHTER @ OGDEN THEATRE | 8/16/13 Kicking the slaughter off early before work hours ended didn't prevent fans from sneaking out of work a little early to get the mass-murder body-ripping brutal metal started. Those who were previously in docile work environments quickly acclimated to the carnage of metal that ensued, welcoming the savage handiwork faster than it takes to rip off a suit and tie. The intensity of over eight hours and ten extremely angry bands makes other large metal gatherings seem like a dainty afternoon tea with granny.
Thy Art Is Murder didn't hesitate slicing into the ears of those who had already trickled in early. The Manson family sized crowd responded with ferocity like it hadn't been released all week with wild spasms of headbanging until there was enough crazy fuckers to slam dance. It only took five songs to rile up the crowd for the onslaught of quick thirty minute sets embodying the second-to-second shifting chaos of the Dillinger Escape Plan.
The clutter of equipment on stage and the lack of a bassist didn't get in the way of Rings of Saturn, who plowed through like fiends on a hunt with massive armament stalactite speakers hanging from the ceiling on both sides. Frontman Ian Bearer stood at the forefront, with pig squealing vocals and deep growls, flanked by two rip-roaring guitarists synchronized at high speeds, like side-by-side soldiers sprinting to crash into an enemy. Flamboyance never made it to this show, only sheer rage.
Aeon lined the front of the stage with old school, muscle-bound, long-haired death metal, replete with simultaneous five-part windmilling, including the drummer, who didn't skip a beat. Vocalist Tommy Dahlström's intimidating giant build and large spiked shin pads kept the rowdy crowd at a distance. The lead guitarist stroked the full neck of his guitar as though he was in pursuit of finding every combination of chords in existence. Along with speedy vocal snarls, if the band had played any faster, it would have gotten ahead of itself while closing with "Forgiveness Denied."
After grunting a series of "Piss!" mike checks, Revocation slipped into a moonlit-haunting intro before shoving the crowd into "The Hive" and then pulling them back in with brooding bouts of wandering, stewing instrumentation. The outfit quickly swung into "Invidious," a new song off of its self titled album with a brief Primus-like wiggle on the guitar before switching into a hasty Motörhead guitar style similar to "Ace of Spades." David Davidson pulled off double duty as lead guitarist and lead singer throughout their set until closing with "No Fucking Funeral."
With wild guitar flinging and body flailing like a toned down DEP, the Ocean screamed into torrid waves of breakaway speeds and then quickly pulled back into lost at sea floating canon fire arrangements. Even after diving down to a rich range of depths into progressive metal, the Ocean continued unswerving from shore to shore within its set, mixing subtle murky guitar strumming with a moody heavy sludge and into stints of aggressive speed. This skillful, welcoming sound ushered in a swell of people by 6:30, maintaining a crammed in crowd the rest of the show.
Brimming with enthusiasm, the crowd opened up chants of "Cattle!" until Cattle Decapitation tore into its set like beasts into raw meat with anti-carnivorous lyrics and violence no other vegetarians have ever displayed. Vocalist Travis Ryan reached a broad range of guttural growls up to high-pitched screams in clear competition of class with the mighty Chris Barnes of Six Feet Under. Even though the drummer pounded away from behind a killer double-bass drum kit resembling a cattle stall, it was hard to focus on anything other than Travis Ryan. The band fittingly closed with "Kingdom of Tyrants" off Monolith of Inhumanity, which was recorded here in Denver.
Norma Jean played a longer set, surpassing previous bands by a good fifteen minutes with massive Ogden-rumbling bass drop effects every minute and a half and hostility that pounded the crowd into disorderly conduct. With a black aged Johnny Cash T-shirt, Cory Brandan silhouetted in front of Goose Holyoak's impressive brightly lit drum set, dreamed up by Savior Drums, while furrowing into "Dilemmachine: Coalition, Hoax." Before closing the set, the group roared into "If You Got it at Five, You Got it at Fifty" off of the recently released Wrongdoers at full speed, chomping at the bit and sharpening the axe.
Jumping into the fire of fierce bands, Periphery came into vision with a more radio-friendly set than previous bands with "Icarus Lives!" Although spitting out caustic lines like "Fuck the Police," Spencer Sotelo offered up lighter emotional vocals that were at moments hidden behind heavy instrumentation. Guitar work rarely took off towards the front of the band's songs until they swung into "Luck as a Constant" off of Periphery II: This Time It's Personal.
Animals as Leaders was up next and wowed the crowed without speaking a word with a series of controlled anger soundscapes akin to Russian Circles. Trippy bright art swirled on two projector screens to the surges of death metal power that intermittently swept into extensive impressive solos by Tosin Abasi and heavily distorted bass thundering. The trio zigzagged through its set with calm mannerisms that didn't match its aggression, like low-hanging clouds and the calm before the storm.
All excessive equipment was removed to make room for the upcoming barely containable indoor force of nature otherwise known as the Dillinger Escape Plan. Four screens spread across the backdrop played a vintage video of a sleeping woman experiencing a nightmare until the band erupted on stage with an erratic chaotic whirlpool to "Prancer." A barrage of bright square lights flashed like strobe lights for the duration of the seizure-thrashing show while screens played demented clips of slicing eyeballs and exploding heads.
"Milk Lizard" careened into "43% Burnt," which then lurched into "Panasonic Youth," as Greg Puciato brutally screamed and pointed at the crowd like a fearless drill sergeant, and the guitarists leapt off of five foot speakers. New One of Us Is the Killer song "Nothing's Funny" hacked uncontrollably before dying down into the title track, which was like the eye of a hurricane within its torrential winds. Within the set, this song seemed like an attempt at a ballad with Puciato singing high vocals, perhaps reaching for a new sound or greater heights into mainstream music.
As the band tore past into "Crossburner" and "Dead as History," the band's guitar tech was running back and forth as maniacally and bat-shit crazy as the rest of the band, trying to keep up with Ben Weinman who ceaselessly tore apart his guitar strings. The group's intensity never wavered from this point forward, as James Love continued playing while he bandaged up his finger after tearing off a chunk of flesh. Dillinger appropriately shut down the slaughter with the gruesome "When I Lost My Bet" before impulsively dropping their instruments in place and exiting the stage with a big fuck you to encores.
Personal Bias: My taste in metal has never been the same since Calculating Infinity. Random Detail: There were fans coming in and out of the show that were strictly fans of certain bands. By the Way: Almost everyone was wearing a One of Us Is the Killer T-shirt.
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