Friday December 7th 2012 we had another epic local show put on by Kimberly LaRowe of 13th Floor Entertainment at the Rocky Point Cantina in Tempe Arizona, and it was celebrating the debut cd release of Virulent’s The Great Destroyer, with special guests Pelvic Meatloaf, Autumn’s End, Inner Chaos, Bellicose, Disarming Adam and Obsrvr. Hell yes!
Oh, and one of the coolest things about this show: an old-school $5 cover charge. Sounds fuckin’ awesome, right? Well it was!
Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to see Disarming Adam and Obsrvr, so hopefully I will be able to catch those guys in the future.
I had decided before the show to bring a note pad and pen and actually take some notes on what I was observing. It was actually a great idea and really helped, but I quickly realized how hard it is to write in the dark, blue and red lights flashing me in the eyes, and moshers plowing into me unexpectedly. Maybe next time I will be able to execute my plan better. Now on with my review…..
This was the second time in about 2 weeks that I’ve seen and written a live review on Bellicose, the first being when they opened for Shadows Fall at Joe’s Grotto. I thought they were awesome at that show, but I am here to tell you they stepped it up Friday night, seemed way more comfortable and confidant, and took command of that stage. They performed and sounded much better all around. They performed five very unique and complex songs, nice and groovy, with fitting vocal roars and even many clean vocal lines that often have an unbelievably great sense of melody. The second song “Timeline” was probably my favorite of the set. I am a huge fan of the vocal style of Eric Seals. This motherfucker can sing! Another one of my favorite parts of Bellicose is the wicked bass playing of my man Reggie “Chocalate Thunder” Grayson (For those of you that don’t know NBA great Darryl Dawkins was nicknamed “Chocalate Thunder” because of his powerful, backboard breaking dunks…. Yes I just stole that). It is hard for me to fully describe the sound of Bellicose, and I can’t really think of another band they resemble. All that said, I really do believe that they will eventually end up being one of Phoenix’s biggest bands. They are that good! Hopefully sometime next year they will be in the recording studio working on a cd, and I can’t wait to hear (and review) it. Which also reminds me – Seals was nice enough to mention DeathWeddle.com during the set. Ass kissing is an important skill sometimes.
Also vocalizing a little love for DW while on stage was our next act of the night, Inner Chaos, and they came out of the gate with a fury of old-school sounding metalcore and staccato, high register chromatic chords reminiscent of stuff older Meshuggah and Sepultura had done, with an all-around sound somewhat resembling old As I Lay Dying. Their style of metalcore is of the original nature – like back in the day when it was actually really fresh and good, and hadn’t yet become trendy or overplayed. Inner Chaos possess great song writing skills, producing killer arrangements, while having massive breakdowns and crushing rhythms. The first song of their set, “Choke On Your Words” was easily my favorite song of the five they played. And I’m pretty sure it got everybody else’s attention as well. The band’s drummer Dominic Sanchez sports a hair style and look that at first glance may make you think he might rather be turning out $10 blow jobs to random guys in the darkest corner of some valley dive bath house, but the dude is actually an amazing drummer. Weird isn’t it? The vertically challenged bassist Nick Waters actually looks kind of tough when he is up there slamming his bass lines, and he actually almost scared me for a minute until I realized it was Nick and I could easily crush him!
All of the joking aside Inner Chaos is an amazing band and I really dig them. They are currently looking for a permanent second guitarist so if you know anybody interested and available, hit them up. And if you are a homosexual man and looking for a cheap thrill don’t be afraid to ask for Dom.
This portion of the review might sound like more butt-fucking, man on man love action something resembling the likes of a Savage Love column. That’s absolutely ok, because the next band on the list is the mighty and meaty Pelvic Meatloaf! I’m pretty sure it’s public knowledge that I have a huge man crush on the entire band, and they give me a raging hard boner because, well… they’re Pelvic Meatloaf! Anybody who knows these guys personally knows exactly what I’m talking about. Pelvic is led by singer Rich Fourmy, who in my opinion is the best front man in all of Phoenix. He has a unique set of skills that include getting wasted, puking on stage, and giving the best blumpkins you could ever imagine – not necessarily in that order. Long time guitarist and local Villain Recording super producer/recording engineer Byron Filson takes no prisoners with his relentlessly crushing tone and super catchy, groove-laden but punishing riffs and rhythms, and he is another one of my favorite local musicians. Skin master John Ogle and bass hog Kelly Moore hold down the powerful low end of Pelvic’s brutality. This was the first show with new second guitarist Dejan “Dan” Knezevic- formally of old school local legends and one of my all time favorite Phoenix bands Core. This was Dan’s first time on stage in 13 years. He did an amazing job in his return to local guitar dominance. Pelvic played some of my favorite songs like “Skullcrusher”, “Stronger Than You”, one of their all time classics “I Am Your Pain”, and ended their set with the anthem against all of the fake people and bands in the local scene entiltled “Walk The Walk”. It was a predictably blistering set that brought a nice, violent pit – in which my partner in crime Jaffo got knocked on his ass while shooting photos for the review, and kept right on shooting from the floor. It just made sense to him to do so.
In fact, here’s Jaffo’s shot from the floor…
I am going to take the time to tell you without a doubt that the guys in Pelvic Meatloaf are not only really good friends of mine, but are also my favorite local band of all time. I even had the privilege of being a roadie for them for a year not too long ago. The first local show I ever attended was in 1996 inside at Bostons, and it was Pelvic Meatloaf and Structure. My dad gave me my first Pelvic cd, The Key, also in’96. Needless to say, this band and I have a lot of meaningful history, and if you live in Phoenix, are a fan of the local metal scene, and you don’t know who these guys are, you should just do us all a favor and hang yourself with your tighty whities. I would also like to thank Rich and the boys for giving an awesome shout-out to DeathWeddle.com during their set, and even a comparison to The Berzerker Magazine. I have been in the scene long enough to appreciate their compliment especially, and understand the weight of this band doing so. Love and respect to the local legends known as Pelvic Meatloaf!
The time had come, and headliners Virulent were up next. By now the Cantina was pretty packed and had a great turn out for their debut cd release of The Great Destroyer. This was Virulent’s show, and even going on after the bad-ass motherfuckers that played before them, you could certainly tell. The light show provided by Bryan Beck and the sound mixing by Oompa Pavone was intense. I think that the Cantina has an amazing PA system (much of it salvaged from the now closed-down venue The Clubhouse), that sounds huge and absolutely pulverizes you. I had the pleasure of receiving a copy of The Great Destroyer of couple weeks ago to review, and I advise you to check it out.
Alright folks. Here’s the deal – with their experimental -yet melodic – and always brutal deathcore assault, Virulent kicks you in the teeth, punches you in the gut, and smashes your melon open, leaving you to bleed out and die on the floor of the pit. I’ve seen Virulent a few times now, and Friday night they were at their best in my opinion. Mike Neve is an energetic front man and a great singer, and I really enjoy the collaborative guitar parts of 7 and 8 stringers Matt Nisbet and Keith Piske. Allan Foster’s six-string bass playing and Barret Gardner’s drum attack give Virulent a somewhat unique rhythm section in this scene, and Sawgy Kush’s electronic color and strong backing vocals add more layers to an already diverse and intense band. Virulent kicked off their set with “Chuggernaut”, followed by “Bloodletting”, and after a couple more of their killer tunes they eventually concluded with “Deceiver” and closer and title track of their new album, “The Great Destroyer”. Virulent is an amazing act to see live, and their performance that night was described to me by local metal head (and hottie) Deb Ferguson as, and I quote, “tight as a nun’s ASS”.
So there you have it people – go get your faces smashed open by Virulent the next time they play. BOOM!
Closing the big show was doomy-yet-thrashy Autumn’s End. Like Pelvic, these guys have been an important part of the local scene for many years now. Led by singer and local guitar god Chris Cannella (formally of a little local band called N17 – you might have heard of them), Autumn’s End’s sound is very unique – a bit raw but dark and melodic and generally heavy as hell. Cannella and second guitarist Steve Jasinski (formally of the outlandishly fun band Eroticide) play some pretty complex and tasty leads with killer rhythms. Chris’ vocals often incorporate some clean melody, but definitely favor a more guttural approach at times. Barefooted yet tough-looking bass badass El lays down the low end and backing vocals, while new drummer Dylan Troxel (of Vivicide as well) plays with amazing intensity and accuracy and is one of the best in town.
The sound mixing for Autumn’s End was handled at this show by sound god Rudy T Reilly. Rude-T is amazing at bring out the best in a band’s live performance and sound, making it HUGE. His skills are not only locally legendary, but are even in demand in the national circuit – taking him on frequent tours. So it was nice to have him back behind the board again for a show here at home.
The set started with the intro “Siren’s Song” and was followed by my favorite “Arise From Slumber”. Other songs performed were “Scars Of The Candle”, “Eyes Of Ignorance” and closer “Hand Of Glory”. Autumn’s End is a really good live band and they are well respected in Phoenix, so go see them and give them some love.
Click HERE for more photos from the show.
It was an amazing show and a fun night with great bands and great friends, to all of whom I dedicate this review, and I hope you enjoyed it. SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC!
DEATH WEDDLE \,,/
(Photos and proof-reading/edits provided by Jaffo and Seven Bear Photography, dammit)