Concert Review: Genitorturers – Alrosa Villa – 11/13/2010

Fourth stop in my Reverend Mortis mini-tour was the legendary Genitorturers at the Alrosa. Now a long time ago, I remember seeing an interview with Fee Waybill of The Tubes where he mentioned not wanting to compete with some of the more modern rock acts like the Genitorturers. And by compete, I mean ‘try to be crazier than’. I’ve wanted to catch a Genitorturer show ever since. It didn’t hurt that their front woman Gen is drop dead gorgeous & has been known to bring her husband along to perform (Morbid Angel bassist/vocalist David Vincent).

Sadly, no Evil D this go ’round. Instead we got Mary Magdalan as an opening act. More on that in a minute.

Of the local acts performing first, I did like ‘8 lb. Pressure’ and ‘Hour of Shame’. Both acts are clearly rock club vets as the lack of audience didn’t stop either of them from putting out professional level performances with good stage presence and tight musicality.

8 Lb. Pressure get a decent amount of radio airplay with their self styled “melodic, intense, heavy rock, groove” brand of music. I can definitely hear the Godsmack influences with songs like ‘Taking Back’ and ‘Lies’ but they definitely knew how to lay down a nice crunch.

Hour Of Shame were the last local act before Mary Magdalan desecrated the stage & had the most thoughtful set list of the night; I’ve never heard ANYONE attempt a cover of Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Closer’ – especially a band with NO KEYBOARDIST! Yep, HoS did it with only a vocalist, a guitarist, a bassist & a drummer – opened with it no less! Equally surprising was their cover of Tool’s “Aenema” – again, not something I’d ever seen attempted by mere mortals. Vocalist James has a strong presence on the stage, confident vocalizations with enough self parody to make you as the audience feel in on the joke. Very entertaining & worth catching. (They also have great taste in blogs as they’ve been known to visit us here on occasion).

Mary Magdalan were next. Originators of Hood Rock. Translation: Hip-Hop vocals alongside a DJ and a guitarist (who I’m not convinced was really even playing). Look, some folks like this stuff so to each his own, but when they started to rap over samples from ‘Crazy Train’, I had to wait out their set on the patio. I wasn’t alone, trust me. No Bueno.

Genitorturers finally saved us all with a wildly theatrical tour de force worthy of Odorus Urungus. School girls getting anally raped, blood spurting evisceration, lashings (to a slave pole center stage, no less) – now THAT’S entertainment, folks! Musically, Gen has recruited an entirely new line-up including guitarist Eric Griffin (ex-Murderdolls/Wednesday 13), drummer Sean Davidson and uber-tall & creepy Filip Abbey (ex-Psyclon 9) channeling Lurch on the bass. All of this talent served to create an awesome wall of sound that perfectly accompanied the freakshow being played out behind them (often by smokin’ hot fetish models Cait & Syn). Ladies – call me!

We of the audience weren’t many, but I think I can safely say everyone vowed to see this show again. Afterward, all band members hung out by the merch table – which incidentally was the ONLY one I’ve ever seen that had a leather/toy section.  Fee, maybe you DID have something to fear after all!

From my blood spattered copy of the set list, here is what Gen & Co. played that night;

  • Cum Junkie
  • Razor Cuts
  • Take It
  • Devil In A Bottle
  • Terrorvision
  • Liars Lair
  • One Who Feeds
  • Strip Doll
  • Touch Myself (excellently done DiVinyls cover)
  • Lecher Bitch
  • 120 Days
  • Sin city
  • Revolution
  • Public Enemy

The entire show was sadly dedicated to Dimebag, who apparently came to every Genitorturer show he could in Texas.   As Gen so succinctly put it – “we haven’t played here sooner because it was just too painful”.

Well, when they did play it was a show worthy of his honor, in my opinion.

Concert Review: All That Remains – Newport Music Hall, 11/12/2010

Sorry I’ve been away. In addition to seeing a ton of shows recently, I also found myself sicker than a dog over the weekend. Gotta Love the Death Cough.

Anyhow, waaay back about 10 days ago I took the twins to see their favorite band in the world – All That Remains. Here’s my impression of that night’s lineup;

And She Whispered – per the band’s own website “And She Whispered is Pop as much as it is hardcore”. Uhm, that’s just wrong on so many levels. Musical blasphemies aside, ASW were notable for two reasons; a median age of about 17 (there’s still time boys! All isn’t lost!!) and for heavy utilization onstage of the “synchronized head flip”. I say ‘flip’ because rather than a standard succession of head ‘bangs’, each musician does a single ‘flip’ with his hair, carefully choreographed in a line together with his mates. Yep, it’s as cheesy as it sounds. Granted, I’m nowhere near the target demo for this band but with songs like “Swagger Like Mick Jagger” & “You Can’t Save The World On An Empty Stomach” – I fear for the future generations.

Born Of Osirus – This band had a significant buzz & being a fan of Nile, I was interested in their Egyptian themed name. So ok, they’re not like Nile – being more of a Screamcore or Deathcore ensemble. Nice use of multi-layered guitar riffs, lots of breakbeats, nicely brutal growling vocals. I liked’em – definitely worth checking out.

Third, and hailing from England, was Asking Alexandria. What is it with these band names? I’m getting old. Anyhow, fronted by a Russell Brand clone (and I don’t really mean anything negative by that), AA also produced some decent Screamcore – slightly more melodic than Born of Osirus, and to me, more memorable as well. Of the three opening acts, I found AA to be the most promising & capable of maintaining relevance 5 years from now. Time will ultimately tell.

All That Remains – Having just released their first Top 10 Album (“For We Are Many”), ATR is as on top of their game as ever. Musically, they’ve never sounded tighter & Phil LaBonte’s vocals seem to have held up nicely to all the rigorous touring. They played 95% of the songs my twins wanted to hear (you just know for every band there’s always that ONE song you wished they’d play) and just annihilated their set. As always, an outstanding show!

Afterward, guitarist Oli Herbert walked out from behind the stage and my girls were quick to catch him. I had to crack up when Tabitha somewhat naively asked him if he’d remembered meeting her from a year ago. Quick witted, and fan friendly, Oli paused for a moment before replying “Well, no – but there WAS alcohol involved”. Well played, Mr. Herbert.

From what I’ve seen, I can fully support this band, their message and their ability to be decent role models for the young hooligans in the moshpit. There’s not too many bands I can say that about.

But enough of my blathering, here’s their latest video, “Hold On” off the ‘For We Are Many’ CD. Enjoy!

Concert Review: Possessed-Marduk-Withered, Alrosa Villa 11-05-2010

Does it seem like I’ve been on tour? It does to me, but perhaps that’s because I will have been to 6 shows in a 2 week period (a personal record, I think). Mushroomhead was the first in the series, now we’re up to number #2 (as opposed to taking a #2, but I digress). The Blackest of the Black tour MINUS Danzig & Toxic Holocaust – who chose to skip Columbus this go ’round, for whatever reason. We get a lot of that these days.

First up were a few local bands, most notably Rim Of Hell endorsed Locusta, part of the N.W.O.C.H.M.  – that would be ‘New Wave Of Columbus Heavy Metal’ to you uninitiated folks. Thought that was a clever reference when I found it.  Anyhow, despite monitor issues the guys played a killer set with the technical mastery and murky, classically influenced rhythms we’ve come to expect. Not as strong a set-list as the last time I saw them (no ‘Betrayed By The Sea’ sadly) but still a well executed, musically proficient show. I continue to look for big things from this band. You should too.

Also opening up & hailing from Columbus was Bless The Child, a Death Metal/Hardcore hybrid boasting 3 guitarists (for a total of six members on that small stage). Like Locusta, these guys had a very professional sound – so much so that I thought they were part of the national tour until I did my research. Very brutal, blasting metal with sharp, growling vocals and churning guitar licks. They remind me of Amon Amarth quite a bit, which isn’t a bad comparison by any stretch. Especially like the song ‘Flooding the Acheron’ which you can hear on their Myspace page if you follow the link. Very Good Stuff!

Withered were next, a Doom Metal outfit from Atlanta.   Or Tortured Blackened Doom, if you go by their ads.  These guys were the heaviest band on the bill, drudging up concrete slabs of sonic goodness and dumping it into our ear canals (which wasn’t as painful as it sounds).  A bit tedious at times, but it did stir in me the desire to hear their studio efforts as they seem a band that you wanna clamp onto with your headphones, sinking into your favorite chair and just let them transport you to the darkest corners of Hell. A white knuckled ride indeed.

The notorious Marduk were next, perhaps the evilest thing to ever escape from Sweden (other than ABBA). A perfect case study of classic Black Metal, Marduk erupted upon the stage like Linda Blair’s lunch, with passionate & brooding melodies replete with frenetic, treble heavy guitar, thundering double pedal bass drums and Mortuus’ angry, rasping vocalizations. I’ve long wanted to see these guys live & was thrilled at the opportunity – especially since they definitely lived up to the hype! Probably the strongest audience reaction all night went to Marduk.

Headlining the bill were the Death Metal legends – Possessed. Many believe Possessed were THE original Death Metal band & much evidence supports this theory as a lot of early bands site them as an influence (including Death founder Chuck Schuldner). A few years ago, I thought I’d never get to see them live after vocalist Jeff Becerra was left wheelchair bound following a brutal robbery. Surprisingly, Becerra is the only original member remaining from the ‘Seven Churches’ days – the other positions being filled by members of LA’s Sadistic Intent. The result is a highly energized, tight sounding outfit which has Becerra zipping around the stage, thrashing like a madman despite any physical limitations you might assume. From opening song ‘The Exorcist’ (my personal fav), these guys never let up & even Rick from the Alrosa joined us in the pit for a while. At the risk of sounding syrupy, it was truly an inspirational show. Chatting briefly with Becerra afterward, I found him to be appreciative of his fans & a very genuine dude. When I mentioned that he and I were both Oldschool, he corrected me by saying “Nah man, we’re Preschool”! Assuming he meant we were still young at heart, I can’t help but admire his positive outlook (especially considering the dark nature of his music).

So overall, a highly recommended show if you can catch it. Here’s a clip of the reformed Possessed at Wacken Open Air performing ‘Confessions’. Enjoy!

Concert Review: Mushroomhead – Alrosa Villa, 10.29.2010

For me, there were many disappointing aspects to Halloween this year;  my two perennial favorite shows (Misfits & GWAR) had to both be missed.  Wasn’t able to wander thru a single haunted house & didn’t give out any candy for Beggar’s Night.  All in all, a paltry & sad specimen of the season of Samhain.

One highlight, and possibly a new third perennially favorite show, was the Mushroomhead CD release party at the Alrosa Villa.  The masked septet from Cleveland play here a lot – in part, because they are as beloved in Columbus as they are in their own hometown.  The show was sold-out, and it was good to see the aging walls of the Alrosa packed to the gills with masked freaks & leather-clad outcasts.  Yeah, it felt like coming home.

After the local bands, first up was the dubiously named Final Trigger.  The audience was noticeably skeptical of this particular outfit as they set up their equipment, probably because their line-up included a DJ.  I’ll admit I was as well.  Thankfully, we were all wrong & you could see the transformation sweep over the masses as the foursome from Toronto plowed into their set.  Self proclaimed innovators of ‘Skrap Metal’, FT mix concrete heavy grooves with arena rock, anthemic power metal & yes, a smidge of hip-hop.  Trust the Reverend, it’s not a poor man’s Limp Bizkit here – these guys take their metal influences seriously!  Check out ‘Start a Moshpit’ on the Myspace link above.  They remind me of Drowning Pool personally – see what you think.

Next up was the band with a tongue twister name – Koheleth (Gesundheit !!). Actually, it’s the Hebrew word for Ecclesiastes meaning ‘to gather’, if a 30 second Google search can be trusted. Anyhow, with definite Machinehead & Pantera influences, this aggressive foursome from Fort Wayne punched out a mean set full of raw energy & sweat-laden anger. Definitely worth checking out – although nothing really stuck with me from their show.

After Koheleth was Stygian, a melodic outfit from Philly with great guitar riffage & cleaner, more accessible vocal stylings. Fairly standard Heavy Rock, I like to see a band that values musicality and actual singing. Hey, I love a good death growl as much as anyone, but hearing someone who can SING is always a treat too. Plus, I really enjoyed their cover of Pantera’s “Revolution Is My Name”. Recommend ‘Crimson Sand’ if you follow the link.

Final band of the evening was Mushroomhead. I’ve seen these guys a few times and no lie – this was their tightest, most theatrical, most awe inspiring performance yet! Like fellow masked men Slipknot (with whom they’ve had an on-again, off-again rivalry – each accusing the other of image theft), MRHD featured a carefully choreographed performance that allowed most members some front stage time while pulling out all the stops with smoke, lights and barrel drums full of . . . something. Love the new masks – especially Stitch, Skinny & L.D. Very creepy!

Former frontman J-Mann was in attendance & we were treated to he & Waylon sharing the stage for a couple tunes where among other things, J-Mann wanted to put to rest any rumors that he & Waylon “hated each other’s guts”. As Waylon quipped “how do you think I got this job, anyways?” as he pointed to J-Mann. I’m guessing not every stop of the tour got to see this reunion – was very pleased to witness it first hand.

So I suck at setlists (hands can hold either a beer or a notepad – I choose the former), but Setlist.fm has the complete listing from the Agora show in Cleveland the next night. You get the idea. All I know is I got to hear “12 Hundred” again as well as their version of Pink Floyd’s “Empty Spaces”. Epic!

I picked up the new disc “Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children”, the 7th for Mushroomhead, and will be reviewing it here as time permits. In the meantime, catch this tour if you can – you won’t regret it!

Here’s their new “banned” video for “Come On” – Great Tune! Enjoy!!