This marks the first time I’ve seen a truly heavy show at the Ravari Room here in Columbus, and I gotta say – I was skeptical. I mean, the stage can be hard to see depending on where you stand, and the place isn’t as large as the Alrosa or the Newport (which could be a concern when a pit opens up). Still, I’ve enjoyed Hellsfire Sinners and Bigelf at this venue, so I thought ‘what the hell’.
In retrospect, the place is awesome! Beers were cheap, I had no trouble seeing the stage, the vibe & staff were cool and if I had needed food, Hound Dog’s pizza adjoins the venue (I didn’t get that far this time around).
And what a lineup! First up was Infernal Death, a Death tribute act from here in Columbus. Now I’m naturally hard on tribute bands; I know not every tribute act tries to emulate the look of the band they’re honoring, but sound is not negotiable. You must sound like the band, or you’re a COVER band, not a tribute band.Â Thankfully Infernal Death is a TRIBUTE act, in fact they’re even in touch with the estate of Chuck Schuldiner so that they continue to legally pay homage to that guitar god.Â Having never seen the real Death in concert, Infernal Death made me feel like I finally had.Â Â Tight & well rehearsed, the band tore through selections from “Scream Bloody Gore” with fervor, with especially sharp performance on “Zombie Ritual”. I also liked how they would remind the audience on more than one occasion it wasn’t their music.Â To quote an intro by guitarist/vocalist Mike Lare, “Here’s another song we didn’t write”.Â Â
Next up, another awesome Columbus band, and one that I’ve mentioned here at the RoH several times before – Locusta.Â These guys keep getting better and better, with an intense stage performance featuring excellent Technical Death Metal played proficiently & full of heart.Â Their wide range of influences can be felt beneath the aggression-laden riffs and growling vocals to create complex, somber passages that are both mesmerizing & brutal. Definitely pick up their CD if you haven’t already.
3 Inches of Blood were next and their set was an oldschool pummeling onslaught that had them stirring & churning the moshpit like sweaty barbarian cooks.Â Galloping rhythms, clashing guitar riff-age and the lung-wrenching screeches of aptly named vocalist Cam Pipes all made for a high energy performance that was one part Battle metal, one part Power/Thrash – and 100% awesomeness in my book. On a side note these guys get my vote for ‘true metal warriors’ for leaving IMMEDIATELY after the show to begin a 50+ hour, non-stop trek back to Vancouver, BC – by van. OUCH!
Headliners out of Athens, Ohio were the neo-Thrash pile-drivers known as Skeletonwitch. The ‘Witch sew together classic metal with elements of Death & Black like rotting appendages to an unholy zombie creation, building a beast both familiar & eldritch all at the same time. Vocalist Chance Garnette’s raspy yet articulate stylings lend an almost Scandinavian flavor to the NWOBHM-influenced guitar progressions and double-pedal drum blasts (from none other than legendary skinmaster Tony Laureano!) to stir nightmarish imagery from the darkest corners of the abyss. These lads have really grown into an extreme metal powerhouse, and I look forward to watching them charge headlong into greater metal glory.
Special thanks to Starwood Productions for arranging this amazing line-up, follow the link to their Facebook page which has some pics from the show.