Due to the length of time that has passed on this concert (almost 2 weeks), a full-on review of the Exhumed/Goatwhore/Havok show at the Alrosa Villa might seem a bit pointless. What the hell – better late than never! If you’d like another perspective of the same show, I recommend checking out Gogmagogical (always happy to support a fellow blogger).
Anyhow, this was a Tuesday night show – which is a rough situation for the headliners if there’s a significant number of opening acts on the bill. On this night, there were 5 openers – so sadly by the time Exhumed took the stage, there were about 40 of us left. A disappointing lack of support but I understand it’s how it goes sometimes. People get up WAY earlier than me & it’s just good that they came out at all, right? But I’m getting ahead of myself, here’s my thoughts on the lineup;
Kingsblood – If there’s such thing as Epic Metal, then Kingsblood is the poster-child. Growling death vocals backed by excellent Battle Metal-style guitar riffage and rapid fire drum blasts, this is music that conjures images of knights & barbarians without seeming. . .well, nerdy. The fact that guitarist McFly is also a graphic artist translates into awesome logo work that you can check out at the link as well as some tunes.
Skullbomb – delivered some pounding Thrash reminiscent of early Exodus, with catchy rhythms and galloping drum beats that took me straight back to the heydays of the 80’s. Like the next two bands who followed, I’m excited to see a continued resurgence of oldschool Thrash in the clubs these days, something I fully supported in the first generation, and will continue to support with these younger acts. Keep the spirit alive, gentlemen!
Next up was Mithridium, a melodic oldschool outfit with a propensity for face-melting, dueling guitar leads. I challenge anyone to listen to the first 30 seconds of “The Blood Of Retribution” and not drop their jaw in disbelief. Relentlessly heavy, polished and with a completely professional stage presence, these guys are ready for bigger stages.
Continuing the Thrash onslaught was Havok, a high energy foursome out of Colorado who blasted out amazingly technical songs making even this early week crowd put on their dancing shoes & open up a pit. I highly recommend “Scumbag in Disguise” but really, EVERYTHING they played was arena-level awesome with complex instrumentation and melodic hooks. These guys need to be huge – and I have no doubt that they will.
Evil followed, with the ferociously brutal Goatwhore from the mystic swamplands of Louisiana. Deftly mixing punk with Thrash & Black Metal influences, Goatwhore is the bastard offspring of bands like Celtic Frost and Agnostic Front. Ben Falgoust’s vocals permeated the stage with his unholy ranting, spewing venomous rebellion at the masses amidst the deafening wall of distorted power chords & thundering bass. Greatest crowd reaction of the night – and for good reason, Goatwhore is nasty little guilty pleasure that I recommend catching if you get the chance.
Final act of the evening were the Gore Metal legends Exhumed, who return to touring after a lengthy hiatus supporting their first new CD in almost 8 years (“All Guts, No Glory”). Despite being abandoned by a large portion of the audience, Exhumed played a full-on assault of grinding Death Metal like they didn’t even notice. Surprisingly sparse in theatrics (think Cannibal Corpse), Exhumed’s visceral delivery felt like heavy chunks of carnage filling the air with blood-soaked dread, delivering a tight, punishing show that underscored their status as godfathers of the genre. Really liked hearing “I Rot Within” and “Necromaniac” live, and seeing as how this was their first appearance at the Alrosa, I hope they do return someday & receive the responsive, watchful throng they deserve.