On Getting Exhumed By A Goatwhore

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.

The Satanic Freebird?

I had a few ‘incidents’ at the Viva La Band concert that are worth repeating, I’ll start with this one.  Since my work attire and my preferred concert attire don’t much overlap, I changed before the show to my Harley Davidson boots, my near legendary black leather jacket (that’s a whole ‘nother series of tales) and a Goatwhore shirt which I picked up at the Sounds of the Underground show a few months back.

While at the concert, I saw another gentleman about my age also wearing the same shirt.  In heavy metal, t-shirts are viewed one of two ways – you either wear the shirt of a band at the show, to advertise that this isn’t your first time seeing them or who you’re really here to support (kind of bragging).  OR, you wear the shirt of a band NOT at the show, to kind of educate the unclean about some band that you’d rather be attending (kind of metal snobbery).  The true elistist (such as myself on occasion) will wear the most obscure, unheard of, unsigned piece of backwoods Euro-noise just to truly sharpen that point to a nice gleam.  Maybe because they have a cool logo.  Maybe because the shirt was on sale at some headshop.

It’s not uncommon to see folks, American’s mind you, with a shirt like Burzum, which HAS to be bought in a store seeing as how the sole member of that band (Varg) is in a prison in Norway for murder and has never toured.  Not in OHIO at least.  So you see that this whole thing can get carried away.

Anyhow, wearing the EXACT SAME shirt as another guy is pretty much like showing up at the Prom with the same dress as another woman.  But as men, we handle it differently.  Rather than sulk, we usually greet one another because, well after all, we both appear to have great taste in shirts, right?

So, this gentleman and I began talking, and I soon discovered he had some friends accompanying him, and they all began telling me this little story.  It seems this motley crew (no, not THEE Motley Crue) had a tendency to shout out “GOATWHORE” during concerts.  As they explained it to me, they’d shout out “GOATWHORE” before the main act in hopes that the headliner would be as good as . . .you guessed it, Goatwhore.  And if the headlining act failed to impress, they’d continue to shout out “GOATWHORE” to somehow, someway invoke Goatwhore into appearing, slaying all of the currently performing band’s members, and then transforming the dismal set into a blistering performance of thrashing, black metal goodness.  Ok, I added that last part but the truth is not much more realistic, or sensible. 

There didn’t seem to be a contingency plan for if the headlining act was actually GOOD, so I quipped how this was some kind of black metal “Freebird” ritual.   The little group denied this vehemently but to be honest, even now as I write this I don’t see much difference between yelling out “GOATWHORE” or “FREEBIRD”.  Heckling is heckling.

They went on to explain how they’d gone to see Dope three times this year at the Alrosa Villa.  Each time, they said it ended with them chanting “GOATWHORE” at Edsel Dope, causing everything to deteriorate into threats of violence and on one occasion, Edsel screaming at them from the stage “Thanks for ruining the first show of the new tour” and slamming down his mike.

However exaggerated their prevarications, and the gleeful ignorance in their voices, I found myself appalled.  I dislike hecklers, unless it’s me, in which case it’s brilliant observations offered for consumption of the masses within earshot.  In others, especially those who are actively seeking to disrupt a show, I have little regard.

I mean, they didn’t actually have to pay to see Dope all three times, if in fact they don’t even like the band!?  How stupid is that??  So, before I could stop myself, I pointed out that it was kind of a shame they chose that particular band to harass.

“You guys do realize”, I began “Dope was, by Rick Cautela’s own admission, the first band to call after the Damageplan shootings at the Alrosa.  Yeah ,they called the very next day and asked to be booked at the venue.  Because they knew Rick would need support.  I can’t really get behind giving them such a hard time.  Not that band.”

I’m paraphrasing but that was the jist.  And that was pretty much the end of our conversation, as I was no longer popular.  I had dared not see the fun, in their fun.

And I still don’t.  By their own words, they once told Louis Benjamin Falgoust II (current singer for Goatwhore) how they like to yell out his band’s name during concerts.  Louis replied “Is that good or bad?”  

Exactly Lou.  Exactly.