The concert took place on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at The Beaumont Club in Kansas City, MO. I arrived early, so I caught all the bands, including the warm-up local bands. The first band to perform was the band At The Left Hand Of God. They were a generic death metal/metalcore band that employed use of a keyboards on certain songs, but they were certainly entertaining. Their guitarists really had talent that was being held back. Overall, they were a nice opening band. A couple of breakdowns, but not in a bad way really. Couldn't hear the keyboard very well, but I suppose that was a good thing.
Next was the local band Troglodyte. They came out on stage wearing masks (like Slipknot) and to a pre-recorded beginning. I feared the worst. However, they played straight up death metal. It was fantastic! They might want to lose the mask shtick, but the music is great. The guitarist actually broke a string on one of their songs which actually cut their set time down a bit. It was a shame, because Troglodyte is the best local band I've ever heard.
The first of the big bands up was Carnifex. I'm not sure why Carnifex is on this tour, as they play straight-up deathcore. Every song sounds the same with chugging breakdowns and...well, every song was basically one long breakdown. Of course, half of the crowd there loved it. Hardcore dancing ensued, a (pathetic) moshpit and lots of group vocals. Completely mediocre, cookie-cutter, by the books deathcore. Nothing special, Carnifex was the only downfall to the night. Of course, after they finished up, most of the crowd left. Good for the actual metal fans, it made for an extremely more intimate show with two of death metal's most important bands!
The world's first death metal band to sing about pagan/viking mythology, Unleashed, was up next. I was extremely close for their set and one thing stood out immediately: the sound was fantastic. Every death metal band I had seen up to that point has music mixes that took a while to get accustomed to but for Unleashed, every instrument came through very clearly and the vocals were all understandable. Unleashed is a party band, there's no way around that. They replayed several sections of songs to have the crowd sing along. And you can't help but go crazy for their amazing technical solos. At the end of their song “Hammer Batallion” they changed the lyrics “Hammer Batallion, Unleashed!” to “Hammer Batallion, Kansas!” it was goofy, it was metal, and it was fun. They gave us an encore as well, which they didn't do on earlier dates. I guess they really liked us!
But, really, how can the son compete when the father is in town? One of the pioneering death metal bands with arguably the best vocalist in the business. The addition of death metal guitarist legen Ralph Santolla only made things that much better. I was right up against the stage, smack dab in the middle. John Tardy, the vocalist, was inches away from me and Ralph Santolla nearly hit me on the head during his solos. The excellent sound was still intact from Unleashed, and it made for one of the most memorable music performances ever for me. The band joked around with each other on stage, letting other members say stuff into the mics, goof around with each other's instruments, and whatnot. They were full of energy throughout the entire night, but the real treat came a few songs in. I had explained to my friend that they had a Celtic Frost cover on their new EP. Obituary played it. They played Dethroned Emperor by Celtic Frost and really made it their own song. It was the highlight of the night for me. Not even classics like Chopped In Half or Find The Arise could top it. Pure bliss. After a blistering encore of the death metal classic “Slowly We Rot”, I shook every member's hand and called it a night. Best death metal performances I've ever seen by far.
12/07 - Exodus
12/08 - Blackalicious
12/11 - Saves The Day
12/16 - Pallbearer
12/18 - Orange Goblin OR Wolvhammer