Full review: The one for saturday should be up tommorow.
There was unforeseen complications which forced me to get there a bit late.Hour of Penance and Conducting From the Grave were the only bands I wanted to see that I had to miss. Considering the circumstances, it wasn't really a big deal.
Obey The Brave was the first band I actually caught for the day. They are Alex Erian's (former co-vocalist of Despised Icon) new band. They really weren't anything special. By-the numbers hardcore that kind of sounded like Terror meets The Ghost Inside without the intensity or catchiness of either band. The crowd didn't get too into it either. Most of the time people were just yelling for Despised Icon songs. Really mediocre and uninspired hardcore.
The Contortionist, the first band of the band the day that actually I wanted to see, was up next. This was my second time seeing them, but it was the first time I actually got to catch a full set from them. I was very impressed. Their live show was tight and precise. I've gotten a lot more into them since I saw them at last year's NEMHF and that definitely contributed to my enjoyment of their set. They played two new songs, which both sound fantastic. They seem to going in a lot more of a progressive death metal direction and they even have some weird Between The Buried and Me-esque sections. I'm very excited to hear the new record in the next few months. I actually just found out they are playing the Worcester date of Summer Slaughter as well, which is awesome and completes the near-perfect lineup for that tour.
After a brief break to get some dinner, I returned to see Fleshgod Apocalypse. They had some major technical difficulties, which always seems to be the case with them. The first time I saw them, their drums were fucked up and they had to use someone else's equipment, the second time you couldn't hear the clean vocals, and this time their guitar monitors kept going out which caused them to start late. Even with these problems, Fleshgod was still great. The sound mix was a lot better this time around than at Summer Slaughter last year. The better sound made this performance the best I've seen from them. The only think that sucked is their set got cut short due to the technical problems before their set started. I want to see them again with a longer than 20 minute set.
I went to upstairs stage to avoid Carnifex and I caught First Blood. I have never listened to First Blood before so I was going in completely blind. They are some pretty good beatdown hardcore. I was surprised the crowd was not going apeshit. This type of hardcore thrives from explosive crowds and relentless energy from the band and their set had neither. That being said, they were still enjoyable and I wouldn't mind seeing them again.
I came back downstairs to catch the almighty Skeletonwitch and as always, they crushed. This was my fourth time seeing them and they never get old. Even with a short, twenty-minute set they put 110% energy into their set. They went full-steam ahead playing seven songs leaving the audience with almost no time to breathe. They didn't get the greatest crowd reception ever, but people were still into them feeding off their whirlwind energy. The lack of "Within My Blood" was kind of a buzzkill since it's such a key part of every Skeletonwitch show, but it didn't take too much away from their performance. One of the best live bands going and I look forward to seeing them again soon (hopefully with a longer set).
Oceano was up next. Unforunately, I couldn't escape them since it was past re-entry time and the upstairs stage had wrapped up for the day. This was supposed to be their last show until a few weeks ago when they (unforunately) announced they were not disbanding. I didn't think it was possible, but they were even worse than at Summer Slaughter last year. They had the worst sound not only of the show, but out of any performance I've ever seen. Their set sounded like a large hive of bees had been disturbed. The number one thing that pisses off about them is their vocalist Adam Warren. His stage-bante and presence is just fucking stupid. He actually promotes violence. He kept telling the crowd to choke each other and calling the crowd pussies and vaginas for not having violent enough pits. Fuck this band and I hope I don't have to see them ever again.
All Shall Perish was up next. This was my fourth time seeing them and they were quite good. Note to Oceano: This is how deathcore is meant to be played. They were a lot better than they were at Mayhem Fest last year. Eddie Hermida sounded great and his high screams were a lot better than they were at Mayhem. The band was spot-on as usual and they were more energetic than they normally are. Their set was pretty varied and "Deconstruction" was nice surprise. The highlight of their set for me was Mikey Powell from Conducting From the Grave coming out and doing "There Is No Business To Be Done on a Dead Planet" with Eddie. His screams complimented Eddie's very well and it made the song even more crushing. I wish they had a longer set (their full headlining set they have playing on this tour has been awesome) and played more off This Where It Ends and didn't completely abandon Awaken the Dreamers, but their show was still great.
Nile was up next. Nile was the only band of the entire day that I wanted to see that I hadn't see before. They did not disappoint in the slightest. From the minute they got on the stage to the minute they got off, they dominated the stage with their exceptionally heavy brand of death metal. Another note to Oceano: If you want to be heavy with no bullshit and no garbage breakdowns you might want to emulate these guys. They don't need to call the crowd pussies and demand violence to get intense pits. "Kafir!" was the perfect opener, and "Lashed to the Slave Stick" is one of the heaviest live songs ever. During "Black Seeds of Vengeance" members of Hour of Penance and Skeletonwitch came out which was awesome and the vocalist of Hour of Penance screamed the last part of the song, which was a badass way to close out their set. I was happy their set from their tour with Black Dahlia wasn't cut at all. With their new album coming out this year, I hope I can see them again in the near future.
The Acacia Strain was up next. This was my fourth time seeing them and it was easily the worst. They put on the most disappointing performance of the entire day. Their set was plagued by poor sound, which is a major reason their set wasnn as good as usual. I honestly couldn't make out a couple of songs because of the weak sound. Vincent's vocals also weren't quite as sharp as usual. They were still good and very heavy, but they weren't quite up to par with the other times I've seen them.
The Black Dahlia Murder finished up the night. They closed out the day in dominant fashion. Black Dahlia just rips up the stage with off-the walls energy and their expert musicianship. The amount of fun they are having on stage is just infectious. Trevor Strnad is one of the best frontmen in metal. He gets the crowd amped, he is extremely funny, he is clearly having the time of his life night in and night out, and most importantly, he does a spectacular job on vocals. They played a lot of stuff off of their new album Ritual, which was fucking awesome because that is my favorite album of theirs. A lot of the stuff they played at Summer Slaughter, but the songs I hadn't heard before were amazing. "On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood" was incredibly heavy, "Conspiring With the Damned" was badass, and "Den of the Picquerist" was chaotic and fast. The set was also filled with Black Dahlia set staples including "A Vulgar Picture", "Miasma" and "What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse" which was paired very nicely with the new material. These guys are the most important death metal band of their generation and their performance on Friday hammered that point home even further.
Obey the Brave 5/10
The Contortionist 8.5/10
Fleshgod Apocalypse 8.5/10
First Blood 7/10
All Shall Perish 8.5/10
The Acacia Strain 7.5/10
The Black Dahlia Murder 9.5/10