Whoops forgot to post my review:
After attending the amazing System of A Down show on Thursday night, I attended yet another show for the yes when Summer Slaughter rolled through The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts on Friday.
Cerebral Bore kicked off the day in spectacular fashion. Their style of pig-squeal fueled brutal death metal is made for a live setting. Their vocalist Simone Pujimers is a monster. She has some of the finest pig squeals I've ever heard and puts most of her male counterparts to shame. The funny thing about their set was how calm she was between songs. Most of her banter went a little something like this "Thank you, We're so glad to be here This ones called (screams title of next song)". Musically they have a lot of catchy yet extremely heavy riffs. These guys and girl are a band to watch over the next few years and provided to the perfect opener for Summer Slaughter. Great set.
The Contortionist was up next. I was glad that Massachusetts got them as a special guest because they were easily the best of all the special guests for the whole tour. They were just as good as the previous two times I've seen them. They are precise as hell and playeverything perfectly in a live setting. The set was pretty much the same as it was when I saw them at NEMHF in April save for throwing in "Geocentric Confusion" off the new record (which sounds great live). I was surprised by how strong the crowd reception was. They seem to be getting bigger which is great and hopefully their record Intrinsic gives them more exposure, they deserve it. Hopefully I can see them play a longer than 25 minute set at some point in time.
Exhumed was up next. They were the only band on the bill that I am not overly familiar with despite them being icons in the underground death metal scene. Their set was good, but not great. They have a lot of talent/energy and their guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey shreds.I also liked the low screams their bass player did. The only problem is I'm not huge on Harvey high-pitched screams. Although they are far from terrible, I found them to be kind of grating and they took away from my enjoyment of their set. Overall Exhumed put on a solid, but not overly impressive set.
Goatwhore hit the stage after that. I had been waiting a long time to see them and I was stoked to finally get the chance to see them after a being a fan of theirs for a few years now. They did not disappoint in the slightest. Actually they straight-up fucking killed it. Ben Falgoust is a madman on stage. He sounded great on vocals and he really knows how to work a crowd. They ripped through a set of mostly material from their new record Blood For the Master and classics "Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult" and "Apocalyptic Havoc" to start and close the set. The new stuff translated incredibly well live especially the mid-paced "In Deathless Tradition" and the all-out thrash rager "An End to Nothing". Goatwhore put on one of the finest shows of the day and I am anxious to see them again ASAP.
Job For A Cowboy was up next. I was stoked to see them for the third time and expected their best performance to date after releasing their finest album of their career earlier this year with Demonocracy. Unfortunately I was dead wrong. Job put on a highly disappointing performance that was by far the worst show on the day. The problems of their set was 100% sound based. The drums were silent in the mix (The drums audible for about 20 seconds in the middle of set closer "Constitutional Masturbation" but that's about it) , the vocals were cutting in and out, and the guitars were overpowering. I am sure if the sound mix wasn't god awful they would have been great. On the plus, their energy was good and the new guitarist hit everything ("Children of Deceit" was easily the best song of the set because of the guitarwork). This won't deter me from seeing Job For A Cowboy again, but it was still a huge letdown and easily far and away the worst show I've seen them put on.
Veil of Maya was up next. They were the complete opposite of Job For A Cowboy. They disappointed me the last time I saw them at Summer Slaughter 2010. Their set that time was plagued by sound problems and a slew of mistakes from guitarist Marc Okubo. This time around they fucking killed it. The mix was great and Okubo played everything flawlessly. Their energy was also off the charts and the crowd was super into them. The new stuff off of Eclipse sounds awesome in a live setting. It hits a lot harder and just sound better than the rest of their material does in a live environment. "Divide Paths" was a fantastic opener and "Punisher" was the perfect closer (the whole crowd saying the sample before the ending riff/breakdown was amazing). Really the only downside to their set was that the hxC dancing ninjas were out in full force. One of my friends got clocked in the face during "Unbreakable" and got a pretty solid cut on his nose. Although he was bleeding quite a bit, Thankfully his nose wasn't broken. Seriously fuck hardcore dancers, they are scum and they need to save those moves for the dojo. Back on topic, This set completely restored my faith in Veil of Maya as a live act.
Periphery was up next. Just like the last time I saw them in April at NEMHF they destroyed. Spencer Sotelo is one of the best vocalists in the game. His screams and cleans are both equally impressive and sound even better live. The whole band was entertaining as hell as usual. Watching Bulb and Jake Bowen's facial expressions are really hilarious and they have a ton of fun on stage and it shows in the quality of their performance. The set was equally balanced between their first and second albums and focused on their heavier stuff, which was by fine me. They are a non-death metal band on a death metal tour so of course they are going to play the heaviest stuff they have in their catalog. I was worried about the crowd reception, but they ended up getting a great reception. Even better the ninjas seemed to exit the pits after Veil of Maya because Periphery's set was full of push moshing and circle pits. Periphery is an outstanding live act and I really want to see them play on a headlining tour (Hopefully playing a lot of new shit, their new album kicks ass) very soon.
The Faceless was up next. Despite Between The Buried and Me being my favorite band on the day, The Faceless was the most band I was most anticipating. The reason behind was my curiosity in how new vocalist Geoffrey Ficco would sound/fit with the band. Let me just say this now as a Faceless fanboy: Geoffrey Ficco is 10x better than Derek Rydquist. His vocals were absolutely killer. His low screams were actually substantially better than Derek's and his highs were just as powerful and sinister. (No disrespect to Derek, he is still a monster). The real difference though was how much energy he brought to the band. His injection of energy has taken The Faceless to the next level as a live band. Watching guitarist/mastermind of The Faceless Michael Keene is always a pleasure. There's a reason his nickname is Machine, The dude fucking shreds. The highlight of the set for me was "Legion of the Serpent". The intro/main riff to that song does not fail to blow my mind every time I hear it. A close second though was the new song "Desconserate". It's so weird and proggy yet punishing and heavy (I just listened to the new album today and it's excellent. Look for a review later in the week). The Faceless was damn near perfect and put on the second best show behind Between The Buried and Me. One of the best bands in all of metal in my humble opinion and their performance here solidified that. Stupid side note/anecdote: There was this couple around my age having the most graphic and disgusting/hilarious makeout session I've ever seen in my life for most of their set. Apparently alien-themed progressive/technical death metal really gets them going.
The mad geniuses in Between The Buried and Me hit the stage next. As always, they were perfect. This marked the seventh time I have seen them. There is a reason I have seen them more than any other band, They never fail to deliver live. They have some of the most complex music ever written and they play it absolutely perfectly. Clearly I wasn't the only one super into it, they have gained a huge following in Massachusetts over the years and if the reception from this show is any indicator, they are at their peak popularity to date. It makes me really happy that they have gotten so big, A band of their caliber 100000% deserves it. The set was interesting especially for a tour like this. I expected them to play at least one song off something pre-Colors which is the heaviest of their material, but instead they played songs like "Sun of Nothing" and 'Fossil Genera" which are two of the weirdest songs they have. "White Walls" of course gave me goosebumps as usual and it was badass seeing it as an opener after seeing it later in the set the previous six times I've seen them. The new song "Telos" was glorious live as well. The melodic part in the middle was beautiful and the solo at the end is even more epic live. Can't wait for the new album in October and to see them for the eight time supporting it.
Cannibal Corpse closed out the night. Cannibal Corpse was noisy, inaudible, sloppy, and I loved every minute of it. They aren't the finest death metal band around, but their style of super heavy, old-school death metal just works really well live. Corpsegrinder didn't sound quite as good the past two times I've seen them, but I'll cut him some slack since he is 43 and he still sounds much better than previous Cannibal Corpse vocalist/zoo animal enthusiast Chris Barnes does now-a-days. The set did get progressively better by the song and I absolutely love Corpsegrinder's stage presence. Just watching him headbang at insane speeds (I'm still convinced that his neck is made of metal) and make insensitive and hillarious comments in between songs is fantastic. They aren't one of my favorite death metal bands, but they are always great live and they are perfect band to headline Summer Slaughter. It was yet another successful year at Summer Slaughter and definitely the best of the three I've been to so far. Every band was at the very least decent and you never get a touring festival without one band on it. Can't wait for the next Summer Slaughter and hopefully they can get another elite lineup like this year.
3/14 Dropkick Murphys
4/10 At the Gates/Converge