Tag Archives: Cleveland

Hells Headbash III Lineup Confirmed!

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It’s official!  The moment we’ve been waiting for is here!  The lineup for Cleveland’s own festival, Hells Headbash is confirmed and it kicks fucking ass!  Hells Headbangers is giving a little something to fans of all genres this year.  Everything from old school death metal, to raw black metal, to thrash, and even doom metal is featured on the bill.  One thing all the bands have in common though, they’re all true as fuck and will melt your goddamn face off!  These are the bands on the bill.  Don’t miss this!

Goat Semen
Demoncy
Grand Belial’s Key
Intolitarian
Sacrocurse
Scythian
Incantation
Angelcorpse
Revenge – band
Atomic Aggressor
Void Meditation Cult
Profanatica
MORBOSIDAD
Hobbs’ Angel of Death
Toxic Holocaust
Armour
POWER FROM HELL
Acid Witch
Embalmer
Perdition Temple
Demona
Kerasphorus
Terror – CLE
Shed The Skin

The show starts at 2pm sharp on Friday September 2 at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio and goes on through Sunday September 4. Terror will be opening on Friday, so get there on time. Set times for the rest of the bands are soon to be announced. Tickets are on sale now! Buy them at this site https://hellsheadbash.yapsody.com/event/index/28938/hells-headbash-part-3.  Hails!

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Mythrias- Absolving the Treacherous

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Hailing from Akron, OH, melodic death metallers, Mythrias released their sophomore effort entitled “Absolving the Treacherous” in September of 2015. Don’t let the Dragonforce-like artwork deter you from listening to this album, it’s actually quite relevant. Mythrias’ sound teeters that fine line between melodeath and melodic black/death metal. The feel is reminiscent of Wintersun or early Dark Tranquility amalgamated with Dark Fortress or At the Gates.

“Absolving the Treacherous” is an overall, catchy follow-up to the band’s 2013 demo, “Rise of the Mythrias”. Tyler Clark’s and Mike Mion’s guitar work is clean and technical, the riffs are memorable and catchy, and the drum work is exceptionally tasteful. Taylor Andjelkovic’s vocals complement the band’s sound nicely. This EP had several head bang inducing moments. The stand out track on the album, for me, is irrefutably “I am Fire, I am Death” with its insanely dissonant breaks and aggressive blasts. It was notably, the heaviest track on the EP. Also interesting, was the band’s cover of Offspring’s “The Kids Are Alright”. I really like when death metal bands cover non-death metal songs. It adds a certain flair to their overall feel.

As a band, Mythrias is still really green and could improve in a few places. Even though the guitar solos were technical and melodic, they were a little too pronounced and could have stood to be more recessed into the background, which would have created a fuller, and more aggressive sound. Also, although the production has technically improved since the band’s demo, rather than improving the sound it adds a processed and digital quality to the EP that really takes away from any potential rawness the band’s sound might have benefited from. Despite my criticisms, however, “Absolving the Treacherous” is a high caliber release for 2015, more than worthy of your time and attention. If you’re a fan of melodic, Swedish black and death metal, I would absolutely recommend purchasing this EP. It won’t disappoint.

7/10

https://mythrias1.bandcamp.com/album/absolving-the-treacherous

Macabre- 20th Anniversary of Sinister Slaughter Mini Tour

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It has been twenty years since the legendary grindcore/murder metal, Chicago outfit, Macabre released their famed album, Sinister Slaughter, and the band decided to embark on a celebratory mini tour in its honor. Even though Macabre only played four shows on their tour, they still played Cleveland. They always play Cleveland. I am very lucky to live in a city so sublimely metal, a city where dark, graffiti ridden clubs mark every street corner and black clad drunkards and musicians are the daytime norm.

It was a “Sinister Sunday” indeed, when Corporate Death, Dennis the Menace and Nefarious invaded “The Birthplace of Rock and Roll”, for a very special, exclusive performance with local bands, Merciless Reign, Benighten Empire and Punching Moses. The crowd prepared for an evening of drinking, debauchery and mayhem.

The first band to hit the stage was Merciless Reign. I didn’t really know what to expect from this new Death/Thrash act. These guys were friends of mine, however, so I stood center stage, awaiting my first listen. What a surprise! What stood out about this band, was the sheer power emanating in their sound. Merciless Reign has a sound that requires none of the fancy, technical frills that have become so popular nowadays, with the influx of tech death on the rise. No sir, Merciless Reign has a presence and an intensity that will tear your fucking face off and they deliver this ambiance with simple, aggressive, thrash-y riffs, a bit of blackened repetition, blistering leads and paralyzing blast beats. Tracks like 17 Years of Hatred (Unleashed) are an epic and driving force to be reckoned with when played live. The energy that Merciless Reign achieves in their live performances is not quite met in their studio recordings, however. That is not to say that their demo is no good. It is very well done. But Merciless Reign bludgeons the hell out of a crowd live. I think this is because of the intensity that their drummer, Chris Krucker, packs into his live performances. He’s a wild man up there. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from this band, both live and in the studio.

The next band up was Cleveland’s own Benighten Empire. Formed from the ashes of local deathcore outfit Evisceration and early Benighten Empire, which was formerly a Viking metal band, the current sound of the band is interesting, for lack of a better word. With the look of a deathcore band, the stage antics of a flashy, black metal band, the belligerent audience interactions of a thrash metal band, and a mix of everything from “core”, to the clean chanting of Viking metal, to the epic onslaught of black metal in their sound, Benighten Empire is utterly confused. I really wasn’t exactly sure what they were trying to accomplish onstage. It wasn’t as though they played badly, I simply wasn’t sure what they were playing or what they were doing with those upside crosses. It looked more like Justin Beiber participating in a black mass than Mayhem. Confusing, indeed. My friends and I have dubbed the band “Vikingcore”. However, Benighten Empire is not innovative enough to coin a new genre, their sound is simply immature. Given a few years, this band may hone their sound. They are still relatively new, forming only five years ago in 2008. Until then, I’d say, pass on this band.

Next up was hardcore punk act, Punching Moses. I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this band other than that they felt a little out of place up there. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate when hardcore bands open for metal bands. Stick to your genre and go play at the Spitfire. The Foundry is for metal. Not only that, but their sound quality onstage wasn’t great and the feel of the band was very common. There was really nothing special going on onstage with Punching Moses. If you’re going to call yourself punk rock, be punk rock and spit on the fucking audience or something. Upon further research, I found this band was voted “Most Un-listenable” by The Cleveland Scene. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this band un-listenable, boring is a better way to describe them. Listen for yourself.

Finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for had arrived. Macabre was set to hit the stage. Being perfectionists, Macabre took quite some time to set up. They were well worth the wait, however. Macabre certainly did celebrate Sinister Slaughter, playing songs they haven’t played in years, like Ted Bundy song, Mary Bell, Montreal Massacre and Night Stalker. As usual, vocalist Corporate Death prefaced each song with an eerie description of a serial killer’s horrific antics and exuded a larger than life stage presence. The sound quality was great and the songs were played to grindcore perfection. The audience was pumped, singing along to the songs and moshing like crazy. And even though Corporate Death, Dennis the Menace and Nefarious may have a larger than life presence onstage, they are incredibly down to earth guys off stage, interacting with fans, signing occasional autographs and watching the opening bands play. My high expectations of the evening were more than met, when Macabre finally hit the stage. If you missed them this time around, never fear. Macabre will be playing again in December for the Holiday of Horrors show with Cardiac Arrest, Witchbanger and Elbow Deep. Catch them in Chicago at Reggie’s Rock Club on 12/26/2013. Happy Listening. Hails!

Inoculation

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Hailing from my hometown, Cleveland, I am proud to present Inoculation.  I seldom get this excited about a new band, especially one fitting the description of death metal, but Inoculation is keeping things fresh with their newest release, Elysium.

Over the years, technical death metal has become engrossed in redundancy, with droves of Necrophagist wannabes polluting the scene and almost irritating arpeggiated riffing overpowering the sound, but Inoculation has toned it down a bit without losing their technicality and (more importantly) their melody. Elysium is a bit of a regression back to sounds similar to early Sadist, Katatonia or Revocation, with progressive undertones, brutal vocals and thrash-like riffing. With interesting lyrical themes, including alien abduction and the esoteric, Inoculation holds listeners captivated. The samples featured on the EP are appropriate, never redundant and cool (for lack of a better word).

Elysium is a scholarly ride through Area 51, that immediately sucks listeners into a wormhole of speed and progression. In six quick tracks, Elysium secures a crushing grip, met with an intoxicating melody. Some might complain that this has all been done before and it lacks a certain freshness that keeps things interesting. While the sound found here is all too common, anything done this well is still quite worthy of recognition.

Inoculation is still young and their sound is still hungry and perhaps a bit immature, but give this band a few more years and they will almost certainly hone a sound and audience all their own. The musicianship and production is impressive to say the least, especially for a new and unsigned act. It won’t be long before labels begin to take notice of this band. For now let’s remain ahead of the labels and take a trip to Roswell with Inoculation. Happy Listening! Hails!

Embalmination Tour 2013

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Embalmer has embarked on their western tour with Forged in Gore, and I (being a Cleveland native) was fortunate enough to catch the first show of the tour in their hometown with featured act, Rottrovore as well as local bands Blood Coven, Funeral Pyre and of course, Forged in Gore. The show was held at Lakewood’s only exclusively metal venue, The Foundry. The club is known for being one of many names (The HiFi, The Breakfast Club etc.) but has really come into it’s own as a spot for extreme metal. Slow to compete with punk/metal pub, Now That’s Class, The Foundry has respectfully become a haven for the underground in the past two years.

Blood Coven was the first band to hit the stage. They kicked off the evening nicely, playing classics, Warmaggedon and Feel My Steel, as well as showcasing their new track Age of Hell, to a lackluster crowd. Perhaps the highpoint of the set, for me at least, was when they played my request, Godless and Wicked.  The set was a bit sloppy in places, but not unforgivably so and the pure evil and aggression emanating from the stage, well made up for any slop in the performance.  Perhaps the only true disappointment was the utter disinterest, yielding from the crowd.  I can not, for the life of me, figure out why Blood Coven hasn’t become a greater force in the Cleveland metal scene.  Alas, I appeared to be the only person familiar with the material.  It was of no consequence to me however, I’ve been that person numerous times.  Blood Coven is truly a band worthy of recognition, so I give you Age of Hell!

Blood Coven’s ass kickery made way for black metal outfit Funeral Pyre. Funeral Pyre prefaced their first performance in twenty years with smells of acrid incense and arrant blackness. The crowd prepared for a celebration of evil. The enthusiasm of the crowd would only be met with sheer disappointment, as the set was an utter disaster. The drums were entirely too loud, drowning out sloppily played guitars.  Vocalist Brian Sekula, lazily fluttered about a goats skull as he shrieked classic tracks, Prosperity of Satan’s Reign and Celtic Sun.  Brief moments of harmony were quickly halted by clumsy mistakes, so attempts to get lost in the music or even discern one song from the next, were futile.  This band will definitely have to work together and practice more if they intend to gain a following in the underground live circuit.  Either that, or remain a studio band.

The show wouldn’t be a total bust, however, Forged in Gore hit the stage next to tear our faces off with the brutal death metal Cleveland has become known for.  Lightening fast riffing, blast beats and guttural “vokills” characterized the set.  Tongue in cheek requests for the band to slow down were met with a proverbial middle finger and even faster playing on the track Afterbirth Hors d’ oeuvre. Vocalist/bassist Brian Baxter engaged the crowd even further, inciting mosh pits and interacting with fans. Embalmer vocalist Paul Gorefiend performed guest vocals on a cover song to much approval from the crowd. Forged in Gore put on an incredible set. The band exudes professionalism and can most definitely anticipate a promising future.

We’d all anticipated Embalmer would go on next as initially Rottrevore was supposed to close the show but at that point in the evening everyone was inebriated and logistics mattered little.  Rottrovore went on next.  Excitement came over the crowd as Rottrevore set the perform their first live show in Cleveland in over 20 years.  Although I, personally am not an avid fan of the brutal death foursome, the band did not disappoint diehards, performing classic tracks like Unanimous Approval and Incompetent Secondary to perfection. Rottrovore closed their set with Conspiracised and fittingly the performance was met with “unanimous approval”.

The final band of the evening to play was of course, goregrind aficionados, Embalmer. An intoxicated Paul Gorefiend hit the stage, spewing vocals to utter perfection. You would never guess that he was wasted or that he’d injured his ribs at a Goatwhore show months back. Embalmer killed it, performing tracks from their must-have compilation from 1997, There Was Blood Everywhere, such as Rotten Body Fluids, the title track and my favorite, Bone Box. They also introduced new tracks from the soon to be released LP Apocalyptic Bloodshower. The new songs may have even exceeded the aggression found on earlier releases, which excites me for the release of Apocalyptic Bloodshower. The band closed with the classic, I am the Embalmer, paying homage to sole original member Roy Stewart. Embalmer did not fail to meet high expectations and “keep it fucking sick”!

Overall, the show was the definition of underground metal, with exorbitant demo trading, unofficial, laid back meet and greets, heavy promotion and intense gratitude for underground heads.  A rapturous evening of gore, dedicated to diehards.

Embalmer is currently touring the west coast with Forged in Gore. Dates are as follows…

6/8 Cleveland, OH
6/11 Kansas City, Missouri
6/14-6/15 Las Vegas Deathfest, Las Vegas, Nevada
6/17 Sacremento, California
6/18 Los Angeles, California
6/21 San Diego, California
6/22 Tempe, Arizona
6/25 Houston, Texas
6/26 Dallas, Texas
6/28-6/29 Gutfest, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Catch them in your town! Happy Listening! Hails!

In Memory of Tom Rojack

Aug 1969 to Oct 1997
Aug 1969 to Oct 1997

I thought I’d end my tribute to Cleveland metal properly, in honor of Cleveland guitarist and vocalist Tom Rojack’s life. Shredder, Tom Rojack, pioneered the Ohio metal scene, playing in many great bands such as Decrepit, Funeral Pyre and Civil Disobedience but is perhaps most well known for his work in death metal outfit Blood of Christ.

Passing unexpectedly in 1997 at the tender age of 28, due to complications after falling down some stairs, Tom led a full life, contributing much to the metal scene. He is remembered not only for his superior musicianship but also for his jovial personality.

Tom is missed and celebrated by many to this day. Let’s all take a moment to commemorate the work of Tom Rojack and listen to some fucking Blood of Christ! Throw some horns. Happy Listening. Hails!

Embalmer

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Embalmer are Cleveland legends in their own right.  Forming back in 1989 under the name Corpsegrinder, original members Roy Stewart, Toby Wulff, Mark Davis and Duane Morris released four demos, Into the Oven, Taxidermist, Rotting Remains and There Was Blood Everywhere, as well as the compilation entitled There Was Blood Everywhere, paving a bloody path for death metal and grindcore bands to come.

After being on hiatus for nine years, Embalmer returned with a vengeance in 2005 to record their first full length album 13 Faces of Death.  Despite enduring several lineup changes, the feel of the music has changed little from the straight forward brutal death metal fans have grown to love, which is a true testament to the integrity of the band.

Embalmer is currently in the studio recording their second full length album Apocalyptic Bloodshower and touring with Vital Remains.  They have released two new tracks to the public on their 2012 compilation Collection of Carnage, entitled The Origin of Scum and Deities of Filth and Cannibalistic Future.  The aggression and brutality of yesteryear remains imminent on the new tracks, to much approval of awaiting fans.  As you may have discovered, however, this blog is dedicated to the music, so I will let you listen for yourself.  Happy Listening.  Hails!