Job For A Cowboy, Whitechapel, Cattle Decapitation, Revocation, and I Declare War hit Seattle hard on JFAC’s current Ruination tour on the night of May 18 at El Corazon. All three of your NCS collaborators turned out for the carnage and we file this somewhat incomplete report, along with a somewhat incomplete batch of our half-assed photos (be sure to scroll to the end of the review to see those).
Somewhat incomplete, because we had to leave before JFAC’s set. Maybe if we were being paid to run this site, we’d have stayed to the bitter end, but the people who actually do pay us were expecting our asses to show up on time early the next morning. Life is full of fucking compromises, isn’t it?.
I DECLARE WAR
Well, what can we say? It’s just so fucking cool to see our local boys making good. As we reported here back in March, IDW has signed with Artery Recordings and has a new album (Malevolence) due out on June 8, with two of the songs currently streaming on their MySpace page. They played some dates earlier this month in California with Whitechapel and Son of Aurelius, and next month they start a nationwide tour with Molotov Solution, Dr. Acula, and Monsters.
But this night was a show for the home folks — something of a coming-out since the news of their label-signing, and man, did the home folks turn out. El Corazon was packed to the gills in time for the first chord of IDW’s first song, and they showed these hard-working, hard-playing dudes a lotta love. (more after the jump . . .)
IDW whipped the crowd into a moshpit frenzy with their uber-brutal brand of deathcore, featuring the super-low gutturals of Jon Huber (who has himself left bits and pieces of his body in moshpits throughout the Northwest — and did it again last night when Whitechapel took the stage). IDW’s self-confidence on stage has grown tremendously since we first saw them play more than two years ago, and they put on a killer set full of primal power and head-crushing groove. We wish them the best with the new album and the big tour about to start.
We last saw these guys in Seattle on January 26 as part of the Metal As Art tour (and wrote about that experience here). They blew us away then, but that was just a warm-up for the jaw-dropping performance we saw at this show.
We’ve pretty well decided that this band is unclassifiable. They serve up a big dose of death-metal-infused thrash, but at the same time the instrumentation is so technically complex that it also appeals to died-in-the-wool math-metal nerds (like us).
All four of these guys are technically superb, and what’s amazing is to watch how flawlessly and in-sync they execute on stage while playing like super-charged bats out of hell. Think of being stuffed inside a child’s top, which is then set spinning at a zillion rpm’s and struck repeatedly by lightning bolts. That’s kind of what it was like being in the audience while Revocation tore up El Corazon on May 18.
As good as all four of these dudes are, we’ve got to say again that Dave Davidson’s shredding puts him in some very rarified air. He’s not just blazingly fast and inventive, he plays with tremendous passion and feel. If these guys played here once a month, we’d turn out every damned time.
We’ve admired from afar this San Diego foursome’s uncompromising dedication to their principles — and to the brutal way they convey it in their music and album art. But until last night, we’d never seen them mop up the floor with their live music. What a complete mind-fuck this set was!
Hyper-technical grind played with the speed of a whipping centrifuge. No discernible melodies. Very few rhythms or tempos that lasted for more than about 5 seconds before shifting to something else. Each instrumentalist going berserk on their instruments at a blinding pace, and yet somehow in complete sync with each other.
There’s no telling how many million hours of practice and performance enabled these dudes to pull this shit off, but it was an awesome (if bizarre) spectacle to watch.
And speaking of bizarre, vocalist Travis Ryan looked (and shrieked) like he was going through one protracted, non-stop seizure, which included him periodically sticking his fingers into his mouth, rolling his eyes, and thrashing about like he had electrodes shoved up where the sun don’t shine. The dude’s vocals are also insane. It was riveting to see, and hear.
Cattle Decapitation drove the already frenzied crowd into an even more intense frenzy and elicited a thunderously enthusiastic reception.
We’ve seen these deathcore titans before, but they just keep stepping up their game. Such a huge difference between their first stop in Seattle on a national tour two years ago and the jolting performance this week. They’re in complete command now, and they put on a pummeling live show.
The band’s unusual three-guitar attack delivers serious blunt-force trauma in a live setting. It’s all about rhythm and visceral power and roof-collapsing breakdowns and Phil Bozeman’s gut-rumbling gutturals and hair-raising shrieks. Just impossible not to get into it, particularly when almost the entire, densely packed floor was in constant motion from start to finish. Somehow, there was even enough room to manage a wall of death before the set ended.
Whitechapel has a new album (A New Era of Corruption) scheduled for release on June 8 via Metal Blade, but their El Corazon set was mainly a selection of songs from their previous releases, Somatic Defilement and This Is Exile. The crowd knew those songs well, screamed along with Bozeman, and was ready for every tempo shift and breakdown with mass physical action.
After Whitechapel’s set ended, capping off the equally wild performances that preceded them, we felt like we’d been cooking all day in a Dutch oven bubbling with moshpit juices. The place was just hot as hell — and it’s not even June in Seattle.
JOB FOR A COWBOY
Massive fail by us! We had to leave before their set started. No slight intended to JFAC. Like I said at the beginning, life is just full of fucking compromises, and my cohorts and I just couldn’t make this as late a night as we would have wished in a perfect world.
Bottom line: this is a tour that’s definitely worth catching up to if you have the chance. And watch out for that Molotov Solution – I Declare War tour if it comes to your neck of the woods. Those tour dates can be found here.
And now, here are some more photos from the show. Sorry to say, they’re even more half-assed than usual because someone decided to keep the stage pretty dark for most of each set, with big white spotlights directed instead onto the crowd. For amateurs like us, that really makes it tough to get decent exposures for stage shots from a distance. Oh well, fuck our excuses, here are the pictures:
I DECLARE WAR