Jun 052024

(We’ve been very fortunate to have two wonderful talents reporting on the 2024 edition of NCS-sponsored Northwest Terror Fest — writer Gonzo and photographer John Malley. Together they have made it possible for those who weren’t there to get a sense of the experience, and to remind those of us who were there how great it was. Here’s their report on the fest’s third and final day. Find the Day One report here and the Day Two report here.

Before I get too far into recapping the final day of this glorious weekend, a quick disclaimer:

Every year, it seems I can delve a little deeper into what powers this festival. On Saturday, I found myself going farther behind the curtain of NWTF than ever before. And why not?

I’ve been crawling around these pages for five years now, so the time felt right. What that meant for actual coverage of the band’s performances, though, was anyone’s guess at this point. I was rapidly ascending to another state of existence in which my body was being powered sheerly by caffeine, craft beer, pizza, and weed, so any attempt to cover the rest of this festival coherently was a complete fucking dice roll by now.

With all that being said, if there’s anything I can promise to deliver beneath the fold, it’s quality goddamn entertainment.

Continue reading »

Jun 042024

(We are very fortunate to have two wonderful talents reporting on the 2024 edition of NCS-sponsored Northwest Terror Fest — writer Gonzo and photographer John Malley. Together they have made it possible for those who weren’t there to get a sense of the experience, and to remind those of us who were there how great it was. Here’s their report on the fest’s second day. Find the Day One report here. We’ll bring you Day Three tomorrow.)

As I got out of bed on Friday morning, still riding whatever high Amenra left me with the night before, a random intrusive thought barged into my brain without warning:

“Is insanity a prerequisite for going to festivals?”

Perhaps. In any case, my immediate reply to my own thought was, “No, but it probably helps.”

I feel like this is usually where I’d follow up by reassuring you all that yes, I did in fact pass my last psych evaluation and no, I am definitely not an unhinged jetlagged sleep-deprived writer about to binge on eight straight hours of music and stimulants for the second night in a row.

But if I did that, I’d be telling at least one lie. (I’m not saying which part.)

Continue reading »

Jun 032024

(We are very fortunate to have two wonderful talents reporting on the 2024 edition of NCS-sponsored Northwest Terror Fest — writer Gonzo and photographer John Malley. Together they have made it possible for those who weren’t there to get a sense of the experience, and to remind those of us who were there how great it was. Here’s their report on the first day. Reports on the next two days will follow in the two days ahead.)

Few cities in the US have a relationship with music quite like Seattle does.

Beneath the city’s foreboding skies, seemingly every decade since the early 1900s carries the weight of some musical movement it spawned, and the net it casts is as wide as it is diverse.

Musicians of all backgrounds and ethnicities, playing every type of music imaginable – from jazz and folk to alternative rock and death metal – have left an enduring, tireless mark on the Emerald City, and in so many instances, the ripples that start there would be felt throughout the rest of the world.

Beyond just the music, though, the city has historically been a sanctuary for artists so often met with resentment, rejection, and outright hostility everywhere else. Cities like Seattle are where creative people come to galvanize their thoughts into action while waving a middle finger at the status quo.

When you consider all this, it only makes sense that Seattle is still proudly carrying on this legacy. And to me, no music festival is more emblematic of all this than Northwest Terror Fest.

I’m sure as hell not one to observe many traditions – at least, not in the “widely accepted by the people” sense – but the yearly tradition of coming to this festival and word-vomiting my experience into the void is one I’m more than glad to uphold.

Buckle up, my friends – it’s about to get fucking weird. Continue reading »

May 222024

(Daniel Barkasi provided us the following extensive report on the Tampa stop of the ongoing Chaos & Carnage Tour. All photos by: Brittany Barkasi @Turn off the Thunder)

The tour package dubbed Chaos & Carnage admittedly hasn’t always been a can’t miss for this scribe. Early adoptions didn’t completely appeal to my tastes, though there always have been a band or two that were very much in my wheelhouse. Variety is the spice of life, after all. Some have been outright dismissive of this tour package due to deathcore being a “dirty word,” but I’d argue that it’s way more logical to take each act on their own merits and go from there versus casting a wide net of negativity due to a label. You do you, though!

This year’s edition boasts the most varied and intriguing lineup to date. The mighty Cattle Decapitation are an all-timer, and were announced to be co-headlining with Carnifex. Support comes from Humanity’s Last Breath, Rivers of Nihil, The Zenith Passage, Vitriol, and Face Yourself. That’s a lot of bands that will get the blood pumping, and more importantly for yours truly, a diverse smattering of sound variances which could offer something for even the most discerning. Continue reading »

May 202024

(Our Hanoi-based correspondent Vizzah Harri prepared the following report of a hell of a show that took place in Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon, on March 27, 2024. Uncaptioned images in the article were made by him.)

The late eighties and early nineties must have been suffocating times – there were 6 bands formed around the same period with the name Suffocation. Though the band that formed in the same year that Soviet troops finally withdrew out of Afghanistan was the one that prevailed.

Suffocation needs no introduction for being groundbreakers in the genre of death regarding brutality and technicality. If anyone didn’t know, they’re from Long Island, home to the NYC boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, the former of which has some of the coolest metal bars any side of the Atlantic. I for one am really lucky to have not been born too late to witness Saint Vitus perform in the eponymous bar named after them.

Jesuit, if translated phonically, will sound like dễ sử in Vietnamese, which means ‘easy to use’ and the line followed unto the Latin of ‘lesous’ leads us to the catch 33 of salvation. These missionaries were extremely successful and had a massive influence on the eventual subjugation of the ‘J’ or ear-shaped French Indochina. An area that according to Wikipedia covered less ground than the three sovereign nations of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam of today.

Vietnam and Cambodia together are about 9 Long Islands smaller than France at 512,247 square kilometers (km2), which is about 20 Long Islands (3,629 km2) bigger than Arizona and the State of New York as one (436,554 km2). If you follow my bulletproof logic here… it’s been almost 20 years since Suffocation from Long Island visited this humid ‘little’ corner of the world. Continue reading »

Apr 242024

(Our friend Ben Manzella made sure not to miss one of the California dates of the ongoing Cancer Culture Over North America Tour, featuring Decapitated, Septicflesh, Kataklysm, and Allegaeon, and he brought us the following report on the show and lots of his photos.)

After going to shows consistently for close to twenty years, I find some venues hold a nostalgic place in my memory. The Observatory in Santa Ana, formerly known as the Galaxy Theater, is one such place. I rarely attend shows there due to the distance from where I live in southern California; but when I heard Decapitated’s tour would be starting there and I knew I’d be out of town for their other date in the area, I knew I had to figure out a way to be there.

As other US/North American fans of Decapitated will be well aware, the band has not been back to this region of the world since an incident that happened 7 years ago. It was pretty well documented and I don’t think it needs to be further mentioned out of respect for the band in moving forward. If anything, it felt sort of celebratory that their tour started at The Observatory because it was also the last venue they played 7 years ago.

So, with a new album released in 2022 and a strong/eclectic lineup featuring Septicflesh, Kataklysm, and Allegaeon, the Cancer Culture Over North America tour started on a high note. Continue reading »

Apr 122024

(Our Hanoi-based contributor Vizzah Harri prepared the following extensive report on the Slam City II Metal Fest, which took place last month over two days in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.)

SLAM CITY II METAL FEST 2024 officially featured 11 bands from three South East Asian countries. Sadly, Lilith from the Philippines were unable to make it this time due to what the author can confirm as exorbitant flight prices this year. My Chemical Bromance, a metallic-dubstep act stood in for the Siem Reap leg. It was set and executed to occur over two days in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. And again, this scribe can verify that it was a weekend that will go down in the history of Asian metal as what the underground is all about. Grit, grunge, punk-values, inclusion, and mighty riffage. Continue reading »

Apr 092024

(Below we present our Denver-based contributor Gonzo‘s wonderful review of a unique show in March by Wayfarer performing the entirety of their American Gothic album, with support from Paul Riedl, Munly and the Lupercalians, and some special guests.)

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point in my lifetime, metal music turned into the audial equivalent of Sriracha: You can add it to anything.

And few bands really understand this in the way Denver’s Wayfarer does. Their fusing of black metal’s raw underbelly with Old West lyrical themes and imagery is one of the best musical marriages happening in metal right now. They’re a huge part of what makes the Denver metal scene the unending adventure that it is. Any chance to see them perform live is a momentous occasion.

So when the quartet announced they’d be riding out to the Bluebird Theater for a one-night-only performance of their 2023 opus American Gothic, featuring some special guests that I’d never see coming, you could be damn sure yours truly would be present for it. Continue reading »

Mar 212024

(Our friend Ben Manzella caught the March 5 Los Angeles stop of the recently concluded Brainsqueeze Tour 2024, featuring performances by Municipal Waste, Ghoul, Necrot, and Dead Heat, and brought us the following report and his own photos of the event.)

While I can’t claim I’ve been to every venue in Los Angeles, it is still rare I get to attend a show at a venue that has recently opened for business. After the ticket demand proved beyond the capacity of the original venue, The Tankcrimes Records Brainsqueeze tour headlined by Municipal Waste managed to find a more fitting space in the Bellwether.

Along with being the Brainsqueeze tour, this tour is also a celebration of 20 years since the release of Municipal Waste’s record Waste Em’ All. Along with Municipal Waste on the tour are Ghoul, Necrot, and Dead Heat. While every band is heavy in their own right, each band is as similar as they are different; whether that was considered or not, this lineup sold out the Bellwether, which is just over double the capacity of the originally scheduled venue on a Tuesday night. Continue reading »

Mar 062024

(Our friend Ben Manzella returns to NCS with his reflections about and photos of the performances by John Haughm, Dawnbringer, and Agalloch in San Francisco CA on February 17th of this year.)

Im not sure of the origin of the saying, When it rains, it pours.” However, it seemed rather fitting for the night I thankfully made it in to see Agalloch in San Francisco. I had decided to take a brief trip up from Los Angeles for an art event at a gallery called Studio Fallout that was the same day as Agallochs concert and wanted to finally see them live after thinking Id never have a chance when they broke up a few years ago.

Adding to the rarity/uniqueness of the event, Dawnbringer was announced as the opener in their first Bay Area show in close to a decade, and John Haughm of Agalloch started the evening by playing solo material, which is also a rare treat. Continue reading »