FESTIVAL REVIEW: BERSERKER III (Day 2) at Detroit, MI
Eyes gleamed with the thrill of the kill as day two of the Berserker extreme music festival took over the Masonic Temple in Detroit.
Enthusiasm is high as the Berserker III festival entered its second day of musical mayhem. The three stories of fun at the Masonic temple were ready to treat patrons to a full night of hardcore, doom, punk, and metal.
Cavalcade got the show started right on time and quickly drew in a crowd with music that blurred the lines between metal, hardcore, and experimental. Black death vocals surrounded songs that could have been written by Faith No More, and which were performed with spirit. This band was an intriguing start to the second night of the Berserker festival.
There was rock music crashing around our ears as Hordes got intimate with the crowd on the fourth floor. The reverberating bass thumped underneath the wailing howl of vocals and guitars. Helmet meeting Godflesh in a battle for control of the dynamic range of sounds is what this band handed us.
It was apparent that many in the crowd hadn’t heard the thick and massive sound of Serial Hawk, yet they quickly get engaged with the band and their music. Their songs were a rich blend of stoner and doom with coarse vocals and heavy grooves.
The smaller confines of the third floor stage provided a perfect setting for the blackened death metal of Coagula. Gravelly vocals were smothered in a thick cloud of guitar, drum and bass. Heads were banging to this Entombed-inspired band who put all they had into their performance.
The musical lunacy of Sheep Shifter was exemplified in the wild performance of the band, with the lead singer crawling on the stage and then sticking his head behind the floor monitor while screaming bloody murder. The entire band was a whirlwind of movement and sound, which made for a very entertaining show.
In a hail of leather and denim possessed by the power of metal, Holy Grail drew a vigorous crowd of true metal heads to the fifth floor stage. Heads were snapping back and forth with hair flying wildly as dazzling guitars flew on top of a powerful rhythm section. Soaring vocals delivered pure metal joy to the faithful fans who savored each note.
S.N.A.F.U. took to the stage and teared into a set of vicious thrash and hardcore music. The room was packed with people who were enthralled with the band’s performance. Each member of the band added vocal power that propelled the music. This high-energy exhibit was the best of the day so far.
A bold entrance is unnecessary when the name of your band is Motherfucker. They let the music speak for itself with rock-solid beats humming beneath the garage rock dissonance. It seemed that their name was derived from what people say after their set: “Motherfucker, that was some damn good shit!”
A feisty crowd gathered at the main stage when Black Tusk began their set. The band got the crowd whipped up with hard-hitting songs that could have you thinking of Eyehategod and High On Fire, with tough-as-nails delivery paired with a wall of sound that could hit you hard in the midsection.
Yautja, in case you did not know, is the name for the Predator from the movies of the same name. Like their namesake, this band was fierce and overwhelming in their musical delivery. The bass player looked possessed while the guitarist destroyed the room with a lung-bursting vocal attack. Arnold would not stand a chance against this sonic onslaught.
Crossing the lines between death metal and hardcore, Snakewing were putting the hurt on the fourth floor stage. The dark confines of this stage fit the hyper-aggressive musical barrage that this band blasted into the crowd. The vocals were raw and punishing, making the music even more intense.
Burning-hot and fueled with death metal, Cannabis Corpse fired up the crowd with one punishing song after another. The rush was relentless as they baked up favorites such as “Blunted at Birth” and “Baptized in Bud”. Stoned, immaculate guitar work and heavy-hitting rhythms fried the brains of their fans with ease.\
S.B.L.C. started their set by belting out hardcore punk with balls-out speed and force. The crowd was ready to get rowdy, and a bit of moshing soon broke out in the middle of the room. The hot lights cast a murderous glow on a band that enjoys their work, and the fans were digging every minute of it. This was hardcore at its best.
Trying to convey in words the gargantuan depth and crushing power of the music created by Generation of Vipers is a daunting task. Three people producing this level of grand and dominating sound seemed to be almost super-human. This band wrapped the intimate crowd in an avalanche of music which threatened to stifle the light.
Conan took the stage in black hoodies, moving the focus off their presence and redirecting it to the music they played. Barbaric and dark, the unfathomed depth of the tones they produced was physically jarring. Resonating and pulling like the gravity of a black star, this band brought the crowd to their knees in reverence. Indeed, there is no heavier band in the world of doom than the mighty Conan.
Sadly, many patrons of Berserker left as Die Choking started their set. This was ultimately their loss as this band was one of the shining moments in Berserker III. They embodied bloodlust and unlimited savagery with every grinding note. While the riffs were abundant and sinister, the jewel in this fiery hell was the maniacal drumming. This wasn’t mindless blasting, but a prescribed ritual in devastation as the music burned away the souls of the audience.