FESTIVAL REVIEW: PRESERKER Kick-off Party – Gore, Cloud Rat, The Armed, and More
PREserker offered extreme music fans a taste of things to come at Berserker with a free show at Small’s in Hamtramck, Michigan. The close quarters in Small’s main music room were a tad closer as the room was split between the main stage and a side stage setup near the sound board for the PREserker preview party for Berserker III. This free event gave extreme music fans a taste of things to come with an assortment of Detroit talent. Pandemonium started things off with a youthful dose of punk rock on the main stage. This young crew was exuberant as they play a couple of originals and then a series of covers, including a lost track by DEVO and an impressive cover of “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden.
As the first band finished, we turned to the side stage on the other side of the room. In swirling electronic drum beats layered in clouds of electrical static and droning chords, a voice howled from the void as Plasticizer started their set. It was as if the screams of a world shrink-wrapped in hypersonic guitars and beats was hurtling through a worm-hole in space and time. It was a mesmerizing spectacle to behold.
Low and terrible in the certainty of the grave came the doom metal of Stone Ritual. Three guitars worked together to create a soup of thick and gritty riffs that poured over the crowd in a lava flow of cavernous sound. Ageless tales of Nordic gods toying with the lives of mortals would best describe the feel of their music.
Switching over to the other stage, Gore hit the venue with a buzz-saw of old-school punk. Thirty years in the Detroit scene had sharpened this band into razor-sharp perfection. Some of the audience couldn’t contain the energy and got a pit going as the band played a great Motorhead cover. Gore played punk with hardcore gusto.
Reverend took to the main stage with a mic stand adorned with flowers, and began to take us on a journey with their strangely seductive music. The drumming was hypnotic with demanding runs that compelled the audience to fix their attention on the stage. The guitar and bass were left to wander fertile fields of riffs, which went from sublime to maelstrom in the skip of a beat. All in all, their music was experimental and very satisfying.
Packed into the other side of the room and flanked with light cubes and amplifiers, The Armed exploded with chaotic noise rock fury. The lead singer grabbed someone from the audience and started to slam into them. This lit the fuse and the audience tore into the band and each other in a beautifully violent dance. Shawn Knight (Berserker promoter and Child Bite vocalist) got into the mix and ended up being carried like a sack of potatoes. Now THIS is how you engage your audience.
Cloud Rat took to the main stage and instantly whipped into a set of blistering grind. Their music was feverish with chilling speed and ferocity. The vocals at times reminded me of Tomas Lindberg from the first At The Gates album. This final act put a feather in the cap of a great evening of music and set the tone for more things to come at Berserker III in Detroit.