GIG REVIEW: SUMMER SLAUGHTER TOUR Live At Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD
Dawn 'Mama Love' Brown
On a blistering hot Wednesday afternoon, a moderate crowd gathered for what has been, since 2007, the most extreme tour of the summer, the appropriately named Summer Slaughter Tour. Summer Slaughter marked its 10th anniversary with Cannibal Corpse making their second headlining appearance with supporting acts Nile and After the Burial.
Opening the gig were three bands that, unfortunately due to day job obligations, we missed. Enterprise Earth, Ingested and Slaughter to Prevail. This was at our misfortune as they made a good impression on the crowd assembled who seemed rather excited as StP was just exiting the stage. The room was much more populated than I expected for a weekday afternoon and the vibe was electric with the anticipation of an entire afternoon/evening of extreme death metal.
Upon our arrival at the venue, we were treated to the Brazilian brothers, Alex Camargo and Moyses and Max Kolesne, known as Krisiun. This was our first exposure to this band and they killed, barreling through songs culling from their 10-disc catalog including various selections from their new album ‘Forged in Fury’. “Strength Forged in Fury” and “Soulless Impaler” proved without a doubt that Krisiun are masters of their craft with ripping guitars, thunderous drums and growling vocals.
Up next was Revocation, a 4-man collection of death metalers out of Boston, Massachusetts. These guys displayed a savage ferocity which blended seamlessly with the overall climate of the evening. With 6 studio albums and two EPs under their belts, Revocation also had a rich set pulling songs from each album for a nice sampling of their cumulative sound. Screeching through songs like “Arbiters of the Apocalypse” and “Existence is Futile”, Revocation have established themselves as a band worth following.
Again, unfortunately for us, press obligations forced us to miss the next band up, Carnifex, an American Deathcore band out of San Diego, California. Our familiarity of this band stems from the Music Choice channels on XfinityTV. Epitomizing growlers, Carnifex, dishes out profound and powerful manifestations of death metal virtuosity, both in the studio and on the stage.
After catching the last few notes of Carnifex as they closed out, we were next treated to Suffocation, a death metal outfit hailing from Long Island, New York. Suffocation tore up the stage, opening with “Entrails of You”, followed by “Funeral Inception” and “Jesus Wept”. They enjoyed a fairly spirited pit throughout “Cycles of Suffering” and “Pierced from Within”. Closing with “Infecting the Crypts”, Suffocation clearly showed exactly why they have such a great following within the death metal genre. These guys should be much bigger than they are.
It is at this point that I must emphasize the incredible feeling of satisfaction one gets when hearing the unique and unmistakable opening riff of your favorite song by a particular artist. I’ve had the privilege of seeing After the Burial several times in recent history so this experience is not exactly new. Regardless, I was once again captivated by the opening riff of “Lost in the Static”, one of their most recognizable songs. After the Burial hit every note on cue, every beat on time, with accomplished musicianship and a high level of integrity, having bounced back from the untimely loss of guitarist, Justin Lowe. A moderate pit erupted here and there but the crowd was jumping furiously at vocalist, Anthony Notarmaso’s coercion. The brutality continued through more fan favorites like “Berzerker”, “Drifts”, “Mire” and “A Wolf Among Ravens”. As always, After the Burial kicked serious ass and got everyone super pumped for the final two bands for the night.
Opening for the headliner was South Carolina-based Nile, a technical death metal band that mixes a hybrid of genres into their signature sound. Nile took the stage with “Sacrifice Unto Sebek” and followed closely with “Kafir”. Karl (Sanders) and Dallas (Toler-Wade) worked together like a classic timepiece expertly blending guitars and vocals with precision and flair. The chemistry between them was evident throughout the entire set, from “Call to Destruction” and “Evil to Cast Out Evil” to “Sarcophagus” and “Black Seeds of Vengeance”. Nile delivered a scorching performance full of angsty goodness.
Headlining the Summer Slaughter Tour this year was the legendary Cannibal Corpse. The guys were in top form. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s vocals were strong and demon-like, Paul Mazurkeiwicz thrashed the unusually small-looking drum kit, bassist Alex Webster and guitarists Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett all laid down vicious finger-work culminating in extreme death metal of epic proportions.
The crowd went wild when Cannibal Corpse hit the stage with “Evisceration Plague”. Fisher’s vocals were clearly discernible over the chest-pounding fury of the other members of the band. It’s really no wonder Fisher’s neck muscles resemble a tree trunk with the workout he gives them on stage. He’s got the circular head bang down to a science. Cannibal Corpse gifted the fans a 15-song set of favorites from their discography including “Death Walking Terror”, “Stripped, Raped and Strangled”, “A Skull Full of Maggots”, “Icepick Lobotomy” and “I Cum Blood”. Closing out with “Hammer Smashed Face” and “Devoured by Vermin”, Cannibal Corpse thrashed the audience to within an inch of their lives. The pit was furious, luckily no major injuries.
It’s quite easy to see why Cannibal Corpse is one of the world’s best and most successful death metal bands. It’s apparent that up and coming death metal bands are greatly influenced by CC, and will be for years to come.