GIG REVIEW: BLOODLETTING Tour Live at The Riot Room, Kansas City
This has been one incredible year for American metal tours. Monstrous lineups that came straight out of all our playlists. It really feels like the metal scene is alive and thriving in a world so hell bent on going to shit. Just when you feel like you’re about to be overwhelmed by the day to day, another killer tour pops up and luckily this one happened to stop in a city close enough to mine. The Bloodletting Tour is a flat out fucking brutal tour package, with death metal titans Origin headlining, supported by a litany of heavy hitters; Archspire, Defeated Sanity, Dyscarnate, and The Kennedy Veil. Being in Kansas City, it was only appropriate that semi-local Unmerciful make an appearance. Torn The Fuck Apart was set to start the night and kick off the tour!
Torn The Fuck Apart seems to snag every major show coming through the KC area. I caught them earlier in the year with Cryptopsy on the Devastation Across the Nation tour. They kicked this show off on a very mellow note. The general vibe honestly felt lethargic and apathetic. There wasn’t much energy coming from the band and there was a lot of dead air during the set. The songs sounded great but the overall delivery wasn’t there.
Things were slightly out of order as The Kennedy Veil was up next. Their new album “Imperium” came out recently and which is quickly becoming a new favorite from this year. The new album sounds phenomenal and they were able to replicate that sound well. I was impressed by their human drum machine Gabe Seeber. He flew through the set, making the effort look easy.
By the time Dyscarnate hit the stage, the crowd density was starting to pick up. It was a Friday night on a beautiful autumn night; Kansas City had no excuses for not turning out for this show and this time they did not disappoint. My first impression was, “Holy shit, they have sweet gear but why doesn’t it sound right.” I want to blame the mix here because initially I was not sold as they sounded like a muffled hardcore band. After a quick post set Google, I found their latest videos where they most definitely don’t sound like a muffled hardcore band. The guys still put on a great show, putting out a lot of energy into the crowd, slowly warming the chilled masses.
Things really began to pick up as Unmerciful hit the stage. By this point, the Riot Room has filled up pretty comfortably. The beginnings of a pit emerged as the band went screaming into action. You could tell these guys were comfortable here and that they knew their crowd. They really ramped up the energy in the room and got the blood flowing.
Last year, Defeated Sanity put out a split called “Disposal of the Dead//Dharmata.” On one side is their signature brutal death sound and on the “Dharmata” side, things are very different. Think Death meets Cynic with all the bells and whistles. Which only makes sense considering vocalist Max Phelps’ time spent as guitars and vocals for Cynic. What I didn’t realize was, this is the second time I’ve seen Phelps perform at the Riot Room. His other band Exist was there with Gorguts not even a few months prior. His set with Defeated Sanity was interesting to say the least. They played all of the “Dharmata” split to a mixed reaction. The music is pretty crazy and insanely technical, but it didn’t translate well into a live setting, as everything was muffled and flat. I think the crowd was hoping for some of the brutal death tunes and those did not come.
This was the second time I’ve seen Archspire inside a month. Last time we crossed paths was at The Stoned Meadow of Doom Fest in Sioux Falls, where they played to a wildly different crowd. The only things that remained the same between the two sets were the songs and my levels of intoxication. Just like last time, Archspire absolutely crushed it. These guys play some of the most demanding music I’ve ever seen live and manage to nail every track, every time. I will never get tired of moshing to ‘Rapid Elemental Dissolve’ as long as I live. Oliver Aleron is a fantastic frontman and that night he was the chef, serving up tunes. The whole set was a giant multi-course meal and each song was introduced as a new dish. It was the right combination of brutality and humor that not many bands can pull off at these levels.
Finally, Origin was up. Last time I saw these guys, I watched the entire venue turn into an actual ocean of people as guys would be shoved or jump onto the stage then get surfed to the back of the room, only for a new wave of people to crash upon the stage for the cycle to begin again. To this day is one of the most intense shows I’ve ever seen. So suffice to say my expectations were high. Jason Keyser had some interesting thoughts to share during the set, calling out bands for going on “easy cash-grab” tours for certain album’s 10 year anniversaries. So in spite of these tours, the band played “Unparalleled Universe” in it’s entirety, to commemorate the record’s 100th day anniversary. The band actually ended up out playing the crowd, as the pit started so strong, but after the hour mark, steadily started to slow down. By the end of the set, the crowd was bruised, battered, and broken while the band was still going strong.
All in all, if you have even the slightest chance to catch this tour, you should do yourself a favor and jump on it. It’s an incredible line-up, full of heavy hitters. This is a show you feel the next day, well after the bands have already left for the next town. Every band on this lineup is worth seeing, so go out and buy yourself an unnecessary amount of merch to support these guys and all they’re doing for the metal world.