With the sun still shining outside and the girls looking nice, Metalrage decided it was best to move to a small, dark, almost sold out venue full of sweaty men and extreme metal music. Thrash & Burn is a concept started in America last year, putting as much established bands next to new bands on the lineup as possible. Last year's tour featured bands like Darkest Hour, Parkway Drive, Misery Signals and Stick to Your Guns, and after 28 mostly sold out gigs, it is time to take the tour to the other side of the ocean. With seven bands on the bill, we had a long evening ahead of us.
Risen from the ashes of Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus, Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky was the first to unleash their grinding death metal in front of a still small amount of people. Throughout the next 20 minutes the band showcased most of their brand new debut album The Grand Partition and Abrogation of Idolatry, playing a very powerful and convincing set. The band is slightly out of place on this bill, and the crowd didn’t really seem to pay much attention to the band, being too busy with their Myspace, Hyves and Linked-In meetings (whatever’s hot at the moment). A few people banged their heads but the majority of the crowd kept talking throughout most of the set. Shame for such a promising band. I hope to see them soon on a more death metal lineup with less people discussing the latest hot MySpace pictures.
Arsonists Get All the Girls is a band I was really waiting for. Both of their full length albums The Game of Life and Hits From the Bow are blasting grindcore records with heavy keyboard parts and singalong parts. Sounds like party to me! The band played a short set showcasing mostly tracks from the upcoming album which is due out in June. I didn’t like the new tracks at all. They sounded like some Enter Shikari rip-off including clap-your-hands 4/4 kick drum parts and way too much keyboards. Me, along with the crowd, cared more about hearing some nice “oldies” such as “Shoeshine for Neptune”. After a small 20 minutes of playtime, the band left the stage but didn’t really convince me and neither one of the girls in the crowd who shouted their set at Groezrock was better. I wonder if she had even looked at the lineup...
The third slot of the night was saved for Germany’s proud War From a Harlots Mouth. Before I’d seen them live at Moshmeeting in Roosendaal, I didn’t care much about this chaotic grindcore band at all. But after this amazingly tight set, I got excited to see them on this tour as well. Starting off with “Heeey Let’s Start a Band” from their debut album, they got the crowd moving in no time. After that they showcased a nice mix of tracks from the split EP, debut album and brand new album In Shoals, covering the best tunes such as “How to Disconnect…”, “Fighting Wars With Keyboards”, “Uptown Girl…”, “Copyriot” and finishing with “If You Want to Blame Us For Something Wrong, Please Abuse This Song” including a wall of death at the last breakdown. They showed once again that grindcore is not only music to bang your head to, but music to party to as well.
Next up was Carnifex, a death metal/deathcore imprint from America but I really don’t understand the big hype around this band. On CD it sounds really boring; the drummer is just a little too slow for a death metal band, there are way too much breakdowns and it’s full of really boring and uninspired death metal riffs. They had their first appearance in the Netherlands at Never Say Die in Tivoli last year and even though I couldn’t be there myself, I heard so much good stories about this band that I decided to give them a chance. The band only played about 4 or 5 tracks including “Lie to My Face” and “In Coalesce With Filth and Faith”, but just enough time to confirm my prejudices. The drummer made a few very ugly fuckups and the whole set didn’t sound as tight as the previous three bands. With so many new bands within this genre, this is definitely not of the best ones.
After the deception of the Carnifex performance it was time for a band that just never disappoints. Beneath the Massacre from Canada only exists for 5 years but already released 2 full length albums and an EP and knows how to translate their technical death metal into a blasting live performance. It’s amazing to see this band blowing all the other bands off the stage with just one guitarist and no double vocals. Just like Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky, the band is a bit out of place on this lineup, but the crowd seemed to dig it and the band played a nice 30-minute set with mostly tracks from the last two albums such as “Reign of Terror”, “Lithium Overdose”, “Our Common Grave”, “Societies Disposable Son” and finishing the set with the Untitled interlude from the first full length, mixed smoothly into “Comforting Prejudice”. Besides that, they played a brand new, yet unreleased, song in the middle of the set that really got me exited for the new album. They will tour again in August together with Misery Index, Hate Eternal and Psycroptic and I just can’t wait!
As Darkest Hour played the headlining slot the day before the Amsterdam show, co-headliner Bleeding Through was up next. It was very clear from the beginning that most of the kids came down especially for this band, looking at the shirts and shorts. Just after Beneath the Massacre was done playing, the crowd gathered in front of the stage waiting for the band to plug in and play. This took a while though and when I got back after about half an hour I heard the CD spinning the intro “Finnis Fatalis Sprei” from the latest album Declaration followed by the title track. The band played a set of tracks mostly of their lastest album and The Truth such as “Germany”, “Love in Slow Motion” and “Kill to Believe”. During the set I felt a sense of “fashion before passion” from the band and the crowd itself. It’s strange a band like this can grow so big in this scene, full of bands that really have something to say and don’t care about their looks.
Next up was a band I’ve seen in September 2007 together with As I Lay Dying, giving away a fantastic show. So I was pretty excited to see them again, but after Bleeding Through, most of the crowd went home already, leaving Darkest Hour to play for a cut in half crowd. The band parted ways with guitarist Kris Norris recently, but new guitarist Mike Carrigan sounded like he was playing in the band since the beginning! This is the last tour in support of the last album Deliver Us because when the band gets back from the tour, the new album will be released. The band played tracks such as “Doomsayer” and “Demon(s)” but the crowd was tired from the long evening and during the set most of the people left before Darkest Hour even left the stage. Time for this band to get back to Europe after the album release with fewer bands supporting them!
A good, long evening full of some great bands with War From a Harlots Mouth, Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky and Beneath the Massacre being my personal favorites.
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