Summer Slaughter 2019

This being the first festival of sorts that I’ve ever reviewed, we’re going to follow a different format than band by band by band.
Instead, I will attempt to cover a couple of bands and the whole event and we’ll see how that goes. Let’s get started, shall we? There was so much going on all night long that it is difficult to figure out where to begin. I really like the way the whole lineup was laid out.
All of the national touring acts were inside on the big stage and there were a bunch of local acts outside on the small stage.
While the nationals were tearing down and setting up, the locals had the pit rolling outside. Made for an afternoon and evening with very little downtime. The doors opened at 2:00 and the music started at 3:30 on the big stage with Mellisium.

The bands were:

Outside: Psychodelic Phlegethon King of Tyrus Common Choir Agony Reigns Cobra Czar

Inside: Mellisium Divisive Brand of Sacrifice Lorna Shore Nekrogoblikon Rivers of Nihil The Faceless Carnifex Cattle Decapitation

As you can see, that’s a huge line up. Two stages and almost 8 solid hours of performances. To say is was madness would be an understatement.
It was chaos. It was the good kind of chaos, the kind that you want in your life. Wholly good and fun, let loose and have a raucous good time.
I won’t say that the mosh pits was mild by any measure, but I expected them to be much more brutal and only the strong survive (like old school Dead Kennedys and Suicidal Tendencies pits).
Instead the guy that was lining you up from across the floor was just as concerned with making sure you got up as his was about knocking you over.
This was pretty neat to watch unfold, almost like an unspoken brotherhood in the pit. I’ll be the first to admit, death metal, deathcore, grindcore, djent and all the like are not my favorite music genre.
It would be very easy for me to have referred to them all as sounding the same prior to this show.
This is only because I’ve never been subject to such a great variety all in the same session that would have held my interest long enough to get through them.
I’m glad to see that my prejudices are wrong.
There was everything from droning, grinding, crushing licks to very imaginative riffs that would have held their own in other popular styles.
The creativity and the showmanship of all who graced the staged were equally amazing as they were all completely different from one another.
I’m not likely to go out and buy my fill of death metal downloads, but I do certainly have a new found appreciation for the genre.

Among the most impressive national acts were Nekrogoblikon, Carniflex and Cattle Decapitation,
although to say any of the others weren’t worth their salt would simply be false, these bands stood up due to their showmanship and gauging the crowd response to their performance. Nekrogoblikon had a very rhythmic lyric style, almost like rap meets deathcore, but that doesn’t adequately describe it.
The inclusion of a real live goblin in their show pretty much gave everyone everything they ever wanted from the performance. Carniflex took the stage with authority and the audience was captive until their set was over. While I didn’t understand a single word, their performance had my full attention. Many metal bands (of all breeds) these days tend to try to break their fingers off playing as many notes as they can fit into a measure (going for a 1/128th note?) and then with the signal from the crash, drop to a much slower pace. Carniflex did none of this shenaniganry. Well executed transitions, blistering solos, fast songs were fast, not so fast songs were still fast, but consistent. There’s a reason Cattle Decapitation was headlining this show. While I was in the photo pit, I could hear and feel the crowd of about 850 growling along and uttering these guttural phrases in unison. I get the impression that most people bought their tickets and stayed firm at their front row post specifically for this band. The lights and fog machines added to the theatrics and the show that everyone came to see.

All in all, I’m glad I went to this show. A bit out of my element, but no worse for the wear. I found a little culture and left the venue completely spent even though I didn’t personally set foot in the pit. I know there were a handful of folks that were slammin, singin, jumpin about all night, from open to close, these dudes will probably wake up sometime on Thursday.

Review and photos by Paul Allen