Concert Review: Summer Slaughter Tour at the Palladium in Worcester, MA
Featuring: Cannibal Corpse, Between the Buried and Me, Periphery, Job For a Cowboy, Veil of Maya, The Faceless, Exhumed, Cerebral Bore, Goatwhore, The Contortionist & More!
August 10, 2012
The Palladium – Worcester, MA
Reviewed by: Brian Cross
Photos by: Diana Guay
The Summer Slaughter Tour bills itself as “the most extreme tour of the year,” and thankfully, it lives up to that bold statement. The 2012 edition of the annual extreme metal festival faced appropriately brutal heat and extreme humidity, but that didn’t stop legions of metal fans from showing up to support the ten bands on the bill. (And that doesn’t even include the pile of local bands that were playing upstairs!) Metalheads have a dedication and passion for their music that no other genre can match, and that was displayed in full force with a massive throng shouting for their favorite acts. There’s a lot of ground to cover with so many performers, so let’s get right to it.
Now, if you’re going to kick off an extreme metal festival in style, then Cerebral Bore is a fine choice. The brutal death metal band started things with a hyperspeed attack that immediately got a circle pit going, even though the venue was barely a third full this early in the afternoon. Next up was The Contortionist, a progressive metalcore act who set the tone for later bands as far as complex passages and unique songwriting was concerned. As one of the few bands on tap that used keyboards (and used them well, I might add), The Contortionist earned themselves many few followers as a result of their set, even from those who normally scoff at such things as synthesizers in extreme metal.
Moving back into the death metal vein, the legendary Exhumed hit the stage with the force of a sledgehammer. Their long grinding history was on full display as they tore through classic tracks, and let’s just say that a lot of headbangers left with new Exhumed merch at the end of the night. The band earned it; Exhumed sounds just as violent and brutal as they did in the early 1990s. Following that, Goatwhore gave no quarter, and the fans returned the statement in kind. Aside from winning the award for the most metal band name, New Orleans’ blackened death metal purveyors hit the ground running and didn’t let up on their frenetic energy. They certainly didn’t care that the pit floor was starting to become slick with sweat, and neither did the moshers tearing it up.
The next block of bands shifted things back towards the metalcore and deathcore mold, but don’t expect any kind of fan exodus. The crowd kept expanding in size as time went on, and Job for a Cowboy in particular stirred the flat-brim hardcore dancers into a frenzy. The oppressive heat be damned, the band soldiered on with tracks from their new record Demonocracy amongst classic past pieces. The Summer Slaughter Tour did have one stumbling block: Veil of Maya’s set featured more bass drops than a Skrillex performance. Their extreme metalcore show wasn’t bad, per se, but those bass drops got incredibly annoying after about a minute. It’s unfortunate that they continued for the entire set. That didn’t seem to bother their dedicated fans, though; they certainly kept the energy up and the pit going.
Moving on to Periphery, we got another taste of prog rock mixed in with the metalcore. Guitarist Misha Mansoor was largely responsible for the birth and subsequent popularity of djent, for better or for worse, but his band put on a tightly executed performance. Their setlist was split between their self-titled record and the new Periphery II, pleasing every fan of technical metal in attendance. (And there were a lot of them.) The Faceless were the final act on the “opening” roster, if you can call it that when there’s eight goddamned bands. The shredsters alternated between deathcore and traditional death metal riffing, with some brutal vocals served up on the side. Saying their music has “something for everybody” is cheesy but accurate when describing their performance.
To their credit, Between the Buried and Me is probably the only progressive metalcore band that truly manages to blend both styles seamlessly. The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues may be a pretentious-sounding album title, but BTBAM’s music dispels that problem with excellent instrumentation and long prog tracks that never get boring. Their set was only five songs long, but given their length, it was worthy of the co-headlining slot. BTBAM even included the new track “Telos” from their upcoming record The Parallax II: Future Sequence, and the entire set was backed with a massive LED lightshow. (A few death metal purists in the crowd frowned upon this, but c’mon, lighten up.)
Cannibal Corpse. What more needs to be said? The band has been on a two-decades-plus killing spree, with no signs of slowing down. I maintain that Cannibal Corpse has one of the best (if not the best) rhythm sections in death metal; coupled with George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s bellowing roars, the violent mosh pit grew to floor-spanning size and simply did not let up throughout their entire set. Fisher windmills and headbangs more than anyone, and he challenged the crowd to try to keep up with him as Cannibal Corpse sliced through “I Cum Blood.” Plenty of songs from their latest effort Torture popped up, with “Sarcophagic Frenzy” and “Encased on Concrete” spotlighting brutal riffs and skin-flaying solos. Cannibal Corpse polished off their set with what was thought to be their final song, the perennial favorite “Hammer Smashed Face.” But, immediately following that, Fisher simply shouted “I lied!” and the band broke out “Stripped, Raped, and Strangled” to finish off the night and the festival. On a final note, Cannibal Corpse’s performance was also being recorded for an as-yet-to-be-determined purpose. Who knows; fans at the Palladium may hear their screams on an upcoming live album or bonus track.
After eight hours of uncompromising brutality, and a few unfortunate incidents where fans had to be removed due to heat exhaustion, fighting, or both, Summer Slaughter was an unparalleled success and worth every minute. Attending the 2012 Summer Slaughter Tour is an absolute requirement for extreme metal fans of all stripes; ten bands on the bill for a rock-bottom price, and the likes of BTBAM and Cannibal Corpse headlining…what are you waiting for?
Tune in later this week for our Summer Slaughter full photo gallery and exclusive interview with Pat O’Brien Cannibal Corpse!