(Live Review) METAL THREAT FESTIVAL - DAY 1 (Monstrosity + more)
Metal Threat Festival
Day One 4-14-23
The Brauer House
By The Beard & Little Johnny
THIS, is what happens when you allow Little Johnny to book shows.
Stop number nine, and bands 48-55, on “The Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023” brings your dynamic reviewing duo, (The Beard & Little Johnny) to day number one of The Metal Threat Festival in Lombard Illinois. Day one, is apparently The Day of Death Metal.
On the Bill:
The Beard located a spot by the far-right wall, and luckily, one of only about a dozen stools in the entire place. With my back against the wall, (so the pit can only come at me from one direction), I am prepared for approximately eleven hours of non-stop death metal mayhem. Little Johnny is near the stage and is as antsy as a kid the night before Christmas. Currently it is early on a Friday afternoon so the floor is not yet even half full, but this will surely change quickly.
First up: Melodic death metal from British Columbia in the personage of:
Initially, I found them kind of a death/doom sound. Vocals are the death growl (common to the genre), but the music alternates between a slower paced plodding and a speeding train style. Some of the doom portions were nicely melodic and had good structure and pace. I enjoyed the fast death portions less, but as an amalgamation it was good for an opener.
Dungeon Serpent have only been together since 2019, and have just one release, (the 5-track 35-minute World of Sorrows), so not much of a catalog to draw from in their opening set. Still, for a big fest opener coming out of the gate, The Beard will give a generous:
Second up: Local Death Metal from Chicago’s own:
This Chicago act may look like a retired biker chapter, but they have been making music for a quarter century and have seven full length albums to draw from. Cardiac Arrest has more of a death/thrash sound, which means that Adam Scott’s vocals are not entirely illegible. The Beard kind of likes this material, including tracks from their latest release, “The Day that Death Prevailed”.
Johnny has started doing something between a mosh and that weird “monkey hop” thing Ozzy does in concert. Not sure what to call it, but hey, now it’s a show!
Very good drumming from Jim Debenderfer. Again, for the second band up, these guys are good. Maybe the Day of Death won’t be a much of an “only Johnny enjoys it” day as I thought. Cardiac Arrest’s style did wear out its welcome a bit as their set went on, but overall, another solid band in a genre that is admittedly not my favorite.
Third band up tonight were West Coast Seattle Death Act:
Given their moniker, not surprisingly they were an unrepentant death act. Vocals were low growls that I am sure were also words, but I certainly didn’t know any of them. The music was also LOW and heavy and fast. I don’t know if purposely muddy was the intent here, but Cerebral Rot seemed to be about 60% death, 25% sludge, 10% punk, and 5% black metal.
This was clearly a “Fuck Yeah!” band for Johnny. More than a bit guttural for my personal tastes. Touring behind their lovely titled, Excretion of Mortality, Cerebral Rot gave us such hits as “Reeking Septic Mass”.
I will award a couple points on good lighting though, as whoever ran lights for this band either works for them or knew their set because their stuff was on cue. Since the crowd seemed to dig them, (and Johnny certainly did), I will go 73 vocals, 82 crowd, 80 music for a 78/100 overall.
Fourth up tonight, Norwegian death metal from:
Obliteration started out with atmosphere and then almost immediately ramped it up to a brutal speed attack.
Polished European playing style, Obliteration had very fast double bass assaults, and a strong rhythm section along with an almost 90’s black metal guitar attack, interspersed with some speed/thrash leads.
Their songs also have structure. This is not just “loosed lightning”, (although there is plenty of that breakneck speed within their songs).
Overall, a good maturity to this death metal band that has been together since 2001. Once again, The Beard shall award ...
Fifth up to the stage were Swedish Death Metal act.
This band has been around for over 35 years and it’s the first I’ve heard of them. (Perhaps, because they only released one album between 1987-2013.) They have released three since then, including the current “Necessary Excess of Violence.”
Sorcery has the most intelligible vocals so far today, (which means I understand a few phrases of each verse). This was almost an Amon Amarth kind of sound. Swedish & Viking etc. This makes it more palatable to my personal tastes. Johnny loved jumping around, as usual. This is his type of metal crowd, and the floor is now pretty full up.
Overall, Sorcery had a practiced ease in their performance, although some of the crowd may have found their numbers long for traditional death metal, but forThe Beard it allowed me more time to get into each song.
They presented a good show and are the leaders for me so far today with an 89/100.
While waiting for Cianide, The Beard had the opportunity to spend a few moments with metal savant and promotor guru Randy “No Fun” Kastner of (RK-Metal Productions). Randy was only around for the first night of the festival as he was heading off to Germany the next morning for a different metal festival. We briefly discussed his own fall show, the 30 band three-day Blades of Steel. Kastner is an old school promoter and a good friend who always produces a big time show at a big value to the fest goers, and his Blades of Steel is a can’t miss event for The Beard and Little Johnny this September 28-30.
It is always a pleasure to catch up with one of Metal’s true good guys.
Sixth on the stage tonight was the death/doom of Chicago’s own:
Heavy, (while fast), but not at a race-car pace. This music was definitely the death side of death/doom, but very listenable and never too “over the top”. Some of the slower riffs are reminiscent of Celtic Frost, one riff reminded me of Procreation of the Wicked, which is a great reference to get from The Beard.
These are good songs, and Johnny is spinning like a dervish out there on what is now a very full main stage floor. The one detractor, Mike Perun’s vocals which are getting close to Cannibal Corpse in my total inability to understand them. I am going 90 on both the music and crowd response, but cannot get above 82 on that vocal. Still, right now 88/100 is another good score with two acts still to go.
Seventh up tonight was Greek death metal act:
Vocally, these guys are up against Cerebral Rot for my least favorite of the day. This is the ultra-death voice. Music is superfast and I think perhaps at seven straight death metal bands I may be hitting the wall.
Time to check what the crowd thinks.
Crowd seems into it, and actually when they are just playing, and the Cookie Monster isn’t ranting about Satan and death, (or whatever), they aren’t bad. But then he starts another verse and I just find myself going “ahhh crap”.
As this set progressed, I kept thinking if they just played, (without singing), like “Year of No Light”, this could be a 90 plus band, but with the vocals being my least favorite of the day, I must sink it to ...
Monstrosity was tonight’s headliner. Another 30-year band from the birthplace of American Death Metal, (and usually the most bizarre news stories of any given week) Florida.
Vocalist, (since 2006), Mike Hrubovcakis has the true death voice, but it is slightly more understandable especially following Dead Congregation. Lots of lung power for yelling and lots of headbanging.
They are not bad, but I don’t know enough about death metal to know if they deserved their headline position. The crowd was actually less than for the previous few bands. Still full but not packed, which seemed to indicate I may not have been the only person with the aforementioned opinion.
I actually thought they were okay. Kind of in the middle for the day. I can throw out a respectable 82/100.
That will wrap it up for night one. The Beard shall gather Little Johnny, currently re-named “little sweaty” and head for home. In about 12 hours we will be back to start all over again with eight more bands.
Until then, keep reading The Mighty Decibel, keep checking out videos from all our reviewed concerts on my TikTok page,
And remember: Keep those horns up!!!