(Live Review) NEW YORK DEATH MILITIA FESTIVAL - Night 2 (Wisconsin 8/5/23)
By The Beard & Little Johnny
Tonight, loyal readers, your favorite reviewing duo, (Senor Beard and the bouncing bandito we call Little Johnny), are attending night two of the New York Death Militia fest. This is event #43 and bands #206-210 on our yearlong The Reviews Never Stop Tour.
A little clarification, as you can see, the NYDM fest is not actually in New York. NYDM is a motorcycle club, and their Midwest chapter is here in Wisconsin. This fest is primarily for members and friends of the MC. Fortunately, The Beard is friends with promoter Randy “No Fun” Kastner (of RK Metal). (He is so named because he has only smiled four times since 1989.) Underneath the gruff exterior though, Randy is a kind and loyal man and the Beard values his friendship. He is also a fan of Little Johnny since they tend to enjoy the same kind of bands.
Last evening, we got to review five bands, (two of which the Beard really enjoyed), and had a nice night with a lot of bikers who, (like Randy), might look rough, but are some of the coolest and most genuine people you can hope to meet. Johnny got to go crazy in the pits and the Beard heard some great music and had some enjoyable conversation. Tonight, we do it all again with part Two.
On the agenda this evening:
Glutton for Punishment
To the Dogs
First on the stage tonight, a punk trio from right here in Milwaukee.
For a punk/metal band, this is an odd-looking collection with a rather restrained goth girl on bass, a middle-aged guy on vocals/guitar and something in between on drums.
The music was punk, and the bass player also sang in a little back and forth manner, so there was variation and depth to the songs with the mixed voices. While I certainly do not think the Sex Pistols have anything to fear, (like in the night one line-up), for an opening act it was a nice “get your engine started” type of band and I enjoyed listening to Murder Generation more than I did Putrid Pile. The songs were all under three minutes and usually under two.
Second up tonight was death metal from Minnesota in the form of ...
GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT
Whenever a guy starts a set with a fifteen second scream, Johnny gets excited. It’s like the starting gun at Indy.
Strong death vocals and music to mosh by. The little guy is off on his circle pit. Now, as usual with death metal, I do not understand any of the lyrics. Apparently one song was about smoking weed, (according to the singer), but it sounded like a lot of screaming so I will just have to take his word for it.
The next song was called "Homicidal Impulses". Sounded a lot like the weed song to me. Johnny though pranced about in his stage-front circle pit and yelled, “Those guys ruled Beard.”
We may have to agree to disagree. Let’s compromise and say 80/100
Third up were Wisconsin black metal act...
TO THE DOGS
A three-piece act with male and female singers.
They had black metal stylings on the guitar, tuned a little higher than general death metal. Totally different sound tonality wise than death. Vocally as well, more ghostly shrieks and less guttural material than standard death.
Johnny just enjoyed jumping around, but The Beard picked up on the nuances of the blackened sound mixed with some speed metal leads. Perhaps the Beard has finally heard enough black and death metal to start hearing differences that are already obvious to fans of each sub-genre.
In truth, The Beard has seen a lot of black metal this year and some big names Worldwide. To The Dogs is not cracking the top ten, but they did have a sound that was easily recognizable as black, rather good growling and some good black metal guitar riffs. So far, they are my favorite on the day.
Afterword I had a short conversation with a lady named Karen (who turned out to be the drummer’s mother). Karen had quite the musical knowledge and was totally cool with her son being a black metal musician. That is a supportive mother. Karen also bought the Beard a beer so, as far as I am concerned, she was a genuinely nice lady.
Going 82/100, (on To the Dogs, not Karen lol)
Fourth up were Indiana Deathcore band.
While waiting for Legion to finish setting up, The Beard had a conversation with Jason from Arizona about the NYDM MC and their Midwest chapter. Of NYDM, Jason said, “We’re all about metal music and we look forward to this every August. This was supposed to be in the northwest, but that fell apart and Randy Kastner saved it by getting it put on here. Glad to have a reviewer checking it all out.”
Jason (along with most of the bikers I talked to this weekend), seemed smarter than a majority of the general population and WAY smarter when it came to their beloved metal music. These guys understand its subtleties, influences and nuances. The Beard probably had a half dozen conversations and found straight up friendliness with minimal attitudes and I virtually always learned something new about the bands playing. This was an excellent group of people to spend a weekend with.
Legion has a singer that Johnny took one look at and immediately said, “Hey that dude looks like you Beard.”
This was death metal when he sang, but definite southern when he just spoke. Legion’s music was fine, but as always, I never know if they are singing about death or drapery installation. The Beard just watches the crowd and tries to feel the vibe. This band’s crowd vibe was good, but not great.
I liked the slower death riffing, but I never cottoned to the actual voice. Respect given that they have been around since 1991 and did songs from that original album. If you have spent thirty plus years at anything it is respectable.
Going to go 79/100
Headliners were Wisconsin death act
Jungle Rot is death, but slower, chunkier and thrashy. Dave Matrise’s vocals are still pretty indistinguishable as far as understanding what exactly he is singing about, but drummer (Spenser Syphers) had great fills, and guitarist (Geoff Bub) was thrashing around that stage enough to make even Little Johnny show respect. Finally, and oddly enough, The Beard liked Matrise’s voice.
This was a deserving headliner that I appreciated, especially for having never seen them before. Matrise said it was only their second time in Milwaukee since 2013. Jungle Rot rolled everything into the package, vocals music and stage aura. For the Beard, this was easily the best set of the night and my high grade of the festival. I am sure Little Johnny has his own ranking system for this event, but the Beard is allotting Jungle Rot my only 90/100 for the weekend.
Crack a cold one for a 90+ score.
So, this ends stop #43 and bands #206-210 of this years never ending reviews tour. Remember to tune in every Wednesday & Thursday for The Beard & Little Johnny live concert and fest reviews at your home for Heavy Metal: The Mighty Decibel.
Then check out hundreds of videos of all the shows on our TIKTOK site, Thebeard0728 or #thebeardandlittlejohnny
Until next time