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(Live Review) NEW YORK DEATH MILITIA FESTIVAL - Night One (Cudahy, Wisconsin 8/4/23)

By The Beard & Little Johnny

Tonight, your intrepid reviewer, The Beard, attempts one of the more “challenging” weekends of our yearlong The Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023.

Events #42 & #43, and Bands #201-210 encompass the two-night danger zone known as

The New York Death Militia Fest on its stop in Cudahy, Wisconsin.

This evening, we will be reviewing the following bands:

Headliner from Racine Wisconsin: Putrid Pile

Sheboygan’s own: Toxic Ruin

Bloomington Minnesota’s: Deterioration

Chemicaust: from Dallas Texas


festival openers Sacrificial

As our followers might correctly imagine, my partner Little Johnny has had this weekend, circled, highlighted, asterixed, and almost tattooed on his arm. The Little guy is quite excited.

Death metal and grindcore are somewhat intense for the elder statesman The Beard, however, I shall do my utmost to appropriately review and photograph these acts, whilst keeping my head attached to my torso here at the X-Ray arcade, (former home of the famous Metal Grill).

Johnny is dressed in a black t-shirt reading “Death before Crap Metal”, black shorts, high-top sneakers (for grip), and of course his world-famous cap. He is fired up and ready to cause carnage. As always, we both thank Festival Promoter Randy “No Fun” Kastner (of RK-Metal productions) for putting on this event.

Our first band up tonight were some local Milwaukee boys ...


When The Beard says this is a young band, he is NOT kidding. The combined ages of all four members do not equal that of The Beard and Johnny combined. These are teenagers playing one of their first ever live shows.

Sacrificial is your standard death metal, meaning about every other verse the Beard actually understood a word or two. Rapid fire guitar and drums, of course the low-end bass, and intense screaming. Johnny said “Hey Beard, all these dudes are younger than me. Right on!”

Early on there wasn’t much pit action as people were kind of getting acclimated. Johnny bounced a lot though. Sacrificial played a slower number, (kind of at Slayer South of Heaven speed), that I thought was well done for the young band, but that was short lived as they then slammed it back into full speed mode. They seem like they haven’t truly found exactly how they want to present themselves, and the sound was overall garage band, (lacking professional polish), but for a bunch of young guys doing what was likely their biggest gig, it was fine, and the hometown crowd gave them a big ovation which was cool.

The Beard is going 73/100. Little Johnny thought they should be scored higher.

Second up were a Texas based band.


Playing their first Milwaukee show since 2017, this was a good sound: reminding me more of thrash or speed than death. Ernie Jaramillo’s voice isn’t as abrasive as most death metal (I sort of understand). The guitar has that more Sabbat or early Hallows Eve kind of sound. Johnny got his circle pit going and he is spinning and pumping his arms as he runs around (like a dog chasing its own tail) and bouncing off others doing likewise.

The Beard had to say he likes Chemicaust and may be looking at the merch table after the set. (Side note…yep…T-shirt purchased)

87/100 good set.

Third up tonight were Minnesota grindcore ...


This is a two-piece band with a singer/guitarist and drummer. The singer looks like you might have partnered with him in your high school science class lab, and the drummer looks like someone you might find around 2:00am at the local waffle house. Together they played death/grindcore. This means it was the vocal equivalent of switching between The Cookie Monster and a tortured Demon getting doused with Holy Water.

The Beard has long disliked this style, and truthfully even Johnny was a bit mystified trying to figure out how to mosh to it. Eventually, he just ran around in a more traditional style. Honestly, there is clearly a market for this style, or it wouldn’t exist, and the crowd was receptive. But just as honestly, these are the types of acts that leave me checking my watch a few dozen times. My apologies to grindcore aficionados everywhere.


Semi- headliner tonight were Thrash from Wisconsin.


Uh oh…someone just handed Johnny a shot of Malort. Crap, THIS isn’t going to end well.

Vocalist Stephen Behrendt came out, screamed “WHAT THE FUCK IS UP MILWAUKEE!!.”, and the room went into tornado mode. This band is very tight, and the vibe is great.

Johnny now has his shirt hanging off his head like an odd sweatband and he is bouncing from left to right across the floor. How the hell does that damn cap stay on? I need to check the superglue stock when we return home. In the meantime, Toxic Ruin is giving Chemicaust a run for the best set of the night so far.

Behrendt just challenged the old school guys to get out in the pit and show the youngsters how it’s done. Even the Beard is thinking of going out on the floor.

Ha…now the Beard is thinking better of it.

Toxic Ruin was getting it done though.

89/100 for a super-energetic set. Just a little bit of sloppiness kept it out of the 90’s. High energy all the way through and I’m not sure how Johnny is still standing.

Headliner is a one-man band.

Shaun LaCanne is ...


Brutal Death Grind.

I know this is a longstanding act, I know he has six full length releases, and I know people like it.

I am just not sure why.

This is like an Exorcist era Demon grabbed a guitar and started making noises. Vocally it is Death Growls and screams from the seventh pit of Hell. I am certain there is not a distinguishable word in this set.

Yes, I suppose there’s something about being able to do this. Certainly, he was cheered every time he finished a song. The Beard must confess though he just doesn’t get this style. I asked Johnny what he thought of Putrid Pile, and he said, “if that pig demon Jody from The Amityville Horror was a band, I bet it would have sounded like that guy did.” You know what Johnny, that seems as good as anything I’m coming up with.


So, that wrapped up night one of New York Death Militia fest. Tomorrow it’s going to be five more brutal bands, so it’s time to get Little Johnny back to the hotel and some shut eye. It’s a long day tomorrow.

Until we roll again, this is The Beard and Little Johnny saying, read us every Wednesday & Thursday on The Mighty Decibel and then check out the videos on our TikTok page at Thebeard0728 or #thebeardandlittlejohnny.

Until next time

Stay Heavy


Horns up!!!


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