(Live Review) PEACE SIMULATION FESTIVAL - Reggies, Chicago (Dec 10/22)
Written by: Mark McQueen
Today, the Beard and Little Johnny attended event #47 and reviewed bands number 206-215 on our year-long “The Reviews Never Stop Tour”. There were a lot of fringe type bands comprising many styles of metal at this one. It proved to be an interesting day for us both.
First up ...
ANATOMY OF HABIT
Slower than I expected, almost doom metal pacing, but containing some industrial elements, with one guy using actual chains, a mallet, and other items to create certain noisescapes atop the overall musical sound.
The actual pounding of metal tools on metal surfaces was initially odd, but as the set went on, I could see why it was incorporated into the music. The musicians were solid. Good bass & drum sections, and the additional sounds had purpose and depth. They were more than just noise. Finally, vocally they were semi-clear. I don’t expect to be saying that too often today. Their final number “Breathing through Bones” had a kind of Reverend Bizarre vocal quality to it.
For first out of the gate, I kind of liked them. As it was early, and they were slower, and there wasn’t a real crowd yet, Johnny was content to watch the one member beat on stuff to produce unique noises. Johnny does like to hit stuff.
Going a solid 83.5/100.
Next up, a band called Infant Island which makes me think about that 1970’s movie about the killer baby “it’s alive”.
This was a black metal band from Virginia. Their singer had the dual voices (low from the grave and screeching incoherent). Drummer went between the bass beat rapidity and plodding heavy thunder. Guitar and bass used noise and soundscape material to complete the ensemble.
Johnny dug the intense vocal verbiage and appropriate fast-as-hell portions which did invoke the first crowd headbanging action of the day. In between songs there was an almost horror film soundtrack creeping and snaking through before more screaming high-pitched guitar and rapid beat drums introduced the next number to discordant screams and growls. They certainly did their best to create atmosphere and ambiance in their set.
Coming out in the ominous black robes and hoods left little doubt to the black metal “evil” intent of this Canadian band, and the demon possessed vocals (similar to Mayhem) just drove the point home like nails through flesh on a cross.
Thantifaxath left no doubt as to their darkness. This was mined from 1990’s second wave Norwegian blackness, sacrificed to the Lord of Flies, and buried in the tomb of a damned soul. So, yeah, black metal.
Little Johnny understood you don’t mosh to dark evil. He stood respectfully and watched the Blackness as Thantifaxath opened their sonic abyss.
The Beard had to appreciate the commitment to cause. I shall buy a T-shirt from the merch table and thereafter award them 87/100.
Fourth up on the day were Spiritual Poison, a solo effort from Ethan Lee McCarthy, a member of a true contender for heaviest band in the world ... Primitive Man.
This was a horror soundscape Dario Argento would want in his films. Spiritual Poison invokes Tom Warrior's Celtic Frost and their “Danse Macabre" or "Tears in a Prophet’s Dreams” type songs. Spooky shit. Dark ambiance, low lit and music that gets in behind the mind and dances around in your souls reminding you that someone is always behind the door.
A nice slow haunting set. Worth a solid 82/100
Fifth up on the day is John Wiese, a singular noise act.
This was just a one-man show emitting sounds from a synthesizer. Largely another horror show soundtrack, but not as good as the previous one. This one reminded me more of someone who never quite got the radio station tuned in properly. At minimum this meant “slotting” hurts his grade.
Johnny has had enough of this slow ambient style and is now two fisting the IPA’s. With still five more bands to go, this could be an issue later. Meanwhile, I have to give John Weise only a 72/100.
Sixth on the stage is Greet Death from Flint Michigan.
An indie rock band, they did have a loud sound, but not a very heavy one. Given their name had "death" in it, Johnny remained disappointed. I am somewhat non-plussed. This is a bit of an emo sounding center surrounded by a heavier rock candy coating. They called themselves heavy pop punk. Seems appropriate.
Harmless, but not memorable. I’ll throw out 75/100.
ELIZABETH COLOUR WHEEL
Seventh band of the day/night is Elizabeth Colour Wheel. This one has potential to get a Johnny out of his doldrums.
Female Asian lead singer who howls a mixture of both punk and death sound. She is intense and her body movements do scream Demonic Possession. The guitar player is playing like he is wrestling an alligator. He is giving it everything he’s got.
This music is like listening to a domestic beating in the next apartment. Horrible screams and noises with interspersed moments of quiet uncertainty where you think “is somebody dead?” There are slow and almost gentle passages (with just a touch of tonal discomfort that lets you know more death/horror/pain is coming back any second).
I have no idea what she was singing about, but the songs gave me the feeling that something is very wrong.
Johnny was unsure just what to do here. This isn’t mosh music. It’s death, but not death metal. You can’t move to it as much as just react to it. I’m with you little dude.
I’m also not sure HOW to rate this act. I better say 80/100 because I DID feel uncomfortable with the “whole” which was likely the emotion they were going for. Suffering is imbedded in these “songs?”
Eighth up is Miasmatic Necrosis which is billed as “goregrind”. That means the Beard hunkers down and Johnny finally fires up.
Chaos may finally be at hand.
I know goregrind is a “style” of music, but I swear this sounds like the dudes in Cannibal Corpse got sore throats and nobody in the entire world had a cough drop. You can barely see them in the reduced light, cannot possibly understand them, all you CAN do is listen to double bass blast beats, screaming guitar and what I think might have been Satan bitching about his acid reflux issues.
Sorry Johnny, go nuts bro, you’ve earned it. This is not my gig.
ANTICHRIST SIEGE MACHINE
Ninth up does not look to be much different.
Antichrist Siege Machine are another grindcore style band. Cool shirts, I even bought one. ASM are a two-person act. Guitarist and drummer and they both sing, or at least growl. Not much debate about the music, grindcore style, fast, intense, indecipherable.
Mosh pits did abound, and I assume Johnny had a lot of pent-up aggression from today to get out of his system - finally.
Slotting helped ASM, by virtue of following Miasmatic Necrosis, ASM’s brand of grindcore was an improvement. I could see them and sort of hear them better. They used different lights and scenes, the songs seemed better structured; I guess in this case it really did matter who you followed. Johnny, the whirling dervish of Death however thought they were great.
I’m going 81/100.
This brings us to fest headliner, the black metal attack of Liturgy.
Fronted by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (a transgendered black metal artist), Liturgy is not something you see every day. Death/noise/screams. It is certainly intense.
The music’s not bad, I wish the lyrics were more than what seems like just screams of agony/horror/anger? I’m really not sure with this one. I don’t think Johnny was either.
After consulting together, we’re going 85 music 70 vocals 76 show attributes, and a grand total of 77/100
This wraps up the Peace Simulation Festival. It was odd, but I believe that was the point. Non-traditional sounds. My pick was Thantifaxath. Johnny is going (no surprise) with Antichrist Siege Machine.
For videos of all the bands we talked about today, look for our TikTok account #thebeardandlittlejohnny, or search TheBeard0728.
So, until next time, this is The Beard & Little Johnny saying ...