I’ll be the first to admit I done diddly fucked up. You see, until a year ago, I’d been leaving deathcore bands out of my music library. That decision came from a pre-conceived — and very wrong — notion that it all sounded the same. The same chunky breakdowns, the same vocals, the same blast beats. Today I stand ashamed and filled with regret that I didn’t enter this world sooner, so naturally, when The Chaos & Carnage Tour hit San Antonio on May 9th I was all fucking there. I’m over here trying to make up for lost time, mind you, PLUS Dying Fetus are on the package. You never say no to Dying Fetus.
Fallujah opened up the major half of the tour package. Their inventive melodies and unorthodox song structures might not take you over the edge with brutal insanity, but who needs that when you can close your eyes and get lost in the riffs that shoot out of their guitars like the progressive death metal wizards they are? Although many of us in the crowd stayed in one spot throughout their whole set, it seemed that everyone transformed into spongey blobs to soak it all in. It’s a similar experience to seeing Dream Theater; sure, you can get a little wild to some of their songs, but for the most part, it’s something you geek out to and take in the same way a plant takes in sun. Fallujah, I’m sorry I didn’t come to you sooner. Will you forgive me?
Spite have been on my radar for a while without leaving much of an impression, but after seeing them live I’ve named myself an honorary member of the “Spite Cult.” Our dear Axl Rosenberg himself has outwardly spoken of his distaste for the band, and had this been One Year Ago Karen, I would’ve conceded, but New Karen is all for the chuggy breakdowns they threw my way. As soon as the first cymbal hit, no one in the room was allowed to stay still and caveman instincts were encouraged. If you can listen to “Kill or Be Killed” without wanting to kill or be killed then all hope is lost for you.
Revocation were on this tour to serve as a warm-up, if you will, for the rest of the bubbling mayhem of the night. It’s a mesmerizing experience watching guitarist Dan Gargiulo dance around the fretboard, while Ash Pearson (ex-Three Inches of Blood) drums his arms and legs off. Most notably, seeing vocalist David Davidson scream his lungs out on stage while playing finger-twisting lead guitar riffs and solos is awe-inspiring. The band played four songs off their newest record, The Outer Ones, showcasing the more technical death metal-driven bits they’ve incorporated this time around with songs such as “Of Unworldy Origin” and the album’s title track. Putting their brutality aside, if you haven’t seen these dudes already, I would make it a point to do so.
The 2019 Chaos & Carnage tour isn’t for the faint of heart. After already being steam-rolled by a devastating line-up of bands, Dying Fetus come next. When the band hit the stage I absolutely lost it. I can usually jam out contently in my corner of the pit knowing exactly what tasty and chonky riffs are coming my way, but as soon as “Grotesque Impalement” hit, well, that’s just where I go banana sandwich, which turned out to be somewhat regrettable. I jumped in the pit thinking, “I can come out of mosh retirement. I’M AN ANIMAL,” but I quickly lost a shoe and then promptly sprained my leg. It was all worth it, of course: really I just hope my experience serves as a true testament of how gnarly this show was.
I need to clear the air for all you nay-sayers out there. The news is in, and the new Whitechapel album SLAPS. The change in their direction, marked by the use of more clean vocals, translates beautifully in a live setting, and although I wish the band had played songs off of This Is Exile, I welcomed their entire set nonetheless. The Valley is proof that mosh pits can still ensue in the face of clean vocals, and Phil Bozeman (not to be confused with MS writer / super Whitechapel fan Phil Boozeman) is equal parts neanderthal and heavenly. I thank them for closing out their set with “The Saw Is the Law” and sending me back home short of breath and freshly obliterated.
In conclusion: Chaos and Carnage 2020, where the fuck are you?