Regardless of what any mental, symbolic connotation of a band’s name based on losing one’s head can conjure up it cannot compare to the pure, loud, unforgiving brutality they throttle out on stage like jackhammer turbines on speed. Saturday November 15th Columbus Events Group decided to beat the crap out of its home town brethren one more time before the holidays. From blast beat drums to head shredding guitars Decapitated took every flying limb in the place for a sonic thrashing joyride.
The evening’s lineup was as diverse as their music. Misery Index shared a similar desire for destruction as locals Mithridium delivered a more melodic show. Scumguilt went old school hardcore, going the short, sweet and brutal route, while Siren, brought back the days of yore, luring unsuspecting travelers to their doom and Esotera came forth with some technical, demonized Maiden.
Columbus’s Esotera delivered their love and experimentation of music as their personal mechanism and weapon for future exploration. The flannelled Ben Halper poured deep seeded demonic vocals into the mic, playing off the other assorted “Miscreants” on stage. Stage acting, swaying, self-hanging in suspended animation, Halper displayed a unique presence combining the hypnotic charisma of a young, late 60’s cult leader and his take on Jack Sparrow in movement. Casey Riggs, Dan Halen and Tommy Sartin filled the show and their four song demo with a progressive Iron Maiden sound. EP opener “Migration” started with melodic notes got thrashy with some progression spending its seven minutes playing a guitar clinic, ending with the strings saying a tranquil, schizophrenic quiet goodbye. “Subjected Discension” started riffy with Halper spewing forth the lyrical filth with blues and guitar technical precession. “Composing Decomposition” gets Death technical with some throw down and some middle finger extended help up the irons by Maiden. With a few minutes left they couldn’t waste they adlibbed a song on the spot, in an impromptu jam.
Cincinnati’s got a loud freakin’ Siren, birthed in London, raised in the noisy waters of southern Ohio. They’re a non-traditional mix of bastardized inspirations hailing from doom, black metal and a couple, probably several other worldly strong cups of hexed brew, emerging with their debut, A Kingdom Aflame. They started, spreading a mite bit of “Fire & Blood” with doomy guitars bordering on worshipping the Sabbath before speeding up with some sword and sorcery out to sea. It’s uncertain if they were playing tribute to their queen or emperor. “Ursine Lineage” carried the teeth of the grisly as guitars roared out its voice. “Hiraeth”, was the warrior’s “Home Sweet Home.” As with “Bastard of the Dreadfort”, a game of thrones was played indeed. “The Devil Rides Out”, on cloven hooves is available on Facebook. Title track “A Kingdom Aflame” ended the night’s tyranny.
Now, for some death-rattling grindcore from Columbus in the form of Scum Guilt. Playing a brand of modern punk meets hardcore with a throwback feel to early 80’s shows, after the pogo, when people still kinda did dance moves in the pit and moshing was called slam dancing. Remember skanking, the creepy crawly (not Manson’s) and the windmill? Human gorillas were swinging arms everywhere. They opened with a fresh friendly reeking piece of Carcass and the “Genital Grinder” while audience members were pickin’ up change. Original “Invert the Whore” was played, then an indecent proposal was made via Carnivore and Mr. Steele. “Heathens Blood” and “Lazer Brain” followed. They finished with some Scum, short and sweet with “The Kill” and the super-double-extended version of Napalm Death’s “You Suffer.”
Started in 2008, Mithridium topped the local bill with some progressive, melodic, old school black metal, thrash and speed. Named after a king that literary picked his poisons, started with the eight minute “Hope Dies Last.” The crowd danced just like marionettes to the symphonies. If Dragonforce merged with Emperor to spawn a new breed under the Norwegian sun, we’d have Mithridium. “Before the Dawn” started us stalking through the cold morning dark forest, complete with sub-zero temperatures and leather jackets looking for that perfect black metal group pic. The “Vulture” flew over a wave of synthesized air and wind as Eric Slone did his best Devin Townsend meets Blackie Lawless over thrash guitars. “The Sharp Tongue that Cut the Righteous Throat” had the elements and sound of a deep forest campfire turning ritualistic with Strapping Young Lads thrashing chaotically around the flames.
There were mixes of industrial elements along the synth, giving a small mechanical touch of Fear Factory and some British guitar nods to Maiden. They’ve supported Battlecross, Exhumed, Mobile Deathcamp, Nile and Helloween among many others. Hope Dies Last is out now.
Maryland’s Misery Index came to Columbus to kill and pillage and of course, spread the deafening music, page by page. The speed of “Carrion Call” started the head smashing and bloody fists flying. The “Ruling Class Cancelled” roared out the mighty fall of Rome, crushed and burned with demonically loud force. First track from this year’s The Killing Gods came with the thrash jam of “The Weakener” then went back to the beginning with “Manufacturing Greed” and working till death throws you away. “The Illuminaught” fought against aged rules set in stone as pious religious law. “Thrown into the Sun” slowed things down but with no less of a heavier doomsday message as the last scraps of civilization were heaped and spiraled into a solar meltdown. Rejuvenation mixed with the sped up otherworld death-camp games of the “Black Sites”. More killing came by the Gods on “Conjuring the Cull” with dark necromantic ritual practices scribed in books of blood sewn together by “The Harrowing.” The whole thing was a loud affair and “You Lose” when your heads buried in the sand. They finished with an angry ode to our forefathers. Did they sign a document as a heroic rebel or “Traitor?”
Since decapitation’s and neck wrecking go hand in hand in a on the ground, life draining kinda way they opened with “Lying and Weak.” As the pit quickly turned full floor force and the neck-cranking, voluntary body banging began. Time for the evening’s first tastes of Organic Hallucinosis of the impoverished, imprisoned drifting soul’s reeking on the street of “Day 69” and the post cyborg awakening, human resembling but soul missing new life of “Post (?) Organic.” The Blood Mantra arrived, spoken in screaming passion, of the new ‘connected’ demo-God, created halfway between flesh and machine with bio-mechanical blue “Veins” bulging. Guitar’s clanged, pouring out the emotion and agony. Guitars and drums beat out more mantra with “Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation” with the pulverizing, pummeling furious glory of the laboratory man-made God. Demanufacture faith to remanufacture a deity to follow. The “Blood Mantra” erupted in sound, spilling its dirty, stained souls for all to see and hear, killing in faith for faith, for the great divine.
The bone chiseled guitars of “The Nest” got old school mosh pit punk friendly. The Carnival brought the soft plucked strings of “Silence” seemingly almost a stranger to the night’s thunder-blasting noise but there was a haunting quality to those notes before guitars, drums and vocals hit face first with blunt force of a speeding semi on “Pest”. There was plenty of Pantera chug and groove on “Homo Sum” with some eerily soothing trance-like guitar soloing. Pantera stays in the groove with “Spheres of Madness” then they showed mercy to the rattling speakers with the final “Instinct” and its whirlwind cycle sound, pace and midsection infectious breakdown.
The night was a painter’s petri palate of headbanger’s delight. Though many ventured into the man made pit, all left unscathed. Saturday November 15th ended the metal year for Columbus Events Group, but they’ll be back with another year’s mantra of bringing the best and most brutal metal to town.
All images by Kris Kotlarik