There’s a decent chance the abundant turnout Friday night at The Korova preparing to witness Suffocation and Abnormality support Soulfly on the first night of their U.S. tour were unaware that the singer of the former band serves as a drummer in another group. Or that Suffocation’s drummer was playing in his hometown (and fresh off gigs in Indonesia, to boot). Or that the short, petite woman behind Abnormality’s vocals really sounded like THAT.
There’s also more than a decent chance those same fans didn’t care about any of those tidbits. Given the fact the two death-metal bands on a bill that included thrashers Battlecross, openers Lody Kong and locals Wings of Abaddon and Covina elicited some of the most intense pit action this scribe has seen since D.R.I. destroyed the White Rabbit in February 2011, the proof was in the number of bodies sweating, circling and repeatedly stumbling into the ground before being helped up.
The East Coast contingent of Long Island, New York’s, Suffocation and Boston-area’s Abnormality unleashed their brand of brutality upon a crowd that also could’ve cared less that thousands in the city were a few blocks away celebrating the 125th Fiesta week at various downtown locations. That’s because The Korova was staging a party of its own as a sea of metalheads — or at least nearly as much as can fit in the upstairs portion of the bar — celebrated in its own way a genre of metal that sacrifices melody and discernible lyrics more than any other.
Whether you refer to such bands as extreme metal, black metal or death metal is irrelevant. As Suffocation proved setting the stage for the Max Cavalera-fronted Soulfly, devotion can rear its beautiful head without having fans sing songs such as “Funeral Inception” and “Pierced From Within” word for word. Or sing them at all, for that matter. Nevertheless, the veteran band featured two unique aspects among its members.
Vocalist Ricky Myers, the latest in a line of live singers who have filled in for original and current voice Frank Mullen (who reportedly wanted to cease touring), is the drummer in another death-metal band Disgorge. Myers’ on-stage bandmate behind the kit is journeyman Kevin Talley, who has drummed for the likes of Daath and Sylencer, in addition to many others live, and who at one point reminded Myers to inform the crowd that he was in his native city. When a fan asked Talley between songs what high school he attended, the drummer looked at yours truly, thinking that’s the inquiring mind that wanted to know, and he answered “Marshall” while wiping the sweat caused by his furious playing. Talley demonstrated after a roughly 45-minute set just how happy he was to be back, still having enough energy to jump from his equipment to slap hands with those up front.
Moments earlier, Abnormality made its South Texas debut, seven days before second album Mechanisms of Omniscience drops this Friday. Prior to the gig, vocalist Mallika Sundaramurthy and recent addition and guitarist Sam Kirsch spoke about their band and music in an exclusive interview (watch here). And though Sundaramurthy wouldn’t give a hint of her live sound during the chat, she raised eyebrows and probably dropped more than a few jaws when she took to the stage sounding like the title track to the new record (watch here), proving that if she couldn’t pull off such a sound in concert, she wouldn’t be in the band in the first place.
But if the title track didn’t convince onlookers enough, other forthcoming tunes such as “Swarm” and “Cymatic Hallucinations” combined with tracks from 2012 full-length debut Contaminating the Hive Mind to provide further evidence this is a band not to be messed with on all fronts. Drummer Jay Blaisdell, in addition to pounding the double-bass kit, co-writes the lyrics with Sundaramurthy, while bassist Josh Staples and guitarist Jeremy Henry do their respective damage.
Death, extreme or black metal may not be for everyone, no matter by what name it goes. But on this Fiesta Friday night, it WAS for those who joined forces with devotees who also enjoyed their fix of thrash and punk-style metal. And they all had one thing in common.
The belief that expressing such devotion, and the methods by which it was done, was the only type of party worth celebrating.
Stay tuned for coverage of Soulfly and Battlecross.
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