Cannibal Corpse w/ Thy Art Is Murder | Fall North American Tour | Photos + Review

Cannibal Corpse Slaughters Ventura

Venue: The Majestic Ventura Theater on 10/25/19

When it comes to death metal bands, Cannibal Corpse is one of the ultimate greats. I got into them a little later than most, when I came across “Hammer Smashed Face” on Rock Band back in 2013. They’ve been on my bucket list of bands I’ve wanted to see since then, and with them performing what would be a sold out show so close to home, this was the perfect opportunity to finally see them. And with another one of my favorite bands, Thy Art Is Murder, performing as well as direct support, this was bound to be a truly stellar show!

First up was Thy Art Is Murder from Sydney, Australia. This was my third time seeing these guys, and this was the longest set I’ve seen them play. They played a lot of songs from the new record “Human Target”, while mixing in songs from each of their other Nuclear Blast releases “Hate”, “Holy War” and “Dear Desolation”, totaling out to an 11-song set. Thy Art Is Murder is described as deathcore, but take in influences from death metal, blackened death metal, and even metalcore. It’s because of this blended sound that the band can fit with a plethora of metal lineups. I previously saw them in March of 2018 co-headlining with Dying Fetus on a North American Tour, then saw them in April of 2019 when they acted as direct support for Architects (UK) on their North American Tour. Once again, Thy Art Is Murder acted as direct support on this tour for none other than Cannibal Corpse, so Thy Art was able to bring out some of the heavier tracks on this run. I personally was extremely stoked to hear them play “New Gods” and “Make America Hate Again” from the new record. When you see the band live, there are a few notable things to look out for. Holding down the fort in the back is Jesse Beahler on drums, who truly creates an interesting dynamic with intense and difficult drum parts played to perfection. On stage left is rhythm guitarist Sean Leander and bassist Kevin Butler, who each groove along in each song with high energy and a plethora of facial expressions. Lead guitarist Andy Marsh stands on stage right and can be usually seen looking intensely into the crowd as he shreds to his’ hearts content. Front and center is vocalist CJ McMahon, who is spotted in the first 2 songs sporting a hooded cloak and looking tall and ominous into the crowd, while screaming and growling with a wide range of tones and pitches. The band is also known for their bright and strobing lighting, not using any of the frontal house lighting and bringing forth an haunting presence, which goes right along with their serious politically driven lyrical content that focuses on anti-religion, anti-extremism, animal rights, greed, war, and much more. I was thrilled to see Thy Art Is Murder once again and I believe they truly put on their best set to date!

SETLIST

  1. Death Squad Anthem
  2. Make America Hate Again
  3. Fur and Claw
  4. Slaves Beyond Death
  5. Holy War
  6. No Absolution
  7. Human Target
  8. The Son of Misery
  9. New Gods
  10. Reign of Darkness
  11. Puppet Master

Next up was the all mighty Cannibal Corpse from Buffalo, New York. After many years of listening to them and playing their songs on Rock Band, it finally became time to see them. The band is good ole fashioned death metal that borders the line of brutal death metal. Their lyrical content draws from horror fiction novels and horror films, with highly graphic and controversial imagery on their album covers to go along with the musical content. As a big horror fan myself, I was almost immediately drawn to that aspect of Cannibal Corpse when I found out about them. The band has been going strong since 1988, despite a couple lineup changes near the beginning of their career. What I was pleasantly surprised when watching them was how humble they were. They didn’t do a walk on intro like a lot of other bands, they didn’t bring additional lighting, they just played good fucking music and got the crowd hyped. Vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher blew me away with his ability to own the stage by doing a single stance. The band isn’t known for being insanely energetic, but the power each member gives off just from their stage presence and musical technicality is mind blowing. With fourteen albums in their discography, I was pleasantly surprised how well the band was able to cover, playing songs from twelve of those fourteen albums. The crowd went nuts, with one of the most violent mosh pits I’ve seen. This was a perfect setlist, as the band played a whopping 18-songs, with George adding in some comedic moments while the rest of the members would tune their instruments. I was thrilled to hear songs like “I Cum Blood”, “Hammer Smashed Face”, “Red Before Black”, and “Kill or Become”, which were all highlights from the set for me. Bassist and founding member Alex Webster was also very fun to watch for me, as his bass stance was very powerful and was very fun to capture. The band had Erik Rutan, guitarist of Hate Eternal, filling in on this tour. His stage presence and ability to own those dueling guitar solos blew me away. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz truly impressed me with his extremely technical drum parts that were played to perfection, along with his stage presence behind the kit. The dude is insanely fun to watch. Closing out the band’s lineup is guitarist Rob Barrett, who truly slayed it with his’ rhythmic patterns and technicality on the rhythm guitar. But the stand out was definitely George Fisher, who’s headbanging and vocal abilities drove the set to a whole other level. Cannibal Corpse’s performance was one for the books and I will definitely be seeing them again in the near future!

SETLIST

  1. Code of the Slashers
  2. Only One Will Die
  3. Red Before Black
  4. Scourge of Iron
  5. Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead
  6. The Wretched Spawn
  7. Devoured by Vermin
  8. Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
  9. Gutted
  10. Kill or Become
  11. A Skull Full of Maggots
  12. Evisceration Plague
  13. Firestorm Vengeance
  14. Death Walking Terror
  15. I Cum Blood
  16. Make Them Suffer
  17. Stripped, Raped, and Strangled
  18. Hammer Smashed Face

Cannibal Corpse’s Fall North American Tour was an amazing night with two bands who absolutely crushed it, performing incredible music that blew me away. Both Thy Art Is Murder and Cannibal Corpse are at the top of their game and I cannot wait to see both bands in the new year when they come out to California again!

Cannibal Corpse | Thy Art Is Murder

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Jinjer w/ The Browning and Sumo Cyco | Fall North American Tour | Photos + Review

Jinjer Sells Out The Legendary Whisky A Go-Go On Their First North American Headlining Tour

Venue: Whisky A Go-Go on 9/12/19

Since I found out about Jinjer a year and a half ago, they have quickly become one of my favorite bands in the scene. Their music perfectly blends together progressive metal with metalcore, with slight elements of technical death metal as well. With their breakthrough song “Pisces” from their 2016 album “King of Everything”, which was released via Napalm Records, the band quickly took off like a storm, selling out venues worldwide. After touring North America twice before as direct support for Cradle of Filth and then DevilDriver. For their first ever North American Headlining Tour, they embarked on a 2-month long tour spanning across the United States and Canada with support from The Browning and Sumo Cyco. With such a stacked lineup, this tour proved to be one of the best this year thus far. This date in particular sold out 3 months prior, so it was bound to be a truly insane show!

First up to hit the stage was Sumo Cyco from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I previously saw Sumo Cyco when they toured in 2018 with Butcher Babies, Nonpoint, and Islander, but they were even better this second time around than before. Sumo Cyco is a mixture of alternative metal, punk rock, and post-hardcore. The band was truly on fire, with vocalist Skye Sweetnam truly being a hype woman and getting the crowd going nuts. From jumping into the crowd and getting the first moshpit of the night started, to jumping around like crazy, Skye really has a powerful stage presence, which is matched perfectly by guitarist Matt Drake, drummer Matt Trozzi, and bassist Oscar Anesetti. The band is fully independent and have raised money for recordings through crowd funding. They have two albums so far with a third on the way. They played songs from both their 2014 album “Lost in Cyco City” as well as songs from their 2017 album “Opus Mar”. They all together played an eight-song set and played new single “Run With The Giants” as well as a System of a Down cover of “B.Y.O.B.” which got the crowd going completely nuts. Sumo Cyco is truly a ton of fun to see live with their wild stage presence. Make sure to get there early to check out their set!

SETLIST

  1. The Ugly
  2. Undefeated
  3. Free Yourself
  4. Sleep Tight
  5. Y.O.B.
  6. Run With The Giants
  7. Love You Wrong
  8. Move Mountains

Up next as direct support was The Browning from Kansas City, Missouri. The Browning’s sound is very unique in the scene, blending together metalcore, deathcore, and EDM. Typically categorized by some as electronicore, I categorize the band as one thing: stellar. This was my second time seeing these guys this year alone and they did not disappoint. They set the stage with dark lighting and smoke machines and obliterated that stage with a ten-song set that showcased songs from their 2018 album “Geist”, which was released via Spinefarm Records, as well as three songs from their 2016 album “Isolation”. I personally love hearing their song “Carnage”, as it perfectly blends together metalcore with EDM and even has a slight trap influence in a section of the song. This four-piece consists of vocalist Jonny McBee, guitarist Brian Moore, drummer Cody Stewart, and bassist and clean vocalist Collin Woroniak. When you go see The Browning, get ready for a party that’ll consist of headbangs, moshing, and lots of jumping. This band honestly deserves more recognition than they get so go give them some love when they play near you!

SETLIST

  1. Beyond Stone
  2. Final Breath
  3. Carnage
  4. Pure Evil
  5. Disconnect
  6. Awaken The Omega
  7. Optophobia
  8. Dragon
  9. Skybreaker
  10. Geist

Finally up to the stage came Jinjer from Donetsk, Ukraine. This four piece went all out for their first North American Headlining Tour, bringing a full on lighting rig with them and preparing a whopping 15-song set, which covered songs from 2016’s “King of Everything”, 2014’s “Cloud Factory”, which was reissued in 2018 via Napalm Records, 2019’s “Micro EP”, and even a couple of brand new songs from their upcoming full length album “Macro”, which will be released in October via Napalm Records. They came out swinging with songs “Teacher, Teacher” and “Sit Stay Roll Over”, two of the bands heavier tracks that truly got the mosh pit moving like crazy. The band has incredible stage presence and sound identical live as they do on record. The key to the band’s incredible stage presence is vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk, who has impeccable crowd control and demands that stage with ease. Bassist Eugene Abdiukhanov and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov also have incredible stage presence, with head bangs and grooves perfectly in sync with the music and Tatiana alike. Holding down the tightness and togetherness of the music is drummer Vladislav Ulasevich, who’s drumming skills are a stand out and keep the songs interesting with constantly changing time signatures and fast parts that are prominent in progressive metal and metalcore alike. If it seemed the set couldn’t get any better, the band came out for their encore with their most popular song “Pisces”, which at the time of writing this review is sitting at 26 million views on YouTube on their music video. Jinjer is a force to be reckoned with and are continuing to slay the game.

SETLIST

  1. Teacher, Teacher
  2. Sit Stay Roll Over
  3. Ape
  4. Judgement (& Punishment)
  5. I Speak Astronomy
  6. Dreadful Moments
  7. Who’s Gonna Be The One
  8. Retrospection
  9. Perennial
  10. Captain Clock
  11. Bad Water
  12. Outlander
  13. No Hoard Of Value
  14. Cloud Factory

ENCORE

  1. Pisces

Jinjer’s Fall North American Tour was perfection from the moment Sumo Cyco hit the stage til Jinjer finished their set. The lineup featured a variety of styles. Sumo Cyco slayed, The Browning turned the crowd into a moshing dance party, and Jinjer demolished the stage with grace and force. This is definitely a tour to check out when it comes to a venue near you!

Jinjer | The Browning | Sumo Cyco

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Black Label Society w/ The Black Dahlia Murder and Alien Weaponry | Fall North American Tour 2019 | Photos + Review

Black Label Society Starts Their North American Tour in Ventura

Venue: The Majestic Ventura Theater on 9/11/19

With 10 studio albums and millions of fans, it was a pleasant surprise to see Los Angeles founded band Black Label Society to choose The Majestic Ventura Theater to not only be the sole California date for their North American Tour, but they scheduled it to be the very first date of the tour. Many fans lined the street waiting for doors for this nearly sold out show to open. Along with them as support was The Black Dahlia Murder and Alien Weaponry. With all three bands bringing different styles of metal to the stage, this show was amazing from start to finish.

The first band up was Alien Weaponry from Waipu, New Zealand. I did not know what to think of Alien Weaponry prior to the show, as I had not heard them before. But man did they start the show off on a high mark. This three-piece band mixes together thrash metal and groove metal, bringing the perfect blend of melody and chaos. The band consists of brothers Lewis de Jong and Henry de Jong, with Lewis on vocals and guitar and Henry on drums, as well as touring bassist Bobby Oblak. The band played a five-song set, four of which came from their 2018 release “Tu”, which was released via Napalm Records, and their 2019 single Ahi Ka. I was blown away by the amount of energy this three-piece had, headbanging and shredding like crazy. Definitely make sure to get there early to see these guys!

SETLIST

  1. Holding My Breath
  2. Ahi Ka
  3. Kai Tangata
  4. Raupatu
  5. Ru Ana Te Whenua

Next band to obliterate the stage came The Black Dahlia Murder from Waterford, Michigan. In all honesty, The Black Dahlia Murder is the main reason I went to the show and wanted to photograph. Their genre bending music that blends together melodic death metal with elements from metalcore and death metal is perfection. This was my third time seeing these guys and they always deliver. They opened with “Widowmaker” and “Jars”, two of the most popular songs from the band’s 2017 album “Nightbringers”, which they released via Metal Blade Records. I personally always love when they play “What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse” from their 2007 album “Nocturnal”, as that was the song that got me into them when I found it on the Rock Band Downloadable Store back in the day. This band truly slays on stage and truly gets the crowd going wild from the moment the first note hits. This five-piece consists of vocalist Trevor Strnad, rhythm guitarist Brian Eschbach, bassist Max Lavelle, drummer Alan Cassidy, and lead guitarist Brandon Ellis. From a photographer’s stand point, this band is truly fun to photograph, as they are constantly moving and have such a vibrant stage presence. Their lighting they brought added to the experience as both a concert goer and a photographer. I thoroughly enjoy seeing The Black Dahlia Murder every time I get the chance and definitely recommend checking them out when they hit a city near you!

SETLIST

  1. Widowmaker
  2. Jars
  3. Contagion
  4. What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse
  5. Statutory Ape
  6. Nightbringers
  7. As Good As Dead
  8. Kings of the Nightworld
  9. Everything Went Black

Finally, Los Angeles natives Black Label Society hit the stage. I will say, I was surprised the band took over an hour after The Black Dahlia Murder got off stage to finally set up, but when they did, the venue lit up like a firework. With bright lights and a wall of speakers behind them, Black Label Society tore the roof off the building. This four-piece has legendary heavy metal guitarist Zakk Wylde, who used to be the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, as their front man doing lead vocals and lead guitar. The rest of the band consists of bassist John DeServio, rhythm guitarist Dario Lorina, and drummer Jeff Fab. The band played a whopping seventeen-song set, playing songs from seven of their ten albums: five songs from 1999’s “Sonic Brew”, three from 2018’s “Grimmest Hits”, three songs from 2003’s “The Blessed Hellride”, one song from 2001’s “1919 Eternal”, 2014’s “Catacombs of the Black Vatican”, and one song from 2006’s “Shot To Hell”. The band showcased a wide variety in styles throughout the songs, blending together heavy metal, groove metal, and good ole fashioned biker metal. They were truly a blast to see and I’m glad I finally got to photograph the legendary Zakk Wylde.

SETLIST

  1. Genocide Junkies
  2. Funeral Bell
  3. The Beginning… At Last
  4. The Rose Petalled Garden
  5. Heart of Darkness
  6. Suicide Messiah
  7. Trampled Down Below
  8. Seasons of Falter
  9. Peddlers of Death
  10. Spoke In The Wheel
  11. In This River
  12. The Blessed Hellride
  13. Bored To Tears
  14. A Love Unreal
  15. Fire It Up
  16. Concrete Jungle
  17. Stillborne

Black Label Society’s North American Tour meshed together 3 different styles of metal, which made for an entertaining show. Alien Weaponry was a stellar opener, The Black Dahlia Murder obliterated the stage as the direct support, and Black Label Society took it home. I will say that The Black Dahlia Murder truly stole the show with their phenomenal performance, but the whole show as a whole was incredibly entertaining and a thrill to experience!

Black Label Society | The Black Dahlia Murder | Alien Weaponry

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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