Nothing quite compares to the experience of a metal show in a small venue, where you are forced to become closely
acquainted with everyone else in attendance, and it is inevitable that at some point you will unexpectedly get shoved and knocked over because the mosh pit takes up the entire room. This was my experience when I attended the Poisoning North America Tour at The End, a grungy but cozy dive bar/music venue covered in graffiti and tucked away in an alley off of Elliston Place in Nashville, TN. Shows here are always fun, because it is nice to watch bands play in a more intimate, raw setting rather than a huge, fancy venue with too much open space. Underground metal shows are always the most fun, in my opinion.
Local three piece band Yautja set the tone for the night with their sludgy, grindy death metal style. All three members, Shibby on guitar, Kayhan on bass, and Tyler on drums, shared the vocals, which was impressive and is rare to see in this genre. For having only three members, they sure did produce a huge sound, and their music made me feel like I was on some sort of roller coaster of doom. If you are a local Nashvillian, this is definitely a band you need to check out live.
Next was Theories, a Seattle-based grindcore death metal band. This group is just starting to get their foot in the door in the metal scene, and having signed with Metal Blade Records last year, they released their debut album Regression this past March. Their music is fast and brutal with subtle touches of pretty melodies, and their intensity was perfect for keeping to momentum of the show going.
From there, as soon as Black Breath started playing, the room burst at the seams and exploded with energy. A mosh pit broke out that filled the entire floor, and that is the moment when the show seemed to really get started. They’ve also got a LOT of hair. It may sound strange, but the synchronized hair swishing was actually kind of pretty and hypnotizing to look at. Okay, and their music was good, too. One of the main things I remember from their set was that frontman Neil McAdams had a moment where he screamed THE longest scream I have ever heard. Very impressive.
Following Black Breath’s intense display of hardcore thrash hair metal was Ringworm
from Cleveland, OH. This metalcore band has been around since the early 90’s and despite having breezed through a lot of band members, the current crew sounds like they’ve been playing together forever. At this point in the show, however, there wasn’t enough diversity in the music for me to remain completely interested in what was going on. I resorted more to people-watching than paying as much attention to the music, and I admired the interesting fashion choices of those in attendance. My favorite was probably the guy whose arm was covered in a leather band with 10 inch spikes protruding from it… a person I kept a close eye on so I would not get impaled while trying to enjoy the show. My mind also began to wander to the band’s name. I can’t help but wonder if they thought they were naming their band after some sort of creepy parasitic worm that eats human flesh, when in reality it is just a fungal infection. Surely they did their research before making such a huge decision, but I guess either thing is pretty disturbing and fitting for their style of music.
Goatwhore, a death metal band from New Orleans, was the main performance of the night. After getting set up, they disappeared to the back, and the lights dimmed. Some chant music began playing over the speakers, and the only thing I could decipher was the word “Satan.” People around me started chanting along with it, and I wondered, “What have I gotten myself into?!” The last time I saw Goatwhore perform was at Sounds of the Underground at the abandoned Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky. That was a pretty wild festival, and while it seems like not much could top that setting, this show was a lot of fun in its own way. I can’t really get completely into music like theirs that is so focused on death, torture, pain, plagues, and everything dark and disturbing, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t talented. Goatwhore has such a powerful presence, it is hard to not get wrapped up and entranced by their music when they play live. I also think they must have called forth some demons with their opening trance music, because the moment they came out and started playing, my camera malfunctioned and refused to work for the rest of the show.
Each band that played on this tour was overflowing with talent, and I was impressed by everyone’s performances despite my usual concert ADD. Overall, I had a very thrashy, doomy night, and I left with some new bruises and a broken camera, which I think is the mark of a pretty great metal show.