Brother, Can You Lend Me an Ear?

One of the great things about going on tour is meeting and seeing bands you’d never previously heard of and experiencing what those bands, usually local openers often still in their infancies, have to offer, then bringing home a pile of demos that have been distributed to the members of the travelling road show and checking them out after the fact.

One of the shitty things about going on tour is meeting and seeing bands you’d never previously heard of and experiencing what those bands, usually local openers often still in their infancies, have to offer, then bringing home a pile of demos that have been distributed to the members of the travelling road show and checking them out after the fact. This latter point becomes just that little bit shittier when people find out some journalist jerk is part of the travelling road show and the person to whom they’re handing their demo. This, because their handoffs can sometimes get peppered with questions like, “can you review us in the next issue?” or “can you write a story about us?” that are of little concern when your biggest present issue involves not having showered and changed clothes in three days. Then, there are those without a clue who ask the unlikely, “can you get us on the cover?” Seriously, this happens more than you think it would.

I’ve been home for just over a couple weeks now after being on the road with Exhumed on their eastern North American tour with Havok and Goatwhore and have decided to honor the hard work and throw a frickin’ bone to a tiny portion of extreme music’s future, one of which just may end up as a cover story some seven some-odd years from now. Or not.


I think these dudes are either from St. Louis or the Chicago area and played the St. Louis show. I don’t know, though what I do know is that wherever they rest their heads at night, chances are a few hundred alphabetized death metal CDs and homemade wallpaper consisting of all those fold-out posters that used to come with the print version of Metal Maniacs stare back at them as tales of “Vile Impurity” and “Spite Driven Hate” dance around their collective subconscious. This quartet is the sort that straddle the rip-roarin’ old school and the technique-obsessed new-school. In the end, they kind of fall into the same school as bands like Abysmal Dawn, Aeon and Neuraxis.


There’s not a lot of subtlety in a name like Blowtorch Sodomy; you already know what you’re walking into when you hear a bunch of dudes decided to name their band as such. Maybe even moreso than if you met someone who said they actually regularly engaged in the act of blowtorch sodomy. It’d be like, “I’m pretty sure this band is going to sound like Suffocation, Skinless, Dying Fetus and Deeds of Flesh, but I’m kind of iffy on whether or not that dude actually goes around transforming his play partner’s hoops into burning rings of fire.”


Commando is actually the thrash ensemble of one of the member of Mexico City gore grinders, Rottenness and Sudden Invasion is actually their 2008 full-length. As a standalone release, this isn’t bad. It’s kind of stodgy and has a rawer take on west coast and German thrash with shifty Exodus-like power chords, early Megadeth skank riffs and a heavy dose of Destruction and Kreator in the fast parts and vocals. Commano don’t tackle anything outside of the thrash realm and songs like “Kill the Posers,” “Mental Disorder,” “Police Brutality” and “Pleasure for Destruction” show they have no problem referencing the 80s in their lyrical topics of choice. Total meat and potatoes metal for the bullet-belt set.


I think these dudes are from the upstate new York area, somewhere along the corridor between Buffalo and Syracuse. And it shows. Their penchant for brutal and semi-technical death metal complete with breakdowns and mosh parts hearkens back to the late 80s/early 90s when Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation and Deicide could be seen eating at Mighty Taco and shopping at Home of the Hits. Expect Disfigured Dead to relocate to Florida by the end of next year.


Chicago’s Hunters sound like the sort of band that don’t hail from Chicago. The monstrous sound this bunch churn out is part-bearded mountain man raping a billy goat, part-loogie of chaw running down your chin, part-NYC crossover and pretty much all awesome. If Alabama Thunderpussy and Mastodon slammed faces with Orange Goblin and Kylesa, you might have this.


Though the cover makes this out to be the cheesiest slice of sonic detritus to ever emerge from anywhere, vocalist Deanna Gardas and guitarist Mita Khrichenko are actually both insanely talented individuals. They also quite enjoy the more melodic sounds of vintage NWOBHM and 80s metal and are at their best when they gussy that aesthetic up a notch in the tempo department. If I had any suggestions for this Philly/Delaware area outfit it would be to watch their song lengths (Jesus Christ “Calling the Guards” has a great riff – not so great after what feels like ten minutes of repetition), trim the ballad-type stuff and stop thinking that just because you have musical that that translates to graphic design and visual art acumen.


This band played the Columbus, OH show and maybe I’m thinking of someone else, but I seem to remember them coming from a far more crossover side of things than their debut, self-released album displays. Maybe I’m confused. Actually, I’m pretty much always confused, so don’t hold it against me. In the Absence of Adversity sounds like what people in America call American metal. It’s like a friendly mix of thrash, metalcore and Iron Maiden tailored to please the beer drinking, tribal tattooed, 3XL t-shirt crowd. This isn’t something I’d listen to much of, but at the same time Mithridium isn’t bad if you’re sick of other people doing their shitty imitations of Lamb of God Trivium, Chimaira and Pantera.


This bunch played in St. Louis and definitely did a better job of warming up the crowd than 50s crooner, Frankie Valli, who was playing down the street, would have. Live, they come across with much more sonic chaos than the three-song demo I scored from their bass player. Imagine Fuck the Facts, Cephalic Carnage, old Between the Buried and Me and even a little bit of Deadguy. They could probably try to cut back on trying to cram so many unnecessary parts and changes in their tunes, and could definitely do with some more bombast and mayhem as far as their stage presence is concerned (any dude in any front row worth his balls isn’t going to complain about taking a headstock in the face), but this quintet is on to something.