|George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher at work (Sam McLennan photo)|
As to be expected, Summer Slaughter went to extremes at the Palladium in Worcester on Aug. 10, and did so more ways than one.
The outright hammer smash of headliners Cannibal Corpse is metal at its most extreme, a head-down onslaught of gore and riffs. After Friday’s razor sharp turn through old and new material, Cannibal Corpse earned a spot alongside Slayer and Motorhead on my “Never Fail” list. Definitely not a band for everyone, but Cannibal Corpse sets the standard for death metal, meaning it’s all raw, nasty shit. Even when he’s trying to be nice, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher sounds like he’s bullying you.
|Cannibal Corpse headbanging (Sam McLennan photos)|
Job For A Cowboy burrowed into death metal’s new school, tossing some hardcore breakdowns into the grind. JFAC runs hot and cold, but definitely stokes some fresh ideas for stripped down death metal, and for a tour showcasing extreme metal, death is the easiest way to go.
|Job For A Cowboy (Sam McLennan photos)|
But Summer Slaughter rolled the dice with experimental bands. Between the Buried and Me, The Faceless and Veil of Maya lifted extreme metal to some pretty high-minded musical outposts. BTBAM especially had its Pink Floyd on, unfurling long intricate pieces of music punctuated with bursts of spastic aggression. The band’s set was equal parts beautiful and brutal.
The Faceless found its progressive edge in Michael Keene’s technical, theatrical guitar work. Hypnotic solos played against thundering double-bass drum assaults to create moments of dynamic tension-and-release within the long, winding tunes. And songs from the new “Autotheism” album were macabre and suggested the band is still pushing at boundaries.
|Between the Buried and Me (Sam McLennan photos)|
Veil of Maya likewise relied on sharp sonic contrasts, but pulled in the songs for more coiled tension. The band’s ace was a slow-burning groove developed over a few songs that sucked the crowd into a tribal stomp.
|The Faceless (Sam McLennan photo)|
|Veil of Maya (Sam McLennan photos|
Only Periphery seemed a tentative in its mash-up of prog and metal. The playing was solid, but the band lacked a clear direction and made it easy to drift. Which I did, up to the second stage The Palladium set up for Summer Slaughter.
|Periphery (Sam McLenna photos)|
|Nemecide (Sam McLennan photo)|
|Conforza (Sam McLennan photo)|
|The Summoned (Sam McLennan photos)|
A bunch of regional bands kept the action going in the theater’s upstairs room, with The Summoned, Conforza, and Nemecide smoking through their respective 20-minute sets. The homegrown bands mirrored what Slaughter was trying to get across in general _ basically playing to see how far aggression can go without losing its edge. Heavy music right now seems as interested in messing with your head as it does inspiring you to mosh.