Last night I had a choice on my mom’s weekend of freedom – the Dying Fetus tour or The Tossers 20th Anniversary tour. As I drove through Bedlam (OU v Texas college football) traffic, I started leaning toward the metal side of life. By the time I made it to Deep Ellum and drove past the venue that the Tossers were playing at and saw the line the choice was even more clear, it would be a metal night.
I arrived and paid the door price of $18. It was $18 well spent. The venue, Trees, is a nice little spot with good acoustics and the name is derived from the use of tree or tree look support beams. The stage adds a touch of class with a red curtain that they open and close between bands. There was a balcony, but it was reserved for the artists. Not sure of the capacity, but the floor was mostly full by the time Exhumed took the stage. At that point, the pit got a bit too violent and I had to move back to enjoy the rest of the show.
Abiotic filled the night with a wall of deathening Sound. Full of energy on stage, I was drawn to the bassist (it’s a rhythm thing). I love a man who can shred bass with his fingers. I was unfamiliar with Abiotic until last night. With their melodies in the undertones of the aural assault, I will seek out more of their sound.
Waking the Cadaver, in my opinion, while putting on a good show, was the weakest one of the four. They sported a Jersey boy look and attitude on the stage that goes more with hardcore than death metal. Musically, they played tight and commanded the small stage space, made smaller by having a drum kit in front of Dying Fetus’ setup.
Exhumed, ah yes, back to hair, the way death metal should be. I want to have something to untangle in my sweaty man after the show. And continuing with the bass players with a distaste for picks (Waking the Cadaver’s bassist also played without a pick) just makes for a fatter bottom sound. The mix in the club sounded great no matter where you were for all the bands. The live draw for Exhumed has to be the theatrical antics. After a long Yngwie-esque noodling by the lead guitarist, a costumed crazy doc came out with a strobing defibrillator while the drummer held up a sign instructing the crowd to chant, “Clear!” to revive the collapsed guitarist. After the defib failed, a beer bonged Budweiser Light did trick and he returned to playing, foaming at the mouth. Exhumed plays with melodic undertones that suck you into undulations of near-religious experience.
If Wagner were alive today, he’d certainly be composing death metal. Another observation of the genre, or at least of Exhumed, is that the true beat is not as fast as one might think. Listen and you will find the syncopated 4/4 time with layers upon layers of notes over the main beat.
Dying Fetus: Motherfucker, this is death metal at its raw finest. Action in the pit was brutal, but ruled chaos. A local group of fans wearing “pit bulls” shirts kept it going and helped up those who fell. I stayed on the fringes and this is why I wish I had been able to go up to the balcony to get some pictures or video. Sprays of beer in the air over the pit seemed to have a slow motion effect as I watched the droplets fall. There was no comedy act with these guys, just in your face metal. I managed to snap a few pics before I had to drop back to the bar area. Yes, I had boots on, but I’m just getting too old for the worshipping violence of dance near the stage.
I made a good choice for my Friday night, in my opinion. I needed the destressing of the metal fist pumping, the dance, the PBR. I wish that I had gotten their earlier but the soccer match and dinner beckoned to have checked out the locals. I did catch the last few songs of the band before Abiotic, but I did not catch their name. If someone reading this wants to post their name and Facebook or other social media link, I’d greatly appreciate it. I don’t get out that often, so my live reviewing skills are a bit rusty. Music, Bands, Venue all get a: