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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Concert Review: Hatebreed, Black Dahlia Murder, Napalm Death, and Exodus

Monsters of Mayhem Tour
Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall, September 21, 2006


The crowd was mostly younger, as in late teens and early 20’s. For many, it seemed as if this were their first concert. The mob was also small, around 500, and didn’t seem to want to move. However, this changed as the night moved on.

The mighty metal warrior’s known as Exodus opened the show. Even though they were blasting explosive guitar riffs and tearing it up on stage, the younger crowd refused to mosh, dance, or perform any kind of mobility exercise in the pit. New singer Rob Dukes tried his best to get the crowd riled up, but to no avail. A few fans tried to start a mosh pit, and Rob pointed them out to everyone else as being truly hardcore. Older fans throughout the Newport could be seen playing air guitar for the entire set. the band was impressive and tight, but the combination of the younger crowd (who had probably never listened to Exodus) and being the first band of a rather impressive line-up didn’t help them.

The band that coined the term “Grindcore” to describe their music came on second. Napalm Death roared through their set like their namesake roared through Southeast Asian jungles. They played the title track off their first record, “Scum,” a Dead Kennedy’s cover of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off,” and a few songs off their newest album, “Smear Campaign.” In between songs, Barney Greenway talked to the crowd in his very polite, very British accent. It was a sharp contrast to his singing voice, which sounds like an angry, hungry, dying tiger about to devour its last meal. The pit got moving for Napalm Death, with arms and legs flying everywhere. A fight even broke out that spilled out onto the floor. Napalm Death delivered an intense show as promised and surely sold a lot of CD’s and T-shirts at the merch booth that night.

The Black Dahlia Murder blazed through their set with few breaks. TBDM played what was hands down the most vicious, hardcore set of the night. “This next song is about fucking people up. You know what to do.” And the animals in the pit did know what to do. They tore each other apart. TBDM’s singer, Trevor Strnad, looks like a bigger, meaner, WAY tougher older brother of Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. Chuck Taylor All Stars and geeky glasses aside, Black Dahlia kicked ass. Their set was no nonsense, no prattling to the crowd about war and religion, just straight up metal. They were the first band of the night to get a circle pit going that consisted of more than a dozen people.

Hatebreed, obviously the most popular band present being the headliner, put on a fast paced, smash mouth show. A look at the crowd showed who came to see Hatebreed. As one Napalm Death and Exodus fan said to me, “there’re a lot of Emo kids here.” The band put on a great hardcore show, they almost always do, but their fan base has taken a radical turn. This is attributable to Jamey Jasta’s insistence on making every single song an anthem of some sort. Hatebreed shouldn’t be blamed for this though, as almost every single hardcore band does this now. But it does get tiring hearing, “This next song is about being your own person!” “This song is about not letting people tell you what to do!” “This next song is about getting the respect that you deserve!” “This song is about being the best you can be!” You get the point. The Hardcore scene is turning into an After School Special. Hatebreed played a good show, the band was tight and energetic and gave the crowd their all. The crowd, for their part, was wild. The entire floor was thrashing and moshing.

All around a great show by every band involved. The crowd (which at shows like these are almost as important as the band) left much to be desired, but walked away knowing they got their money's worth.
- Tim Razler
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