Welcome to Napalm Flesh! This week, we have a quick preview of Crucial Fest, the local music festival that kicked off last night and runs through this weekend and next. With dozens of local and national bands of multiple genres playing at various venues throughout Salt Lake, it is truly an exciting event for our city. Also included are reviews of new music from Homewrecker, Lord Mantis and Pleasant Living, as well as a listing of this week’s metal happenings.
Compiled by Bryer Wharton
Friday, June 22 Visigoth plays Burt's (21+) with Year of the Wolf, Dethblo and Castleaxe. $7 at the door, music at 9 pm.
Saturday, June 23 in Ogden, Blood of Saints, Incidious and Arsenic Addiction play Kamikazes (21+). $5 at the door, music underway after 8 pm.
Satuday, June 23, Club Expose (21+) hosts Moon of Delirium, Apidocere, Gravetown and Odium Totus. $5 gets you in, music after 8:30 pm.
Monday, June 25 touring band Ambassador Gun headlines Burt's (21+) with Minx, Blue Ox and the Red Bennies. $5 gets you in, tunes underway around 9 pm.
Thursday, June 28 Valient Thorr headlines In The Venue (all ages) with fellow touring bands Holy Grail and Royal Thunder with locals the Kickass and Merlins Beard. Tickets are $13, doors open at 7 pm.
Ten Crucial Fest Picks
Subrosa @ Burt's Tiki Lounge
Crucial Fest 2012 marks the first full-band performance from Subrosa in over a year. The group gained heaps of praise locally, nationally and internationally for No Help for the Mighty Ones, their thunderous album released last year by Profound Lore Records. Notable for their female vocals and sharp, otherworldly violins that cut through a thick layer of doom metal, Subrosa's live show is something that should not be missed.
Witch Mountain @ Burt's Tiki Lounge
Hailing from Portland, Witch Mountain combines the pounding force of doom with the powerful, soulful vocals of Uta Plotkin. Witch Mountain recently released their new album Cauldron of the Wild via Profound Lore Record, and it's already stacking up piles of positive reviews.
Starvist @ Taylorsville Graywhale
Starvist's performance at Crucial Fest is also serving as the release show for their new EP, Taker Mythology. These chaotic hardcore upstarts are reminiscent of local heroes Gaza, and if their recorded material is indicative of their live show, things are gonna get pretty nuts.
Despite Despair @ Kilby Court
Taking their name from the lyrics of a Parallax song, these hardcore kids from Provo have been making waves in the local scene for a few years now. They just released an awesome split CD with Gunner (playing at The Woodshed on June 27) and carry the banner of aggressive music in a part of the state that is known for much more mellow fare. Despite Despair's set is in the middle of the day, but they're likely to come as an impressive surprise to attendees of the all ages show.
Bone Dance @ The Woodshed
These guys are Crucial Fest veterans and frequent Utah visitors. Based in Boise, Bone Dance's aural attack is intense—their Facebook proudly proclaims "We will fuck up room we can fit our equipment in." If throat shredding vocals, chaotic guitars and rapid drumming are your thing, Bone Dance is your thing.
I Am the Ocean @ Kilby
This long-running local post-hardcore band just released a new EP entitled Overhead on June 5. If you haven't seen them live, Crucial Fest is a perfect time to go—things promise to get pretty rowdy.
Muscle Hawk @ Bar Deluxe
Proving that Crucial Fest is more than mere metal, the lineup for June 29's show at Bar Deluxe features a bevy of more dance oriented groups. Muscle Hawk headlines the night, and based on their show-stealing performance at last year's Crucial Fest, this should definitely be an impressive set. Give your neck a rest from the headbanging and let the DJs, drums and killer light show of Muscle Hawk get your feet moving,
Black Acid Devil @ Kilby
These rockers from Denver deliver a stoner/doom brand of rock sure to appeal to your most primal of urges. I personally played a tape from these guys that I bought at Raunch until it wore out—it is stuck in my car's tape deck to this day. If you can, grow a gnarly beard and become a member of a 1-percenter bike gang before the show for maximum enjoyment
Huldra @ Kilby
Huldra is one of the more impressive bands to emerge in the local metal landscape of late. Their brand of atmospheric metal is highly reminiscent of ISIS, replete with hypnotizing synth and crushing riffs. They recently released a split with Dustbloom, and will be playing a set largely comprised of their newer material.
Worms and Dirt
Homewrecker = Birth is Pain era Ringworm + Haymaker + Despise You + In Cold Blood
Lay coremen may accuse Homewrecker, releasing a full length hunk of punishing lead, of following Harm's Way's trajectory from frenetic power-violence into straight chug, but that'd be underselling it a few shades. Worms and Dirt does evoke the beastly amalgamation of the aforementioned microgenres, but only while dragging its dick through the sullied patches of holy terror/death metal that Clevo's been mining since the Clinton administration. Most striking is the album's aural tone (courtesy of Bill Korecky), drenched in slobbering reverb, that renders vox and guitars like the suffering squeals of lost souls beyond Hell's ninth circle. The real jewel here is the triple-combo of "Chained Hanging Victim," "Pipe Dreams" and "Eyes of Anguish." Combined, the tracks showcase the band's dazzling breadth between flurrying thrash leads, blast beats and sludgy Madball stomps. Like Naysayer, but with better guitar work and songwriting. Stunner for the summer. Don't sleep on this one. –Dylan Chadwick
Lord Mantis = skipping Torche record + Fleshpress
Masturbation of the least satisfying caliber, leaving you alone with an awkward, used feeling after 45 minutes of meaningless dick stroking. There's only so many times I can hear the same recycled Neurosis intro riff before I want something to happen, but Lord Mantis is perfectly content to leave you wanting, merely hinting at some “deeper darkness” that you just “don't get.” Perhaps I'm expecting too much from a band billing itself as “blackened sludge metal,” but simply stomping on a distortion pedal connected to your mic doesn't make you a black metal band. Then again, we are dealing with two members of Nachtmystium, a group of folks who seem honestly confused by the very genre they purport to represent. You'll hear a lot about how this album is “dirty,” or “evil” or even that most coveted of faux-black metal adjectives, “blasphemous,” but unless you're a really big fan of the same 3 or 4 atonal sludge riffs that Lord Mantis likes to cuddle with, you're not going to find much here. In the interest of being fair, there are a couple of parts on “At The Mouth” and “The Whip and the Body” where things start picking up, and this album is pretty much cookie-cutter sludge metal for anyone who digs on Bongripper or Yob. But you could be listening to one of those bands instead, sparing yourself the ignoble thumb-twiddling offered by Pervertor. –Henry Glasheen
Pleasant Living = Blitz + Poverty Bay Saints + Aaron Death Threat + Bouncing Souls
While the artwork tricked me into thinkin' this would be some insufferably vampiric Alk 3 nonsense, Pleasant Living actually offers six tracks of catchy, upbeat punk from a gaggle of Baltimore vets (Slumlords, Stout, Trapped Under Ice) that tread the oi line heavily. There's never much to say about the style except that when it's done well, it's done really well, and these guys have the songcraft and axe-manship to garner some recognition. Lyrically, it's typical oi fare (fightin', drinkin' and blue collar heartbreak), but "Brain Change" sounds a bit like "Warriors," and "Father's Day" is an inflammatory diss on deadbeat dads. Generally speaking, I opt for a smidge more 86 Mentality in my oi brew, but I can't pass up a pop hook, a solo (check the Van Halen fast-fingering on "Truthless" and "All I Ever Loved") and a gang chorus. –Dylan Chadwick