Exodus were legends in the Bay Area Thrash movement and while many genres have come to exist since those early days, these guys still manage to deliver a crushing set of the purest stuff that the genre ever gave birth to. Tonight’s show at B.B. King Blues Club would find them joined by Arsis, Warbringer and Goatwhore and it was definitely a rousing one. We made sure to be on point for all the performers and if you want to see more just scroll past the logo below.
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Goatwhore, Arsis, Warbringer
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Historically speaking, Exodus is one of the founding fathers that’s often respectfully referred to when one opens the chronicles and looks back at the dawning of the Thrash Metal movement. The band was originally formed by guitarist Gary Holt, drummer Tom Hunting and guitarist Kirk Hammett in 1980, and while Hammett would go on to join Metallica, both Holt and Hunting and what seemed to be a rotation of players would continue on for the forces of Metal world wide . For those who are old enough to have experienced it firsthand the band holds a very special place in their hearts to this very day no matter how much of lifes daily trials and tribulations are put upon us. The Metal scene was quite profound during this genres formative years and its power has not ebbed at all it would seem. The younger fans only remember the bands formation from reading about it or watching videos on YouTube.com but have made sure to keep up by following their later years through purchasing albums and hitting the shows. Tonight at B.B. King Blues Club in New York we would find an incredible mix of a wide variety of musical talent and there wasn’t anyone in the room who would argue with you. The show found Exodus bringing along Goatwhore as direct support and also the super technical talents of Arsis and youthful exuberance of Warbringer. The Metal youth of Warbringer would come up first and here is how the night went down.
Warbringer: It seems as though the band Black Tide is not alone in the youthful pursuit of Heavy Metal greatness these days and proving their abilities with song after song comes Warbringer. The band features a membership roster that runs the ages of 17-22 and their oldest member wasn’t even born when Exodus first started their Heavy Metal reign. Signed to Century Media Records, the group is supporting their debut album “War Without End” and as far as their musical style goes, well the guys seem to focus their creative energies at being one who harkens to the time when Thrash Metal was king. It was interesting to find such a youthful band delivering a sound like this as opposed to some crushing Black or Death Metal and I was actually glad to see this be the case as it separated them from a lot of the other bands who are made up of a similar age group. Fronted by John Kevill, the band also features two brothers (John Laux on guitar and Andy on bass) as a part of their lineup. Kevill, though quite young, demonstrates that he has been schooled in the teachings of the front men who came before him and he certainly was not low on energy tonight. The band delivered a short set of their albums material and seemed quite tight and another thing that I took away from their set was the reaction of the younger fans that made up the audience tonight. Judging by their faces as Warbringer played you could tell that some of them were thinking “hey, this could be me up there” so perhaps we are standing on edge of a new Metal movement as bands like these prove that they have been paying attention to the scene around them. This is a group that we will most definitely hear from again, and that my friends is a very good thing. Next up would be Arsis.
Arsis: I had heard about these guys a couple of times before but tonight would be my first time ever getting to see them perform and the whispers from fans around me was that the band was an onslaught of technical display. I smiled as I thought about how many times I had heard this and then the band began their set. Fronted and led by James Malone, this is a throttling outfit and a must be paid attention to band for anyone who enjoys their Metal at blistering speeds and with deft technical ability. They’ve recently signed to Nuclear Blast Records and shall be releasing their label debut “We Are The Nightmare”. Tonight all of their material would be new to me and I was fine with that as I stood stunned by how intense it actually was from beginning to end in the live sense. The crowd seemed to dig into them as well, which is never a bad thing for any opener to observe from the stage. Overall, the band is heavy as hell but ups the ante with all the technical virtuosity. Drummer Darren Cesca originally hailed from the band Burn In Silence and he really drives the Arsis machine with his Mike Portnoy meets Inferno from Behemoth level of percussive ability. I tried to get clear photos of him while they played but there were just too many drums in the way for me to do that. This set was definitely the envy of any drummer in the room since there were just so many cool parts to it in the visual sense as well. Malone himself is a great player and not only does he lead the band but he also is their singer and principle songwriter. Based on what I enjoyed tonight, I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy of their album because if the recording is anything like their live set then we are all in for some crazy ride. The band also features bassist Noah Martin who was performing some acrobatics of his own on the bass and in my opinion was one of the better players I had seen in a band of this type in awhile and on second guitar is Ryan Knight. I am looking forward to seeing these guys perform again since this first time left me needing to catch my breath. In just a few minutes, the club would go dark again as the guys in Goatwhore took the stage and if I wasn’t mistaken it was even darker than it normally would have been.
Goatwhore: My first time catching Goatwhore was when they opened up for Venom and for some reason when these guys hit the stage there seems to be an additional level of darkness that gets set loose upon the audience. Their style of Metal is referred to as “Blackened Death Metal”, but to me it’s a lot more like Melodic Black Metal based on some of their guitar riffing. There are no keyboards present so they don’t fall into the Symphonic Black Metal aspect and that’s fine by me since we have plenty of those bands doing that kind of stuff. These guys have been around since 1998 but it wasn’t until they signed on to Metal Blade Records that I managed to catch them. “A Haunting Curse” is a unique exploration into the dark realms of Louisiana, Black Metal style. The album is really good and I remember that when I first heard of it I had thought how it was not like a conventional European Black Metal band and had that something “else” to it, a something that only a US band could bring to the table when it comes down to it. The riffing of Sammy Duet was quite interesting as the musician not only shows a level of skill on the Darker Metal side but also brings a little bit of his background from Crowbar as tastes of the Sludge Doom make themselves visible during the songs. In the visual sense the guys are well prepared to entertain as well because both Sammy and Nathan come out decked in the spiked gauntlets and leather. It made them stand out a little more as one seldom sees bands from the US sporting this kind of stuff anymore. The crowd was on fire during the Goatwhore set which was intense to experience from any vantage point and their singer Louis Benjamin Falgoust II gets you into it again and again. These shows allow for the audience to reach out and almost touch the bands if they are close enough to the barrier and for the show Falgoust was extending himself over the photo pit to inspire the madness even more. The singer does double duty as vocalist for Soilent Green as well, but that is more of a Death grind Metal outfit. Their set tonight was longer being the direct support of Exodus and over its course even found Duet singing a couple of numbers. We should be finding a new album from them soon, so keep your eyes peeled for it.
Exodus: Thinking back about the Thrash Metal movement in its infancy is often interesting to do because back then the bands were bringing so much for the fans of the NWOBHM to the table. Everything about those formative years bands was exciting and what you experienced you took with you for years and there are many who are happy to find that Exodus is still around to do it. The band was out supporting their latest slab of Metal on Nuclear Blast Records, the exciting “The Atrocity Exhibition Exhibit A” and for this one the band was also presenting their new singer, the maniac known as Rob Dukes. Dukes had been a member of the group since the release of 2005’s “Shovel Headed Kill Machine” but they had not been to the New York region since its release to the best of my knowledge and as a result tonight’s show was going to be a long overdue live introduction for him. Holt has remained in place since the beginning, even after a couple of brief hiatuses in the band’s existence and while he had left a number of times it was great to find drummer Tom Hunting back behind the kit. The band has been no stranger to great drummers on the kit over the years but there was something just a little more special about having their original skin basher in place once again. The lineup is completed by guitarist Lee Altus and bassist Jack Gibson and together the walls of B.B. King’s were set to shake. The band opened up their set with three numbers from the new album as opposed to some of their earlier material and it went over surprisingly well right away. Often the new release takes a little warming up to before presenting to the audience but Exodus chose to slam us with it right away and it definitely works live. Dukes is a great front man himself and stalks the stage like a menacing beast as he growled and screamed about “A Lesson In Violence” before delivering a rant about September 11th and how all the terrorists involved were “Children Of A Worthless God”. It was truly a powerful statement to make in the Big Apple and had Dukes himself been from anywhere other than New York it could have been taken as using the day for a crowd response. He was really keeping everyone into it, and not that this was too hard to do tonight as the crowd surfers and various moshing proved they had been appealing to everyone in attendance. The crowd also seemed to appease Holt who spoke and said how he was once told that the Thrash Metal scene and Metal in general had not died as he recalled being at a show that was less than ill attended. He continued on and said how the show tonight was making him believe that the person who exclaimed that to be correct and how he appreciated all the years of support. Dukes taunted the crowd by asking who bought their new album and when the response came he again inquired about how many present had downloaded it, and of course the larger response was given for this inquiry. Let’s hope it wasn’t truly the case and that it was responded as such in order to taunt him back a little. That’s a New York crowd for you, loaded with attitude sometimes. I enjoyed the way Dukes was doing some of the older stuff and felt he did the late great Paul Baloff justice especially when it came to that song that “ain’t about no goldfish, ain’t about no tuna fish and ain’t about no trout”. I am speaking of course of “Pirahna”.
Only one song would come from “Shovel Headed Kill Machine” and it was the title track for that one. Dukes again asked how many had downloaded this particular recording and once again the audience gave it right back to him. He should have known better. As the set drew to its close we got the classic “Bonded By Blood” and as expected “Toxic Waltz” and with these two numbers the place was pretty insane. As they finished to their grand finale, Dukes thanked us all for coming and that the band would be back as soon as possible. This was a great night of Metal and there didn’t seem to be a head banger in the venue who wasn’t already looking forward to the next time around.
If you haven’t gotten the new Exodus yet, make sure you do so, but also be mindful to add the latest releases from the opening acts since it’s a good Metal move on your part. Feel free to download the tracks if you must, but do so via the acceptable legal means on Amazon.com or I-Tunes.
Goatwhore Set List:
1. Wear These Scars Of Testimony
2. The Serpent That Enslaves What Is Worshiped
3. Invert The Virgin
4. Satan’s Millennium
5. In The Narrow Confines Of Defilement
6. Forever Consumed Oblivion
7. The Black Art Of Deception
8. Sky Inferno
9. Graveyards And Dead Angels
10. Baptized In A Storm Of Swords
11. Alchemy Of The Black Sun Cult
12. I Avenge Myself
Exodus Set List:
1. Riot Act
3. Funeral Hymn
4. A Lesson In Violence
5. Children Of A Worthless God
9. Fabulous Disaster
10. Bedlam 1-2-3
11. Strike Of The Beast
12. Shovel Headed Kill Machine
13. War Is My Sheperd
14. Bonded By Blood
15. Toxic Waltz