Live Review: Converge Play Jane Doe in Full with Sacred Reich and more on Day 1 of Decibel Beer & Metal Festival Los Angeles 2021

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Live Review: Converge Play Jane Doe in Full with Sacred Reich and more on Day 1 of Decibel Beer & Metal Festival Los Angeles 2021

With the Omicron variant of COVID spreading rapidly around the world and again live music under threat of cancellations and postponements, it was nice to be able to get a heavy dose of heavy music as the Metal & Beer Fest by Decibel Magazine was back in Los Angeles at Belasco. The two-night festival opening featured performances from a wide range of metal bands, from the galloping thrash of Sacred Reich to the spastic metallic hardcore of Early Graves (playing their farewell show) to the traditional metal of Night Demon. . And of course, headlining Converge was playing their groundbreaking 2001 album. Jane doe in full.

The evening began with performances by Los Angeles glam metal band Saber and San Jose-based death metal band Ripped To Shreds, presenting to the crowds as people rushed into the beautiful theater that would be swamped with blast beats, raw-throated screams and shredding. guitar leads for more than six hours.
If you mistook Ventura’s Night Demon for a young Motorhead last night, you’d be forgiven. The power trio deals with traditional old-fashioned heavy metal and is led by fu manchu’d singer / bassist Jarvis Leatherby. The end of their set featured an exhilarating performance of their song “The Chalice” – very appropriate for a metal and beer festival – filled with a skeleton entering the stage with its own chalice. The set ended with the riff-y track “Night Demon” from their 2013 EP Demon of the night.

As mentioned earlier, the San Francisco band Early Graves were playing their last gig. Sporting a five-man lineup, the band managed to deliver a complex, fast-paced, hardcore-infused death metal that placed a lot of emphasis on the ‘hardcore’ aspect, especially through Dan Sneddon’s drums. The inhuman barking and screaming of singer Chris Brock was a taste of the night’s headliners, as his performance (at least in a live setting) has a striking similarity to that of Jacob Bannon on Jane doe. After the first song, Brock shouted, “Faith is Shit,” the name of their next song. Throughout the set, bassist Matt O’Brien occasionally approached the mic and added a deeper, bellows-like vocal delivery, which added a nice layer of complexity to the sound of Early Graves.

The audience slowly began to form a circular pit during their set, which didn’t impress Brock at all as he berated them for being too slow and fucking idiots: “I’m glad this is our last show. You’d like to know why ? Because you suck! “The audience took those acrimonious lyrics to heart; the pit’s speed and intensity increased, and the singer expressed his approval like a tough daddy,” It’s better! “” Pure Hell “was dedicated to the band’s late singer Makh Daniels, who died in a van crash while touring in 2010. As the band left the stage, Brock had one final message:” We will never see you again. “

Repulsion was the first group to perform for which many members of the audience came specifically to see. Unlike Early Graves, the whole tone of Repulsion was much lighter (when you sing about maggots eating the brains of corpses, it’s probably a good thing to joke about it). Lead singer Scott Carlson encouraged audiences to keep drinking beer, and band co-founder Matt Olivo could be spotted taking selfies of himself in front of the crowd between some jagged guitars. Despite being present on and off for the past 30 years, the band has released only one full album, 1989’s Horrified. They made the most of that one LP, with the record becoming a major touchstone for the goregrind genre. They played “Decomposed” from that record, dropping punchy riffs under Carlson’s gruff, low voice, mostly indistinguishable.

While filming, Carlson took the time to mention that Decibel recently published an article about the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Carcass album. welcome to Hell, artfully noting that “We wouldn’t be here tonight without the Venom album… and your moms.” They dedicated their next song, a cover of Venom’s “Schizoid”, to the band and, of course, to the Moms. They ended their set with performances of “Black Breath” and “Maggots In Your Coffin”.

Another band that was obviously eager to return to the stage was Sacred Reich. The second wave Arizona thrash group was playing their first show in two years, and the joy was palpable. Bassist / singer Phil Rind couldn’t wipe the smile off his face, and the band were a well-oiled metal machine as they embarked on “The American Way” with Rind saying, “No truth, no justice. , the American way! “They played songs like” Divide and Conquer “from their” new “album Awakening, which came out before the pandemic in 2019, but the group never had a chance to turn behind. This song in particular featured Rind’s impressive blowjobs, moaning like he was Dio there. “Manifest Reality” was an uplifting song about bringing positivity into your own life, and “Salvation” was about how music can save us.

After several hours of relentless metalwork, it was finally time for the headliners. In a lineup that has touched several sub-genres of extreme music, Converge is a bit out of the way, less hesher and more hardcore. The audience was ecstatic to hear Jane doe, a true masterpiece in the history of heavy music and a record that has influenced countless artists (metal and non-metal). It’s no surprise, given this album’s massive reach across all genres, that at this point audiences aren’t just metalheads anymore.

Before they started playing, there was a bit of humor as house music played Disturbed’s alternate metal hit “Down With the Sickness,” a festival chuckled at the song with a chuckle. decidedly “cooler” programming – as much of the audience, some of whom ironically banged on the ass, remarking “This song is like the ‘Crazy Train’ of our generation”. The band’s set was dedicated to the late Gerad O’Donnell of Planes Mistaken for Stars, something singer Jacob Bannon recognized between songs.

Kurt Ballou’s main overture on the two-note guitar of “Concubine” marked the start of our journey. The group shattered the double punch of “Concubine” and “Fault and Fracture”, two songs that blend perfectly together. Barely four minutes into the set, Bannon needed a minute to catch his breath after playing like an athlete. After a few beats he addressed the audience and explained how good it was to be back on stage. As the band prepared for the third track, “Distance and Meaning,” Bannon hinted that this wasn’t the one they played often and would likely never play again. It’s no surprise that when a surfer from the crowd landed on stage, practically above Ballou as he went from opening riff to verse, he was greeted with a warm push.

By this point, the circular pit had reached levels never seen before in previous rounds. The center of the crowd swirled, relying on the intensity of the first three songs. “Hell To Pay” offered a short respite from the chaos, as a haunting guitar riff became the center of attention, highlighting the psychedelic nature of Jane doe on the display. Of course, this peace was short-lived as the song gradually turned into an emotional (and loud) crescendo; the dissonance ebbed into a hypnotic riff. “Homewrecker”, “The Broken Vow” and “Bitter in Than Some” increased the intensity as the crowd whirled around and took two steps around the floor. The muddy “Phoenix in Flight” and its little interlude-like counterpart “Phoenix in Flames” led to “Thaw”, which features some of the album’s most unforgettable and downright mind-blowing guitar leads. The conclusion of the ensemble was the title track over 10 minutes long, an epic that goes from atmospheric and haunting to heavy and passionate over and over. Surprisingly, there was no reminder and the house lights came on immediately after “Jane Doe” ended.

Day two provided even more thrills, with Cave In playing their own iconic metalcore album. Until your heart stops, a reunion of Deadguy and a set from the rising death metal team Gatecreeper. ACxDC (how they haven’t been sued yet is amazing), Spiritworld, Crypt Sermon, and Ghoul will also be performing.

List of convergence sets:

Concubine
Defect and fracture
Distance and meaning
Hell to pay
Wrecker
The broken vow
Bitter and then some
Heaven in her arms
Phoenix in flight
Phoenix in flames
Thaw
Jane doe

All photos by Ekaterina Gorbacheva


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