Show Review: The Black Dahlia Murder, Skeletonwitch, Toxic Holocaust, Trap Them 10/27/09
Reviewed by Nov 8th, 2009

After nearly a year of trying to catch Skeletonwitch I finally got the chance so we made our way on the two hour drive up to Nashville through the heavy rain to make it Rocketown. To be greeted by a rather odd scene of about 8 to 10 police cars on the road up to the venue regardless, we arrived at nearly 7:00 PM. With the door time on the site listed as 6:00 I fully expected Trap Them to have already played however for the one time in my life I’ll say thank goodness for slow start times as we arrived about 15 min before Trap Them hit the stage. The crowd was rather mixed with a large number of thrashers, “hardcore kids” and a few black mentalists were also notably present.

Trap Them: Set Time (25min)
Seattle death metalists Trap Them were the first band up and played a very short but powerful set to warm up the crowd. What they delivered was a solid blast of death metal to warm up the neck and shoulders for a long night of headbanging to follow. The band had a solid performance though I felt they may have got off once or twice but they pulled right back into time almost immediately. Vocalist Ryan McKenney had a rather awkward and interesting way of doubled over headbanging that was quite interesting to watch I have to admit. They varied from song to song some of a more modern death metal style and others an almost old school slow paced doomish death metal. All in all interesting enough of a band that I would be willing to see them again and perhaps check out some of their music.

Toxic Holocaust: Set Time (30min)
Portland/Seattle legends Toxic Holocaust took the stage second after only a few minutes of down time to change up some gear, Joel and company hit the stage amid white lights and smoke screen tearing into a few tracks from their new album Overdose of Death. The band were in prime form tearing through their criminally short set with vigor and enthusiasm playing songs from their entire discography from the new songs like Wild Dogs to classic 666. In between songs Joel’s banter introduced me to the news that apparently there had been a protest from certain groups trying to stop the show from happening (explaining the large amount of police cars outside the venue). On this note Joel pushed the satanic songs tonight; ending on a final and powerful note with the new track Nuke the Cross. The size of the crowd had swelled to well over double the number who had seen Trap Them and they certainly responded well to the band with the thrashers running circle pits in full swing the entire set.

Skeletonwitch: Set Time (50 min)
With the room filling to about half capacity I found my way to a good spot at the side of the stage at this point my wait was finally over. With the inverted cross logos and dear skulls affixed to the amps Skeletonwitch took to the stage in a flurry of energy tearing into the blistering Upon Wings of Black from Beyond the Permafrost. The furry and power that is heard on album carries over perfectly to the bands live show as they bound flawlessly from track to track blending the new and old material together without a hitch as the new songs hold up in power and strength with the older beloved tracks. Continuing with the satanic theme started by Toxic Holocaust the Skeletonwitch crew decided to pick their most satanically inspired songs for this night. All in the entire band tore through about half the songs from Beyond the Permafrost as well as three or four tracks from their latest opus Breathing the Fire. Chance stalked the stage like a possessed beast throwing horns, headbanging, and interacting with the crowd. Without a doubt the fiercest looking front man of the night though to give Joel his props he is tied down with a guitar) their nearly constant touring has certainly worked the band into a finely oiled machine). After all this wait to finally see the band live I have to say it was completely worth it and the whiplash I am now suffering from will more than likely agree.

The Black Dahlia Murder: Set Time (60min)
I would like to say that I had far more energy to enjoy the BDM crew but after Skeletonwitch’s frenzied performance I have to say I was rather tired so for this one I held down to the back of the room with most of the thrashers present to watch the hardcore kids have the floor. After previously seeing BDM at Mayhem Fest earlier this year I was looking forward to seeing them in their own element. Though unfamiliar with most of the band’s music it is obvious that live is where they shine. The band ripped into their hour long set with only moments of rest between each track filling it with as much music as possible. Frontman Trevor Strnad is a maniac on stage running and jumping all over the place all the while doing his weird horn throwing that looks like he’s trying to conduct the crowd. The kids seemed to enjoy it the pit turning immediately into chaos with the obligatory invisible ninja killing that seems to follow bands like BDM. All in all though I would have liked to have seen more Toxic Holocaust regardless the BDM boys brought this show to a good and satisfying end and during their set I managed to have a brief meeting with Toxic Holocaust main man Joel Grind which was pretty cool.
Swag: Skeletonwitch- At One With the Shadows Shirt, Breathing the Fire CD

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