Summer Slaughter ’11- The Annual Gathering of Death Metal Extremists

Posted on August 9, 2011


Posted also on MetalTalk.Net

By: Rachael Mattice

Death Metal’s fastest growing tour brought insanity’s finest together again for the annual meeting of the underworld at Summer Slaughter 2011. The bestowed ‘Most Extreme Tour of the Year’ hit San Diego, CA on Saturday July 30 for one of the early destination dates.

The nearly eight hour festival featured the bands Within the Ruins, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Powerglove, Oceano, As Blood Runs Black, Dying Fetus, Six Feet Under, Darkest Hour, and headliners Whitechapel and The Black Dahlia Murder.

Without a schedule posted online, one had to rely on luck and estimation to guess when an anticipated band would be performing. Eight hours is a long time to be standing and suffocating on the sweat permeated air. Upon arrival at the Summer Slaughter location at the House of Blues at 7.00pm, there were only four bands left to trample the stage. Without the help of better public relations, my group sadly missed known theme song virtuosos Powerglove and political natured death Metal band Dying Fetus.Oceano, Fleshgod Apocalypse, As Blood Runs Black, and Within Ruins were the early acts to play, but know that re-entrance is not permitted if one plans to take intermissions for alcohol or clean oxygen breaks.

Listening to former albums by Six Feet Under, expectations were not set high, but hearing lead vocalist Chris Barnes’ former band Cannibal Corpse’s ‘Stripped, Raped And Strangled’ blasting upon entrance, I was giddy and ready to whip my neck. The song choices for the set were divided well and their energy kept their show heavy and brutal. The instrumentalism of the band was not outstanding, but they pleasantly punctured eardrums for the engaging crowd.

Following Six Feet Under was the punk/Heavy Metal crossover group Darkest Hour. Being one of the ‘softer’ genre bands performing at the festival, Darkest Hour had to be as disgusting as possible. By disgusting I mean as intense and as striking to stand tall next to the other bands that were on the bi

ll. However, one of my accommodators, Alex Perez, described their set as “bland with lukewarm breakdowns.” Perez as well as the other concertgoers were impressed with the talent and power brought to the set by the lead guitarist. The guitarist’s technicality powered the crowd through to the co-headliners Whitechapel.

The Knoxville, TN natives were the musicians that made their entrance with a backdrop that had a creature called a Cereberus in the smack center. The Cereberus is a three-headed hound that guards the gates of hell from souls that have crossed the river Styx. Whitechapel had this creature’s red burning eyes staring at the audience during the entire terrorizing hour of deathcore.
Improving after their earlier albums, ‘A New Era Of Corruption’ adhered to employ three standard tuned guitars to their notable savage sound and stole the festival’s best band performance title. The drummer Ben Harclerode and vocalist Phil Bozeman demonstrated their commitment to creating the heaviest and merciless ‘wall of death’ (literally).

After watching the crowd’s ignition and ferocity from Whitechapel, The Black Dahlia Murder had to keep the blood pumping just as hard as the final act and headliner of the show. Holding the last man standing reins from headlining Summer Slaughter in 2008, the Metalcore genre band from Waterford, Michigan should have been amped and ready to explode guts with their stage presence. The audience’s counter clockwise circle pit appeared to enjoy the songs, as well as the dangling balcony Metal heads that were thrashing their heads.
However, the momentum was lost and could not out peak Bozeman’s rolled back eyes and demonic growls. Highlighting songs from their latest album Ritual, their blast beats were fantastic and vocalist Trevor Strnard’s deep death Metal growls were way more atrocious than his high pitched shrieking.

The overall end condition of the Summer Slaughter attendee’s body was mangled, dirty, and deteriorated- the goal of both the bands and fans. The festival was extremely entertaining and left one deaf and with temporary powers of invincibility.

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