This past Saturday night, Vick and I took a trip out to Syracuse to see Soreption (Swedish tech death), Cattle Decapitation and the almighty Cannibal Corpse. I hadn’t seen Cattle or CC in about 10 years and Soreption has been an obsession of mine as of late, so needless to say, I was fucking stoked. This was also going to be my first time at The Lost Horizon, which had me even more excited. I love checking out new venues and love the whole extreme metal show experience in general. However, when we pulled up to the lot, I was instantly discouraged. There had to have been at least 200 people in line when we arrived, filing into a building resembling a 2 story house built to hold maybe 150 people. However, I knew I couldn’t see a 360 view of the place from where I was, so I kept my assumptions to a minimum. But as soon as I walked in the place and had my first look at the entire layout, plus the 150- 200 additional people who had filed in behind us in line, my first thought was, “This is going to be a fucking disaster.”
Looking back, I should’ve taken pictures of the packed house, as opposed to the bands, but you’ll have to settle for my written interpretation if you’ve never been there. First off, if you’ve seen “The Fellowship of the Ring”, then you know the scene where Gandalf enters Bilbo’s home and bangs his head on the ceiling. Well, I didn’t bang my head on the ceiling, but I’m only 5′ 5, so if I tell you that you have a low ceiling, you have a pretty low fucking ceiling. Not to mention, the entire floor is perfectly level, up until a small pit area in front of the stage, which dips down 3 or 4 feet and is boxed in by the stage guard rail, the 2nd level guard rail opposite the stage, a band only area at stage right and a wall at stage left. Meaning that unless you’re hugging the guard rail in front of the stage, and you’re in that space which only allows for maybe 5 rows of bodies, if people are trying to mosh, you are moshing. Also, if you’re not in that small dipped down section, you’re not seeing the band unless you’re hugging the 2nd level rail.
The bar is shaped like a big box right in the middle of the room and wraps all the way around. This is pretty convenient, but it only leaves about 15 feet from the bar to the 2nd level guard rail. The bar also takes up the majority of that 2nd level, so you’re left with a narrow walkway upon entering the club, with a merch area to your right, then you’re forced to take a sharp left turn down another narrow walking space coming around the “bar box”, until you can finally see the top of the band’s backdrop. Unless of course, you’re my height and you have to contend with metal Vikings. Granted, my being short isn’t the venue’s problem.
I’d also like to say that I’m not trash talking this venue. The staff and the show promoters were all great and The Lost Horizon is one of the most sanitary show spaces I’ve ever been in, rivaling Town Ballroom in that respect. As Vick puts it, it’s as if Mohawk and Town Ballroom had a kid. Only, Town Ballroom has a few tiers to work with, where as Lost Horizon only has 2 levels and very little space if it’s a packed show. I’d say a comfortable capacity for the place is around 250-300, but there had to have been more people there than that. I’d like to think the show was oversold, but venues often give a higher capacity than you’d think, because gear, merch, performers and crowd behavior aren’t always taken into account ahead of time.
Now, onto the bands! Local death metallers, Ebony Sorrow kicked things off and surprised the shit out of me. They’ve got some black metal in their sound, along with some grind, but for the most part, they’re just the ideal evil, dirty, gritty death metal band. They dedicated to their set to Nunslaugher’s Jim Konya and bombarded their audience with a wide range of sick screams, brutally heavy riffs, and destructive blast beats. Not to mention, they took a page out of Buffalo’s own Enthauptung’s book and only distribute physical copies of their music on cassette. They’re currently recording, but I hope to bring them to Buffalo in about 2 months.Soreption was up next and boy, did they fucking crush. It was my 2nd time seeing them in 2 weeks. Rather than waste the airfare, they didn’t bother returning to Sweden after the Devastation on the Nation tour with Krisiun and Origin ended and just kept on trucking. Vick talked to the guys after their set and found out they’ve done 57 shows in 60 days here in the US. Not bad, considering they should’ve been arrested for mass murder by now, with all the metalheads they’ve bludgeoned with their heavy tunes over the last 2 months.
In an extremely redundant tech death scene with cookie cutter bands popping up left and right, Soreption stands out with a well balanced formula of technical riffs and drumming, simple and catchy melodic riffing, jaw dropping leads, and an array of screams from 3 out of the 4 members; minus the drummer who’s too busy double kick drumming faster than Fred Flintstone propels his car.
Cattle Decapitation followed and completely annihilated with their signature sounds of chaos infused brutal death metal. As has been their goal on their last few albums, the vocals go off in a spacey direction sometimes, with a scream/sing technique from vocalist, Travis Ryan that’s hard to even attempt to replicate. They’ve added so much to their sound since I last saw them, that I feel they’re not the same band. But the changes they’ve made are the only reason I still like them, personally. They’re another band that stands out in a sea of cookie cutter nonsense. The only thing about their set that bothered me was Travis’s use a 2nd mic with heavy reverb on it for his “singing”. I thought it made it sound so spacey that it was borderline indiscernible.
Sadly, I only made it about 2 songs in before I had to leave the area I have dubbed “The Pit Box”. I kept getting punched in the back of the head, closed fist, by some asshole who wasn’t getting pushed around himself and kept trying to get me to mosh “his way”. He got what he deserved, but we’ll get to that later. In a feeble attempt to retaliate, I lost track of the douche in a warzone of flying bodies and baffled musicians trying to pick their jaws up off the floor, so I scooted to higher ground and lost all hope of actually seeing the performers until their set ended and the crowd dispersed. However, I guess the moshing must’ve ended shortly after I left, since I clearly heard Travis Ryan say, “Well, you guys were all having fun, but now there’s no moshing and this girl with her back to us. If you don’t give a shit, maybe you should get the fuck out and let the people who DO give a shit come up front.”
Then, Cannibal Corpse did what they do best. In the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, “When you absolutely, positively got to kill every mother fucker in the room, accept no substitute.” CC covered their whole discography. I’m not that crazy about their newer material, or even that knowledgeable about it, but I heard some classics like “I Cum Blood” and “Edible Autopsy”. Watching George Fisher windmill is like watching an Apache helicopter fly vertically towards your face, and as Vick put it, “He could solve the energy crisis with those mills.”
Remember that 2nd level I told you about that leaves no room between the 2nd guard rail and the bar? Well, a mosh pit broke out there, and according to locals who frequent Lost Horizon and 1 longtime employee, it was the first time that ever happened. Shortly after that, 2 security guards pummeled through the swirling mass of moshing metalheads, dragging a drunk kid on his knees to the front door, where he was tossed outside. And as luck would have it, it was the kid who kept punching me in the head earlier. Good thing too, since I’m sure the cold pavement outside spoke louder than my fist would have.
So, other than my gripes about the venue being logistically outmatched by the crowd, it was a pretty enjoyable experience. I definitely didn’t appreciate the 3 1/2 hr drive home in what essentially became a blizzard down the 90 west, though. We could’ve done without that.