A Bucket List Gonzo Experience: Pyrexia and Pathology @ Bug Jar

Written by Ryan Howe

One of my favorite things about writing for The Metal is going to shows and writing about my experience. Last night was an experience for the books, in my opinion. As I walked the ten or fifteen blocks from home to the Bug Jar; I was serenaded by Dean Martin and the cityscape which I’m part of. Upon my early arrival I’m greeted by The Masked Promoter and introduced to the headliner of the night; the one and only, Pathology!

Next I was introduced to a band I have been listening to for many years; one that I consider one of the best brutal death metal bands to come out of New York State, Pyrexia! I welcomed them all to Rochester and helped them load in, then I snuck off around the corner to smoke a bowl and calm down a bit. It’s not every day for me that I get to meet some of my favorite death metal musicians after all!

First to take the stage was Rochester’s own Dissonant Seepage! With a grind inspired take on the slam style, these talented young men broke the silence of the early show and assaulted us in the most pleasant of ways. Opening a show is having the responsibility for setting the mood and atmosphere of the evening, and I’ve witnessed all too often the aftermath of failing to live up to that responsibility. I’m here to tell you, Dissonant Seepage far exceeded my expectations! A three piece with a bassist on vocal duties sounded far more full and rounded than some larger bands I’ve heard or watched. Intensely technical, and rather experimental; I highly recommend catching these guys live, and I will be keeping my eyes and ears peeled for any album release announcements because I need them in my collection! 

Up next, I don’t know how much of an introduction they need really. Since 2002 Sulaco has been providing Western New York, and many other regions as well, with the soothing sounds of disgusting grindcore with brilliantly incorporated elements of noise, hardcore and death metal. This was probably my fifth time watching them live, and I tell you, they never disappoint. If you like mosh-worthy grind with a twist, Sulaco is for you. Go see them at a show, buy their merch, buy their CDs; these guys deserve your support!

I’ve been listening this next band since I was a senior in high school. New York City natives and virtual pioneers of the brutal death metal style, Pyrexia have been a fixture in my extreme metal rotation for years. Finally, not only do I get to meet them, but I also get to see them put on a breathtaking performance. An impressive set list that spanned almost the entirety of their catalog from Sermon of Mockery on through Age of the Wicked, and of course their newest release; Unholy Requiem. Since 1996 Pyrexia has helped form and develop a style of death metal that has blossomed into a booming trend, and last night they proved to the folks that came out exactly why their existence was so influential! Do not sleep on these guys, if you love brutal death metal you need Pyrexia in your collection! Their music taps into a part of your brain that unleashes what I can only describe as temporary insanity, and I can’t get enough. They still have eight or nine more dates on this tour so go out and support them! Not only are they extremely talented musicians, but they are incredibly sweet, caring individuals that show their fans just as much if not more love than they receive!

Finally, the headliner! I discovered Pathology about five years ago, and fell in love with their technical take on the brutal death metal style. Consistently improving on their sound, every album is better than their last and that includes their 2019 release Reborn to Kill. The energy they put forth on that stage was absolutely spectacular; filling the air for blocks around the Bug Jar with their maniacal musings. I’ve waited years to see these guys, just as I have Pyrexia, and again I was not let down. Another group of extremely humble dudes, Pathology needs to be on your list for live shows and in your collection! I can’t say enough good about them!

The whole night took me by storm in a wonderful way; from meeting some of my favorite names in modern death metal, to hanging out with Oz and the two Mikes, I had a very memorable time! A special thanks again to Pyrexia for the CD and patch! 

A Quiet Night of Black Metal at Skylark

Written by Ryan Howe

Being that this was my first time at Skylark Lounge, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the place. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was significantly smaller than I anticipated; I love intimate settings! I found myself a stool to perch myself on, and allowed my mind to be carried away by some good old live metal.

To start the night off we were treated to an absolutely thrilling take on black metal by Verdus; this show was in fact their debut, though their performance could convince you otherwise. The way they so elegantly executed their set would have someone that’s none the wiser believing they had been a well established act for years; one of the tightest and most enthralling sets I’ve watched recently. Brilliantly composed songs that fluidly blend avant-garde and jazz elements with modern black metal changed my perception of a whole genre. I have to say, some of the most unique music I’ve heard in a live setting in a very long time; so many memorable riffs, those bass lines were out of this world, the drumming was superlative, and those vocals were powerful and dynamic to say the very least. I cannot say enough about how impressed I am with their performance last night, and I look forward to seeing them again!

Next to grace the stage was another first for me; Waldhexen. These guys brought some of the most brutal old school death metal to the stage with a scorched and blackened grind to it. A lot of times I won’t listen to a band until I see them live, especially if I know I’m going to see them very soon. Waldhexen was one of those bands for me; now, I’m addicted to them. This was another astonishingly tight and well executed set. I still can’t believe those inhuman gutturals, and that drummer with his razor sharp accuracy. Everything about this band speaks to me, and I absolutely need a physical copy of the EP I downloaded when I got home. I can’t wait to see them again in April for Record Archive’s Metal Meltdown! 

Last but not least, Kryst! This was not a first for me, more like a third or fourth time and each time gets better. With their incredibly captivating take on black metal with a crusty death/thrash twist, Kryst has quickly become one of my favorite bands to see live. Their music never has a dull moment; they are a fast paced sonic weapon being aimed at the audience. With members of Orodruin, Blizaro and the UV Rays it’s no wonder this band is so awesome! Yet another almost criminally tight set; these guys never fail to amaze me with their accuracy. Brilliant work, fellas!

I was very positively affected by everyone that performed last night, and I highly recommend everyone that enjoys black and death metal of all kinds go listen to each of these talented groups!

A Gonzo Experience at Winter Sucks Fest

1am January 26, 2020; still unable to sleep, the anticipation for the upcoming event has it’s full embrace on me.

6:23am January 26, 2020; The Hateful Eight commences as I finally drift off to what I hope will be a restful slumber, but would prove to be a fruitless attempt.

1pm January 26, 2020; I’ve gathered what I need for my journey and start for Comedy @ The Carlson on foot, enjoying the chilled air of the afternoon and some Fudge Tunnel in my ears. 

2:17pm January 26, 2020; I arrive at last to my destination… United Artistry Live Presents: Winter Sucks

It should be noted that this is not my first time attending a United Artistry event. I’ve been to every one that has been put on, and I am personally very thankful for every artist and every band, every fan and every voice that goes to these events and makes them possible. Being that this was not my first time, I fully expected to be impressed, and my expectations were met. They were exceeded!

Let’s start with my entry. As I walk through the doors and hand over my ticket and license, I’m greeted with a very interesting sound that I’m not used to hearing at these events. An acoustic singer/songwriter called Cooper Scotti was killing his set which covered styles in the vein of indie and modern country. The set was accompanied by a drummer whose name I didn’t catch, and it was brought to my attention that this cat was only 10 years old! Already impressed by the knowledge the young man had of his instrument of choice, but then realizing he’s in middle school really ups the meter. 

Seeing these two wonderful performers do their thing made this particular United Artistry event stand out from the others in a big way right from the start. I was intrigued, impressed, and immediately elated! Once they took their first break, I took a walk around the wonderful vendors and had my breath taken away once again. Two of my favorite tables that I sniffed around at were Sister Vulture Design and Khaos by Design. The former had a veritable smorgasbord of prints and images, embroidered wall hangers, all of it drawing inspiration from all things creepy and strange. The latter was a table lush with unique jewelry and artwork made with various metals, bones and interesting objects. The best part about both? Everything is completely handmade and one of a kind! And they are local to Rochester!

After placing my newly accrued business card into my wallet I venture toward the other stage. What I’m faced with upon arrival is a young and fun rock ‘n’ roll band with a punk attitude covering “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet, and they put a swagger on it that hooked me instantly. I wanted more and they gave it to me by going into a very punk rock version of “Johnny B. Goode”. Element 36 was their name, and they kept surprising me with each song after that by switching members places multiple times. Everyone seemed to have a turn singing, and with each new singer came a new style. These talented musicians went through punk rock, to pop punk and post hardcore, and made their way sludge and a bit of metalcore. I have nothing but praise for these boys and hope to see them on more bills and see them develop their sound even more!

The next band that was presented to the fans was another young group, with the members all apparently in high school. The Old Souls Band, they were called. Old souls indeed! These classy cats are the bees knees, baby! Playing funky rock ‘n’ roll with a jazzy psychedelic twist, they absolutely crushed their cover of “Another Brick in the Wall”. About halfway through the set we were graced with one of the best alto sax solos I’ve ever witnessed live in my life. The bass player had incredible form and the licks he played were memorable to say the least. The drummer is one of the best young drummers I’ve seen, and it is clear that he not only has the knowledge of jazz, but it lives in his soul. And that guitarist, oh boy! Such passion, such pain, his face says it all when he’s bending those notes. Exemplary performance!

Next up to grace the stage was Into the Harbor, a local deathcore band that puts beatdown in the forefront. This was the first time I saw these guys, and after what I experienced I damn sure will be seeing them again! Their energetic stage presence and ferocious breakdowns made for a very mosh worthy set.

Soma Slumber was a name that I have been seeing quite a lot of, but I hadn’t even listened to them until I saw them at Winter Sucks. The reason being, is that I have this habit of not listening to a band that I haven’t heard of if I know I’m going to see them soon. I truly believe the best way to be introduced to a band is to see them live. And I am so glad I saw Soma Slumber live. This is a band that can beautifully and elegantly tie together both deathcore and groove metal flawlessly. Another intense and aggressive set; I’m pretty sure I actually watched the drummer break a stick halfway through their last song and played on all splinter-stick-like.

The next band is one of my personal favorites from Rochester currently. By fluidly slipping between sludge and doom metal, stoner rock and sprinkling in some grunge, MoodPill are quite possibly one of the most unique local bands that I’ve had the pleasure to watch live time and time again. And I will continue to watch them! When you see them you will not be able to stop yourself from boogying down and dancing the whole time. So many grooves, so little time!

Now, I don’t know about any of you, but I happen to rather enjoy hardcore music. Revival does an amazing job in bringing old school hardcore to the modern stage. High energy and razor sharp accuracy are what brought this band to the forefront of my favorites list when it comes to hardcore.

If hardcore and deathcore aren’t your cups tea, Cry to the Blind might be. This group will bring you back to when Chevelle and Breaking Benjamin were in their prime! These guys are dance worthy and bring quite the lively performance. 

Another favorite of mine, local thrashers Invictra gave a powerful performance. This marks the third time I’ve had the pleasure of watching their crushing intensity and it certainly will not be the last. With a brilliant take on a new wave of thrash metal, these talented boys will have you drinking cheap beer and wearing a smelly vest in no time at all! Hands down one of the best in their style to come out of Western New York in my opinion. Go see them!

One of my favorite things about United Artistry Live events is the mixed genres that they pull together. Already throughout the course of my being there I have watched acoustic acts, funky jazz, and some of the most brutal bands around. Then here comes Likewize, among my top three hip hop artists in Western New York, bottom line. This man is hard working, and committed to performing with every fiber of his being. I saw this man achieve a dream of opening the stage for horrorcore icons Insane Clown Posse, and I’ve witnessed him get the entire Bug Jar dancing and bouncing. With introspective lyrics that touch on socio-political topics, and fighting inner demons his music and performances have touched me in ways I’m not sure he realizes. Look this man up and support him!

Now we get to my main event; the Cream of the Crop, Perspectives! These boys are very special to me. With their message “Slash a Smile”, and their militant onslaught against negativity they won me over immediately the first time I saw them. These boys have a very unique blend of genres to them, cleanly  melding deathcore, metalcore and rap metal in a very abrasive package. In the words of Gerry Motions himself, 

“We like to take nu-metal, turn it upside down with the influence of the other genres (rap metal, metalcore, etc.) infused copacetically”.

The moment they arrive to the stage we’re presented with sinister imagery, and a looming frontman sporting a sign with the trademarked slogan “Slash a Smile”. The first song starts and the assault begins. Everyone is moving; the crowd, everyone on stage, the event staff. Breakdown after breakdown, slam after slam, bar after beautifully articulated bar. By the end of their performance you feel changed. You see life in different Perspectives. Their stance, support and understanding of mental illness, loss, grief and life’s negativity in general has helped me a lot personally. I sincerely hope that I see them on a lot more shows coming up, because more people need to hear their message and feel their presence. 

Ladies, gentlemen; alternatively, Theydies and gentlethems… This is just one of so many things that Rochester has to offer. United Artistry Live Presents: Winter Sucks was an immediate success and I’m so thankful I was able to be part of the crowd and among the witnesses. Keep in mind that the bands and artists covered here were not the only ones to play. These were just the ones I was personally able to witness for myself. These events always have what seems like dozens of amazing local bands and artists, all coming together for a fun time and a great cause. Make sure you go to the next one. I’ll say it one more time for the road, every single one of these talented folks were outstanding and brought an exemplary performance to the stage. You all should be incredibly proud of yourselves.

9:27pm January 26, 2020; Start my walk back home, ears ringing, feet hurting, soul… healed.

Show Review: Symphony and Metallica 2

20 years ago, when I was 15, Metallica was my favorite band. I didn’t care for the Load twins too much, but classic ’80s Metallica was, and still is, beyond influential. And it wasn’t long after I went through all the cover songs Metallica did for 1998’s Garage Inc. that I picked up another brand new double disc at the time called, S & M. I had read about how Metallica had tag teamed a live show in their hometown of San Francisco with Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Upon finally hearing the songs, I instantly fell in love. Hearing Metallica with the SF Symphony gave me a new appreciation for songs from Load and Reload. I would then spend another two decades wishing they’d do it again, and on Friday September 6, 2019, I got my wish.

Completely out of left field, I had an opportunity to travel to San Francisco, during the week Symphony and Metallica 2 was scheduled to happen. I jumped at the chance and 2 nights ago, I visited the brand new Chase Center for what would end up being the show experience of a lifetime.

It was a special event for a multitude of reasons:

For years, the Golden State Warriors have been playing in Oakland, CA. The brand new Chase Center in SF is their new home, and Symphony and Metallica 2 was the very first event to be held in the arena. It’s a gorgeous venue with state-of-the-art everything, which made the concert enjoyable before the band even started playing.

It was the 20 year anniversary of the first Symphony and Metallica, so the band had prepared a very special setlist of songs they had covered at their first concert with the orchestra in 1999, as well as material written since then, from St. Anger, Death Magnetic and Hardwired…to Self-Destruct. In addition, older material from the band’s earliest incarnation was brought to the table that wasn’t a part of the original S & M. The band also joined the SF Symphony Orchestra for a futurism classical piece from outside Metallica’s wheelhouse called, “Iron Foundry”, originally by Alexander Mosolov.

My personal highlight of the night was a magical tribute to Cliff Burton, during which “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)” was performed by the SF Symphony Orchestra’s stand-up bass player alongside Metallica drummer, Lars Ulrich. I was later informed that Cliff Burton’s father was in attendance.

There’s also nothing like seeing a big Metallica event in the bay area, I’ve learned. People from all over the world were in attendance. They came to see the band and the Symphony, but they also came to be a part of the filming of the event. On October 9, 2020, Symphony and Metallica 2 will be at Regal Cinemas across the country for a ONE NIGHT ONLY viewing. If you’re at all interested in seeing this event, I urge you to watch it in theaters next month. Photos and YouTube videos will not do this show justice.

I know a few websites have already posted the setlist from Friday night, but I’m going to post it a little differently. I’m going to list the songs by album, in the order said albums were released.

9/6/19 S & M 2 setlist:

Kill Em All – “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)”

Ride the Lightning – “Call of Ktulu”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

Master of Puppets – “Master of Puppets”

And Justice for All – “One”

The Black Album – “Enter Sandman”, “Wherever I May Roam”, “Nothing Else Matters”

Load – “The Outlaw Torn”

Reload – “The Memory Remains”

S & M – “No Leaf Clover”

St. Anger – “All Within My Hands” (acoustic)

Death Magnetic – “The Day that Never Comes”, “The Unforgiven III”

Hardwired…to Self-Destruct – “Moth Into Flame”, “Halo on Fire”, “Confusion”


  • Scythian Suite, Op.20 , Second Movement (Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev cover) (performed by the San Francisco Symphony)
  • Iron Foundry (Alexander Mosolov cover) (live debut performed by Metallica)
  • Ecstasy of Gold (set intro, performed by the orchestra)

“Enter Sandman” was closed out with the outro from “The Frayed Ends of Sanity”. “The Unforgiven III” was performed almost entirely by the orchestra, with the exception of vocals by James Hetfield. It was actually my first time ever seeing James performing on stage without a guitar in hand.

I arrived at the venue about 8 hours before doors, just to be part of the spectacle. By 1130am, the main entrance was crawling with Metallica fans from all over the world. A single tent was setup near the entrance for band merch and within seconds, the line stretched the entire length of the arena and out into the street. Reps from Pepsi and Guitar Hero were on site, doing merch giveaways and passing out free drinks.

The whole time we were outside waiting for the show to start, the camera crew kept walking up and down the lines to rile up on the crowd for footage for the upcoming film. I probably took 20 photos for different people in line myself, and none of them were Americans, let alone people from San Francisco.

This was an unforgettable experience that may never be topped. It was also my FIRST TIME seeing Metallica. I’m sure I’ll see them again one day, but never like this. Never again. From where I was sitting in Chase Center, there was a man from Costa Rica on my left, a woman from Spain further down, two men from Venezuela behind me, and a ten year old kid in front of me who was on his 12th Metallica show.

As for the abundance of hate out there, I learned a thing or two after Friday night’s experience about the members of this band. Lars is a completely different drummer live. He’s quick, more intricate than I realized and just plain solid. Plus, at one point, he came out alone and addressed the crowd from center stage. He talked more about the Warriors having a new arena than he did his band. It was great to hear him praise other people for a change, or maybe my experience with him is just that limited.

Kirk is another one who catches a lot of shade. However, Friday night, his solos were fucking on point. He was a maniac, running around the stage and hitting those classic solos from the ’80s and ’90s like no one’s business. Whatever he lost, I think he’s found it again.

Symphony and Metallica 2 returns for a 2nd night at Chase Center TONIGHT, Sunday September 8. Drew Celestino and Jason Oberg from The Long Cold Dark were in attendance Friday and will be again tonight for show #2. I’ll be talking to them afterwards to get their takes on the differences between the two performances.

Thank you Metallica, for entertaining me since I was 5 years old. For the past 30 years, whether I’ve been loving you or bitching about you, it’s been fun.

All photos by Jason Oberg*


Show Review: Pathology, Narcotic Wasteland, Contrarian, Embludgeonment, Mass Casualty

Photos by Crown Vick Photography*

This past Saturday August 16th, The “Pathological Addiction” tour rolled through our city in Buffalo, Ny. The 2 Mikes, (myself and my partner in crime, Mike Marlinski) had the pleasure of hosting this tour, at one of our favorite places in this city, The Rockin Buffalo Saloon.

Several months ago, I got wind of the tour as it was already being routed, and immediately jumped on it. I had to have this tour. It meant something personal to me.

Long story short, back in 2012, I got a phone call that a local promoter had abruptly quit the business and I was asked to take over the shows he had already booked, but had done nothing else with. Most were weeks and months away, so transitioning those shows to me wasn’t that difficult. But there I was 3 or 4 days later hosting Jungle Rot and Pathology. I guess I could have dropped the show last minute, but I can’t do that to bands; especially not a band I’ve enjoyed for years. I’ve been a fan since Age Of Onset came out in 2009. I always wanted to make up that show, and finally, a decade later, and some new (fuckin’ amazing) band members later, they had a new album Reborn To Kill and a tour ready to go. This was my chance.

They were bringing out Dallas Toler Wade’s (formerly of Nile) amazing new band Narcotic Wasteland, and Contrarian which featured a lot of upstate NY’s most talented metal musicians along with drummer Bryce Butler (current and ex member of Abigail Williams, The Faceless, Brojob, Seeker and 100 other bands, and the happiest man I’ve ever met) You can imagine my excitement when I signed the contracts.

The date was booked. The venue was booked. We reached out to our local buddies Mass Casualty to open this mammoth tour. They accepted. Then we pulled a power move and reached out to new Buffalo resident John Hartman (the mastermind behind Mortal Decay, the guy who helped start Waking The Cadaver and guitarist for my favorite band right now: Embludgeonment.) The Deal was made, we had our openers: Mass Casualty and Embludgeonment!

Many months of promoting later, the day finally came. We (Marlinski and myself) like to overdo things for bands when they come through, so we fed them like absolute kings (with the clutch taco assist from Vick Sacha!)

Much thanks to the best sound guy for brutal music that I know, Ralph Brooks (S and B Sound and Production). He got 5 bands on and off stage with ease and made the room sound like a million dollars. (Thank you Joe Tall for letting us use your rig too!)

I have to take a quick moment right here and shout out my young buddy Nathan. You may have seen and noticed that we had a donation bucket set up for Autism Services, Inc. My young friend, Nathan is a cool ass dude who happens to have autism. This was his first underground show. I wanted him to see this show more than any of you or even me. We all know how shitty kids are to people with disabilities. I wanted him to see that it doesn’t matter what other people think or say about him.  He’s not alone.  He’s a metalhead. You can come out to a metal show and be surrounded by people JUST LIKE YOU! Welcome to the metal scene, Nathan! If you see this guy at shows, give him the metal horns.


I wanna tell you how great every band was, and break things down individually, but this is getting pretty long. I will say this:

  • Mass Casualty is a great band. Go see them when they play.
  • This was Embludgeonment’s first time in Buffalo, and we’ve officially claimed them as one of our own.
  • Contrarian is so talented and I hope this live lineup they have with Brian, Cody, Jim, Bill and Bryce continues on. They have something special there.
  • Narcotic Wasteland is a band we all expected to be good, given what we know of Dallas, but they’re better than that. He has a great band here and they bring it!
  • Pathology: This is the most vicious line up of the band in its history. This new album is already resting comfortably as my number 1 album of the year and they destroy every stage they touch.
  • The Rockin Buffalo Saloon was no different. There were great pits all night long, but especially during Pathology’s set. Don’t forget your helmet when you go see any of these bands.

The Buffalo metal scene made a clear statement last weekend, at this show: We want more events like this! So, okay, game on, fuckers.

Montoya’s Revenge: The Venue Change and the Music That Followed

Since last Saturday, everyone’s been asking me what the hell happened. All that matters, or rather, the only relevant information about the venue change is that the city shut us down plain and simple. A lot of time, work and money went into having the show at The Viking, but at the buzzer, it just wasn’t going to work out. Sometimes, life hands you bullshit, and it’s up to you to find new opportunities therein. That’s exactly what Deitzman and I did. We contacted Mike Shearer, the owner of Rockin’ Buffalo Saloon, who has been helping us put on our shows since the very beginning of the zine. In a matter of, and I shit you not, twenty minutes of the city telling us to keep our pretty outdoor stage free of bands, the show was saved. We had a new venue with a fully stocked kitchen and bar, air conditioning, and not to mention, beautiful weather to accommodate outdoor equipment staging and vending.

Deitzman and I were on site by 11 am and our sound guy, Ralph Brooks, who had been our hired sound man since we first booked the show back at the beginning of the year, was on site with his team about an hour later. Just like that, we were ready to go again. The bands started trickling in, along with a decent number of patrons, and by the time Of Desolation went on at 1:15pm (we had to move the show up over an hour due to scheduling), the fest vibe was alive and well. Of the 9 bands who agreed to play at The Viking that day, 8 stayed on and gave us killer performances. To Of Desolation, Gates to the Abyss (Columbus, OH), Tyranitar (Rochester), my dudes in Aspired Infliction, Greywalker (Pittsburgh, PA), My Missing Half (Boston, MA), Dethlehem (Pittsburgh, PA) and The Last Reign, I can only say THANK YOU for tearing it up and saving the day.

We also had appearances from immortal local photographer Lee Hoffman, who I haven’t seen at a local show in some time, and Josh and Lindsay from Pollock, who set up their Elder Crow Staircase shop out on the patio, for those of you who crave Tarot cards, homemade candles and jewelry and all that jazz.

Here are some cool shots of the event from Lee Hoffman:

And here are more from Meredith Snow:

Follow the links below to check out all these great local and regional melodic death bands! We will definitely be attempting this MDM festival again next summer. As for the The Viking, the work continues. We’re striving to bring back the venue for the sake of Buffalo metal one day. It’s just going to take a lot longer before we can attempt, even the softest of soft openings.

Thank you for your continued support.

The Last Reign – Buffalo

Dethlehem – Pittsburgh

My Missing Half – Boston

Greywalker – Pittsburgh

Aspired Infliction – Buffalo

Tyranitar – Rochester

Gates to the Abyss – Columbus, OH

Of Desolation – Buffalo


The last time we heard about people being turned away at the door for an all local metal show, was when Abyance had their return show at Mohawk on June 29 of this year. Those dudes teamed up with Dilletante, Nuclear Winter and The Impurity, to put together a four band, all local metal bill comprised of younger, up and coming acts. As I stated before, Mohawk’s 16+ policy was essential in making that happen. Younger bands have younger fans and actually having them allowed in the venue is a big boost.

On Friday November 30, it happened again! This time however, it was due to an even greater multitude of factors. Once again, Mohawk’s allowance of younger patrons set the tone. Furthermore, word has gotten out about the technical prowess of both Ish Kabbible and Inertia, making them the craziest of the crazy when it comes to drumming and fretboard work. The buzz was there and people wanted to see it to believe it.


Newcomers to the scene, Grizzly Run also had a big hand in Friday’s turnout, especially for being added last minute in place of Settlement. Those dudes are in that early/mid-thirties bracket (age wise) as far as I know, but they’re playing a style of metalcore that was absolutely killing it in the mid-2000s. They’re going throwback style with their roots and at the same time, catering to the younger patrons of the scene with heavy riffing, catchy choruses and a lively stage show. New bands are always exciting to see and bring people out. It was only their third show and with a style catering to both older and younger fans, they’ve certainly staked their claim in the scene.


Friday night also had a cool blend of crowds. Those into tech came to see Ish and Inertia, both old and new school metalcore folks came for Grizzly, many of the younger hardcore dancing types came out of the woodwork for Allegiant and finally, Inertia was celebrating the release of (yes, we’ll say it again) the local metal album of the year. There was a time when I was heavily into bands like Between the Buried and Me and Into the Moat. Both are techy, progressive bands that know how to write a hook and also chill things out with emotional clean passages and creative song structures. Inertia has all of that in their arsenal and it really shows with their new record, Teratoma. It’s not in my top Buffalo releases of all time, but it definitely wrecked me for this year alone. There’s nothing like a last minute kick to the jaw to close a year out.

The guys from Chernobyl Agency are also making quite a name for themselves. They recently started throwing shows at Casa Di Francesca’s, an Italian restaurant in South Buffalo, and their efforts in promoting the Inertia release at Mohawk were also top notch. All four bands killed it with the event promotion both on and offline, but having great promoters in your corner always helps. Cory Coleman and Felix Cruz get big ups for their efforts from us.

Ish Kabbible is always such a pleasure to see live. Gus is easily the best metal bassist I’ve seen locally and his dad, Kenny (Avulsion), is still to this day a phenomenal progressive metal drummer. The way he fuses the older grind and death styles of drumming with Gus’s off the wall tech/prog bass playing is too good sometimes. I could tell that a lot of people at the show were seeing Ish for the first time and were pleasantly surprised. I also noticed that Gus has added a lot of backing tracks in the live show which really helps fill out their sound, without taking anything away from what’s happening live and in the moment. Lastly, these two dudes also serve as the rhythm section for Buffalo experimental monsters, Short Attention Span Theatre. They’re another crazy tight, technical band with a great live show you’ll want to see.

Grizzly worked the packed house well and don’t disappoint in front of a larger crowd. I see cool things happening in their future with the momentum they’ve already established for themselves. Keep it up, dudes.

Allegiant keep people moving from start to finish. A good breakdown can go a long way if you’re writing your songs right. They kept the energy flowing and set up the perfect crowd for the headliner.

Inertia played their new album in full and added their previous single release, “Junko” to the set at the end. The pit was nuts and at one point, Eddie Pearsall and I almost got sent through that side stage door a few times. Excellent. I’m not one for hardcore dancing, but no one got hurt and people seemed to be looking out for each other. Good on them.

Anyways, thanks for a great night to everyone involved. We’re looking forward to the next banger.


Metallica in Buffalo | Drew Celestino

Photos – ©2018 Jason Oberg, Instagram = @eyeniverse 

Written by Drew Celestino*

Metallica – Live at Key Bank Center, Buffalo, NY – 10/27/18

Metallica truly brings people together. It’s actually an amazing thing to say when you consider how divisive the band can be in the metal community. But after last night’s show at Key Bank Center, I don’t know how you could come to any other conclusion. Speaking personally, I attended my 17th Metallica show with my wife, Jen, best friend and long-time bandmate, Jason Oberg, my friends Phil Boyle from Cleveland, Ohio and Chris Taylor from Providence, Rhode Island, and my awesome circle of longtime friends Mike, Tim, and Steve. My friends Jimmy and Jeff were also here a section above us. And so, so many of you in the Buffalo metal community were there too. Looking at my Facebook feed prior to the show and certainly the day after, what I see is countless people of different ages and backgrounds all celebrating an amazing evening of amazing music from an amazing band. And those who attended can attest, that was the theme of the night – inclusion. No matter what your age bracket, no matter when you jumped on board the Metallica train, be it in the early thrash days, the Black album and beyond days, or even a generation whose first album just might be St. Anger, Death Magnetic, or even Hardwired To Self Destruct, the entire show was centered on the fact that the particulars don’t matter. If you love Metallica, you are family, and you are welcome.


Some might lament no opening band. But when it comes to Metallica and their wide audience, no band can possibly please everyone in attendance. Speaking personally, in 2009 I saw Gojira open the show in Cleveland, only for them to conclude their run, then have to sit through Volbeat in Buffalo just weeks later. Ask me how I feel about that change. But I digress. Not having an opening act is not without precedent for Metallica. The Black album tour also featured no opener, but rather a mini-documentary about the band’s run up to that point in their career. This time, comedian Jim Bruer kicked things off with not so much a comedy set as much as playing host to the pre-game festivities. Part of that job was finding not only the oldest Metallica fans in the audience (age 77!), but also the youngest (age 6!). Between his spot-on Hetfield impressions (“Yeah! Yeah! Ooooo!”) and an exaggerated but not inaccurate Ozzy impression, Breuer reinforced that theme of family and inclusion to the crowd. An opening band might draw lines in the sand among the crowd, but this night wasn’t about that. We were all there for one reason and one reason only – a love for Metallica.


When The Ecstacy of Gold began, the crowd was ready. The moment was close. After 9 years, Metallica was back in Buffalo, NY. And damn, they brought a hell of set with them. Largely focused on their newest record, “Hardwired To Self-Destruct,” but also packed with classics and unexpected deep cuts, Metallica played with all the expected fire and fury you could want after so many years away. Having seen Metallica so many times, I’m at the point where the songs I want to hear aren’t really the time-tested classics we all grew up with, but rather the new songs. With Hardwired coming up on two years since release, I can say I feel like that record has more legs than any Metallica record in a very long time. Even more than Death Magnetic, which was intended to be a “return to form” record. Hardwired seems to have connected more with people than I ever expected, and Metallica delivered four songs from it. They opened the title track, Hardwired, and followed that with Atlas, Rise. One of my own personal favorites, Now That We’re Dead, was played and again featured a Max-era Sepultura-esque drum break in the middle where all four members of the band play an variation on the signature drum beat of the song. “Moth Into Flame” was perhaps the most noteworthy song of the night from a production perspective, featuring a fleet of lighted drones meant to evoke the titular moths, which emerged from the stage and flew in unison above the band in amazing syncopated flight paths throughout the song before returning back from where they came. But there was one song I hoped would be in the set tonight, and Metallica delivered. That was “Halo On Fire”. This song has all the makings of a modern classic, with its epic feel, clean to dirty transitions, and one of the best end sections Metallica has ever written, which is only made better by the audience’s natural inclination to sing along to the melody. This was a highlight of the night for me.


But for those who wanted the old school, Metallica didn’t forget about you. Classics like “Seek And Destroy” and “For Whom The Bell Tolls” were played. “The Four Horsemen” was a welcome surprise. Once a guaranteed staple song, but now more of a special inclusion, “Creeping Death” was included on this night as well. If you were to ask me 10 years ago if “Creeping Death” would ever be a rare Metallica live song, I’d have said impossible. But an ever-increasing catalog of songs means old favorites must be cycled out. But tonight, Metallica brought it. And we chanted “DIE!” in unison, because we all know the score. “Battery” brought all of the thrashing madness you would expect and was awesome. But it was played in the spot of the set where they are known to play the new rager, “Spit Out The Bone”, and replaced that song on this night. That was a slight disappointment to me. But let’s not dwell. The biggest surprise of the night had to be “Leper Messiah”. This song has never been a staple in Metallica’s set, even going back to the Puppets tours. It’s a special attraction. And tonight, it felt very special.


Two songs included that are rotated in and out of the set list night to night were “The Unforgiven” and “Wherever I May Roam”. Both were excellent, though I can’t deny I wish they had maybe dug a little deeper into the catalog. The Black album certainly gets enough representation in the set list with its staple songs that adding more on top of them feels a bit excessive.


Speaking of staple, if you go to a Metallica show, you can go ahead and bank on “Master of Puppets”, “One”, “Sad But True”, “Nothing Else Matters”, and “Enter Sandman”. All were played, and all were excellent. Look, we all know “Enter Sandman”. It’s practically a cliche at this point. And metal fans love to hate it not just because it has been played to death over the course of 27 years, but also because of what it represents to a certain sect of metal fans – a line of demarcation between “true” Metallica and “weak” Metallica. Whatever. In recent years, even I have come around to see what that song does to people in a live environment, and it is powerful. For a song with such a complicated legacy, it sure does bring a smile to everyone’s face and make everyone in the building lose their minds and sing along to every single word. Funny, that.


I’m sure the performance will be nitpicked in hindsight when people redeem their digital downloads of the show, but from where I stood, Metallica looked and sounded excellent. In my 17 shows, I would place among the good-to-great ones. The recording might yield some flaws, but in the building in the moment, Metallica sounded incredible. And for whatever you might think of Lars Ulrich, watching him play drums and seeing his endless enthusiasm for this band, this music, and more importantly the fans, is infectious and awe-inspiring. That dude lives for this and puts it all out there for everyone, every single night. Rob Trujillo and Kirk Hammett clearly have a bond and it shows on stage, not just in their jam section of the set list, but during songs where they clearly are vibing with each other. And James Hetfield remains the pillar of heavy metal frontmen. And during a lengthy interlude, he reinforced the message of the night. Metallica is about togetherness. Metallica resonates with the young and old. Metallica crosses borders. Metallica is for everyone.

In metal, it feels like the sub-genre-fication of everything is never-ending. More and more lines drawn. More and more rules of what is acceptable and what is not. But for a night, Metallica brings proof that none of that matters. Great music matters. Great music that connects and resonates with so many people matters. And at least for a night, we all agreed and had a goddamn blast. Cheers Metallica. Let’s not wait 9 years to come back to Buffalo, OK?

-Drew Celestino

Sidenote: Metallica donated $10,000 from the Buffalo ticket sales to the Food Bank of WNY.


Storming the Heavens | Rec Room Buffalo


Last Sunday, the Buffalo metal scene came together in full force to celebrate the life of Peighton Hulin, daughter of Brian “Butch” Hulin. After a long battle with Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia, Peighton is now in a better place.

Joe Musial (Chernobyl Agency) surprised everyone by putting the show together almost single handedly, but credit must also be given to Chris Ring (After Dark Entertainment) for the use of his beautiful new space. It was a powerful gesture for the Hulin family.

For those who have never lost a child or who’ve never even been parents, it’s hard to imagine what Brian and Christina are going through. But one thing everyone knows about firsthand is Brian’s undying love for metal, hardcore, grindcore and everything in between. All these things considered, Joe put together a fantastic lineup of bands, covering all of Brian’s nearest and dearest genres of extreme music.

Stellar performances were given by:


total fucking destruction (grindcore)


Pure Heel (hardcore)


Grain Assault (hardcore/punk)


Short Attention Span Theatre (experimental)


Anthropic (grindcore)


Prepare for the Mindscan (grindcore)


Tines (Classic rock/metal)


Blurring (Uhhhh blackened grindcore?)

Rebel Scum (thrash punk)

Healer (hardcore)

Gentlemen of Age (G.O.A. — hardcore)

Over the past almost 4 years, since starting this blog, There are several Buffalo and Rochester bands I’ve seen now about fifteen to twenty times each. That being said, last Sunday’s memorial was a breath of fresh air, as the first half of the lineup was loaded with music I’d never heard or seen before. It was my first time seeing Grain Assault, Pure Heel, total fucking destruction and Blurring, and as I walked away from the event, Blurring had quickly become my favorite act of the night. I might just be hearing things, but I swear those dudes of a blackened edge to their grind that makes them really stand out in the pack. There were some beautifully written songs amidst their barrage of screams, trems and blasts and I was hooked from the first song. Mark Bruno did a review of their album Cloud Burner for us awhile back. You can check that out here.

Getting back to the topic at hand — when I got to the show Sunday, one of the first things I did was give Brian a big hug. He thanked me for coming, but I had to respond with, “No, thank you for doing this.” I have no idea what it’s like to lose a child, but Brian’s presence at the show was a tremendous display of strength to me. He’s still making appearances, all the while trying to put some light back into his life, and that’s admirable. I can only hope that Brian and Christina have found some semblance of peace in the knowledge that Peighton is in a better place now. Her suffering has ended and her new chapter has begun.

Conclusion by Joe Musial*

This night would not have been possible without YOU. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting our dear friend, Brian.

Special thanks goes out to Chris Ring for donating the beautiful venue for our big day. Everyday Ink for the custom heads. Chernobyl Agency for helping organize this event and donating the funds to get the heads. Cory, Felix, and Ed, killed it on door duty and allowed me to bounce around and make sure the night ran smoothly. Jason Coryer for being the best stage manager. Rachel Surdi Media for donating the fliers and schedule. ‘After Dark Presents’ for co-hosting this event and showing how strong this city can be when we all work together. All of the Rec Room staff, from management to security. ALL OF THE BANDS that played, for making this a fucking night to remember. Thank you all for making dreams come true, and for honoring the life of Peighton in the best way we know.



“I’m not going to take your money for free…”

“I’m not going to take your money for free, I’m going to work for it”, were the words spoken by Gutted Alive drummer, Brandon Graves, before he took to his throne behind his kit. Earlier this year, he fell victim to a horrific accident that could’ve had an even more horrific outcome. A little more than a month after the accident, Brandon was up and walking; less than six months after, he was playing shows behind the kit again.  Though his prognosis is surely positive, he and his family could use a little help with medical expenses. You didn’t have to stop by the show to help, but if you’re interested you can still give a little bit on his Gofundme.

With a little help from Rick Horton at The Metallic Onslaught radio show and Shepherd of Rot, Zachary and Alexandra Allen assembled some of the region’s finest for this rather noble cause.

Titan, from Friendsville, PA brought with them heavy Gojira and Opeth vibes along with their own flavour of proggy metal goodness.

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Rochester’s melodeath outfit Halothane were the first of the night to exhibit that death metal can be heavy but beautiful. Sweet riffs and solos were complimented with blast beats and solid vocal range, with intermittent comic relief courtesy of vocalist Brian Jackson.  You can find them out again next weekend at Metallic Onslaught’s Halloween Bash.

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Syracuse’s progressive melodeath sextet Anabasis, who played sans one of their guitarists due to his own accident, proved that even with a pivotal member down, their live performance does not falter, nor do they allow themselves to sound as if they’re missing pieces of orchestration due to his absence. In case you missed them last night, you can catch them again next week as direct support for Australia’s progressive melodeath sextet Ne Obliviscaris, with Utica’s progdeath masters Inhumatus starting the show off. More info here.

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This month, Gutted Alive is celebrating Brandon’s return by playing out every Saturday. Last week, you could’ve found them at Buffalo Metal Fest; next week you can find them at the Metallic Onslaught’s Halloween Bash, and the following week they’ll be headlining our own Heavy Halloween. I might not be at all of them, but I can promise that they’ll bring the same energy each night, the same dirty gutturals, the same nasty blast beats, the same gnarly bass lines, and the slams. Oh, the slams! Just like they always do.

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Gutted Alive might be a tough act to follow, but Shepherd of Rot kept the energy flowing with their own brand of deathcore, featuring heavy black metal influence, melodic, symphonic orchestration and probably one of the most dynamic and animated vocalists I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live.

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Divinex closed out the night with their typical yet otherworldly display of their musical prowess. One might think it might be difficult for an instrumental outfit to captivate and capture attention without a frontman to hype and instigate the crowd. But it is near impossible to divert your attention from all of those searing and intricate leads, infectious riffs and monumental ambiance.

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The amount of love and support in that room last night was astounding, and I believe I made the right choice in making the trek out. The hosts and bands did a superb job with making the event a great success. All of us here at The Metal Webzine wish Brandon a continued speedy recovery, and a big thank you to everyone who gave a little of themselves to help a friend in need.