Gwar w/ Toxic Holocaust, Terror, Kingdom of Sorrow

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Once again The Grand Ballroom fooled me. When I see a start time of 8pm, I don't expect the show to actually start at 7:45pm. But for the second time this month, a show there started early, and for the second time I missed most of an amazing set from the opening band.

After making my way through a few slight snags, I finally obtained my photo pass and walked into the venue just as Portland, Oregon's Toxic Holocaust launched into "Nuke The Cross," which unfortunately was their last song of the evening. I will say that what I did hear totally blew me away. Touring in support of the just-released An Overdose of Death… album, Toxic Holocaust are total old-school style thrash metal with a hint of hardcore bands from the past. All of you old metalheads like myself who grew up listening to Venom, Possessed, Exodus, D.R.I., Broken Bones, etc, will know what I am talking about here. Joel Grind and his band are a total blast from the past, while still sounding fresh and undated in today's metal world. Looking at their future tour dates, it looks like they will be back out on the road with Three Inches Of Blood in January, so don't miss them when they come to your town. I know I won't be.

Up next was Terror, a hardcore-meets-thrash-metal band hailing from Los Angeles, California. Supporting their latest release, The Damned, The Shamed, they were totally reminding me of later-years Agnostic Front, and pretty much laid down the law during their 30-minute set. Vocalist Scott Vogel, who once fronted Buffalo hardcore band Buried Alive, owned the stage, while guitarists Doug Webber and Martin Stewart thrashed with breakneck speed. Needless to say I was impressed, and after their set I immediately made my way over to their merch table and picked up a copy of their latest record. If you don't own it, you should.

After a relatively quick breakdown and set up, Kingdom of Sorrow hit the stage, and proceeded to put on a nothing short of a total metal clinic. Fronted by Hatebreed main man Jamey Jasta, Kingdom of Sorrow is part sludge, part metalcore, and part thrash. I have to admit that I have never really been a fan of Hatebreed, but as the band tore through their set I gained a newfound respect for Jasta and his ability to totally own the stage and the crowd. I am definitely looking forward to seeing these guys again.

Finally, after a long wait the lights dimmed and the "Time Until Death" clock started its countdown, and after hitting zero Gwar hit the stage and put on one of the most chaotic, messy and entertaining shows I have ever witnessed. I really don't even know how to describe it, but it was full of blood, guts, carcasses, mutilated babies and entrails. All this while the band pounded out some serious metal. The rabid crowd loved every minute of it, and were practically begging to be soaked in the Gwar juice shot from a cannon by Gwar leader Oderus Urungus. It was quite an experience, and as I finally fled from the front of the stage to clean up both my camera and blood-soaked self, I was very stoked to have finally witnessed Gwar live.


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