By Rosie Walker
(photos by Brian Wyner)
November 1st 2017, Exit/In, Nashville TN: The Bloodletting North America tour is one of the most extreme metal tours of the year. Six insanely talented and unique bands from across the globe have come together to make one of the most lurid lineups that this side of the pond has ever seen. For the eleventh year in a row, the Bloodletting tour is making its mark across this great country. Starting out in Kansas City on October 20, these hardworking bands are making lasting impressions in the towns they play. On Wednesday November 1st, their vans and buses pulled up to Nashville’s legendary venue, Exit/In. Loved by local metalheads, Exit/In is one of the few places that cater to heavier music in this Southern city. The metal scene in Nashville is humble in size but has heart, and many loyal fans showed up to their favorite venue on this night.
Things got rolling around 6:50 PM with the modern metal band, The Kennedy Veil. Some attendees were scratching their heads as to why this four-piece band only had three members in attendance. Even without bass player Tyler Hawkins, the trio managed to still sound fantastic. The developed, intricate tones of KC Childers’ guitar and the hard-hitting detailed playing on the drums left little room to miss the absent bass. Their confident, dramatic presence filled the room with a provocative, intriguing vibe. The entire front row was just a wave of hair as their windmill headbanging swept the front of the stage. From Northern California, these West coasters just released their third album ‘Imperium’, and played multiple tracks from its solid contents. Their versatility and full sound was impressive and their set felt all too short. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for this talented act.
The less-than-savory group Visceral Disgorge were up next. Known for their disturbing and grotesque themes, they actually have more to offer than just pure shock value. With chug and groove, the band takes on a more industrial side of the death metal genre. Wannabe Philip Labonte/Jamie Jasta frontman Travis Werner maneuvered comfortably in his gutturals and inhale screams. With two guitars and a more-than-capable groove section, the music hits you with varied dynamic tones making a very solid, mature sound. They gave movement and emotion to their songs that are filled with deprived, gross lyrics. The infestation of disgusting and putrid subjects had some fans squirming, but this Baltimore based band actually has the talent to back their weirdness.
The dynamic trio Dyscarnate, all the way from England, strode onto the stage with a sincere swagger and sound. They were borrowing their equipment and though you could tell, they still managed to convey their gratifying melodic heaviness. Guitarist Tom Whitty and bass player Al Llewellyn shared vocal duties, their back-and-forth made for a compelling performance. Their specialized, extravagant songs from their newest album ‘With All Their Might’ struck an emotional cord with this appreciative audience. Their very practiced, intuitive playing was definitely a highlight of the night.
For a change of pace, the German band Defeated Sanity was up next. Their proggy, technical playing had every player looking stoic and rather mechanical. The crowd quickly grew disengaged with the slow, more ambient playing and waited patiently to get back to a band with balls. Even after a few songs into their set, newcomer vocalist Josh Welshman scolded the sound guy while his bandmates were playing. Talk about killing the mood. Their awkward, almost uncomfortable presence had people antsy and most were thankful when their less-than-interesting set ended.
The night carried on, and with only two bands left to go, the crowd kept up their energy and excitement. Next, the Canadian band Archspire crushed and conquered Exit/In’s stage. Their refreshing style and pizzazz made for a most welcomed mood changer. This five-piece band lit up the stage with their fierceness and their huge, cocky appetite for performing. Their love of the stage was evident with each member as they hyped up the crowd and had everyone drawn in to their brutal death metal sound. Their comfortable confidence was intense, but accepting and approachable. Frontman Oliver Aleron captured the audience with his speedy gutturals and captivated his fans by his rare ability of versatile animation. They played a fake applause track after each song giving their set a clever, sitcom gimmick which added to their already unique flavor. Plus the venom spewing from the guitar harmonies and hitting of different octaves showed how intricate these guys can get. Keen, deliberate, and pushy, this band wanted to be remembered in this six-band lineup, and they succeeded.
Then around 11 PM, the headliner of the evening graced us with their peremptory presence. The legendary act Origin allowed their anger and fury to rain down as they stormed the stage. Ear plugs could not hold back the severe sound these guys can produce. Watching the impeccable player Paul Ryan display his guitar techniques was a real treat. They played a varied set with multiple songs from their newest album ‘Unparalleled Universe’. With zero pretense, these guys present their stories about humanity and destruction with honest talent. They engaged the audience with their groovy and destructive tones that bellowed throughout the venue with power. The crowd participated with a small, but energetic circle pit. Kids flailed about with excitement, releasing their pent-up angst and allowed themselves to freely give in to the epic, heavy sound that is Origin. Harsh, forceful, and gripping, this band has been around for nearly 20 years, and they know how to put on a good show. With blast beats and varied death gutturals provided by main man Jason Keyser, Origin puts stars into their young, eager fans’ eyes. Elated and pumped, the band came to a close just after midnight. The front row disbanded breathless and refreshed from such a genuinely brutal performance from a band who obviously loves to play.
It was a good night for heavy metal in the country music capitol. And may there be many more.
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Remaining Tour Dates:
11/08/2017 – El Paso, TX @ Rockhouse Bar
11/09/2017 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
11/10/2017 – Upland, CA @ Gideon’s Hall
11/11/2017 – San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick
11/12/2017 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
11/13/2017 – Portland, OR @ Rock Hard PDX
11/14/2017 – Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
11/15/2017 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
11/17/2017 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall
11/18/2017 – Denver, CO @ The Roxy Theatre