By Lisa Burke
(Photos by C. Jones)
June 25th 2017, 5 Star Bar, Los Angeles CA: When the day is long and nothing seems to go your way, perhaps all you need is a good, heavy as hell death metal show in your life and in your face. Last Sunday, death metal die hard fans stepped up to the plate and packed out the Five Star Bar for an overwhelming dose of death metal featuring headliners Broken Hope putting on their album release show, and the supporting line up on this sweltering evening brought us Crematorium, Mutagen, Perfidious Sin, and Gloryhole Guillotine.
Some of the most kind-hearted souls are among these death metal fans while some of the angriest deep rooted emotions that are buried within churn up to the surface just for that one special moment of passion and aggression in the mosh pit. With such a packed house, of course there are bound to be mishaps along the way, and fairly early in the night the room was left with only one bartender and too much sobriety surrounding it. On the plus side, to my knowledge there was no vomit on the floor, only beer, and no major fights broke out, so perhaps boring is the new cool in this case.
On to the show, the first band I was able to see was Perfidious Sin with their chaotic brand of blackened death metal. There was much crash, growl, and grind to be had here and the vocals were precise and crisp with their intent, which was probably the most exciting trait they provide. The singer kept his energy up with the banter as well as the songs, which helped the crowd to not lose focus on what was otherwise a very standard and straightforward set. The bit of chaotic or progressive nature they often provide with their tunes can make or break the song in some cases and perhaps its subtlety could benefit with a stronger direction towards or against it for clarity sake. They apparently have a new EP in the works and that is encouraging, so keep them on your radar for the follow up on that.
Next up, a very intriguing and wildly inspiring set from Mutagen took place as frontman Andrew Melendez impressed the crowd with his unique style and range of the art of death growling vocal aesthetic. The hair whipping windmill action is always a plus for any death metal based band, and the all around confidence and honesty in the stage banter and vocal presence lent itself to being worthy of teaching a class called “How To Be A Good Frontman 101”. With plenty of strains and gains, blasts, and chaotic pulsations with melodic vibrations, this band covered it all with style and grace. Technical difficulty number one happened during this set and it was overcome with pride in the art of bullshitting your way through an unplanned and slightly uncomfortable moment for everyone in the room. While this may seem like a trifle in a forest fire, it is the little difficult pieces of the puzzle that make it complete as a successful whole. Mutagen is headed in the right direction for sure and vastly grown as a unit since my last encounter with them. It would be a treat to see them on an even bigger show and stage in the near future, so let’s all do our part to make this happen by supporting these types of shows.
Next was Crematorium, fronted by this show’s promoter himself, Church Of The 8th Day mainman Daniel Dismal. If “Humanitarium” was a word it would describe this man’s style when it comes to the message of this hardcore punk infused death metal band. This is danger without fear at its finest hour and there is always a nostalgia to my roots when I hear this band because it carries the seemingly east coast hardcore raw power punk death flavor that was branded in me as a young adolescent and was my first introduction to any type of heavy metal. The players in this bunch play hard and take charge, which of course is backed up by the necessary skills to pull it all off. As this night seemed to breed small annoyances from the start, of course the technical difficulties of the microphone began their death grip towards the end of this set and returned again for more stifling torment during the middle of Broken Hope’s set. As Dismal sang most of Crematorium’s set standing on the floor instead of on stage, even with no sound through the microphone from mid audience you could still actually hear him sing, which breaks reality on the fact that those are some powerful pipes.
After the maniacal meltdown of death hungry metal rode its full course, Broken Hope cracked down with their Chicago style horror themed death metal. As much as the crowd was thirsty for forceful mosh pit action, which is difficult in this small space, they managed to pull out two at once at one point for these guys. With guitarist and songwriter Jeremy Wagner serving as the mastermind behind the ideology that intensifies Broken Hope, this new album off of which they decided to only play three songs, the fans knew they were not going to be let down. I think it is smart to not perform a whole new album in its entirety because what if the fans reject it? Of course that was not at all the case with ‘Mutilated And Assimilated’ as it is a very exciting album for them, featuring a few songs based on John Carpenter’s film ‘The Thing’, among other subjects of the horror nature and otherwise. They are also themed with environmentalism, which sometimes goes unnoticed with the horrific deep death vocals and creeping riffs that dominate the tunes. One moment that struck an unusual chord during their set was the introduction to what I believe was a new tune where they said “This one goes out to all the pregnant bitches out there”, and I can honestly say that’s the first acknowledgement I’ve heard in regards to pregnant women at a metal show who probably aren’t in total abundance in this context. They definitely played the title track from the new album and the crowd response was an overwhelming “yes please”. After having a significant hiatus, I believe the time is now for this band and it is encouraging to witness the possibilities that lie ahead from the obvious pat on the back with a few gold coins that this latest album deserves. As I mentioned before, the microphone was being a little bitch most of the night and unfortunately it cut out again in the climax of a great song. Sadly, it took until after the song ended to get it working, but between the typical sound quarrels and the heat from the packed house, Broken Hope deserves an award for their sheer dedication, determination, and patience that really makes bands shine these days and stand out amongst the crowd. They then continued on mind over matter to give us their best foot forward with some of the most brutally enticing tunes only the best death metal bands are capable of.
While the day was long, the night may have been longer, but hope was not lost because ironically Broken Hope did not give up or give in to the negatives and in the face of bullshit and happenstance, a smile always wins. Also, the second moral of attending any heavy metal show as a musician participating is that it is the little things that carry a band far enough to enter the heart of a new fan, and simply being a skilled or talented musician is not enough. This applies to any walk of life really, as experience makes you wise, form follows function, actions speak louder than words, and death metal should always be cranked to the max.
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