On March 6th, Carnifex came through Erie, bringing an insanely high energy line-up and crowd with them. This was definitely one of the most brutal shows I’ve been to, both in regards to the performance of each band that played, and the crowd – quite a few people in the crowd left with some very physical reminders of the pit. The pit also featured some stand-out attendees – on several occasions I witnessed cartwheeling, Sunny D, a man in a kilt, and at one point during Carnifex’s set a (properly removed) prosthetic leg being hoisted above the crowd. Now that’s metal.
Locals Obelus played to an extremely attentive crowd and completely set the mood for the rest of the show, and I don’t think I saw a single member of the crowd not at very least bobbing along to the music. Their distinctive death metal is offset by hilarious song announcement moments from frontman Logan Emerling – example, “This song is called Cuckholded By Christ. It’s about Jesus fucking your mom while your step-dad watches.” (I may have quoted that incorrectly….but it’s definitely close.) Find them on ReverbNation and YouTube.
The last local band of the night, Amavasya, once again brought progressive metalcore to the stage with incredible flair. Everything about their music and their stage presence is unbelievably intense, and are a band best to be seen to be believed. You can find their debut album Fruition on Spotify and iTunes, and they have a YouTube channel.
Next up were She Must Burn from London, England. Their set was incredibly theatrical and aesthetically pleasing, the entire band cultivating their own look. Setting them apart was their keyboardist and co-vocalist Aimy Miller, mixing soft, airy female vocals with frontman Joseph Sinclair’s black metal vocals for a completely unique sound. She Must Burn’s debut album Grimoire can be found on iTunes and Spotify, and they also have a new music video out for their song Possessed.
Lorna Shore, a deathcore group from New Jersey, were certainly far more low-key in theatrics (and in demeanor: between songs, singer Tom Barber at one point announced to the crowd, “Who else is stoned? Me too!”), but their style of playing and Tom’s vocals are relentless and dizzying, making for one of the hardest sets I’ve ever seen. You can find their new album Flesh Coffin on iTunes and Spotify, and check out their music video for FVNERAL MOON.
The two bands many members of the audience expressed the most excitement for were Rings of Saturn and headliners Carnifex, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how hype everyone got for Rings of Saturn (or even how much I was going to enjoy their set, as someone who had never listened to them previously). The band jokingly call themselves “aliencore” because of their lyrical content and technical metal playing style, and it’s definitely the most accurate description for some of the heaviest, nastiest, strangest metalcore I’ve ever heard. They have an album coming out this year, and you can find their other work on iTunes and Spotify.
Headliners Carnifex opened their set to total silence, much to my complete shock. When the lights lowered and opening music played, the venue got eerily quiet. Too quiet. The kind of quiet that happens at a show right when you know things are about to get crazy. Members of Carnifex finally arrived onto the stage to a complete roar, and the lighting revealed a beautiful, gothic church-like stage set up. They played a combination of old favorites (and the excited noises coming from members of the crowd when it was announced they were playing older tracks shown the kind of devotion this band inspires) and new, and there was a lot of excitement and smiling from members of all areas of the crowd. And, again, you just can’t forget the kind of admiration represented by taking off your own leg and waggling it in the air to the music of your favorite band. Carnifex released a new album called Slow Death this past August, and you can find it here.