On Saturday night, I left my couch with calming scents of lavender in the air to make my way to The Opera House for a dark, vicious night of extreme metal featuring Ghost Bath, Fallujah and Australian heavyweights Thy Art is Murder. I’d like to think of the experience as placing myself in a self-induced state of desolation with my eardrums getting pummelled with blast beats and guttural screams. As a ‘closet metal fan’, leaving my lavender filled sanctuary to stand side by side with sweaty metal fans screaming, “You will see the true face of panic!” is something pretty special. I look forward to escaping and getting back to my adolescent roots of heavy music.
My life’s quirky contrasts from lavender to body odor aside, Thy Art is Murder’s set had its own fair share of contrasts. There wasn’t much talking aside from frontman CJ McMahon telling the fans he was “having fun” and demanding a circle pit (which didn’t need to be requested). The funny observation about their set was the fact that their music is so heavy and for the most part, the band looks just as intense as the music, but there was positivity and good vibes all around. These guys were loving every moment on stage, which shined through with the occasional smile on CJ’s face as well as lead guitarist Andy Marsh cracking laughs as CJ sat perched like an owl on an equipment case in the corner of the stage. It was great to see the band having fun while ensuring pure carnage to the audience’s ears (I shouldn’t forget to mention CJ galloping around the stage riding an invisible horse, that was hilarious). It’s also refreshing to see given the state of the tour with Polish death metal band Decapitated (the original headliner) having to leave the tour due to their arrests on kidnapping and rape charges in America (more info here). It was easy for this tour to take a turn for the worse but everyone on the bill is marching on and having a good time doing it.
The opening acts were just as impressive but showed no mercy on the metal front. They weren’t screwing around and were relentless leading up to Thy Art is Murder. Hipster black metal band Ghost Bath was playing when I arrived at the venue and they were INTENSE, to say the least. Musically they’re such a rad band and sounded really tight. The nameless frontman’s vocals were just a bit too loud but other than that they performed an extremely solid, hard-hitting set that left me thinking WHOA. Even after all the other bands, I got to my car and put on their new record Starmourner (via Nuclear Blast).
Next up was tech death metal band Fallujah from San Francisco. These guys recently lost their frontman Alex Hoffman, but that didn’t stop them from dominating the stage with the help of their guest vocalist Monte Barnard. Barnard is standing in for their current tour and doing one hell of a job replacing Hoffman on the mic. He’s a damn good fit with a massive vocal range, it also doesn’t hurt that he's worked with Thy Art is Murder in the past, helping out the band with some live stints.
Overall the show was on point and metal as shit! Each band brought a little something different to the table, no metal fan could have left The Opera House feeling disappointed. Now check out all the photos from the night above and make sure you pick up Thy Art is Murder’s new release entitled Dear Desolation (via Nuclear Blast) now.
Words / Photography by: Steve St. Jean
**All photos © Beyond The Watch. Do not use or reproduce w/o permission**