This tour, unfortunately, went through quite a few changes. Cerebral Bore could not get their visas approved in time for the beginning of the tour, so they just went back to Europe. Several days ago, Fallujah wrecked their trailer and gear when they hit a patch of black ice on the way to one of the shows (head on over to their Facebook page to send a few dollars their way or pick up some merch to help them recoup their losses and get back on the road as soon as possible), so they were unable to play as well.
The first band of the night was Air Raid, a local thrash outfit. I had heard of them before, but I had never actually listened to any of their material. I wasn't really expecting much from them, but they were actually quite good. The guitar riffs were great and the band executed everything with precision. My favorite Air Raid song of the night was Tears of Shit, particularly due to the slap bass solo near the end. I look forward to seeing more material from them in the future.
After Air Raid was Kataplexy. Another local band, Kataplexy describes themselves as "extreme hockey metal." I guess hockey is somewhat of a gimmick for them, seeing as how the guitarists and vocalist were all wearing hockey jerseys and hockey masks. Their music, at its core, is brutal death metal. The majority of their set was comprised of those weird high-pitched growls (if that makes any sense whatsoever) and blast beats. The guitar riffs were almost completely inaudible. Their bassist, however, was awesome and played some really great bass lines. Overall, they were pretty bland and are definitely not anything to write home about.
Next up was Battlecross, who was brought on to replace Fallujah almost immediately after their trailer and gear was destroyed. Battlecross is a thrashy melodeath band from Detroit, Michigan that was just recently signed to Metal Blade Records. I'm new to Battlecross, so I don't know that much about them. I've listened to their newest album once, but that's pretty much it. Their live set was actually not bad. They sounded pretty much identical to how they sound in the studio. The only drawback to their performance was that they were completely unable to get the crowd into it. There was absolutely no moshing until the end of their set. The vocalist was somewhat awkward (bad jokes flew occasionally) and seemed irritated when the crowd wasn't giving them an incredibly positive response. At one point he said something about how it was "everyone's first time having sex with them," which was weird.
One thing I don't understand about some metalheads is their tendency to place average metal bands as top tier bands despite the fact that said bands haven't really released anything that warrants that status (i.e. the fact that The Unspoken King is often cited as a major tragedy in metal, but Cryptopsy hadn't released anything that was actually good since 1996 anyways). Hate Eternal is one of those bands. They have never really released any mind-blowing albums and their music lacks diversity. Their live set was no exception. The guitar riffs and solos were repetitive, simplistic, and, in the case of the former, inaudible. The most prominent aspect of their set was the drums. The drummer was somehow able to blast for an hour straight, but he looked bored while doing so. Their set rarely paused and the guitarist hardly ever announced the name of the next song. Whenever he did, however, it was growled (unintelligibly) and never spoken. This lead me to wonder if he was actually capable of speech or not. At no point during their set did Hate Eternal come close to anything that could be considered a memorable song. Everyone in the room was then bored for having heard it. I award them no points, and may God have mercy on their souls.
Last, but not least, was Goatwhore. I was unsure if Goatwhore was actually going to be playing or not, but I am damn glad that they did. Everything was spot on, they had a ton of energy, there was a lot of interaction between the band and the crowd, and they played almost all of their best songs. Goatwhore, unfortunately, had the smallest crowd of any of the non-locals, which was incredibly surprising. Most people had left after Blast Beat Eternal had finished trying to destroy everyone's faces. Perhaps this is indicative of Goatwhore's reputation as a "failed attempt at black metal," which couldn't be further from the truth. Most of Goatwhore's set was comprised of material from Carving Out the Eyes of God (my favorite of all their albums). They played Apocalyptic Havoc, The All-Destorying, Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult, To Mourn and Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways, Collapse in Eternal Worth, Carving Out the Eyes of God, and In Deathless Tradition, among several others. They got a very good response from whatever crowd decided to stick around for their set and were, without a doubt, one of the best bands I've seen live. I would strongly recommend you check them out if they're playing at a venue near you in the not too distant future.