Monday, June 3, 2013

The IV Crusade, Those Once Loyal, For Victory

The Great Protector.
Today's post will be a story, a tale if you will. I will regale you with scripture from the battlefield of rock. Carved on the skull of a fallen mosh warrior. This is my trip to Chicago to see the legendary Bolt Thrower. The journey there was almost as fun as the show itself. My brothers of war included Richard "Tricky Dick" Hackler, Ryan "Pit Lord" Brady and Joe "Alien Cock" Moon. We listened to old tapes buried in the tomb of  Richard's car. We listened to our old band Chumm which actually made me more excited about about the upcoming Tristram record since Richard's vo-kills are like a Kodiak bear being strangled by the demon of fire and shadow Balrog. We also listened to Oily Menace, Victory, Discycle, D.S.S. and a lot of other great Michigan bands. It only reaffirmed my recent affinity with analog technology. Eventually we made it to Chicago and parked near the venue. And after waiting in the pouring rain for about 20 or 30 minutes, we finally made it into the venue. I took the thunderstorm as a positive omen. That the ancient demons of lore were watching over us on this night of nights. And of course the smell was unbelievable. Metal heads, the loyal scum of the earth.

"In battle, there is no law!"
I waited in a separate line for another 30 minutes just to get a T-Shirt. There was a big tin bin full of beer and ice so people could get their buzz on while they wait to get shit. I got about 5 people ahead of the beer dispensary and suddenly I hear people shouting and scrambling. I am not sure, but I am pretty sure some people tried grabbing the beer and they got the shit kicked out of them. Basically an ambulance had shown up only 20 minutes into the doors opening. But eventually the opening band Jungle Rot began to play. The first 2 or 3 songs I thought were really cool, the breakdowns were gnarly and the vocalist sounded like one of the guys from Mushroomhead. Which of course means he was nu as shit. But then after that I kind of checked out. The worst part was they were trying to record a music video for one of their songs. So they had 4 guys running around shoving cameras in people's faces and ruining the whole vibe. On top of that, there is nothing worse than a singer telling people what to do. If your music doesn't inspire people to move, then you need to write better songs and output more energy. These metal dudes just get into one stance and then go on shred auto-pilot. Fucking boring. Richard and I missed out on Benediction unfortunately since we needed to fuel up on shitty Chinese food. I should have prefaced this with saying that I was on very little sleep and was already sore from having to run around Grand Rapids the night before due to car troubles. Because once again, God hates us all.

"Death to the false emperor"
But then Hell awoke and rose from beneath the floorboards. I honestly don't know how to convey what happened when Bolt Thrower played. It's as if I blacked out and awoken battle-worn and comatose from brutality. The vocalist Karl Willetts was charismatic and fun. Which one wouldn't expect from the singer of one of the most brutal bands in history. Barry Thomson was incredible, one of the best lead guitarists I've ever heard. What I love about his playing is that he focuses his energy like a lascannon through a Tyranid. He gives no shits about extremely fast shredding, only about melting your face with beautiful ethereal death-rattles. And then Jo Bench was rocking so hard. She was the only one who never smiled, it was all business. Her bass was as big as she was but you could never knock her over. There were moments that will be burned in my memory forever. During "Anti-Tank" the vocalist through the mic stand up in the air and the crowd seemed to lift up with it as if the stand was his psychic staff of Tzeentch and he was lifting us with his mind. Then shit got spiritual for me during "For Victory." The riffs were mesmerizing, my eyes began to water  and I cried blood. Then unsurprisingly, the mortal blow was made during "The Killchain." All the lights went red right when they first struck in. The only downside was the 300 pound drunk metal dude who looked like Tom Araya's illegitimate cave-son. He kept leaning all of his weight on me and though I have thighs of steel I could only take so much. Another thing was how intent people were at being hard-asses. Fuck that macho pit bullshit. People forget that the whole point of going to a show should be to have fun. Not to toss a grown Conky across the room with all their might. I'm all down for fucking shit up but sometimes it becomes obvious that there is a pit hierarchy and that shit is fucking dumb. But all in all, it was pure insanity, I wish I could bestow it upon you all but I can't. I survived the war that is Bolt Thrower. In a world of compromise, some don't.

"No Guts, No Glory!"

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