January 31, 2015
Napalm Death on a Saturday night in Baltimore....not a phrase you can say too often considering that these English Grind Core pioneers rarely play the USA which explains why the show was packed in so tight.
This show started early and I arrived after 8 PM to catch the end of Iron Reagan’s set. I give it to the guys, they sounded great and their style was a mix of punk and metal which set them apart from the other acts on this bill.
Exhumed were next and the first thing I noticed on their stage was a bloody microwave which sat atop the bass players rig. A few songs into their set a chainsaw wielding maniac ran around the stage and then the venue was immediately filled with the smell of the gasoline which fueled the chainsaw.
Exhumed are an old school thrash metal styled band and they reminded of Overkill & Testament in waves yet the band has a sound that’s all their own. Exhumed ended their show with a beheading via a mock guillotine ala Alice Cooper! (Vid of the mock beheading is posted above!)
Every band that played on this night made mention of how each band brought their own style to the show and that it was great to see so many different “types” of metal fan in one room and getting along so well.
Canadian thrash legends Voivod were next and lead singer Snake is definitely the Joe Cocker of metal! Voivod played a strong hour long set which closed with a tribute to fallen guitarist Piggy which led into a Pink Floyd cover.
“Apex Predator – Easy Meat “ is the latest offering from Napalm Death and it’s interesting how none of the current members of Napalm Death were ever a part of the original band. Napalm Death have a 30+ year history and their current line up is vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway, bassist Shane Embury, drummer Danny Herrera and a new touring guitarist just for this USA string of dates.
Despite the garbled screams, shrieks & vocal blurs, I was impressed with the overall live sound mix because you could actually decipher songs throughout the bands set. When a Grindcore band performs live, if the live audio mix is bad you won’t hear anything more than noise....that was not the case though at this show!
Having never seen Napalm Death before this night I was surprised to witness Barney’s interaction with the crowd. While Barney is “singing” he’s a crash n burn kinda guy yet once a song is completed he speaks like an English gentleman while addressing the crowd which surprised me. I expected Barney to growl at the crowd between songs yet he spoke like an educated professor and came off appreciative and caring!
The pit was a non stop blur throughout Napalm’s set and other than a few people who simply could not control their alcohol consumption there were no fatalities, no one was hurt, and the crowd was united through metal at this show!