CD Review: ‘Buried in Violence’ by Product of Hate

Product of Hate bring the brutal groove on its debut album Buried in Violence. The band’s mix of death metal, thrash and hardcore will surely draw unfair comparisons to Lamb of God. However, the Wisconsin quintet has a sound completely distinct from its Virginian peers. The band’s music is no-nonsense metal that gives the listener little breathing room. The first track “Kill.You.Now” opens with a whirlwind riff before the drums smack you to the ground and bash your head in. There is a strong Haunted influence with the band’s modern take on thrash metal. The riffs are complex yet dynamic while frontman Adam Gilley barks like a madman. Things do not relent for most of the record. “Annihilation” has a hardcore groove sprinkled with speed metal riffing that makes for a maniacal contrast. The visceral “Blood Coated Concrete” would make Kerry King and Gary Holt nod their heads in sinister approval. The aggressive percussion and galloping riffs drive this track like a platoon charging towards the enemy. The only time the band shows a modicum of mercy is on the haunting instrumental “Vindicare.” The eerie bassline provides the perfect backdrop for the classical guitar lines which gradually build to a hellish peak before fading out.

Legendary metal guitarist James Murphy produced Buried in Violence. Murphy’s career spans roughly three decades and he has played in Death, Obituary and Testament. Murphy brings his knowledge on all things brutal on this record. The album is somewhat stripped down, but not minimalist. The mix is just right with punchy drums and a sharp guitar sound. It is the perfect sound for the record as it captures the band’s seriousness and no-frills style of playing.

Well, Product of Hate has certainly made its mark with a strong debut album. I can safely say this band is America’s answer to The Haunted and that is not an insult at all. The band does a fine job melding the complexity of thrash with the dynamics of hardcore, something many American metal bands struggle with. Buried in Violence is modern thrash done right and it is refreshing to hear a metal band not emulating metal bands from 1985. Product of Hate bring the violence and the mosh on this one.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s website: http://www.therockfather.com/productofhate

Live Review: Exodus and King Diamond at The Tabernacle Nov. 16

Photos by Michael Bradley (full photo gallery at the bottom of the page)

Paranoia was high following the Paris attacks and everyone in line to see Exodus and King Diamond was submitted to a frisk and a metal detector. The line wrapped around the block and inched forward as men and women separated into individual lines and emptied their pockets.

The line looked imposing outside, but once past security, the crowd was more modest inside the Tabernacle. Monday night is not exactly prime time for concert attendance and the audience inside was scattered and patchy. The upper-most tier was closed completely. It was an older crowd, not many kids. But this isn’t Sam Smith or Hozier. These are older bands, bands that only the old heads and rabid metal fans would sacrifice a well-rested Tuesday morning at work to come see. The fans that know a show worth seeing.

Exodus

“Where are the old motherfuckers at?” yelled Exodus’ lead singer, Steve Souza. “The ones that have been with Exodus for 30 fucking years?”

By now the audience had filled in nicely and every long hair and gray beard was pumping their fist and shouting in reply. It’s an odd thing to see one of your favorite bands aging, when you notice the gray hair and paunches emerging. And it’s humbling when you start to realize that these guys are older than you and taking 10-hour bus trips city to city each night and still playing their hearts out while you moan about rolling out of your comfy bed to go to the office.

With 30 plus years of experience, there’s no doubt that the band could be on autopilot and still deliver a good show. But Exodus still attacked the stage like it was trying to incite a riot. Souza is in his 50s and is as charismatic as ever. He owns the stage. Souza was demanding of the fans, singling out anyone that didn’t have his or her hands up. A quick twirl of his fingers during “Body Harvest” and a whirlpool of a circle pit sprang to life. He head banged and played air guitar to his own songs. He still feels it.

Exodus

The acoustics were uncharacteristically muddy for the Tabernacle. The low end came across reedy and the vocals are all but lost in the reverb. It’s unfortunate, but the band was able to power through and keep the energy high. Exodus aimed to please with its set, digging deep with Hammett-era cuts like “Impaler” and closing out with older favorites like “Fabulous Disaster” and “Strike of the Beast” rather than forcing too many newer tracks into the mix.

“East to west, east to west. You know how to do it, Atlanta,” said Souza, calling another mosh into being for the finale. Everyone standing safely along the edges of the pit immediately threw up their phones and pointed them into the eye of the storm. It was an energetic, if short set. Exodus packed it in after just under an hour, but the audience wouldn’t have care if they went on for another hour.

It was time to assemble the King Diamond set. Scaffolding on wheels made to resemble a small-scale foyer of a mansion was uncovered and assembled. The amount of production value squeezed out of the set was impressive. Slotted sleeves were placed over the railings to invoke gothic bannisters; electric candles, Styrofoam ravens and latex gargoyles adorned every corner of the stage. Water bottles were not stowed in the corner by the drum set, instead water was poured into plastic wine glasses and set on a serving tray. It felt like Vincent Price might materialize from the smoke machine induce fog at any minute.

This is billed as the “Abigail” tour, with the eponymous album played lived in its entirety. However, “Abigail” clocks in at a mere 40 minutes, so as not to short change his fans, King Diamond front-loaded his set with about 50 minutes of greatest hits. Opening with “Welcome Home” (complete with grandma in her wheel chair), Diamond hit all of the highlights like “Halloween,” “Eye of the Witch” and even dipped into the Mercyful Fate catalogue.

King Diamond has always been as much theater as concert with his performances and once the “Abigail” portion of the show rolled around, Diamond’s cloaked henchmen rolled out a white child’s coffin from which Diamond produced an evil baby doll he proceeded to stab through the head with a big shiny knife. The band played seamlessly through the album as Diamond and a creepy consort acted out Abigail’s tale of infidelity, spousal abuse, possession, rebirth and infanticide.

Whether it was different sound guy or the sheer power of King Diamond’s falsetto, the headliner didn’t fall prey to the same audio problems the befell Exodus. But the sound issues did little to dampen the evening. Getting to see two metal legends on the same bill is a rare treat and both bands brought their A-game. For all the old school metal fans, this is a must see show.

Photo Gallery: Exodus at The Tabernacle in Atlanta 11/16/15

Live Review: Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies at The Tabernacle Nov. 22

Featuring photography by Michael Bradley (http://www.rockhousephoto.com)

Opening for Slayer sounds like a daunting task, no doubt, but beloved acts Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies showed little sign of intimidation when they stormed the stage of The Tabernacle in Atlanta. Though it’s a rare occurrence when a tour’s opening acts are as established and adored as the headliners, both groups put on headline-worthy performances of their own.

Exodus, Live at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia.

The evening began with a thrilling performance from Bay Area icons Exodus, whose initial appearance on the fog-laden stage drove the crowd to begin the night’s first floor-wide circle pit. Launching into “Black 13” from the new release Blood In, Blood Out, Exodus used every moment of its half-hour set to illustrate that thrash metal is alive and well. “Toxic Waltz” and “Strike of the Beast” were set highlights during the brief performance, and Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza still has one of the best voices in metal.

Guitarist Gary Holt in particular deserves accolade, as he performed twice in the evening – once with Exodus, and later with Slayer. The virtuoso’s energy never dropped throughout his combined two hours of stage time, and his passion flowed through his solos as he smiled and sang with fans.

Punk-metal crossover act Suicidal Tendencies performed next, meshing infectiously catchy bass lines with chugging riffs. Not unlike Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies is one of the rare groups whose music has steadily improved with time. Though the band’s last effort, 13, was released nearly two years ago, Suicidal Tendencies has remained in the limelight thanks to its consistent touring habits and consistently growing fan base.

Suicidal Tendencies, Live at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, Georgia.

Opening with “You Can’t Bring Me Down” from LightsCameraRevolution, Suicidal Tendencies’ set was a whirr of fists and bodies, as the crowd jumped and sang along. But where Exodus and Slayer focused more on aggression, Suicidal Tendencies created an atmosphere of fun and positivity, with Mike ‘Cyco Mike’ Muir offering the microphone to the crowd on several occasions before ultimately moving to the guardrail to join his fans. The set consisted of an eclectic mix of Tendencies tunes, including fan-favorites “Subliminal,” “Possessed to Skate” and “Freedumb” ensuring that every era of the band’s lengthy 30-year career was accounted for.

After witnessing their respective performances, it’s abundantly clear why Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies are regarded as two of the hardest-working and enduring mainstays in metal. Where many similar acts have teetered out over the decades, it’s rare to see a band maintain a sense of relevancy. Yet like their tour mates Slayer, Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies have stood the test of time due to their tremendous output, and thankfully, there seems to be no end in sight.

 

Full Gallery of Exodus

 

Full Gallery of Suicidal Tendencies