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Embalmer has embarked on their western tour with Forged in Gore, and I (being a Cleveland native) was fortunate enough to catch the first show of the tour in their hometown with featured act, Rottrovore as well as local bands Blood Coven, Funeral Pyre and of course, Forged in Gore. The show was held at Lakewood’s only exclusively metal venue, The Foundry. The club is known for being one of many names (The HiFi, The Breakfast Club etc.) but has really come into it’s own as a spot for extreme metal. Slow to compete with punk/metal pub, Now That’s Class, The Foundry has respectfully become a haven for the underground in the past two years.

Blood Coven was the first band to hit the stage. They kicked off the evening nicely, playing classics, Warmaggedon and Feel My Steel, as well as showcasing their new track Age of Hell, to a lackluster crowd. Perhaps the highpoint of the set, for me at least, was when they played my request, Godless and Wicked.  The set was a bit sloppy in places, but not unforgivably so and the pure evil and aggression emanating from the stage, well made up for any slop in the performance.  Perhaps the only true disappointment was the utter disinterest, yielding from the crowd.  I can not, for the life of me, figure out why Blood Coven hasn’t become a greater force in the Cleveland metal scene.  Alas, I appeared to be the only person familiar with the material.  It was of no consequence to me however, I’ve been that person numerous times.  Blood Coven is truly a band worthy of recognition, so I give you Age of Hell!

Blood Coven’s ass kickery made way for black metal outfit Funeral Pyre. Funeral Pyre prefaced their first performance in twenty years with smells of acrid incense and arrant blackness. The crowd prepared for a celebration of evil. The enthusiasm of the crowd would only be met with sheer disappointment, as the set was an utter disaster. The drums were entirely too loud, drowning out sloppily played guitars.  Vocalist Brian Sekula, lazily fluttered about a goats skull as he shrieked classic tracks, Prosperity of Satan’s Reign and Celtic Sun.  Brief moments of harmony were quickly halted by clumsy mistakes, so attempts to get lost in the music or even discern one song from the next, were futile.  This band will definitely have to work together and practice more if they intend to gain a following in the underground live circuit.  Either that, or remain a studio band.

The show wouldn’t be a total bust, however, Forged in Gore hit the stage next to tear our faces off with the brutal death metal Cleveland has become known for.  Lightening fast riffing, blast beats and guttural “vokills” characterized the set.  Tongue in cheek requests for the band to slow down were met with a proverbial middle finger and even faster playing on the track Afterbirth Hors d’ oeuvre. Vocalist/bassist Brian Baxter engaged the crowd even further, inciting mosh pits and interacting with fans. Embalmer vocalist Paul Gorefiend performed guest vocals on a cover song to much approval from the crowd. Forged in Gore put on an incredible set. The band exudes professionalism and can most definitely anticipate a promising future.

We’d all anticipated Embalmer would go on next as initially Rottrevore was supposed to close the show but at that point in the evening everyone was inebriated and logistics mattered little.  Rottrovore went on next.  Excitement came over the crowd as Rottrevore set the perform their first live show in Cleveland in over 20 years.  Although I, personally am not an avid fan of the brutal death foursome, the band did not disappoint diehards, performing classic tracks like Unanimous Approval and Incompetent Secondary to perfection. Rottrovore closed their set with Conspiracised and fittingly the performance was met with “unanimous approval”.

The final band of the evening to play was of course, goregrind aficionados, Embalmer. An intoxicated Paul Gorefiend hit the stage, spewing vocals to utter perfection. You would never guess that he was wasted or that he’d injured his ribs at a Goatwhore show months back. Embalmer killed it, performing tracks from their must-have compilation from 1997, There Was Blood Everywhere, such as Rotten Body Fluids, the title track and my favorite, Bone Box. They also introduced new tracks from the soon to be released LP Apocalyptic Bloodshower. The new songs may have even exceeded the aggression found on earlier releases, which excites me for the release of Apocalyptic Bloodshower. The band closed with the classic, I am the Embalmer, paying homage to sole original member Roy Stewart. Embalmer did not fail to meet high expectations and “keep it fucking sick”!

Overall, the show was the definition of underground metal, with exorbitant demo trading, unofficial, laid back meet and greets, heavy promotion and intense gratitude for underground heads.  A rapturous evening of gore, dedicated to diehards.

Embalmer is currently touring the west coast with Forged in Gore. Dates are as follows…

6/8 Cleveland, OH
6/11 Kansas City, Missouri
6/14-6/15 Las Vegas Deathfest, Las Vegas, Nevada
6/17 Sacremento, California
6/18 Los Angeles, California
6/21 San Diego, California
6/22 Tempe, Arizona
6/25 Houston, Texas
6/26 Dallas, Texas
6/28-6/29 Gutfest, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Catch them in your town! Happy Listening! Hails!

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