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Music festivals are always a blast and big concerts are an excuse to let it all hang out. The atmosphere I find most enjoyable, however, would have to be those small, intimate shows held at grimy little clubs with 20 or 30 of the band’s closest friends. It’s at these shows that mingling, trading and promoting takes the forefront and the scene gets “deep”.

This was precisely the atmosphere at the acclaimed Kent area metal club “The Outpost”, on Saturday 9/14/2013. A small, charming, dark and graffiti riddled club, The Outpost is an absolute haven for extreme metal. Met with the company of Radiatrix, Sanctify, Blood Coven and Chemtrail X, I prepared for an evening of beauteous gore.

The first band up was Canton’s newest and youngest thrash outfit, Radiatrix. Judging them solely on their youthfulness, I expected this band to be sloppy. Radiatrix proceeded to surprise me. These five skinny teenagers, thrashed harder than many of their contemporaries twice their age. Their sound was evocative of mid era Sacred Reich with a bit of Metallica’s charm thrown into to the mix for added effect. The band’s energy was high, with the guitarists windmilling and the vocalist interacting with the crowd. My only criticism would be that Chase Casterline’s vocals lacked power. While he has potential to become a great thrash vocalist I sensed he was a bit inhibited. Overall, this band writes catchy thrash riffs and given a few years to tighten their sound (they’re still very young) they can become something great in the arena of American thrash. Keep killin’ it Radiatrix!

Next up was Akron’s prog metal act, Sanctify. Radiatrix was going to be tough to follow and Sanctify couldn’t quite make the cut. The problem with many progressive metal bands is that their scope of what they can get away with is so great that many band’s tend to sound too busy, or all over the place. I wasn’t sure how to categorize Sanctify. The sound was confused, with pseudo progressive riffs, splashes of rock and roll and nu metal-like sing song breaks, the vocals were weak and their look was all but ordinary. Sanctify’s only saving grace was their flawless cover of the Megadeth classic, “Holy Wars….The Punishment Due”, but since the song was covered to a tee, with no unique Sanctify flavors thrown in, I’d say the credit still is owed to Dave Mustain. What was truly missing at this performance was unified energy. For much of the time the band just stood there only breaking attention to shout an ill-fitting “Hail Satan” into the crowd or something equally absurd. This band needs to commit to a sound and hone it before I’d recommend them, until then, they remain an opening act.

Finally it was the moment I’d been waiting for. Akron’s black/death hellions, Blood Coven prepared to hit the stage. Three black clad and tattooed brutes bearing armor, graced the stage and bludgeoned an unprepared crowd with an assault 100 times heavier than anything they’d seen thus far. Vocalist Daniel Saladin, prefaced the set with a warning to the crowd. “We’re Blood Coven, from Akron and you probably won’t like us”, he said. I laughed a little to myself and prepared to have my ears bludgeoned. Blood Coven fittingly opened with “Let Rome Burn”, the first track off their 2012 LP “Battle Cult Empire”. The aggression and intensity was beyond measure and their speed was electrifying. The band exhibited enthusiasm and high energy with their stage performance as well, headbanging throughout the set and occasionally executing choreographed and theatrical moves. It was a pleasure to witness the show. Blood Coven played everything from classics like “Godless and Wicked” and “793: The Fall of Lindisfarne” to flawlessly executed covers like Mayhem’s “Freezing Moon”. The set was a shining example of showmanship, musicianship and professionalism, as to be expected.

At last the end of the evening was nigh. Chemtrail X set to hit the stage. Blood Coven was going to be a hard act to follow but Chemtrail X was up to the challenge with their brand of nu-metal. Chemtrail X has a gimmick. Unlike so many other bands who simply settle to be satanic or humorously gory, Chemtrail X has decided to put the evil of the clandestine US government on the forefront and expose the criminals for what they really are. This is not a band you’ll see playing in sweatpants. They were dressed up like military officials and members of FEMA. It was actually pretty cool. The stage show was interesting as well with fog machines and the vocalist occasionally spouting off about conspiracy theories. Although this band doesn’t exactly play the sort of metal I listen to, for what they do, they do it well. Fans of Slipknot and Mushroomhead should take note of these guys, because they are actually more interesting than the aforementioned bands. They played tight and put on a good performance. This is definitely one of those bands that’s better live, but listen for yourself.

Overall this event was well worth the cover charge of a mere six bucks. The crowd was intimate and enthusiastic, the drinks were cheap and most importantly the bands played well. These are kinds of events metal is all about. Be sure to support your local scene for glimpse into the underground and the bowels of Hell. Happy Listening. Hails!

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