TVD Live: Kvelertak, Skeletonwitch, All Dinosaurs, Zoroaster, Mobile Deathcamp at Peabody’s, 10/25

I’m not the kind of girl you’d see at a metal show. I’m just not. That isn’t the kind of music I’ve delved into, the unpredictability of the bands and their performances freak me out, and mosh pits aren’t for me (I just bought this camera, for goodness sake!). Alongside fellow TVD-Cleveland writers, Drew Sabo and Jane Larson, on Tuesday, October 25th, I encountered my first metal show at Peabody’s in Cleveland. 

Kvelertak‘s primary musical influences are rock n’ roll, black metal, and punk rock. Their sound is—for obvious reasons—quite distinct. I have to think a lot of Mastadon fans could get into this groove-oriented, Norwegian punk metal. All of their lyrics are in- you guessed it—Norwegian. Really not that important, but I guess it might be to some. Erlend Hjelvik’s vocals aren’t really compelling enough to make you wish you knew what he was saying most of the time.

Don’t get me wrong, they played well, and with the exception of several technical issues sounded much like their record. This stuff just all kinda started sounding the same to me after a while. Maybe it was the third guitar mucking it up? (Dude just wailed on an electric with his bare hand?) I don’t really think so though. Overall their sound is good, their set was rockin’, and if you’d like some crusty metal to party to this would probably be a good choice. Thanks for making the trip overseas, fellas.

About 75-80% of the crowd was here for Skeletonwitch. The band hails from Athens, OH so seeing a fairly strong fan base here is no surprise. They’ve progressively gained notoriety in the old-school metal scene since the release of their first album At One With The Shadows in 2004, but really started to gain momentum with their second release Beyond The Permafrost. With Zoroaster having effectively chilled everyone out, the stage was set for Skeletonwitch.

If there’s one thing Skeletonwitch’s music is not going to do, it’s chill people out. Every song is fast, every song is heavy. Every song is so metal you can almost feel yourself growing a big gnarly beard as you soak it in. Vocalist Chance Garnette has one tone of voice: evil. He has an evil voice. It is perfect. When he screams “Crushed Beyond Dust,” you kinda feel like you’re being crushed beyond dust. It’s a great song; you might have heard of it via Rock Band Network.

Skeletonwitch played well, nailed their solos, and made people’s ears bleed. They looked metal enough to be members of Dethklok. Next time these dudes come to your home town check ‘em out. They chose an excellent setlist and made it worth coming out on a Tuesday. (DS)

As mentioned above, Zoroaster chilled the crowd out. I’m told it’s “stoner metal.” What you’ll hear is plodding, heavy. Fellow TVD-Cleveland writer, Jane Larson, put it best stating the music “paints pictures of a misty, bleak, dark, otherworldly dimension, in Norse or Stongehenge times. With long reddish blonde hair.”

I’ll be completely honest; Zoroaster’s music isn’t something I’d get into. Their entire set sounded like one extensive song. The guitarist wasn’t visible because he was standing behind a pillar, stage right. The band used drums comprised of acrylic shells, which do not reverberate or sustain tone as well as wood shells. The lack of reverb/sustained tone doesn’t aid the band’s overall sound; they would have sounded more massive had they gone with the wooden drums.

The only band on the bill that can call Cleveland home was All Dinosaurs. These guys preface every show with “Let’s rage!” and rage is what they do. All Dinosaurs features four dudes who bring the intensity to the stage and don’t leave until they’ve worn themselves out. They literally sweat out all the intensity. Don’t go in for a hug—unless that’s your thing.

Dave Gibian’s got the fastest right hand I’ve seen on a guitarist. Bo Bowersmith screams in a punk-meets-metal blend, often trading vocals with Gibian. Gheremy Demery is a beast on bass, proving that when home-schooled kids grow up they get rowdy. Don’t expect Demery to be confined to the stage; you’ll usually witness him in the crowd or on the bar, thrashing away. Drummer Joe Willis balances technicality with performance, never sacrificing intensity. During their set his glasses flew off his face, but he didn’t slow down. Willis just rocked harder.

As far as local bands go, I haven’t heard a band like these guys. They defy genres. They’ve been billed on metal shows where they appear to be ‘too punk’. They’ve been billed on punk shows where they appear to ‘metal’. Regardless of all that categorizing, one thing is apparent: All Dinosaurs is a solid four-piece that brings their intensity to the stage, embraces their technical prowess, and rages. Get out to see them if you haven’t yet. They may melt your face off, but you’ll like it. (AP)

Mobile Deathcamp opened the whole show. As All Dinosaurs’ drummer Willis put it, “Mobile Deathcamp got the party started with fast, driving riffs and low, rumbling vocals. Trekking from Toledo, OH, the thrash metal three-piece was friendly, polite, and tons of heavy! Warp speed tempos and intense songwriting definitely set the stage for what the audience was in store for all night.”

So, the verdict? You’ll catch me at another metal show. I may not be ready for the mosh pit yet, but I do enjoy seeing a bunch of musicians with insane technical skills thrashing on guitars. The vocals aren’t something I can really get behind, but you can’t discredit music of any genre with virtuostic playing.

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