Spartanburg, South Carolina’s Ground Zero is a perfect venue to catch a metal show. Its rustic insides covered with flyers and other accidentalartwork fit the guttural sounds and feelings inspired by and from the genre. On Saturday, September 3rd I was able to catch such a show.
North Carolina’s own Skinkage opened the festivities. Their superb opening song blasted into being with machinegun double bass. I was taken with this band’s perfect drum tone throughout their entire set. They played a crunching style of muddy metal that consisted of the formula of brutality laden versus with melodic choruses (as most bands this evening followed). They covered thrash and doom territory, as well. Glimmers of such diversity kept me enrapt.
By the fourth song they had sufficiently gotten the crowd lubricated for the rest of the evening. At first glance, this fourth song seemed to be the most commercially assessable for Skinkage until I was blown away by a very melodic, ghoulish bit with clean vocals soaring over shrieks. It then dropped off only to come back to life in almost black metal fashion. A grandiose gust of noise and a triumphant scream were accompanied by windmill head banging and I knew then that this band had something special. Soon this dropped away and they went back to their trademark sound. I came away from their set a fan of their music.
Next on the plate was Greenville, S.C.’s Kelen Heller. They were a softer variety of metal than Skinkage with clean vocals that made me think of Mike Patton. Each song was full of swooping chord progressions and tinkering guitar notes more akin to pop punk (or Cattle Decapitation’s single “Regret and the Grave,” take your pick). I’d see no problem with a band like this being easily heard on the local rock radio stations and the crowd seemed to enjoy them immensely. They reminded me of popular modern mainstream metal act, Asking Alexandria.
Taking the stage in sequence was Chicago, Illinois’s Diamond Plates, who started their set with a gust of viciousness. They created a powerful wall of guitar crunch and sound throughout every song. They brought the thrash along with very nice sub-melodies, I found interesting. An energetic band, they did a very nice job energizing the audience as every minute clicked closer towards the main attraction.
The last band before Kittie to take the Ground Zero stage was Dirge Within from Chicago, I.L. They specialized in a radio friendly version of Slayer-esque death metal that would suddenly turn into something close to Motorgrater. Their set seemed short, for we all knew what was coming next.
After a short period of waiting anxiously, the floor in front of the stage became flooded with fans that had waited and had partied all night in the inescapable sticky end-of-summer balm. Kittie took the stage. Their songs pummeled all of Ground Zero with an energy only matched by the rabid fans below them. Mogran Lander’s death growl became a clear, strong feminine cry that deafened even those sitting outside catching a smoke. Ivy Vujic headbanged in such a way that would make most men question their own follicle fury.
They played a nice mix of old classics and new songs off their recently released album, I’ve Failed You, which had come out only a mere few days before they played this show. They fed off of the energy displayed before them and the crowd played off the energy they cast back in an unending cycle of metallic ferocity. All in all, it was a headbanger’s ball at Ground Zero indeed.
Kittie show at Ground Zero (misc.), a set on Flickr.
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