Kataklysm/Exhorder – September 24, 2019 – The Chance Theater, Poughkeepsie, NYFriday, 27th September 2019
Cancellation. A word no one likes to hear – but has happened at least one other time on this current month-long Meditations Over North America tour featuring Kataklysm, Exhorder, Krisiun, and Hatchet. Baltimore, Maryland was on the itinerary, but out of the control of the bands, the show got cancelled last-minute. We almost had a similar situation at The Chance Theater for this Tuesday night show – vocalist Maurizio Iacono announcing to the crowd early in their headlining set that it was going to be shut down earlier in the day, but the bands and venue agreed to work things out and have the show go on. Thankful despite the lower than expected turnout, the diverse package proved more than worth the money – entertaining the 150 something patrons young and old to the ways of thrash, death, and extreme metal.
Local act Vision Serpent opened the festivities at 6:30 pm – which meant the people that showed up early really wanted to catch this act between friends and family. They’ve really honed their style over their existence, incorporating numerous thrash/death influences in a tight 20-minute set that featured three originals (including the fierce “Downfall of Civilization”) and ending on a familiar cover with Sepultura’s “Territory”. Preparing to finish up recording their new full-length album for a possible early 2020 release, the future is continuing to look promising for these Dutchess County metal musicians.
San Francisco thrashers Hatchet have received a warm welcome to Poughkeepsie, as guitarist/vocalist Julz Ramos mentioned during a brief reprieve for their thirty-minute set regarding their fourth appearance at the venue over the years. Intertwining newer songs from their latest album Dying to Exist like “Silent Genocide” and “Desire for Oppression” with an older favorite like “Fall from Grace”, it’s clear the band’s road work has sharpened their sound to a sword-like precision designed to attack from first note to last. Second guitarist Clayton Cagle even takes an opportunity to play within the crowd during the final song, the fans circling around him and taking selfies while he shreds away. Let’s hope the band’s fifth full-length comes soon, as they definitely bring an adrenaline-rush with their style that fans in Poughkeepsie dig.
Krisiun seem to be a mainstay on a plethora of North American tours and festival runs – this scribe previously taking in runs on Summer Slaughter as well as opening for Destruction just in the past five years. They whip the crowd into a frenzy with their relentless blast-beat infused brand of death metal – delivering songs old and new like “Ravager” and “Blood of Lions”. It was also very cool of bassist/vocalist Alex Camargo to give acknowledgement to local record store owner Stephen Keeler of Rock Fantasy for his decades of service before doing the title track of their latest album Scourge of the Enthroned. The band even received numerous, unprovoked audience chants of ‘Kri-si-iun’ between songs – a sure sign that people are pleased with your craft. The veterans win again.
It has been 27 years since Exhorder released an album – so to say the older audience members were jazzed to finally see this band on stage was an understatement. The five-piece brought their southern style groove/thrash metal platform and didn’t let up for 45 minutes – intertwining a solid setlist of oldies and new tracks. “Death in Vain”, “(Cadence of) The Dirge”, “My Time”, and “Hallowed Sound” swallowed the consumers and made the energy overflow in the venue. Vocalist Kyle Thomas possesses the golden pipes and screams, delivering a stage presence with moves that need to be seen to be fully understood – he just goes to the flow of the hooks and grooves, executing chops, kicks, stomps, and head bobs like a prize fighter surging with unlimited electricity. He even joins bassist Jason Viebrooks for a couple of bass parts on the expected closer “Desecrator”. Grasping this second chance at metal glory for all its worth, they are teaching all generations a thing or two about distinction in this genre.
Kataklysm finished the night off with their Canadian hyper-blast brand of melodic death metal. Drummer Olivier Beaudoin must lose five pounds a show between his hands and feet going at the speed of light – while the death roar of Maurizio Iacono gets the listeners to shout and scream along to favorites like “The Ambassador of Pain” and “10 Seconds from the End”. A fairly balanced setlist between newer songs like “Outsider” and “Narcissist” plus “Thy Serpent’s Tongue” and “Crippled and Broken” among others, it’s clear that the quartet know what their fans want and continually deliver. Maurizio made mention of the metal underground, where he came from, and that this is our ‘church’ so to speak to deliver the message through the music. It’s evident that even if the attendance was a little sparse, they played their hearts out and won approval for not cancelling another show. And that my friends is what will keep the scene alive, because the diehards will never let it die.