Jim Durkin, Dark Angels founding member, guitarist, and songwriter, died from unknown causes at the age of 58 in Los Angeles. Without him, the band’s three hugely influential albums “We Have Arrived“, “Darkness Descends” and “Leave Scars” would have never happened. He departed the band in 1989 and returned in 2013.
“Darkness Descends” is considered by many in the metal community as “the greatest thrash metal album of all time” and even influenced bands like Slayer.
Statement From Family
News of his passing was shared by his wife, Annie, on Facebook:
“With a broken and heavy heart, I want to share that the love of my life, my best friend and husband, Jimmy, passed away Wednesday morning. He was not alone as I was with him along with a few close friends until the end. He will be truly missed and no one can ever replace the love I have for him. May he rest in peace. Ever Thine, Ever Mine, Ever Ours … My Immortal Beloved. I will see you again.”
Statement From Band
The band also confirmed Durkin’s passing: “We in the Dark Angel family are deeply saddened and crushed today with the news of our brother and founder Jimmy Durkin passing away Wednesday morning. We would like to thank his fans for their continuous loyalty and support. We will come out with a full statement very soon. We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy while we mourn the loss of this great man.”
Jim was still active in Dark Angel as the only original member at the time of his passing. The band was even slated to play three sold-out shows in Los Angeles at the Teragram, playing the entire “Darkness Descends” album.
What can you say about Florida’s Obituary that has never been said? The band has one of the most consistent streaks in death metal and has never released a sub-par album. While you could argue the band peaked on their debut album, “Slowly We Rot” — nothing that they have released subsequently has sucked. Is it time to break that streak as the band hurdles into their mid-fifties? I’m glad to report the answer is a resounding “no.”
One of the main reasons the band has retained its unique sound is that its core has remained intact with few changes over the decades. Trevor Perez and the Tardy brothers have been original members since 1984. The lead guitar spot has rotated four times through the years, and I’m sure the original bassist would still be in the band had he not succumbed to cancer in 2015 and been replaced by Death’s Terry Butler.
Listen To Full Album Below
The production of “Dying Of Everything” is crisp and clear, with the mix dialed where it needs to be without sounding overproduced. Overproduction is a common pitfall of many modern metal records, and I’m sure the band had the budget to go nuts (as opposed to “Slowly We Rot” which was recorded for $4000). In particular, the drums cut through the mix great and do not sound over-sampled or excessively corrected by Beat Detective. Likewise, the guitar sound is warm and natural and perfectly captures Trevor’s unique sound. “New” guitarist Ken Andrews delivers some great solo work with the guitar leads frequently placed toward the beginning of the songs, which is quite refreshing!
Obituary is not a band that relies on speed or crazy technicality to deliver their brutal sound. Instead, Trevor’s riffs are solid meat and potatoes and retain an almost hardcore punk character. However, these nearly simplistic riffs become monsters when meshed with drummer/cat activist Donald Tardy’s unique approach to rhythmic grooves and John’s guttural vocals: The result is unmistakably Obituary!
Speaking of John Tardy, that man’s growling vocals haven’t lost anything with age, which is extremely impressive. In addition, you hear a bit more annunciation and can understand a lot of the lyrics; the singer admits some songs consisted of guttural sounds that were not even actual words in some early efforts.
I recommend listening to this album in track order, as it seems they spent a good time developing the track sequence, which is a lost art these days. The album starts with arguably the fastest track on the album, “Barely Alive”. This song rips and includes a few note-heavy passages you don’t typically hear from this band.
The following track, “Wrong Time,” is a single that had been out for a few months, and I have to admit I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but then changed my mind when I saw how well it worked live. “Without Conscience” shows the benefits of Tardy’s more controlled approach to vocals and creates an insanely catchy chorus. The title track, “Dying Of Everything” is a banger and is reminiscent of the band’s mid-nineties output. There is no filler on the record, but I have to talk about the album closer, “Be Warned” which is tied with the opening track as my favorite but for different reasons. The 5:47 minute epic boasts some brutal Tom G Warrion/Celtic Frost-type riffing, is a perfect low-tempo closer and is the heaviest song on the album. This bookend is one of the main reasons I suggest listening to this album in track order from start to finish; you won’t regret it.
With “Dying Of Everything,” Obituary retains their spot as the AC/DC of Florida Death metal, and if you are a fan like I am, I highly suggest picking this up; you won’t be disappointed!
Obituary – Dying Of Everything Label: Relapse Records Released: Jan 13, 2023
This past weekend I caught the recent Obituary, Carcass, and Amon Armoth show at the Kia Forum in Los Angeles, and here is a quick review of it.
As always, Obituary was incredible, and they opened on the bill. However, there was a giant fly in the ointment. Their set was WAY TOO SHORT and consisted only of the following:
A Lesson in Vengeance
Visions in My Head
Circle of the Tyrants
The Wrong Time
Given that “Redneck Stomp” is an instrumental, “Circle of the Tyrants” is a Celtic Frost cover, and “The Wrong Time” is a new song, it left the crowd starved for that brutal classic material from albums such as “Cause of Death” and “Slowly We Rot“. I wasn’t a massive fan of their latest single, “The Wrong Time,” but the material works live, so the song has grown on me.
Here is a video shot by a fan that does a reasonably good job of summing up the night.
The Kia show was my second time seeing Carcass in recent months. Unfortunately, the band’s set was much shorter and less inspiring than their show at Psycho Fest. Aside from “Incarnated Solvent Abuse” the set consisted of all post-Heartwork era material, forgoing the early grindcore period, and their short setlist was as follows:
Kelly’s Meat Emporium
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
This Mortal Coil
Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in B)
The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing
Corporal Jigsore Quandary
Amon Armoth’s production demands were the primary cause of Obituary’s and Carcass’s truncated sets. I knew Amon Armoth was big, but I never realized the monsters they’d become. Their production was insane and matched the greatness of Iron Maiden’s 1985 Powerslave tour (which was the first show I ever saw). Amon Armoth is trying to take the mantle of this generation’s Iron Maiden, and that’s big money.
Amon Armoth sounded great — even too great. The drums we played tight to a click track, the vocals had backing tracks coming in, and I suspect there was even some augmentation of the guitars at points.
Despite how incredible the production was, how great the sound was, and how crazy the stage show was when metal reaches this level of perfection, it also loses much of its grit. Unfortunately, this was the case here. I would rather see an underground band sweating it out, playing on stage volume, and killing it in a bar than see some over-polished corporate metal show.
I didn’t even make it through the entire set, but it was as follows:
Guardians of Asgaard
Deceiver of the Gods
Oden Owns You All
The Pursuit of Vikings
The Great Heathen Army
Find a Way or Make One
Destroyer of the Universe
Put Your Back Into the Oar
Cry of the Black Birds
The Way of Vikings
Raise Your Horns
Twilight of the Thunder God
The Kia Forum
The Kia Forum is a rebranded version of the original Forum in Inglewood and a poor choice for this show. Possibly because of the size of Amon Armoth’s set, they required a space this massive. YouTube Theatre or Hollywood Palladium would have been better for this event. The forum was built in 1987 but seemed much older: Factor in $60 parking and $28 self-serve beers, and it’s going to take a lot of work to get me back to Kia Forum – unless it’s something completely mind-blowing.
Sadly, this collection did not become available under the best of circumstances. The original owner of this insane collection, Scott Baxter, of the Philadelphia-based metal/hardcore band, Dare To Defy, tragically succumbed to cancer at age 55.
Here is a link to some of Dare To Defy’s music, active from the late 80s to the late 90s.
On his passing, he left his collection to a friend who was not a big metal fan. She contacted me through this site, and after a few phone calls, I decided to fly out to Chillicothe to check it out and perhaps make an offer.
I left Los Angeles on the redeye and hoped to catch some sleep on the first leg of the flight from LAX to Atlanta. But unfortunately, I was unable to fall asleep on the plane. So I arrived in Columbus and decided to power through. I picked up a U-Haul truck from a town near the airport and went to view the collection — it was as she described to me, so after a bit of negotiation, I wrote the owner a check, loaded the truck, and was on my way back by 3 PM that afternoon.
The Long Journey Home
At this point, on no sleep, I began the most white-knuckle leg of the trip: The 2000-mile-plus trek back to Los Angeles.
I only drove a few hours on the first day before stopping in Indiana. Then, after 16 hours of driving the next day, I stopped for the night in Missouri, and again after a similar length drive, I stopped in Denver.
Most miraculously, there were no serious snafus the entire trip – no running of gas, speeding tickets, or brushes with death.
Highlights From This Collection
I have yet to make it through every album in this monolithic assemblage, but I pulled out a few to feature in this first blog post and will follow up with some more in future posts.
Mortician – Hacked Up For Barbecue LP 2016 Hells Headbangers NM/NM BLUE RED – Great 90s death metal by two-man band from Yonkers, NY, that recorded with a drum machine and never toured because they were on probation. Hacked Up For Barbecue is both brutal and highly collectible.
Mortician – Re-Animated Dead Flesh LP 2016 Hells Headbangers NM GLOW IN THE DARK – Though this album is technically a reissue, the early Mortician albums never appeared on vinyl. This limited glow-in-the-dark vinyl is quite rare, collectible, and pricey.
Death Angel – The Ultra-Violence LP WHITE 2016 Metal Blade – 3984-15377-1 NM/NM – This white vinyl limited run of 100 from the OG Death Angel thrash classic is very sought after because of its low print run.
Mercyful Fate – Melissa LP 1983 Megaforce Records – MRI-369 EX/NM – The debut album from Mercyful Fate “Melissa” is widely regarded as one the most influential extreme metal albums of all time. To find an original copy in near-mint condition is a rare treat.
Satan – Court In The Act LP 1984 LP Metal Blade – MBR 1016 EX/EX – Though technically a reissue, this first US pressing of “Court In The Act” by the British heavy metal band Satan is very sought after.
Cryptic Slaughter – Money Talks LP 2014 Relapse – RR6547 NM [GREEN LIMITED 300] – These limited color reissues from the godfathers of grindcore not only look cool, but they are also almost worth as much as original copies of this LP.
Deicide – Deicide LP 2014 Metal Blade Records – 3984-15311-1 NM/NM [RED VINYL] – These limited red reissues of the debut album from Deicide sold out so fast they are now scarce and never sell for less than a hundred bucks!
Kings Of Thrash is a Megadeth tribute band consisting of former members of Megadeth David Ellefson (bass), Chris Poland (guitar on Peace Sells and Killing Is My Business), Jeff Young (guitar So Far So Good, So What?) along with musicians Chaz Leon (guitar/vocals), and Fred Aching (drums). To date, they have played only four shows but have hinted a more extensive tour is coming.
Kings Of Thrash sold out The Whiskey in Hollywood for this October 15th show. The setlist consisted of So Far, So Good, So What and Killing Is My Business, and Business Is Good, played in their entirety (almost), and a few songs from Peace Sells.
The best part of the show was that the band performed many deep cuts from the first classic albums that Megadeth may have played live on stage. The crowd responded strongly to the early material, especially Killing Is My Businessthrashers like “Mechanix” and “Rattlehead”. Predictably, the mosh pit on the floor got so violent that people were getting carried out. Nevertheless, it was great to see this response from an audience that probably wasn’t alive when these songs came out, judging by the average age in the crowd.
The encore was also great, even throwing in some deeper cuts from Peace Sells like “Devil’s Island” and “Wake Up Dead”. Chaz Leon and Fred Aching did commendable jobs covering their roles in the band. It’s also worth noting that Chris Poland is an absolute savage on guitar and is the best guitar player that has ever been in Megadeth.
Nothing was necessarily bad, though the was some room for improvement. One was the sound. When the band came out, they sounded perfect, but singer Chaz Leon complained about the monitors so much in the first few songs it caused the soundman to scramble the sound for the show’s first half altogether.
Jeff Young seemed like he was playing relatively slow, at a few points, dragging down the tempo of the entire band.
The worst thing about the show was the inclusion of Chris Poland as a “special guest”. He only performed four or five songs with the band as a third guitarist. When the show’s Killing As My Business portion started, Jeff should have exited the stage, and Chris should have been the sole lead guitar player, as he originally played and wrote the material.
If you are a hardcore Megadeth fan and Kings Of Thrash decides to take this show back on the road, this is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience worth checking out. This same night Testament, Death Angel, and Exodus were also playing in town…I chose Kings Of Thrash, and so should you!
Here is one video of “502” performed at the same show as this review.
Kings Of Thrash Setlist
So Far, So Good, So What
Into the Lungs of Hell
Set the World Afire
Anarchy in the U.K.
In My Darkest Hour
Hook in Mouth
Killing Is My Business and Business Is Good
Last Rites/Loved to Deth
Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good
Looking Down the Cross
The Skull Beneath the Skin
Peace Sells, but Who’s Buying?
Wake Up Dead
Good Mourning / Devil’s Island
Past Show Dates
October 12th- Brick by Brick- San Diego
October 13th- Crescent Ballroom- Phoenix, Arizona
October 14th- The Space- Las Vegas
October 15th- Whisky A Go Go- West Hollywood, California
Standout Rare United Guttural Rare Death Metal CDs
The cool thing about the CD collection pictured above is its amount of out-of-print stuff. For example, there are many titles from the now-defunct United Guttural Records, which put out a lot of great obscure goregrind, grindcore, and death metal in the 90s and early 2000s.
Rotting – Crushed CD 1998 United Guttural Records – UGR 002 – Very rare, usually sells 40-50 dollars.
Mutilated – Devirginated Genital Pulp CD 2003 Forever Underground – FU018 – Very sick cover that should make the pro-abortion freak proud. Also sells for around 40-50 dollars
Rotting – Crushed CD 1998 United Guttural Records – UGR 002 – Very sick cover. Also sells 40-50 bucks.
Sadus – Swallowed In Black CD 1990 R/C Records – RCD 9368 – Second album from brutal thrash band Sadus is worth about 60 bucks for the first pressing on R/C records. This band was very intense and their music bordered on death metal.
Regurgitation – Tales Of Necrophilia CD 1999 Ablated Records – ABLTD002 – ABLTD002 – This CD has been entirely out-of-print since 1999. Hell’s Headbanger Records reissued it in 2019. Originals still go for around 50 bucks.
October Hardcore Punk Vinyl Update
October has been another strong month for buying punk rock vinyl, as witnessed in this video.
The funny thing about buying collections from the 80s Golden Age Of Punk is seeing many of the identical records repeatedly. Not only do you see the same bands over and over again, suck as Minor Threat, Black Flag, and Dead Kennedys, you see many of the same compilations, such as Punk and Disorderly, and ROQ.
Are You Looking To Sell Some Punk / Metal Records or CDs?
If you have a collection like this you are looking to sell, hit me up here:
If you are looking to buy any of these, check me out on eBay
Here is a fantastic first press metal collection a guy brought in two weeks ago.
And here is a great punk rock vinyl collection I picked up this weekend.
Featured Punk / Metal Vinyl
Here are some of the gold nuggets from the videos above.
Black Flag – Nervous Breakdown EP 1980 SST SST 001 – This is the third pressing of “Nervous Breakdown” by Black Flag. There are over 20 years of pressings of this EP. Actual first pressing is some of the most expensive punk rock albums out there that can go for over $1000 easily.
Ramones – Ramones LP 1976 Sire – SASD-7520 – First pressings of this debut Ramones LP average between $143 – $432, according to Discogs, and keep going up.
Possessed – Seven Churches LP 1985 Combat – MX 8024 – One of the most influential extreme metal albums of all time and some argue the first death metal album, early pressing of Possessed “Seven Churches” are a holy grail of vinyl collectors. The camouflage label is technically a second press, even though it came out the same year. Unlike many vintage metal albums, the first press CD is worth more than the album and is one of the most expensive metal CDs.
Slayer – Show No Mercy LP 1983 Metal Blade Records – MBR 1013 – Slayer’s debut album is now the most expensive and hard to find in their catalog. This copy is the repress technically, but it still sells for north of 300 dollars.
Have Albums Like This You Want To Sell?
If you have a collection like this you are looking to sell, I am always buying. Use the info below to get hold of me.
Psycho Vegas 2022 Festival Review – Best/Worst Bands & More
I attended Psycho Vegas this past weekend and wrote this show review of the best/worst bands. For those who don’t know, Psycho Las Vegas is a metal festival in Vegas every year in late August. Because nobody reads long blog posts anymore, I divided this article into clickable bits, so you can quickly jump around to the best bands, worst bands, and overall festival review.
Best Bands Psyco Vegas 2022 (Ranked In Order)
Mercyful Fate: They were the headliner, and their set was perfect, and I’m not sure what could have been done to improve it. Read the full review here.
Blood Incantation: By far the heaviest band of the entire festival. They shook the floor with their too-early set on day #2. Full review here.
Carcass: These UK death metal veterans absolutely crushed it on day #1. Full review here.
Cirith Ungol: This obscure doom metal band that has been around since 1971 delivered a shockingly awesome set to a packed house on a side stage right before Mercyful Fate. See why they still kick ass here.
Bombers: A Motorhead cover band consisting of members of Abbath not only played Lemmy’s classics to a tee, but frontman Abbath also made the show highly entertaining.Read more here.
Midnight: These Ohio maniacs delivered an amazing high-energy set bedecked in leather jackets and hoods in the 110-degree heat at Psyco Swim. Some now notorious mayhem in the audience further enhanced the set.Read all about it here.
MGLA: This Polish black metal band played way too early on Friday for a completely packed house at 2:30 in the afternoon and destroyed. See more here.
Worst Bands Psyco Vegas 2022 (Ranked In Order)
Primitive Man: This doom metal band was the worst at the entire festival and seem to get booked at Psycho every year. They set the whole doom metal movement backward, one show at a time. See why they suck here.
While none of these bands sucked, they didn’t live up to the hype and are worth mentioning.
Emperor: By far the most hyped band of the entire festival, these Norwegian black metal Vets were far from being lame but weren’t life-changing either. More here.
Rotting Christ: Many people love this Greek black metal band, but they are pretty Hot Topic and play lip-synching to a track. Not impressive at all. Read more here.
Mayhem: While their set at Psycho was quite good, the legend of Mayhem is cooler than their live sets. More here.
Why Are These Bands Even Here at Psyco Vegas 2022?
One of my biggest complaints about the festival is that quite a few acts didn’t make sense even being at the festival. I’m not sure if someone on the staff was super woke and wanted some diversity, but none of this worked.
Bone Thugs N Harmony – I did not see this show because I was at Blood Incantation; this booking made no sense. Bone Thugs N Harmony sucked in the 90s, and from what I’m told, they still blow today.
Method Man and Raekwon – I like Wu-Tang, but they had prime billing and were just mailing it in to a disinterested crowd on Sunday. Horrible. More here.
Bridge City Sinners – This country/folk act was the first band I saw at Pschofest, and well… Read more here.
There were many other examples of this; I just listed some of the most annoying above.
Honorable Mention Bands Psyco Vegas 2022
Intronaut – This LA-based prog-jazz-metal band delivered a superb set very late on Saturday night. Read more here.
No/Mas – Despite having a silly name, these guys supplied a brutal set on Saturday on one of the side stages. More here.
Mothership – This Dallas-based stoner rock band played a fantastic set in the food court on Saturday despite some technical troubles.
Festival Review Day-by-Day 2022
This is a playlist I compiled from the bands mentioned in this blog post. Click on the right-hand corner of this video to see a list of all bands included.
Here are the details on the bands mentioned in my rankings and everything else I saw each day at Psycho listed chronologically,
Thursday 8/18 (Psycho Swim)
The Psycho Swim took place at the Pool at Ayu Dayclub and was an upsell to the main Psycho Festival.
Bridge City Sinners – This Portland-based band played some kind of country folk with violin and banjos, boring the audience. The singer complained about the crowd energy at many points in their set, as if she didn’t understand people had traveled many miles to hear metal, and their low-energy hillbilly music would never connect with this audience.
Elder – Elder sounded great, bringing some heavy Mastodon-style prog metalto the crowd at the pool, only to get rained out two songs into their set.
Midnight – Midnight took the stage at 11 PM. This Ohio-based band is easily my favorite metal band of the last 15 years, whom I discovered at Psychofest 2021. They played one of the best sets I’ve seen from them, clad in leather jackets and masks in the 110-degree heat. During their set, all hell broke loose when a girl threw a drink in my friend’s face. After a bit of arguing, they started fighting, and the girl pulled my friend’s top off in the struggle. After that, topless combat started and restarted thrice as the band played on. Cellphones, wallets, threats, and insults flew everywhere in the mayhem, and the incident went down as the most notorious of Psycho 2022. If anyone has a video of this debacle (and I know someone does) — contact me here. I would love to see it.
Elder (Part 2) – Elder continued their rained-out set inside on one of the side stages. Again, they are a good band but start to sound like a low-rent Mastodon after 3 or 4 songs – a little goes a long way.
Friday 8/19 (Day 1)
MGLA – This controversial Polish black-metal band MGLA (Polish for “Fog”) played in a way-too-early set at 2:30 at the event center. MGLA has been canceled from European festival events because of false claims by German Antifa that they are NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal). Due to such problems, seeing them live is a rare circumstance. MGLA had the Event Center packed early. Nevertheless, MGLA punched above their weight and sounded far better than they do in their studio recordings. Perhaps this is because the touring group consisted of studio musicians who didn’t play on the albums. Regardless MGLA sounded evil as hell and made it onto my list of best bands at Psycho! See them if you ever have the opportunity.
Carcass – Admittedly, I had lost interest in Carcass over the years. I saw them around 2011 and thought they were OK. However, at Psycho, they were unbelievable. Everything about their set ruled — from song choices (mostly 90s material) to the band’s sound, lighting, and energy. I’m not sure what changes the band made over the last ten years, but it’s working! Also worth noting, Bill Steer may be the most underrated guitarist in metal – the guy doesn’t get enough credit for being the savage he is.
Mayhem – I had recently seen Mayhem in LA and wasn’t impressed. Consisting of only one original member (Necrobutcher) – the story of Mayhem is cooler than seeing them live. But, to be fair, the band’s set that day was pretty great, so I shouldn’t judge them too harshly.
Emperor – Undoubtedly, Emperor was the most hyped band of the entire festival because this would be their first US show in 15 years. I have tried to listen to Emperor over the years, and I never got it. I didn’t hate them, but they weren’t anything I went back to either. Maybe it would come together live. I expected the band to take the stage in corpsepaint, but I was surprised to see the singer come out looking like he should be an accountant. The music was well played and quite tight, but it wasn’t life-changing either.
Nuclear Assault – Thrash metal veterans Nuclear Assault was the last big band to take the stage on Friday at midnight. I’m not sure what went wrong here. Maybe the band took a decent amount of money to play the show and never rehearsed, or perhaps it was too hot and late to play outside at the pool, but Nuclear Assault was terrible! John Connely kept making jokes like, “This was a lot easier when we were 25,” which made it even more evident that they were struggling. Nevertheless, it was so bad I left after three songs.
Akhlys – The last band I saw of the night was Akhlys, who was still playing inside. The band sounded OK but played to a track with a lot of prerecorded stuff. Playing to a track was a disturbing trend used by many bands at the festival. I am not a fan of this type of cheating.
Saturday 8/20 (Day 2)
Saturday was the worst day of the festival by far, but there were a few bright spots.
Blood Incantation – I had heard this band a bit before, and they didn’t make an impression on me for some reason. I sell many of their albums, so I decided to check out their live set as work research. On the festival’s second day, Psycho opened the upstairs ballroom and added a stage where many of the bigger bands would play. Blood Incantation played in a packed room and was amazing. They were the heaviest band of the entire festival, approaching Obituary levels of heaviness at times (this is not something I say lightly). Like MGLA, they are even better in a live environment than on records. The singer’s frequent jokes between songs about “Thanks for resisting the temptation to see Bone Thugs N Harmony” won points with me. Blood Incantation was easily the second-best band to play Psychofest, and you should definitely see them live if you ever have the chance.
Primitive Man – These guys were my pick as the worst band at Psycho Unlimited. If you took a guitar and bass, put them on stands, allowed them to feedback at an annoying volume while walking around in a circle and kicking them intermittently while occasionally hitting some drums at 60 BPM and screaming like you’ve been constipated for two weeks you would be able to recreate their sound perfectly. This isn’t a slam on the funeral doom genre because bands like Bell Witch and Mournful Congregation play this same style of music 1000 times better. Yet, somehow these guys get booked every year at Psycho and given decent time slots. I wasn’t the only person who felt this way, as you could see many leaving the room in droves.
Liturgy – I could only watch about a minute of the girl-fronted black metal band. As soon as I heard the vocals, I knew it wasn’t for me.
No/Mas – After a quick exit from Liturgy, I went back downstairs to check out No/Mas, who is a brutal hardcore-infused death metal band. They had some excellent breakdowns. The guitar player’s rhythm playing is awe-inspiring. I will definitely be looking for more from these guys.
Bombers – Bombers is a side-project Motorhead cover band featuring members of Abbath and was unbelievable. Frontman Abbath not only recreates Lemmy’s vocals/bass flawlessly (it’s a lot harder than it looks), he even nails the between-song banter and copies all of Lem’s mannerisms exactly, never breaking character for a second. He does all of this dressed exactly like him with some fake facial hair and English prosthetic warts affixed to his face. They also picked an excellent selection of Motorhead tunes that made this rare show even better. If you ever have a chance to see Bombers, you absolutely should.
Suicidal Tendencies – Easily one of the worst bands of the festival; pretty much everything about their performance was 1000% cringe. Sole original member Mike Muir didn’t have heavyweight musicians like Dave Lombardo in the band anymore. Mike’s never-ending cheezy rants before the annoying extended 10-minute versions of the songs just worsened it. Muir ran around the stage doing his signature suicidal dance, but the now older Muir didn’t look like he could move his neck anymore and looked profoundly comical. Add to the fact that many of the songs don’t stand up anymore (some, not all) make me think Suicidal should hang it up and hang on to their legacy.
At The Gates – I didn’t catch At The Gates because the pool hit capacity. They are far from my favorite band anyways.
Elder (Show #3) – Elder is OK, but I had my fill by show three. I left after two songs.
Dance With The Dead – Some raver DJ crap with a guy playing guitar. Horrible. I’m not even sure why these guys got booked.
Intronaut – Despite having a 1:45 AM time slot, LA’s Intronaut pulled a decent crowd at Redtail. Honestly, I’m not a massive fan of their brand of Jazz/Prog metal, but they do what they do so well you can’t help but like it. The band manages to walk a tight line between Mastodon-style heavy parts fused with odd-time jazz passages, with bassist Joe Lester’s flawless playing being the glue that holds it together. The arrangements are clever enough for the band to switch gears like this without alienating any die-hard metalheads with the jazz passages. The band had not played live in almost two and a half years; another reason Intronaut made my list of honorable mentions. You should definitely consider catching them live.
Sunday 8/21 (Day 3)
Katatonia – I don’t know anything about these guys, but this Swedish Goth act is cringy and cheesy as fuck. I couldn’t even make it through two songs. Horrible.
Paradise Lost– This veteran English goth rock band is Type O Negative minus the cool. I’m not saying they were terrible because they weren’t. Fun Fact: The band has been the same five guys in the lineup since the early 90s, which is super rare and neat.
Geneva Jacuzzi – Horrid, electronic DJ synth-pop band whose music is best suited as the soundtrack for a gay bar. I have no idea why these guys got booked at a metal festival. Truly vomit-inducing.
Cirith Ungol – Ventura’s Cirith Ungolhas been around since 1971 and is a band I never thought I would get a chance to see live. But, despite their advanced age, these guys killed it. Honestly, I would have moved them even higher had they stuck to only classic material; they featured at least two or three new songs in their set. None of these songs sucked; they just were not what I came to hear. I would have been thrilled to see them play the King of the Dead album in track order. A guy can wish. Nevertheless, the band plowed through several classics like “King of the Dead”, “Black Machine”, and “Atom Smasher”. Of note is how shockingly awesome Tim Baker’s voice still sounds, almost better than it did back in the day. New guitarist Jim Barraza is a beast and is so good he makes virtuosity look easy! I must say I was very impressed with the show and would see these guys again for sure.
Mercyful Fate – Possibly the most important extreme metal band of all time would be the headliners on the festival’s final day. I felt they would be good despite having only two original members, King Diamond and Hank Sherman, but they over-delivered. Their set looked incredible, and the band opened up with “The Oath.” Everything about the show was first class, and I don’t think anything could’ve been improved. King Diamond’svoice is still top-notch, as was the band. The Setlist consisted of all songs from the first EP and two albums, plus one new song that the band tested on the audience. Highlights included “A Dangerous Meeting,” “Corpse Without A Soul” and “Satan’s Fall.” Mercyful fate was by far the best band of Psycho.
Mercyful Fate Setlist
A Corpse Without Soul
The Jackal of Salzburg
Curse of the Pharaohs
A Dangerous Meeting
Doomed by the Living Dead
Come to the Sabbath
Method Man and Raekwon – I was not sure why they were booked. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against hip-hop, and during the 90s doldrums of metal, I was listening to rap almost exclusively. The Wu-Tang Clan was one of my favorites; I still listen to them occasionally. However, Redman and Raekwon were mailing it in, they didn’t seem like they really cared about the show, and we’re just playing bits of songs and fucking around. What is even crazier is the stellar timeslot they got. Again, one of those bands that didn’t need to be there.
Rotting Christ – this Greek black metal band would be the last band of the festival. I included this band in my list of overhyped bands not because they suck; I don’t get what they do. The entire show is on a track. Many of the drums and vocals aren’t even performed live. When you get to this point of playing to a recording, you are lip-synching and are black metal Milli Vanilli. Rotting Christ is Hot Topic black metal, and I am not a fan.
Overall Psycho Festival Review
All in all, Psycho Vegas 2022 was a great time. Was it as good as Psychofest 2021? No, it wasn’t. Two big things stick out in my mind for this.
One is the change of location from Mandalay bay to Resorts World. Resorts World is a newer hotel which is basically three crappy older hotels on the ghetto end of the strip (Crockford, Conrads, and the Hilton) joined by a casino area and re-branded. For several reasons, it’s a big step down from Mandalay Bay.
Among the problems is the way Resorts World is thrown together. Many of the bands were playing in converted sports bars. The only dining in the hotel consists of the food court area, which is consistently terrible, no matter what restaurant you go to. When you are at an all-day show, eating there makes a lot of sense, and none of the choices are good. To add insult to injury, it’s expensive. If you are going to Vegas and want to complain about money, it is not your town, and I get that. The difference between Resorts World and Mandalay Bay is if you spend $30 on lunch, at Mandalay Bay, you could be eating the finest bowl of jambalaya at House of Blues. At Resorts World, you’re spending $30 on some barely edible hamburgers and french fries.
Also, the staff is quite disorganized and inexperienced. Going from show to show is a constant trip through various metal detectors and security protocols. Some venues allow you to bring alcohol from other places at the show. Some don’t. Some prices at bars are pretty reasonable by Vegas standards, and some are ridiculous and seem to fluctuate depending on who’s serving you. Mandalay Bay is much more professional and upscale; hopefully, the organizers will move it back for 2023.
The other problem with the festival is that it seems like one of the bookers is force-fitting bands that don’t belong on the bill. I’m not sure if some woke staff member is trying to include some diversity in the show with hip-hop acts, but I can assure you it is not working. Just inside the metal genre, it is already highly diverse with countless sub-genres, and tens of thousands of bands worldwide would cut off their left arm to play this festival and do it for nothing. Hopefully, they will keep it to what people are paying their ticket prices for next year.
Overall, I feel like I got my money’s worth from my $450 ticket and look forward to going again next year. Hopefully, the organizers will read this review and iron out some of the hiccups before 2023.
This is a small but valuable group of high-dollar CDs I picked up from a collector in Northern California. While this isn’t a massive collection (numbering less than 40 CDs), I buy both small andlarge collections — none is too big or too small. If you have a collection like this you would like to sell contact me.
In this group of CDs, there are a lot of great rare CDs from European record labels like No Fashion Records, No Colours, and Necropolis Records that are all out-of-print. Some of the titles have never been reissued, and many others have. Regardless, the original 90s pressings are very sought after and quite expensive.
List Of Black Death Metal CDs
122 Stabwounds – The deity of perversion (HNF023CD)
A Canorous Quintet – Silence of the world below (NFR019)
You must be logged in to post a comment.