A few months ago I saw on Facebook a flyer for the Summer Slaughter tour with the craziest of headliners. Apparently it had leaked, but I’ve seen it all before, man: a fake Summer Slaughter flyer with all the bands people dream of seeing – either to make a point or just to troll.

“If I died and went to to heaven, this would be the bands on my ultimate set list.”

Hardly dramatic of me, but that was my response to Liz seeing BTBAM, VoM, and BOO all on the roster, to say nothing of Entheos, Soreption, and Allegaeon.

I didn’t even immediately google it because I was sure it was fake, but then when I did – holy hell, I could not believe it.

So with that in mind – Summer Slaughter 2018! Hell yea!

I’ve been racking my brain and I think I’ve only been to two previous Summer Slaughter tours – one in Charlotte, NC for Summer Slaughter 2012, where Between the Buried and Me also played (alongside Veil of Maya – this is just now coming back to memory!) And then in Raleigh 8 frikkin years ago in 2010 at the Maywood/Volume 11 Tavern, when it was literally 100 or so inside the venue and actually felt better outside in the disgusting southern heat. The stand out in my head from that show was Animals as Leaders, who played a painfully short set of just 20 minutes early on in the show.

The tour has been skipping Raleigh ever since so I was pleasantly shocked to see it back in my hometown, at a huge venue like the Ritz, and that this show was the first show of the whole tour. It was also cool to have BTBAM back in their hometown.


Entheos

Entheos – a 4 piece who deserve to be better known.

The drummer used to drum in Animals as Leaders, the bassist is the famous Evan Brewer (but it appears he was not on the tour – maybe he’s not in the band anymore?), and someone* here used to be in The Faceless (and increasingly common moniker at this point – hasn’t everyone been in The Faceless by now?). *obviously, Evan Brewer was the guy from the Faceless, duh

The singer was the real standout of the show – and not just her set, but the entire day at Summer Slaughter. She really owned it up there.

Let there be no doubt, metal vocals can definitely be done by women, and if you don’t believe me, watch the Veil of Maya audition tape from 2015 where she completely destroys it:

In between all the intense faces that brutal vocals requires you to make while singing, the singer, Chaney Crabb, showed big ol’ smiles and grins while looking at the audience. I love seeing that look on someones face on stage – it’s very clearly a kind of humbled, genuine omg this is awesome look at the crowd digging this expression.

The bassist was also noteworthy. In addition to a serious case of mean-muggin’ bass face, his hands & fingers were all over that fretboard. The bass was groovy at times, and clearly audible and central the music.


Allegaeon

The same singer from Entheos also took over vocal duties from Allegaeon – is this something permanent or just for the tour? I love me some Allegaeon, and those peeps seem like the nicest people – pumped to see them getting exposure on a tour like this.

Honestly, in my head, it’s all kinda merging from Entheos and Allegaeon having the same singer on stage. They did play one of my fave songs, but I’m hard-pressed to remember which one – so let’s just say it was Gray Matter Mechanics.

Also, Allegaeon have a new album coming out in 2 months.

Soreption

It was cool as shit to Soreption, a band I’ve known for a few years but could never get past the vocals to enjoy the seriously sick Faceless-ish riffing going on beneath them. That is, until the latest single dropped just weeks ago. Something’s changed and I dig it.

From Sweden, Soreption came to the tour missing quite a few band mates. There was no bassist, and I’m pretty sure that was Paul from BTBAM on guitar.

There was very little movement on stage, further amplifying the fact that there was only 3 people up there.

They played their new song – the main riff hitting all the right notes with its tight timing, sprinkling little dopamine hits on peoples brains like mine who were trained on the riffing of Planetary Duality to get high off this stuff.

I wish the CD would’ve been for sale at the merch table, I would’ve bought it, but it must be coming out any day now.

The singer is a beast.

Veil of Maya

Oh VoM, I fucking love you.

This was the second time (update: actually, third time) I’ve seen you live, the time previous being one of the best shows of my life. Despite the turn to a more mainstream poppy sound starting with Matriarch and now finessed (quite well) in False Idol, you play so many of the old jams that people like me die to hear live.

I was pretty close to the stage on the left, and Marc Okubo comes out – somehow looking like he’s maybe 25 tops now, it’s like this dude gets younger with each album release – and is standing right in front of me. Being in the midst of full-on VoM dork mode now, I shout to my friend that that’s my fucking man right there!

Ten second later, they launch the show with WE BOW IN ITS AURA – take that in for a second, starting with one of the most epic old school jams they’ve ever written, a weird ass crazy song with absurd timing and structure – and the crowd went nuts, myself included.

As much as I want bands to play older material, I totally get it when they don’t and I try not to hold it against them (more on this later: Born of Osiris, I’m looking at you), so when VoM play half old jams and half new jams, I’m painfully gratefully for it.

They played songs off Eclipse, which was hella awesome to hear – including the first few tracks along with the funny spoken word part where the guy mocks their sound, imitating it with his mouth, followed up by VoM writing a vicious little 30 second clip based on the little tune he mockingly made up.

They also played Pool Spray, by far my favorite song off False Idol. It’s really the song that makes me think the “new” Veil of Maya has a lot of potential. It’s still got those djenty, stretchy, off-kilter notes along with brutal vocals, potentiated with emotional cleans in the chorus. Fucking well played, Veil of Maya.

Video of Veil of Maya playing Pool Spray:

Side note, someone earlier told me they thought I was Sam, the singer, saying I look like him, and that we both have that Jesse Pinkman look. Funny, because I get that sometimes. I never noticed it before, but there is some similarity, particularly in the forehead vicinity.

Born of Osiris

Out of all the bands on the roster, I was most excited to see Born of Osiris, the one band in my top ten that I had never seen live until last night. The double vocals really help with a dramatic stage presence -it was fun seein the keyboardist switch to vocals and having two singers run around on stage. (Fun fact: I only found out last year that they have 2 vocalists. Somehow this fact just slipped by me.)

With the departure of Jason Richardson from the band after The Discovery, the band has kept going strong but it seems like without him they don’t play anything from the era. I was super bummed to not hear a single song from The Discovery. Fuck! I wonder if its as simple as they simply can’t pull it off. But they did play Bow Down which was a delightful treat – the kids in the pit certainly appreciated it. They played 1-2 other songs from either that album or a Higher Place, but everything else was from Tomorrow We Die Alive or Soul Sphere. I really wish they would’ve played River of Time from Soul Sphere.

TWDA has all those goddamned programmed beats going on, and I swear to god some of the writing structures are nearly verbatim from track to track on that album. This seemed so obvious to me live when after playing a second song off of TWDA, in my head I was hearing the vocals from the song that had just finished.

Still, it was hella cool to finally see them live, and they put on a good show.

The sound quality is baaaad, but here’s a video of a brand new Born of Osiris song:

Between the Buried and Me

Oh, BTBAM. You and me, we go way back.

At this point, I go into a BTBAM show wondering what the heck I’m going to hear. They have an incredible amount of material at this point under their belt and they clearly put a lot of thought into their live shows and what they’ll be playing.

The last time I saw them was at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC, about 4 years ago with The Faceless and The Contortionist.

The crowd chants for BTBAM:

At that point, they were playing The Parallax from start to finish in one set, which I love it when bands do. It always helps me appreciate newer material when they do that. It’s like saying hey, here’s a complete piece of music we made and we want to share it with you.

With Pink Floyd playing as the band set up, they were priming us for the first song they played at Summer Slaughter – Informal Gluttony, from Colors, with super strong Floyd influences in that catchy lyrical hook… “Feed me fear. Feed me fear. Informal. Feed me fear.”

So they played one song from Colors, one from Alaska, one from Automata – everything else was from Parallax & Coma Ecliptic, I think… It was kinda hard to tell what I was hearing. I hesitate to say I was becoming bored by the sound of it all. It was just so “BTBAM” without much standing out. I really dug Coma Ecliptic too, so I’m not sure what was going on.

The one new song that they played from Automata, an album I don’t know well enough yet to have strong opinions on – had a really goofy hook in it. BTBAM, stay focused, man! Ugh.

The closed with Selkies, one of the most recognizable BTBAM songs and dear god those guitar parts are wonderful.

Side note: I love how Tommy uses his hands when he sings. Something about it feels so genuine.

BTBAM playing Selkies 1 of 3:

BTBAM playing Selkies 2 of 3:

BTBAM playing Selkies 3 of 3:

Me & Marisa & Requisite Devil Horns

Ben and Marisa, Summer Slaughter 2018

Summer Slaughter 2018

Between the Buried & Me
Veil of Maya
Born of Osiris
Entheos
Soreption
Allegeaon
Erra
The Agony Scene
Terror Universal

July 13 @ The Ritz / Raleigh, NC