It seems like there are a million different things you can do on Halloween these days. Anything from going to a haunted house, sneaking around a creepy old cemetery to dressing up and shamelessly and whoring yourself out for candy, but few things can compare to spending your evening with thrash legends Death Angel. Throw in 3 Inches Of Blood, Battlecross, Revocation, Diamond Plate and a couple hundred hard partying heavy metal maniacs and you end up with a night you won’t soon forget.
That’s what the patrons at The Altar Bar in Pittsburgh, Penn. were trick or treated to on Halloween night. With a pit of drunken over 21-year-old moshing madmen on one side and bunch of spiraling under age ragers on the other with each side trying to one up the other for metal supremacy.
First up was Chicago’s Diamond Plate who more than lived up to their reputation as a precision, high intensity live act. The band laid down a lethal set of flawlessly executed, technical thrash with inimitable versatility. They closed with an astonishing rendition of Exodus’ “Strike Of The Beast” rivaling the original that left the audience utterly fixated and begging for more.
Taking things to the next level would fall to Boston’s own Revocation, who kicked out a barrage of trauma inducing technical death metal. The complex interplay between drums, bass and guitar during their six song set was delivered with a playful sense of urgency and mind bending technical wizardry.
Upping the ante even further was thrash entrepreneurs Battlecross. The lights went down and lead singer Kyle Gunther rushed the stage. “Who is ready to mosh the fuck out?” he yelled.
The show was on.
The band launched into a full throttle set of pummeling blast beats, brutal breakdowns and old school thrash solos that left every head in the place bouncing in unison.
Gunther dedicated “Flesh & Bone” to all the horny ladies and loose gentlemen. He went on to tell them “You paid good money to get in here and have a good time, so unleash the demon from hell” before barreling into closer “Push Pull Destroy.”
Up next, all the way from Vancouver, British Columbia was the heavy metal styling of thrash metal titans 3 Inches of Blood. Lead singer Cam Pipes’ voice breaks the silence, “We don’t make it to Pittsburgh very often so let me see you lose your fucking minds.”
The madness had begun.
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The band drove head on into the storm, tearing into 3 Inches Of Blood standards “Leather Lord,” “Deadly Sinners,” “Look Out” and “Metal Woman” with relentless aggression.
Their set was the most devastating of the night so far and numbers like “Dark Messenger” and their cover of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer,” garnered some of the most brutal pits of the evening that left exuberant fans battered, bruised and smashed against the barricade.
Pipes took to the mic to say that closer “Battles and Brotherhood,” “oes out to all the people who live and breath heavy metal every single day and is dedicated to Ronnie James Dio.” He added “This is your last chance to loose your mind, so let me see it Pittsburgh.”
The now frenzied crowd was all too happy to oblige that request and do exactly that. The song and their set concluded with Pipes screaming into the mic “Now someone get me a fucking shot!”
Finally, the time had come for the Bay Area legends to take the stage. The smoke started to flow as the intro music from John Carpenter’s “Halloween” began to play and out of the darkness came Mark Osegueda’s voice, “Trick or Treat mutherfucker, get those fucking hands in the air.”
The rest of the band storms the stage wearing various horror masks. Let the nightmare begin.
They proceeded to pound out a blistering set of irresistible churning dissonance, including new songs like “Left For Dead,” “Son Of The Morning” and “Succubus,” along with Death Angel classics “Misstress Of Pain” and “Seemingly Endless Time.” During which, the now dueling pits, became so audacious, that it literally felt like the building’s very foundation was crumbling beneath you.
Founding guitarist Rob Cavestany and the rest of the band’s playing is stronger than ever and Mark’s voice is in top form. While performing the title track from the new album “The Dream Calls For Blood,” Osegueda climbed out on to the amps and the barricade to get up close and personal with each and every member of the audience he could, to give each a memory that would last a lifetime.
Osegueda took time between “Sonic Beatdown” and closer “Caster of Shame” to demand the now drenched in sweat and nearly spent crowd show some respect to the moshing teddy bear and banana in the crowd, which led to a rousing chant of Ba-Nan-Na!
The band exited the stage as the unrelenting chants of the band’s name rise to a near deafening level.
They retook the stage wearing a second set of masks to a thunderous applause and set about the task of having a few shots. While Osegueda asked the crowd if they thought they have 15 more minutes left in them. The audience responded with authority and the band ripped into four more songs including their monster smash “Bored” and powerhouse rendition of Black Sabbath’s “Heaven & Hell,” that may very well be the heaviest version known to mankind and the fans took full advantage of that one last chance to lose their minds.
With five amazing thrash bands on the bill and Death Angel playing an extended eighteen song set, it was an historic night. Fans were thoroughly entertained and certainly got their money’s worth.