A different type of review, more like a blog of activity, thoughts, opinions (some stink, some don’t) and pictures from the week

HOLY DIVER – Alien Weaponry / Horseneck / Amongst Thieves

Sacramento, CA



This was a unique night as headliners ALIEN WEAPONRY are on the last 4 dates of their US run after just finishing a string of shows with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and BLACK DAHLIA MURDER. Perhaps they should have temporarily changed their name to BLACK ALIEN WEAPONRY to fit in with the package deal. Confirmation came on Monday of this gig although I had already planned to be there and see HORSENECK as well, but openers AMONGST THIEVES were a solid opener who were a bit more melodic in their presentation versus the other 2 bands on the bill but they were a good fit. Their crowd was present early and it was obvious who the friends and family were for this act. While they put on a good show, their songs could use the hands of a producer to control the over activity of their drummer who was a bit fill-happy and tended to overplay what the song needed.

Horseneck followed and put on a 28-minute set of music whose vibe was felt by the entire crowd. Nothing is overplayed, they act as a unit on stage, and there are no holes in their game. Frontman ANTHONY PAGANELLI (WILL HAVEN, SHORTIE) is authentic in his approach and can also redirect the crowd as needed. Their guitar/bass tones are succinct and the grooves from the rhythm section are exactly what is needed as there is true chemistry in their mix.

Anthony Paganelli of HORSENECK

Alien Weaponry, albeit young in years, have a stage presentation that blends their Maori language and rhythms and instrumentation that is well beyond their years. They have a proud heritage and when they play songs like KAI TANGATA and HOLDING MY BREATH, that blends the best of Groove/Nu/Thrash metal, the crowd is able to pit and sing along at the same time. Give this band a couple more albums for songwriting growth and with the right guidance they will set a path that is clear for them to sustain a proper career in the music business.

HOLY DIVER – At The Gates / Wastewalker / Bavmorda

Sacramento, CA


AT THE GATES at Holy Diver

This was one I was waiting for as AT THE GATES has not played Sacramento since 1996 and with them taking an off-date show (from the AMON AMARTH/ARCH ENEMY) tour to play a full headline set, there was no chance at missing this one. Local openers BAVMORDA and WASTEWALKER were perfect additions to the headliner as both come from the world in which ATG helped create. Seeing ATG was a definitive highlight of concerts from the Melodic Death Metal genre for me and seeing a full set was something that I had been waiting for since this gig was announced.


The precision drumming of ADRIAN ERLANDSSON is an inspiration to drummers of all styles and the vocal delivery of TOMAS LINDBERG is second to none in his genre. So many of todays Death Metal bands owe so much to ATG. Opening with a new track, TO DRINK FROM THE NIGHT, the crowd was engaged in their 18-song assault which spanned their entire career in THE SWARM, RAPED BY THE LIGHT OF CHRIST, COLD, SUICIDE NATION, and AT WAR WITH REALITY. Truly an honor to shoot legends in my hometown and see them at such an intimate venue.

ACE OF SPADES – Cannibal Corpse / Thy Art Is Murder / Perdition Temple

Sacramento, CA



And capping off a week of heavy shows was a sold out night at Ace Of Spades which what I knew would be an ass-kicking of a show but also a truly memorable night of stage diving and mosh pits at Ace of Spades.

Hailing from Tampa, FL were openers PERDITION TEMPLE who were exactly what was needed for this night as they are in the vein of the true Florida Death Metal scene showing the obvious influence of CANNIBAL CORPSE but yet also showing their love of DEICIDE and MORBID ANGEL as well. THY ART IS MURDER convinced me in the live forum why I have taken a liking to this band. Putting them in the middle of this bill was perfect and a great way for CC to bridge a gap between the modern Deathcore bands that they influenced and themselves. TAIM took to the stage with pounding grooves as vocalist CJ MCMAHON came out draped in a black hood and hid his face for the first 2 songs. New drummer JESSE BEAHLER is an absolute machine behind his kit and has relaxed wrists and ankles when firing off the most intense blast beats. TAIM had the crowd in the palm of their hands and the younger AND older generation were in approval of the beatdown they put on the stage.



Cannibal Corpse are by far the most successful death metal band of all time. Whether a fan of CHRIS BARNES or GEORGE ‘CORPSEGRINDER’ FISHER, you cannot deny the band who has songs named HAMMER SHASHED FACE and I CUM BLOOD. In the past year there has been a lineup shift in CC so we have death metal legend ERIK RUTAN (HATE ETERNAL, MORBID ANGEL, and producer extraordinaire) filling in and is the obvious perfect fit since he’s produced several records for CC. One thing I really enjoyed was when Corpsegrinder was supplying bottles of water to the crowd (damn place was hot, sweaty, and sold out) and some clown in the front was able to have 2 bottles of water. He was encouraged to give one away but refused and George said, “you are what’s wrong in this world today” as people tend to only think of themselves. Being in the photo pit I have many of guitar picks fly at me or not make it to the crowd. When I see them I hand it to someone in the front row, shows are about the fans and coming together. Everything about CC was on fire tonight (minus the mic cutout mid-set) and being 6 shows into this tour, the rest of the country has an awesome show to look forward to. Also, we can’t forget to mention that the torch was passed on to them being able to open up for SLAYER earlier this year which was a dream come true. I remember interviewing drummer PAUL MAZURKIEWICZ about 10 years ago when they were playing a festival in Southern California in which Slayer was one of the headliners and they were so stoked to be sharing a stage so going out on one of the final runs has helped solidify the lifespan of CC and I look forward to more shows in the future.


Pictures posting to Instagram and Twitter – see below

Mark - HardRockCore

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