Summer Slaughter 2019
Another year, another summer has been slaughter! The most extreme tour of the year - Summer Slaughter - hit (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City last night, and you know Soulless Cult had to be there to witness the devastation in action! Regardless of what people on the internet say, year after year the lineup for the touring festival continues to hold strong, bringing in new and upcoming bands alongside festival alumni who are back for another round of brutality. 2019 holds the tours most ambitious feature in the tours history: a triple co-headline bill split between some legends in the metal community. There's a little bit of something for everyone on the tour, making it a perfect way to spend a beautiful - yet sunny and hot - NYC evening. For this years monstrous lineup, the tour brought in Brand of Sacrifice to kick-off the show, Lorna Shore, Nekrogoblikon, and Rivers of Nihil. And sharing the co-headline spot - all performing full headline sets - is The Faceless, Carnifex and Cattle Decapitation! This tour absolutely destroyed our city last night, and it's only half-way over, so if your city is in the crosshairs of the remaining dates of this tour, it's an obvious one: get out there and see the fucking show!!!
I've been following Brand of Sacrifice for a hot minute - ever since someone passed me a link to their EP a few months ago. When their brand new album God Hand was announced and then their allegiance to this years Summer Slaughter, I just about lost my mind - these guys have an absolutely sickening sound that feels like a more disgusting, intense, and dare I say better/more refined version of Born of Osiris. I knew I had to get to this years tour even if it was just for them! Sure enough, BoS kicked things off in the most insane way possible. Their unique blending of electronic samples, wicked guitars, devastating drums and filthy fucking vocals makes them the perfect candidates to open up the show, and it's no wonder why the crowd went fucking nuts for them. I cannot recommend enough that you get to the show early enough to catch their set - it's mind blowingly heavy. Following up was Lorna Shore - which I was a little surprised they were so low on the bill, but it's whatever - and if you've been following Soulless Cult for a while, you know how in love with Lorna Shore I am; they're easily one of my favorites of all time. Their performance was a little bit of a special treat for me, since I've seen them a handful of times but this time being the first with CJ McCreery as the new vocalist. I fell in love with "This Is Hell" and "Darkest Spawn," so I knew McCreery's potential to fit the LS sound, but it wasn't until their set that I knew he was the perfect replacement for Tom Barber who left to join Chelsea Grin. Their set was an unforgettable one for me, and was definitely a highlight of the entire night - their new material (including the yet-to-be-released "Death Portrait") is blacker than ever and just overall insanity. I loved every minute of it and wished they got to play longer!
If you haven't seen Nekrogoblikon or even worse - never heard of them before - then you're in for a very special treat as they join the tour this summer! While I must admit that I rarely say to myself "I'm in a Nekrogoblikon mood," I'll never pass up an opportunity to party with these animals at any show their on. Arguably the most fun band on the tour, Nekrogoblikon clearly don't take themselves too serious and know how to have a great fuckin' time as they bring the Goblin on stage to wreck havoc with during their set! The sound is fast, energetic, and got the entire crowd bopping up and down - it felt like the venue was going to lift up off the damn ground! It's always an awesome feeling to see the band on stage having a fucking blast with themselves and enjoying the show just as much as the fans are, and every time I've seen Nekrogoblikon they've never disappointed - and last nights performance was no different. Sick, sick, sick. Rivers of Nihil were up next - and honestly, these guys are one band I always get shit for when their name gets brought up because for whatever reason, I just cannot get into them! I don't know what it is, but they just never did it for me - which sucks - but their set definitely kept up the high energy levels that Nekrogoblikon set. The crowd clearly enjoyed the hell out of the set, and the added bonus of being one of the three cities where the special guest saxophone player joined the band on stage was pretty epic. While they may not be my cup of tea, they totally killed it with their set as the place went absolutely nuts or them.
And finally, it was time for the big boys of the tour to take turns destroying whatever was left of the venue. Three headline sets is something I don't think I've ever seen in all the years I've been going to shows, and even though I didn't get a chance to catch Cattle Decapitation's set, the split between The Faceless and Carnifex was absolutely righteous. Say what you will about the reputation surrounding The Faceless and Michael Keene, but musically they fucking rip. Keene and his bandmates know what the fuck they're doing, and the proof is in the pudding: The Faceless played a hell of a set, with a fine mixture of melodic and brutal to appease death metal fans from all spectrums of the genre. I was lucky enough to be directly in front of Keene during the performance, where I was able to watch his fingers fly all over the goddamn place as he pumped out the wickedness that The Faceless is known for - it was a wild ride. And so, the final act for me fo the night was one of my most anticipated sets of the entire year so far: Carnifex. With just three hours left until their brand new album "World War X" hit the streets, Carnifex took to the stage to fuck shit UP. Armed with three songs off the new album, Carnifex played a set with tracks from all across their discography, including "Lie To My Face" and "Hell Chose Me," upto the newer stuff like "Slow Death" and "Drown Me In Blood." But hearing the new songs live was fucking SICK, and I keep wishing I could relive it over and over again. After all these years, Carnifex somehow still continue to one-up themselves with every release - and with it, every performance. It was a perfect way to close out an absolutely insane evening - for me at least. For everyone else who stayed behind, I'm sure Cattle Decapitation's set was just as immense and intense as you could imagine!
So if you couldn't already tell, Summer Slaughter 2019 was a tremendous success. It brought chaos, corruption, and tons and tons of headbanging to our amazing city of New York, and the smiles it left on the faces of a packed out crowd on a sweaty Thursday night was all the proof you need that death metal is alive and well. For all those who - year after year - continue to bitch and complain about the lineup, it's a good thing you stayed home, cause we have a fucking blast without you! NYC has officially been slaughter for this year, and we're already counting down the days 'til next summers festival! See you guys in the pit!