Cannibal Corpse, Harms Way, Hate Eternal, and Coma bring the heavy to the metal in Pittsburgh

Perhaps you have heard of Cannibal Corpse, the death metal band that made it into a Jim Carrey movie, has survived 30+ years in the biz, and has lyrics that are mostly well, indiscernible?  Yea, those guys.  Well, there is a reason an extreme band with those sometimes disturbing and hard to decipher lyrics have stayed relevant and packing concert halls for so long…they bring it every time.

Cannibal Corpse formed in ’88 in the tundra of Buffalo, NY and later moved to sunnier slopes in Tampa Bay.  Fourteen studio albums, two box sets, four video albums, and two live albums later and they are still drawing the loyal to their, in Bob Dole’s words, ‘undermining (of) the national character’.  Despite multiple line-up changes, band recordings, and government hassle the band has remained largely intact through the efforts of constant members bassist Alex Webster and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz.  Due to persistence, their music has still resonated with the young metalheads as well as the old.

Front and center of Cannibal Corpse is the singer George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, a man whose intimidating size and mane of hair twirls make him a standout in a crowd of metal front men.  Opening up with “Code of the Slashers” from Red Before Black, the band quickly took command of the stage and never quit from first note to last.  Pulling tunes from the 2017 release aforementioned, to Torture (2012), Evisceration Plague (2009), The Bleeding (1994), The Wretched Spawn (2004), Gore Obsessed (2001), A Skeletal Domain (2014), Bloodthirst (2000), Vile (1996), Butchered at Birth (1991), Eaten Back to Life (1989), Tomb of the Mutilated (1992), and Kill (2006), the band opted to entertain the crowd through a vast covering of their history rather than mainly newer songs.  As one could imagine, this left the crowd very pleased.

It would be remiss to not mention the tremendous crunchy guitar work of both Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett as well.  These guys shred, thrash, and thump with the best of them.  While Cannibal may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the truly devoted suck them down a good Earl Grey…make it extra black.

All photos AWelding ©2018

Harm’s Way was an excellent choice for one of the three opening bands.  Harm’s is more of a hardcore act and an incredibly talented act that will soon be headlining stages of their own.  Singer James Pligge is a fireplug of muscle and intensity, the result of a regimen of powerlifting that he took up to combat depression and feelings of isolation (see the Revolver article on this here).  If you have never witnessed Pligge and the band’s intensity, well, you should.  To get a taste check out their video For “Become a Machine” here from Posthuman.  The band has become a metal critics darling,  Metal Injection wrote of them, “Posthuman gives fans absolutely solid hardcore material, promising utter chaos while providing some welcoming blends in variety in regards to tone and sound. From beginning to end Posthuman is pure savagery and an early contender for one of the year’s heaviest album,” and Pitchfork added, “The swole Chicago hardcore band’s latest album shows their raw strength while adding shades of industrial and groove metal for character.”

Without a doubt, arm’s Way has the talent and substance to stick around as long as Cannibal Corpse if they so choose. Not only does Pligge have an intense vocal to match his physique, but the Chicago based unit has Bo Lueders (guitar)Christopher Mills (Drums) Nick Gauthier (guitar), and Casey Soyk (bass), all massively talented individuals who come together to make gorgeously intense sonically powered metallic hardcore.  Their live performance is nothing short of a punch to the face followed by a kick to the groin, but you’ll like it and come back for more. Posthuman, their fourth full-length – and Metal Blade Records debut – is a devastating addition to their catalog. “We’ve always stayed true to who we are and allowed the songwriting process to take shape organically from record to record, and as the band has progressed, our sound has become more refined with metal and industrial influences,” states drummer Chris Mills, while guitarist Bo Lueders succinctly sums up what people can expect when they first spin the record: “To a Harms Way fan, I would describe ‘Posthuman’ as a blend of ‘Isolation’ (2011) and ‘Rust’ (2015), but it’s sonically way more insane. To anyone else, I would simply say it’s full on heavy and full on aggression.“  (learn more about Harm’s Way here).

All photos AWelding ©2018

Hate Eternal started at the very end of the 90’s when grunge was still king of the airwaves.  The true death metal band currently consists of founding guitarist/vocalist Erik Rutan, bassist J. J. Hrubovcak, and drummer Hannes Grossmann and on October 26, 2018, the band released it’s seventh studio album Upon Desolate Sands.  To describe the music as unrelenting would be doing it an injustice.  The thick and powerful chug of the guitar molds perfectly with the brutal beat and pulling off the technical without losing the brutal.  If you dug them in the past you will still be rocking your head back and forth with metal hands in the air because Hate Eternal never really strays from the path that built them.  their execution of the material live is actually a few notches ratcheted up to 11 in speed and volume, and that is not a bad thing.

All photos AWelding ©2018

All photos AWelding ©2018

Coma is a sludge metal band that has been opening up for some huge bands as of late.  You can check out their Saturnalian EP here to get an idea of the Crowbar meets Sleep meets Corrosion of Conformity.  Consisting of a four-piece band, Jeff (drums), Andrew (guitar and vocals), Scott (guitar) and Nate (bass) were thoroughly enjoyable and if we did not know they were a homegrown band, the audience would have easily mistaken them for a nationally touring act.  Check them out Dec. 7 when they perform at Cattivo with Weedeater and another Pittsburgh act, Horehound.