SOULFLY / TOXIC HOLOCAUST / SKINFLINT / MISFIRE / HENRYXCHINASKI / TIDES CULT
Date: 20th February, 2020
Venue: The Forge
It is very challenging to get to the venue early enough to catch the entire bill when the show it’s on a workday. I mean, you just need a breather after work and sometimes picking yourself up is a very difficult thing to do. However, when Max is in town, then all “excuses” are thrown out of the window, simply because a SOULFLY set can easily make you forget almost everything that has been bugging you. Still, you’ve got to accept that you will miss a couple of bands, and for us this meant entering The Forge while the stage was getting ready for MISFIRE.
The attendance was strong inside the venue, proving how solid and dedicated is the SOULFLY fans. I could not expect something less considering how often Max comes to town and how powerful are the shows with him behind the mic (be it with SOULFLY or with CAVALERA CONSPIRACY). Seeing MISFIRE being a three-piece band was a strong indication that Thrash would be their business, and this was confirmed once they kicked off their set with “Godless”. This Metal genre is the best way to get in the proper mood and let the rest of the day behind you. Having a bunch of friends / fans in the front rows is always a great help to boost the band and spread some enthusiasm to those who had not seen MISFIRE before. I mean, headbanging is sort of contagious, and with the snare-driven groove and the KREATOR-esque guitar riffs “infecting” more metalheads, did not take much time. Well-played Thrash never fails and during their 30-minute set MISFIRE managed to prep and warm us for the rest of the moshing night. “Death Trap” and “War Of Mine” were two songs that kind of stuck with me and therefore I will keep tabs on MISFIRE as they getting ready to release their debut full length.
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I had the chance to “meet” SKINFLINT through an email interview I had conducted with the band’s singer / guitarist Giuseppe Sbrana. Strange sounding name, huh? Oh yes, it is, and the reason for making such comment is to underline the fact that SKINFLINT come from Botswana, South Africa, a country that by no means can be considered as a traditional one in the Metal scene. This reason should be enough for someone to want to see SKINFLINT live. On the other hand, Metal has proven to be a universal language and a music scene that knows no borders contrary to some who – still - like to draw dividing lines based on whatever you may think… Anyways, this is no place for ranting, so I’ll stick to the facts.
SKINFLINT started their set with the mid-tempo “Ram Of Fire” and its killer strong True Metal undertones. Being mid-tempo did not register right away with the Thrash-oriented audience, but the trio’s energy kind of hinted that things would soon get more intense. The snare-drum with the Thrash hi-hat action were good indications that these guys had aces hidden up their sleeve. “We are SKINFLINT from Botswana, Africa. This is the first time a band from Africa plays in America” said Giuseppe and I believe he got people’s attention. This is the definition of how (Metal) music brings people and how blind it is to all the things that seem to separate people. “The Pits Of Wydah” got more metalheads involved and rightfully so because this song packs lots of different Metal styles and one could easily throw CIRITH UNGOL on the influences discussion. Ok, the guitar solo had an Iommi flavor and this puts the band’s traditional Metal education on the spotlight which is another thing to like here. Speaking of traditional Metal, “Mbube The Great” was next, bringing some MAIDEN riff-action in this mid-tempo headbanger that turned to be the highlight of the SKINFLINT set, spiced by the trio’s onstage energy as it was clear that these guys were enjoining every minute of it. The riff-driven and galloping ending was absolutely awesome with the only downside being that this was the last song of the set. Damn, the moment that SKINFLINT got the audience going, they had to end their set. I really hope to see more of these guys in the future. In the meantime, I grabbed a copy of their latest and self-titled album on CD and I advise you to do the same.
01. “Ram Of Fire”
02. “The Pits Of Wydah”
03. “Anyoto Aniota”
04. “Mbube The Great”
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After the most enjoyable surprise from our Metal friends from South Africa, it was time for the familiar faces of the power trio with Joel Grind on the helm. That’s right, it was time to hit the red zone with TOXIC HOLOCAUST and their adrenaline-infused Speed Thrash. This band is a constant for Thrash fun and has never disappointed. Oh yeah, the taped intro was just a warning to get your Thrash on with “Gravelord” setting the tone for the sweaty 30 minutes that had just begun. The audience responded appropriately forming a nice circle pit that fit like a tailored suit to the VENOM-esque “Acid Fuzz” (in case you don’t know there is VENOM’s “Acid Queen”). “Come on, Joliet, how the fuck are we doing tonight?”, Joel asked before requesting to “destroy this place”… Ha, as if words were needed to keep us going with “In The Name Of Science” hitting all the right thrashin’ spots. One of the many things to like in TOXIC HOLOCAUST is their in-your-face/take no prisoners attitude that translates into focusing on the delivering the music at the highest level inviting everyone in doing exactly the same. I mean, it is either join in or just head all the way back to stand and watch; there is no middle ground unless you’ve found yourself inside this venue out of luck (or bad luck for that matter)...
You can never go wrong with songs like “War Is Hell” (a favorite of mine I admit) and the crowd-pleaser... “666” with lots singing-along (or screaming along if you prefer) and a whole deal of pushing-around. “This is for you crazy f*****s in the front”, said Joel pointing to all the sweaty faces in the front lines. Yes, everybody was in the right zone and “Wild Dogs” was the proper soundtrack to keep us going. Speaking of favorites, then I should be damned if I didn’t mention “The Lord Of The Wasteland” and the deeply religious “Nuke The Cross”. The latter was combined with “Bitch” that Joel introduced by saying “this is the last one, let’s make it count”. Indeed, they both did count and if it weren’t for the freezing temperatures outside, I am sure the floor tiles would start to sweat… Hell yeah, this was the perfect segue to SOULFLY.
TOXIC HOLOCAUST setlist:
02. “Acid Fuzz”
03. “In the Name Of Science”
04. “I Am Disease”
05. “War Is Hell”
07. “Death Brings Death”
08. “Wild Dogs”
10. “The Lord Of The Wasteland”
11. “Nuke The Cross”
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With camo netting covering the PAs and the “Ritual” cover artwork as a backdrop, the stage was ready for SOULFLY. Even if I have seen Max onstage more than a dozen times, I really got excited having the knowledge of how things will go down. SOULFLY have a titanium-solid lineup and it is apparent that every member enjoys his time in concert. This is a crucial ingredient for SOULFLY because the moment the show starts, the line (if there was any to begin with) separating the fans from the band is erased and one can only see Metal fans enjoying this music. And enjoy we did… Seconds after the taped intro from “Ritual”, it was time to hit the adrenaline button with full force. The trademark riff brought Max on stage you spitted to the mic “Jumpdafuckup”… What a start that was! Usually, this one comes late into the set, so getting this energy boost this early, set the tone for the rest of the night. This was a short snippet from “Jumpdafuckup” as it was merged with the other vein popper “Eye For An Eye” that saw even more action. “Everybody scream!” said Max wearing his biggest of smiles before hitting us with “Fire”. Some life-style changes have performed miracles on Max who looks in a unique connection with the music and the fans. There is no way to resist from getting infected by this lineup’s energy, although I cannot think of any reason of why one would not want to do that. I mean, the band and the fans got in the zone right away to a point that it felt like a competition for both parties trying to top off the other’s energy. “Circle pit, now” requested Max although I don’t think we needed a special invitation because “Porrada” and “Blood Fire War Hate” do not leave you with any other option.
Marc Rizzo keeps doing his trademark jump and this time around I am extremely happy to have caught my own Moby-Dick, meaning that I finally took a focused pic with him on the air. It was equally amazing to watch Mike Leon tormenting his bass guitar with his fingers and on top of this throwing some slap-bass action. This is exactly what I am taking about this lineup being in tune. I shouldn’t forget Zyon on the background who was smashing his way through the “pedal to the Metal” show. In case you have been living under a rock, know that SOULFLY have being extremely consistent with their studio offerings with “Ritual” being the latest energy injection. Oh yeah, the album’s title track came out great with that screaming riff showcasing a band that does not know what “getting too old for this shit” means. In fact, I think that SOULFLY have become more brutal nowadays and I am not talking only about their studio activity because the set was full-on from start to finish.
“Welcome to the fucking show, Joliet - it’s great to see your fucking faces again”, said Max before admitting that “I am fan of the old school shit” making a special note on TOXIC HOLOCAUST and dedicating “Dead Behind The Eyes” to them. Nothing Max says or does looks planned and when he uses the term “fan”, he really means it. After the double treat with “No Hope = No Fear” and the awesome “Babylon”, it was time to go all tribal… Max showed up with a berimbau in hand (who needs six guitar chords? Who needs four guitar chords? To hell with that, one is enough!) and called the SOULFLY tribe to join him in singing “zumbi é o senhor das guerras” and so everyone inside the venue did for “Tribe”. Damn, that was awesome and was topped off with something rather out of the ordinary; Max with a mic in hand started singing BOB MARELY & THE WAILERS’ “Get Up, Stand Up”. At first, this may sound out of place but really represents the philosophy of SOULFLY regarding staying true, standing up for yourself and what you believe and what can be achieved if people stay united.
Normally, I am bored of guitar solos, especially if those are without flavor. I mean, it is ok to see some finger-melting shredding but after a while it gets quite repetitive. Fortunately, Marc Rizzo was on stage left and his guitar solo had all the flavors you can think of; from super complicated riffs and scales (those that make the palying look like a blur) to some nice Thrash breaks with some SLAYER references wrapped with his wide smile and his established connection with the audience. The return to action happened with a double blow from SOULFLY’s latest full length aggression; yeah, “The Summoning” and “Under Rapture” (the hi-hat part is killer) sounded the charge for more moshing. “What a fucking great night!”, said Max describing what’s happening inside The Forge in the most efficient way. “Back To The Primitive” put a cherry on the post-guitar solo cake and saw Max asking for people to scream if they wanted more. This is what everyone did and convinced SOULFLY for an encore. Yes, this was one of the cases where the encore is requested from the audience and not just part of the show. The SOULFLY oldie “Prophecy” sealed the deal and it is important to note that there was no SEPULTURA song in the setlist, but I don’t think anyone complained. After all, Max has celebrated SEPULTURA in other tours and he may do this once more, so we will get our fix.
“For nights like this, it is all worth it. Thank you for the thirty years”, said Max and left the stage after some high-fives with fans in the front rows. Following the SOUFLY tradition, the rest of the band delivered an intense snippet from MAIDEN’s “The Trooper” and left everyone smiling and sweating. Another amazing and strictly for people who love this music show was in the books and I am already looking for the next one! Thank you, SOULFLY! Thank you, tribe!
01. “Jumpdafuckup / Eye For An Eye”
04. “Blood Fire War Hate”
06. “Dead Behind The Eyes”
07. “No Hope = No Fear”
11. Guitar Solo
12. “The Summoning”
13. “Under Rapture”
14. “Back To The Primitive”
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