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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hail!Hornet -- Lawrence, KS -- June 13th, 2012

It seems that the best sludge metal shows are often paired with super hot/muggy weather, small venues and/or dedicated crowds. Lawrence was a combination of all three factors, and sludge supergroup Hail!Hornet took advantage of it all.

The first band to open the night was local metallers The Melting Point Of Bronze. They are all incredibly tight musicians, but it's a little hard to pinpoint exactly what they sound like. As far as genres go, I'd call them (even though I really hate the term) "post-thrash." Kind of like is Pantera, Iced Earth and Metallica had a baby that grew up on Sci-Fi cartoons. If that intrigues you, then you'd be a fan! They had some great call and return shredding guitar solos in most of their songs. Lots of headbanging during them. Looking forward to seeing them more.

When I saw The Gates of Slumber down in Austin, I enjoyed them but I thought the sound was very thin. That wasn't a problem here. They had a commanding guitar tone and guitarist/vocalist Karl was in complete command of his instrument and its pedals. Some of the effects he put on it were just classic heavy metal staples. One word to describe their performance: "Sabbathian." They are riff-lords, as evidenced by how straight-forward and pounding "Ice Worm" is. They ended with "Coven of Cain" and it was a throwback to the glory days of good ol' fashioned heavy metal. Horns up!

Hail!Hornet loves to drink. Hail!Hornet loves to get high. Hail!Hornet loves to play loud music. That's the holy trinity of heavy metal. The band sounded just as good as they did in Texas, but the venue in Kansas was more suited to them. That dirty little bar with a handful of devoted fans in the crowd. Those are always the best shows, right? Once Hail!Hornet kicked in, they really didn't let up once during their set, unless it was to take shots and drinks that were bought for them from the crowd. Troy on vocals really sets the bar for vocalists in sludge metal. They were consistently amazing throughout the entire set. And Dixie Dave Collins is just so much fun to watch, as always. He literally turns into a madman when playing. They were really, really loud. In a good way. Totally heavy, and lightning fast compared to their contemporaries. Hail!Hornet is a must-see if they come near you in a small venue. Absolute metal goodness.

Hail!Hornet: 9/10
The Gates Of Slumber: 9/10
The Melting Point Of Bronze: 7.5/10

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