Max and Igor came to St. Petersburg, FL, playing the entirety of Roots, so we made the trip up to the metal show, only to find a slew of opening bands. Some, we never caught the name of, but Brian Sanderson was delighted to learn that one of the opening acts wore his band’s t-shirt, Vilest Breed. Brian and Josh acted as security, guarding me from the mosh pit, as there was no barricade to shoot from at his show, but the most was like a swirling dark vortex that sucked people in and spit them out.
What was unexpected was a band called Oni that has a xylophone player. The instrument gives the band an otherworldly effect. Guitarists strum and finger high on the neck to mimick the sound of the xylophonist, who plays with two batons in each hand, enabling double beats like a double bass kick drum where drummers kick two at a time. Almost like smooth jazz on speed, melodic and sped up like infused with crank, beast are out of this world, from smooth groove to heavy hitting, like getting stomped by an angry mob of Black Friday shoppers.
The new album will drop Nov. 25. The singer does melody with the xylophone, tempo kicks up to an angry explosion, vocals growl down, guitars riff the control of the song. I kick back in the balcony, sinking back into the red lounger, chillaxing until the next band.
All Hail the Yeti has a laborious groove like a Yeti lumbering through the forest, then going into a rage. They opened with an intro from Acid Bath. The little ditty set the tone for the eruption of big riffs that run like a chase, one of these caveman fears of being chased through a dark forest by an unknown attacker that sees you as prey, so your fight or flight kicks into full sprint. The excitement tears through the body, as the adrenaline kicks in, making your body move; they play little ditties from bands between songs, then slow it down for the well deserved break to catch your breath before the rage ensues again.
Another band with makeup takes the stage; this is Andy LaPlegua’s latest project Combichrist. The pit fills with angry souls looking to release frustrations in the moshpit. This hits hard and furious, unforgiving like a jackhammer pounding. There’s a slow melodic background while the two drummers pound away, creating double the intensity.
One drummer is dressed up like a methed out Ronald McDonald and plays with the intensity of the insane pissed at being locked up in the asylum, playing as if it his only chance to escape. The other drummer stands to really crash down on the drums, wearing a whited out mask. He bounces from side to front, sprawling across a variety of drums.
The singer growls “fuck that shit!” They have the brooding might movement quality of Mushroomhead, but with more intensity from the dual drum and dueling guitars. Get tossed like a rag doll in the mosh and go flying across the dance floor whether you want to or not.
Drum sticks fly in the air and in the crowd, with tricks constantly. “My life, my rule!” Overly exaggerated drum movement entrance the crowd.
From Norway with a Viking rage, I gave the lead singer a copy of my book Carnival of Cannibals. I asked him if he was easily offended. He gave me an amused look in response.
Max and Igor Cavalera make the room explode. They play the entire Roots album and go into other favorites. Max played a one string instrument with an echo, launching into Celtic Frost.
I have Brian and Josh defending me from the pit. It’s surprising to see grey hairs holding the rain in front of the stage, rocking out. Barely able to stand, so frail, but they’re not letting that stop them from the mosh. Upstairs, a former radio personality who is now retired and grey said, “when I first heard Sepultura, it was everything I had been looking for in music; to me, they’re bigger than the Beatles.”
The fan base is vast, from young to old, but the mosh erupts like a volcano, leaving a path of destruction you may not escape. So many are so excited, yelling out favorite songs. They play Motorhead’s Ace of Spades, then they rock into their own.
The drummer holds the symbol and slams it for “Roots Bloody Roots.” The crowd doesn’t put their horns down, knocking to the beast of the intense drum and chant. You can’t help but get into it.