Sometimes all it takes is a real good metal show to get you back in order. You know, the cure for what ails you. A week after getting my head kicked in by bands on The Summer Slaughter Tour it was time for me to take in Colorado Thrash Metal demons HAVOK for the seemingly millionth time since 2013. I will never complain though, because not only do they wreck shop live, they are all super-nice guys. So anytime they’re in my neck of the woods I do everything in my power to come out and support. As an added bonus I would finally get to drink in the stomping Death Metal grooves of none other than JUNGLE ROT and catch Long Island thrashers EXTINCTION A.D. for a second time.
The scene of the crime was once again Voltage Lounge, one of my favorite spots here in Philly, and what made the night extra fun was I brought my good buddy Jimmy the Beer Man along for this ride.
We quickly settled into a nice perch upstairs and got ourselves a couple of drinks. Just like last time EXTINCTION A.D. came out swinging, giving the crowd a hearty dose of their attitude-infused Thrash Metal. There was a good-sized number of people in attendance for this one, and I’m quite sure these boys made some new fans when it was all said and done.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super fucking stoked for JUNGLE ROT to play. Their self-titled new album is one of my favorites of 2018, and I couldn’t wait to hear what they were gonna unleash on us. New tracks like “Send Forth Oblivion” and “Pumped Full of Lead” fit perfectly alongside some of my older favorites like “Doomsday” and “Worst Case Scenario.” The chants of “JUNGLE ROT!! JUNGLE ROT!! JUNGLE ROT!!” seemingly grew louder and louder. Hell, Jimmy had never heard them and HE was screaming it!!
“A Burning Cinder” was definitely a highlight of the set, and I can honestly say that JUNGLE ROT live is truly fucking amazing. All day long I couldn’t wait to see/hear them, and I was more than rewarded. If you’ve never seen them, you’d better go and do that, because you are all kinds of missing out if you don’t. Easily Kenosha, Wisconsin’s best export!!
When it comes to a HAVOK show, you know exactly what you’re gonna get: Killer, in-your-face Thrash Metal done right by one of the best bands in the game right now. The setlist this night was near-perfect as they ripped off not one, not two, but FIVE songs from the widely heralded Time Is Up album, including opener “Fatal Intervention” and “Prepare For Attack.” Sandwiched between them was “Hang ‘Em High,” one of the best offerings found on newest disc Conformicide, and then came another new one with “F.P.C.” As usual, the band was locked in and pummeling from the very first note.
Other big hits for me were “No Amnesty”, “Ingsoc”, and one of my all-time favorites in “Covering Fire.” I’ve seen them open with it, throw it in the middle, like it was here, and put it down near the end of the set. Doesn’t matter where it is; the song is always one of the best moments of the show. I love it when singer/guitarist David Sanchez lets rip that, “COVERING FIIIIIRE!” Plus, Drum God Pete Webber just goes to town.
I have long maintained, and will continue to maintain that the man secretly has eight arms and that six of them are retractable, only coming out when he’s behind the kit. He is without a doubt one of the best drummers on the planet right now, and that’s not up for debate, Sparky. That’s FACTS.
When it was all over I looked at Jimmy the Beer Man and could see what a great time he had. He couldn’t stop raving on the car ride home, either. And that really made me happy.
Turning my friends onto bands they didn’t know before having met me is one of my favorite things to do. He had been boning up on HAVOK via YouTube, but I really don’t think he was prepared for just how incredible they are live. And he also became an on-the-spot fan of both JUNGLE ROT and EXTINCTION A.D. Oh yeah, and shout-out to two super-cool new friends we met in Eric and Chris who let me invade their space so I could get photos! Great music, great drinks, and hangin’ with great friends. I’d call that night a success, wouldn’t you?
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: THE MAESTRO