Text and Photos: Colton Bills
I knew that Black Breath was a thrash band, but I had no idea about Hopeleus, Waingro and Burning Ghats. I usually listen to the opening band/bands a few times before the show, and let the live experience be my first real introduction to the band. This works well for me. This night the lineup was really diverse, and really fucking good.
First up, Hopeleus – these guys are a local sludge metal/punk band. They were a nice way to open the show; sludgy and fast with heavy riffs. I love stoner rock/sludge and these dudes gave me a new band to really like. Equal parts slow and fuzzy along with fast and crushing.
Waingro was more traditional stoner rock; straightforward, loud and heavy. Fuzz all the way. The perfect tempo for headbanging. During their last song, “Mt. Hood,” a slow, more doom tune, Baptists’ singer Andrew Drury got onstage, took the second microphone, and slowly screamed into it. He brought a cinderblock on stage with him while he held it up with his arm through one of the holes in the block. As the room was churning with the sweat and spit of everyone in the pit a beer can flew through the air and hit him, he smashed the block on the stage. The whole thing was pretty heavy.
Burning Ghats was tight. I know the singer through a mutual friend, and he is always a good guy to see. I knew he was also in Total Isolation, and the time I saw Total Isolation they blew me away, so when I saw him get on stage I knew it was going to be good. Burning Ghats really delivered. I had no idea what to expect. I got a good helping of loud, fast, heavy crust. They played about 20 songs in just as many minutes, each one crustier than the last. I felt like my brain was being knocked around my skull.
If Burning Ghats was the hit that knocked me down, then Black Breath was the final blow to the head. The band was held up at the border, which did a lot to help explain why the show didn’t start until 9:30. These guys were the real deal, old school thrash metal. These guys have all the things that got me into metal. Five hairy, sweaty, unkempt dudes who love Slayer playing fast and loud with hair flying, not giving a shit and just rocking. It was like being 12 all over again. Magical.
The pit was intense. One man, was about 7 feet tall and I almost mistook him for Hodor. The singer and the giant man shared a j during one of the last songs. There was an older guy with a cane moshing harder than anyone else. At one point, he got shoved so hard he fell over onto the amp. I was pretty sure he died, but no, he had only fallen over, then he got back and proceeded to mosh harder than everyone in the room.
I loved Black Breath. The rhythm section was impeccable. The bass player looked like a giant ginger wizard as his fingers flew up and down the fretboard. The drummer was pounding the skins like there was no tomorrow, all the while the guitar players shredded with uncanny accuracy. The show went on for almost two hours and ended at 2 A.M.
I got spit on, ashed on, kicked, stomped on, thrown around and pushed over. Overall, it was a great show.