Aftermath: We Do Not Choke Other People, Even at a Dethklok/ Mastodon/ Converge/ High on Fire Metalocalypse

Categories: Live Shots
Photos by Marc Brubaker

If you were to tell any random music fan on the street that a tour with the four bands on the "Adult Swim Presents" would be happening, they would say "Oh sure, fuck it. Why not? It's all loud." But that's sort of where the tour planners alternately went wrong and right.

These four bands - Dethklok, Mastodon, Converge and High on Fire - represent four distinct strains of metal, which in turn also come with four groups of disparate fans. If there were open-minded people in the crowd who could dig all four - maybe not equally, but at least respectively on their own merits - Aftermath wants to hug and kiss you.

To give full disclosure, Aftermath completely loves High On Fire, Converge and Mastodon. He never really understood if fictional death-metal band Dethklok, the night's closer, was a legitimate project or some sort of piss-take on a very volatile genre. It just took him last night to fully get what they have been doing, albeit almost three years after their first appearance on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup.

Most Houston fans were caught off guard that Thursday's gig at Verizon actually began at 6:30 p.m. and not the city-wide standard of an hour or more later. People who showed up late missed mighty veterans High On Fire from Oakland, Calif. Since stoner legends Sleep disbanded, HOF has been lead singer and guitarist Matt Pike's main project. A HOF set is like standing inside the engine of a jetliner.

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High on Fire

Your entire body vibrates and there's strange blasts going on intermittingly. The band only had 40 minutes to run through material from five albums, including the upcoming Snakes for the Divine. It's a shame that people had to miss them, but they are much better inside a small venue such as Walter's, where the band has deafened us for two-day stretches in the past.

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Following HOF came Converge, who are usually just a lethal band live but were defanged somewhat with a seven-foot gap and barricade between them and the crowd. Lead singer Jacob Bannon lives on top of the crowd in most cases, screaming his lungs into dust as the collective of kids below do their best meat-grinder impression. Thursday, most people were stunned that they were so loud, and we heard one middle-aged meathead complain that the metalcore pioneers were, in fact, "too loud."

The half-ass pit that sprung up, complete with the random pseudo-white-trash skinhead in the middle, made us embarrassed for Houston. We have seen people get maimed at Converge shows. Maybe next time they hit town, they won't get such a brain-dead response, because everything that band releases is amazing. They deserve better than a few hundred yokels going, "They was too fast, pa."

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