Death metal by nice people
By Richard Davis
Sunday, June 17 was Death Metal night at L.A.s landmark night club, House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. The live venue and restaurant, well known for offering top-notch musical entertainment from a variety of music genres, hosted a full evening of stage-worthy bands that made waiting in the long line that stretched out and around the nightclub well worth it. Most notable were Oakland, California’s All Shall Perish and Boston’s The Red Chord.
All Shall Perish (Matt Kuykendall – Drums, Ben Orum - Rhythm Guitar, Chris Storey- Lead Guitar, Mike Tiner – Bass, Hernan Hermida – Vocals) provided plenty of cathartic bliss for a full house of young and not-so-young fans.
Formed in 2002, ASP is clearly of the death metal genre. Their live performance softened the impression one develops from their album covers and branding, which are chock full of seemingly post-apocalyptic humanoids images.
While they easily met the minimum requirements of death metal, namely low, guttural indecipherable lyrics and lightning fast riffs, their performance went well beyond the rigid constraints that the musical sub-genre and fans sometimes impose. “There’s a lot more to this type of music just than playing fast and scary lyrics,” says ASP drummer Matt Kuykendall in a post-show interview. “We enjoy the intensity of the live shows, but we’re not as serious about the death part as other bands.”
The Red Chord (Guy Kozowyk – Vocals, Mike "Keller" Keller- Guitar, Mike "Gunface" McKenzie - Guitar/Vocals, Greg Weeks – Bass, Brad Fickeisen – Drums) headlined the evening and gave an outstanding performance. In business for seven years, the group, which has outlasted most of their contemporaries, has certainly earned their chops. The band’s talent is and creativity is well served by their professionalism and dedication to their music.
Part of their success may be due to the thought and dedication they put into their music. “There’s nothing worse to me than bad lyrics,” says singer Guy Kozokyk before the show. “It’s important to have both great lyrics and music.” Their songs, balanced and well suited to their unique sound, seem to reflect his remarks.
Onstage, TRC is at ease with their instruments and their audience. The band’s onstage presence can almost be defined as warm and friendly, which strangely complements their fast and hard sound. Each song easily flows into the next creating an overall sound that is uniquely theirs.
One reason for the band’s sound may come from the wide and varied musical interests of each member. Ranging from The Pixies and Bjork to the Cardigans, the melding of these disparate sounds may have spawned nothing less than the band’s unique and appealing sound.
This is a band that is defining its genre, instead of the other way around. Their lucid lyrics, creative riffs and melodies, and strong presence make them a must-see band.
Both bands have developed as artists within a genre that often opposes musical growth. Their talent and creativity leads them and their fans into new musical territories. They are well worth a listen.