Who doesn’t love going to a metal show? The sweat, the hair, the ringing ears. Every time I get to go and see great artists ply their craft on the stage, I always consider myself to be extremely fortunate to be a part of such an experience. It’s an even bigger thrill when the artists that I get to scream my lungs out for are from my home state of Kentucky.
I will always throw my horns up for Kentucky metal, not just because of pride but, because I sincerely believe that the metal scene in Kentucky is just exploding with diverse and passionate artists that absolutely slay. As soon as I caught wind of two of the best acts in the Louisville were teaming up for a tour, I had to be there. I’ve been all over the place geographically lately, so I made sure that on November 5th I was at the Haymarket Whiskey Bar to witness Anagnorisis and Cryptic Hymn kick Louisville in the goddamn teeth.
The Haymarket Whiskey Bar is a place that I will definitely frequent for shows, and maybe just to chill out. I totally dug the easy going atmosphere that it exudes and after a few minutes at the bar, I ran into Sam, keyboardist for Anagnorisis. We exchanged pleasantries, I wished him well on the tour, and then I made my way past the low lights, bourbon, and George Thorogood of the bar and stepped into the boiler room-esque depths of Haymarket’s back room where the metal would be provided. I mingled a bit and spoke with a few members of Cryptic Hymn, bought some albums, and waited for the show to begin.
Cryptic Hymn play a killer blend of blackened death metal with the occasional hardcore flourish. I wasn’t as familiar with CH as I was with Anagnorisis, so when they began to unleash the fury I was very happy that their reputation as awesome live was well deserved. They are technical enough to be exhilarating with the fret work, but not too much to feel like they are just wanking to their own talent. Josh Mumford, bassist, looked very familiar to me. He was doing dual duty tonight as he is a member of both groups. He has some killer growls and is a beast on his axe. Their set went at a break neck pace for the 30 or so minutes they played. The song that stuck with me the most was “Revel In Disgust“. It has a tight groove and a killer breakdown that almost made me be “that guy” and start to throw elbows when no one else is moshing. Yeah, even though you were free to slam dance to your heart’s content here, no one was doing it. It was a little disappointing, to be honest. The audience was very appreciative but had little to no energy at all. Nevertheless, CH left my neck snapped and I was eagerly anticipating Anagnorisis‘ set.
I had seen Anagnorisis in 2013 when they were touring to promote the album “Beyond the Light“. I had never even heard them before and was there to see the headliners, The Black Dahlia Murder. It was evident that they were no run of the mill black metal band. They eschew the traditional aspects of black metal when it comes to corpse paint and have a stripped down, diy, hardcore ethic that melds well with the anti-religious and Satanic sentiment of their music. Zachary Kerr, vocalist, gave a stirring speech as the band opened about opposing the tyranny of Christianity by “shedding this Christian skin”. I was hooked. The buzzsawing guitars, punishing blasts, and symphonic beauty coupled with Kerr’s absolutely tortured screams really knocked me for a loop. I felt sorry for Black Dahlia cause they had to follow Anagnorisis.
The mood for this performance was less of a spit in the face of God diatribe and more of a deeply introspective and reflective scream at things from long ago. Kerr said a few words about fathers and the loss of those fathers and they went right into the first few opening tracks of their new album, “Peripeteia“. All of the haunting recordings of Kerr and his family that permeate the album are present in the live setting, which added to the somber tone of the set. The band were still just as furious as they had been in the past, but the new songs give them an emotional heaviness that most bands will never even see.
After tearing through the first third of “Peripeteia“, they brought out the first two tracks of “Beyond All Light” which I loved because that meant they were going to absolutely crush us with my favorite Anagnorisis song “This Cursed Blood“. The primal, abyssal feel of “Beyond All Light” really brought the beast out of a few members of the crowd. There was much heabanging to be had and there were even a special few who screamed along. A song or two afterwards from the new album and the set was over. It felt like I had been in a storm of blasphemy for only a few seconds and my breath was absolutely taken away. My only complaint is that I wanted more.
Though it had a rather short running time, it was an awesome night of heavy ass metal and I can enthusiastically recommend that you see both of these bands live. Buy their music. Wear their merch. If you wanna support your local community, then support these awesome Kentucky musicians.