The Return of Seplophile. Again.

Finally, I’ve gotten to see one of my favourite locals for the first time in what feels like forever. Some recuperation was necessary for them to return to the stage, but the downward spiral has finally turned upward. They have a new song, and they still remember some old stuff. Everyone’s playing is still tight, as if they never really phased out in the first place.

And that was in May of 2016.

But alas! Buffalo’s death giants Seplophile have returned for a second time! And in just over a year and a half. Almost kind of feels like that Slayer farewell tour that hasn’t ended yet, but like, in reverse. But this time it was a little different.

Our pals in Mass Casualty kicked off the night in classic brutal death style; you certainly can’t go wrong starting a night off with songs like “Dragged Into Cremation” and one of my personal favourites, “Cunt Slamming Frenzy”.

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All photos courtesy of Crown Vick Photography.

One of my favourites out of Rochester, Sastruga, carried on with their own flavour of techdeath. Their material is typically fast and complex, but also allows room for more ambient and jazzy sections that fit in perfectly in between all of the technicality. These guys steal the show for me every. Single. Time.

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Rochester’s death/grind/noise/etc. amalgamation Sulaco was on Seplophile’s last return show, but this time they brought with them a +1; they acquired themselves a vocalist to ease up on the pressure on guitarist Erik Burke. It was Jason Leone’s first live performance with Sulaco, and he did an  outstanding job. And the best news is, they’re keeping him! Or so I’ve been told..

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Sulaco weren’t the only one to present a new face on Saturday.  Founding member of Seplophile Greg DiPasquale stepped down earlier this year, and announced that his replacement would be no other than Louis DiThomas-Keller (Nethergrave, The Age of Plagues). I mean, its a huge bummer Greg had to put the guitar down for the foreseeable future, but stinky diapers aren’t going to change themselves. But it was awesome to see Louis back on stage, where he belongs, shredding with some of Buffalo’s best.

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And I do wanna thank the guys for letting me bust their balls on this a little, but I’m kind of being serious. I want to see EP release show. And if they have the chops, and LP release show. No more of this “return” bullshit. They didn’t really go anywhere to begin with.

In response, Seplophile vocalist Colin Winkelman had to say; “Why would you say that!? You totally already know we’re supposed to return again next year!”

First Fragment/Unbowed/Occultic/Eaten By Sharks/Sinner @ Warehouse 12-2-18

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I know I’ve been slacking lately on show reviews, and I have been to plenty since the few articles I did over the summer (Inferi/Alterbeast, Inanimate Existence/Last Of Lucy/Fields Of Elysium and Micawber/Ahtme/Lago in September)…..so I finally pulled my head out of my ass, and the First Fragment show in St. Catharine’s is getting the TMR treatment.

First off…..I gotta talk about how awesome Canada is.  Warehouse was a super clean venue….not just the stage (YES BUFFALONIANS THERE’S AN ACTUAL STAGE WITH LIGHTS!) but the bathrooms and bar as well.  They really, really care about cleanliness and first impressions.  What else I really, really loved was how the bands were so professional swapping over….switch over time was very efficient, and the scheduled length of the show was basically on point! Here in Buffalo for local shows sometimes it drags on past doors, and a 7pm door time might not start until 8pm or a bit later to try to get more people in the venue.  I was impressed with the logistics and sticking to the start and end time of the show. It was a very close drive, 45 minutes at most including a few minutes crossing the border on a Sunday.  And it was only $12!  If you want to keep up to date with the venue’s shows check out The Warehouse!

Now for the music….Occultic was first up.  They were on WITHIN A HALF HOUR OF DOORS! They are a no nonsense death metal band with great groove and rhythm.  The vocalist was very upfront, present and energetic.  I try not to judge bands by band names, or check out their music before a show if i’m not familiar with them.  In the modern age, we have those advantages and disadvantages.  It’s great to access music easily, but can be good and bad for attendance…..some bands are just better live than on a recording, and people can also make a short sighted judgement based on a recording negatively impacting that show attendance and vice versa.  Occultic was a passionate opener that started off a fun filled and relentless night of the various metal bands on the bill. You can check out Occultic’s groovy death metal right here.

Up next were Eaten By Sharks (more band name judging!) who I was curious about because of a random band name.  Shit, did they put on a solid show and constantly required crowd interaction.  They seamlessly blended classic and modern death metal with some technical flare here and there.  I was thoroughly impressed with this awesome band, and can only add another solid band to the ever-growing laundry list of opening bands that may or may hit hit the spot…..and Eaten By Sharks fucking shredded! Check out the band here.

Sinner followed Eaten By Sharks and they were awfully confusing sound wise to be honest.  They have a grindcore influence with some hardcore moments and some quick parts as well.  Tough to describe, but they were metal for sure!  They kept the energy flowing and were entertaining the crowd without hesitation! Sinner was a fun band that also threw in a Hatebreed cover (I’m pretty sure it was Hatebreed) for good measure, as well.  If you’re into that sort of style of metal, check out the bros right here.

Unbowed came up next (who was First Fragment’s support on the tour for the November/December run across Canada) and gonna have to be honest I loved this band as much as the rest.  They have that blackened death metal feel to their sound with sweet background elements of keyboard/synth, strings and some singing occasionally that offset all the different growls.  They were very professional, energetic and had it their whole set.  I don’t know if any fans or musicians can relate to such an experience but they didn’t slack at all or show any sort of insecurity….I just KNEW they were the support band, and it did set them apart from the rest.  There was that confidence and aura that I think surrounded them during their massively impressive set.  Check out Unbowed, you won’t be disappointed at all.

Now for the main event…..First Fuckin’ Fragment.  The under appreciated tech death geniuses from Quebec.  Their stage presence is beyond wild…..taking into fact their music isn’t the easiest to replicate, I’m shocked they were able to put on a very engaging show.  I have been waiting for the guys to come close enough to Buffalo, and shit that quick trip across the border more than did the trick.  Also factoring in December around 50 degrees  throughout the day leading into the evening with barely any snow made the decision easier travel wise.  I was very impressed with their stage presence, and already knew what I was getting musically so I don’t need to constantly say the same things about the great First Fragment that have already been said.  The technicality, proficiency, clean playing of everyone and David’s energetic vocals were basically perfect.  First Fragment fucking rips, check them out PLEASE.

I absolutely needed to tell the guys how obsessed I am with their talent and skill.  And a band as talented as First Fragment they were equally as laid back, as most Canadians generally tend to be.

Here’s a quick take on my phone of one of their many impressive instrumental sections, further showcasing their talent dedication and passion to technical neoclassical death metal.

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My cheeky dumb ass between David (vocals) and the legendary Forest Lapointe (bass) (First Fragment, Augury, Ex- Beyond Creation).

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A very happy Dave with axe slinger Phil Tougas who is a wild man on stage.  Dude is a modern day legend that not enough people know about.  He has it all as a guitarist.

 

And to boot, the attendance for a Sunday evening just under a month before the Holidays was awfully impressive. Excluding the bands, I would guess there were at least 60 people there if not more for an underground death metal show maybe 70.  Many metal horns and hugs were had by all at this killer show.  Great job Canada, great fucking job.  We will be back sooner than later.

 

 

 

Alterbeast/Inferi/Nyktomorph @ Stamps June 27 2018

Alterbeast, Inferi and Rivers of Nihil are conducting a nation wide tour in support of all three band’s releases with Nihil headlining.  Fortunately for us Western New Yorkers, the supporting bands booked an off date with local black metallers Nyktomorph opening up. A second local band was supposed to play but dropped off last minute.  iPhone quality photos, excuse my amateur status I hope you enjoy the article!

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https://www.facebook.com/NyktomorphNY/

I think this was the band’s 3rd show? I saw their first show at the Rockin’ Buffalo, and they had a good performance.  As you can tell, they’re a 3 piece now they need a bass player. They’re going to start working on their full length during the summer, so you won’t see the band coming out of hibernation until the fall time I heard there’s a show sometime in September I think they’re playing.  They’re a black metal band, without all the getup.  I was impressed this time around as much as their first show……they’re dark and eerie like any black metal band, but there’s something I really dig about them I can’t put my finger on……It’s just heavy as fuck, and awesome. My colleagues in THE METAL were at the show and also took some video….

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Next up were the Inferi dudes. When they took the stage, there was a confirmation their other guitar player Mike couldn’t make the tour for some vacation or something? But they’re continuing the tour as a 4 piece.  Both guitarists Malcom and Mike run their record label The Artisan Era together.  They’re continuously signing mind blowing tech bands including their own (Inferi and Oubliette).  Unfortunately the guys played a handful of songs even with a smaller bill with the other band cancelling….point is I still got to see one of the most overlooked technical death metal bands on the scene right now.  They’re all the way out in Nashville, so it made it easy to go to the show knowing they may or may not be back.  Their latest album “Revenant” is one of the best releases of the year without a doubt. The neoclassical elements and obnoxious guitar playing of the bearded wizard Malcom made it a very entertaining set.  The band’s first two albums are great, but the production wasn’t the greatest……Revenant is a well produced album and if you didn’t know they’re working on remastering and remixing their first two and putting them on vinyl!

If you somehow need further convincing you can check out the stream of Revenant right below here.

 

Here’s some great guitar work from Malcom himself…..I swear the dude is extremely underrated and if put on a larger level, he’d wow larger crowds. An inspiration for all guitarists, especially for a bum like myself!

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Video clip of Inferi via The Metal:  https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwelcometothemetal%2Fvideos%2F2046004802282862%2F&show_text=0&width=560

 

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Now for the main act…..Tech death thrashing Alterbeast.  Wow, their 2 albums do them no justice in comparison to their live show.  Now, if you know me I’m the laid back metalhead who doesn’t really mosh, protects the people who get thrown from the pit and constantly headbangs.  During Alterbeast though, they really energized the crowd and I felt the need to be a stereotypical metalhead.  I really like Alterbeast’s formula of fitting as much into a shorter song rather than the opposite of the band who played before them Inferi who have some bigger songs.  Their latest album doesn’t even hit the 40 minute mark! They’re quick, tech, and straight to the point.  The Californians put on one hell of a show and left me pumped full of adrenaline.

 

Here’s the stream of their latest album “Feast” which dropped earlier this year in February.  Buy it!

 

Video clip of ALTERBEAST via The Metal: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwelcometothemetal%2Fvideos%2F2046007558949253%2F&show_text=0&width=560

 

Overall, this was a killer show and for a measly $12 who wouldn’t want to see a lineup as killer as this? If it cost $30 I wouldn’t have felt ripped off, considering the talent that was put on display that evening. Next week Inanimate Existence pops (another great band like Inferi signed to Artisan Era!) with Last Of Lucy and Fields of Elysium at the same venue Stamps on July 3rd.  I’ll be there, so you can probably expect another article similar to this….and I have an obsession with Inanimate Existence, so it might be a bigger article.

Stay tech!

 

Mick Hayes & Shane Henry 4/21 Imagine Event Center

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My first show writeup…..is suprisingly not technical death metal or progressive music! The photos on my phone turned out like crap, so I scavenged social media for better quality photos.  This show was personal to me in a few ways…..my father started me out on guitar as a preteen around 10-12 years old give or take. Then, I took lessons from Mick  Hayes himself before he started to blossom not locally but also nationally who’s acquired many credentials along the way.  Don’t let his humble and respectful attitude fool you, he’s a fine musician. I owe the man an eternal debt for helping me increase my passion for playing guitar and music itself.

The event was not only fun and the Imagine Event Center’s debut show, but also a sad and somber realization of how music has changed.  It costs lots of money, effort and time to put out physical copies of albums.  New age technology has helped people stay in tune with digital versions and streaming services (Boo streaming!) yet steer folks away from buying CD’S. “Medley” is Mick’s last physical CD he is releasing that is a combination of his career so far into 2018 along with a handful of new songs.  He has written and released so much music its a double album! Now lets chat about some fantastic musicians.

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Shane Henry came out to Buffalo cross country from Los Angeles for this event! Unfortunately, the rest of his band couldn’t make the trip so he flew in as a solo act playing just himself.  He’s a Blues/Pop/Soul artist with such a clean voice it complimented his music perfectly.  A few days after the show, I popped in his latest album “Light In The Dark” I purchased at the show and it’s definitely a different sound full band compared to just Shane himself.  To be honest, his music sounded as good on an acoustic than the recorded album! It was gritty and raw at times…….packed full of emotion to no end.

He went on to describe his journey quickly between a few songs as an Oklahoma boy moving to Los Angeles as an artist going from a laid back world to a busy place like California. He talks about the struggles of life and the fruits of his labor through his lyrics.  To close out his set, Mick jumped on stage to jam with Shane on his lead single “Save Me” from Shane’s latest album which was one of many highlights of this fantastic evening.

His performance was great and highly suggest catching any of his shows. Please come back to Buffalo soon! We loved you!

You can buy music on Shane’s website and through all of the digital platforms as well.

 

 

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Onto the main event….Mick Hayes!

He started off playing acoustically on a few of his originals. Mick’s lyrics and performances are always packed full of action and pure, raw emotion…..this included a lot more of that, and then some! Honestly, this had to be one of his career highlights if you ask me.  There were even more treats in store for the evening, as well.  The Friendship Baptist Choir joined Mick for a few songs they recorded with him for “Medley” including “Caroline” and “Get Your Heart Right”.  Man, were their voices ever so beautiful and full of passion. We’re talking 15 to 20 people sang their hearts out, that’s a lot of great voices!

After a couple songs he then brought is band up and cranked out music from every moment of his career.  Mick even moved down south to Atlanta for a few years before returning to Western New York.  He has made friends and connections throughout his musical career from all over the nation.  Mick might tell you different being a humble and grateful artist his voice was on point that evening.

The best way to describe Mick’s guitar playing is robust and entertaining. He puts feeling, emotion and his best foot forward every note and chords he hits.  Mick means what he says and plays, which I wish more artists and guitar players did these days.  The Buffalo blues/funk/soul legend ripped through song by song playing his heart out for this intimate show. He is one of the best things to come out of our small region of New York and am proud to say he’s represented us very well over the years.  His work ethic is extremely impressive, to say the least.

He’s also recently infused some comedy into some of his newest tracks such as “Poor Mans Blues” and “Southern Fried Love Affair”. Most of his newest music is his classic blues rock sound, but still holds onto the funk and soul vibe on his other newest songs as well.  I am just glad he played two of my favorite MH songs “For Realskis” a funk track and “Hard 2 Explain” an experimental and slightly progressive track that reminds you of Robin Trower occasionally.

If you like what you hear, please buy his music and the same can be said for Shane. With Mick discontinuing making CD’S the last remaining copies of “Medley” and his last album “Guitar&B” are still available with what’s left on his website.  If you collect CD’S this is your opportunity before he runs out officially.  You can also buy all of his music in many digital forms, as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s also show a little love for Imagine Event Center as well. It’s a beautiful rustic look and beautiful bar to compliment the nicely sized stage as well.  The awesome woodwork on the bar adds a very laid back emotion to their venue.  I can’t wait to check out any other shows they have coming up.  It’s a fresh look to the local music scene here in Western New York and wish them great success in their new endeavor!

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