Art of the Flesh, Murdercore, Crackhammer and Seven Signs – Friday, June 1 2012 – High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI
I know I've been out of the scene a little bit. I’ve been attending shows, but not reviewing them. Either I've been too lazy or it has been mostly national bands or I find other excuses, but I’m back and ready to go. Over the weekend, I had the chance to attend two amazing shows. The first was with Art of the Flesh, Murdercore, Crackhammer and Seven Signs at the High Noon Saloon in Madison WI and the other was with Seven Signs and Seven Signs and Acridore. Because I’m already going to be repetitious in this post, I’ll only discuss the first show.
First of all, I am so sad to see the degradation of the Madison music scene. The last few local shows I’ve attended have been extremely disappointing as far as crowd turnout. On the positive side, it seems like the bands do amazingly well dealing with nearly empty venues. They have fun and put on a great show for the people who are there. From discussions with a musician, I have been told that sometimes the empty shows are the best because it gives them the freedom to experiment and have more fun, like a larger practice. It is still a little disheartening, but I’m always happy to be there and see these amazing bands.
Speaking of amazing bands, the first to go on at the High Noon on Friday was one of my new favorite bands. I have seen them and reviewed them before and didn’t hold anything back. Art of the Flesh is amazing and has a unique sound. Dan Schulz is one of the best metal vocalists I have ever heard. I have said it before and I’ll say it again – Art of the Flesh will go far. I expect one day that they will be a household name and I will to go to a large venue with thousands of people and see them on stage. On Friday, they did not disappoint. They were a pleasure to watch (and listen to). They have great stage presence without being too flashy and obviously enjoy what they are doing. I hope to see more of them in Madison soon.
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Next up on stage was Murdercore, a metal band from Poynette, WI. On stage were vocalist Desiree Shaka and guitarist and programmer Chad Elliot along with a laptop rounding out the rest of the sound including the drums. As far as Murdercore goes, I am still not sure how I feel. Normally I am not a huge fan of female metal singers, but have tried to expand my horizons. At times during the show, I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed her vocals but thinking back I did like it. She didn’t have as much distinction and variation as I’d like to hear, but it was not all identical either. She was a beautiful girl, but did not rely on selling sex in order to make it work and was able to carry her own.
The guitarist was very good and extremely fast and as the programmer for the rest of the instrumental, did an excellent job. He was fast and accurate, with his hands often moving so fast they were just a blur. Despite all of the excellent points, I was a little distracted by the distinctive configuration that almost seemed like metal karaoke (metal-oke?) with original songs and a guitarist. But, they were obviously much more than that and I am likely to see them again.
Crackhammer came on stage following Murdercore. They were a 5-piece band that sounded like a great cross between Metallica, Disturbed, and Avenged Sevenfold. The Madison, WI band made up of Jason Felland and Don Swangstu on guitar, Shawn Alt on bass and Jeff Grieshammer on drums were led by charismatic Bill Faris, with gravelly and well developed vocals.
Faris had an excellent vocal talent, but there was a lot of focus on the guitarists – and for good reason. They were enjoyable to watch and were amazing and staying with each other. The band was a ton of fun to watch, the drums were fast and crisp and overall it was the total package of musicians who were experienced and comfortable on stage.
Last up on stage was Seven Signs from Madison, WI. I have reviewed them before (see the link above), when they played with Art of the Flesh and loved them then. On Friday, I enjoyed it even more than the first time I saw them. They ambitiously played two shows back to back, but it didn’t show in their performance. They delivered on their music and their interactions with each other were so entertaining to watch. The vocalist has an amazing range and can go from beautiful slower singing to the guttural growls and screams characteristic of metal. In addition to the brilliant vocals, he can draw your attention and hold it captive.
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Right along with Art of the Flesh, I expect Seven Signs to be a household name in the metal world. Because of the smaller crowds both Friday night and Saturday, we had the chance to hear some of the new music the band has been working on; however, my favorites are still Fuck and Fade Away. I don’t want to repeat the previous review word for word, but as well as the great vocals, their guitarists and bassists are great and have a lot of fun on stage and their drummer is fast with the double bass, but doesn’t overuse it. I can’t wait until the next Seven Signs show.
You may notice that I say that I would recommend bands and seek them out off a lot, but honestly I have found so many great bands while attending these shows. The few shows I have gone into blind, not knowing any of the bands at all, I haven’t enjoyed all of the bands and am honest about it. I know that all of the musicians work really hard, so there have been times when I have chosen not to review them at all, but overall I can enjoy many different bands and sounds.
Overall, I had a lot of fun at this show and I left with ringing ears, a new Art of the Flesh sweatshirt (which, over the last few days, has become a staple in my wardrobe), an Art of the Flesh DVD and a big smile.
Check out the bands online: