Metal up your derrière

It would be more awesome if Megadeth, Kreator and Death Angel — three thrash metal bands set to visit the country this year — would be on the same bill. Perhaps the organizers could dub it Metal Thrashing Manila* and give the local longhairs the night of their lives (and a reason to wear that cool patched denim jacket they scored from ukay-ukay).

But alas, the metal gods aren’t that accommodating. Megadeth will perform in August (rescheduled from March 7, reportedly), while Kreator and Death Angel will be part of Pulp magazine’s annual heavy metal hellraiser Summer Slam on April 26.

Kreator rippin’ it up at the 7107 International Music Festival… NOT!

I’m not sure about checking out Megadeth despite the new schedule. Saw them on a stormy night in July 2012, and although it turned out to be an unforgettable gig, I just can’t bring myself to get excited about a second helping of Dave Mustaine. Also: The P3,620 GA ticket price isn’t helping me change my mind. But we’ll see. I remember getting turned off by the ticket price in 2012.

Kreator, on the other hand, is a different devil. With Death Angel (a band I’ve seen before but interested to see again) on the same bill as well as Hatebreed, Bullet for my Valentine and the Black Dahlia Murder, there’s no reason why I should spend April 26 anywhere but Amoranto Stadium, moshing and drinking with like-minded friends like adulthood never happened.

Meanwhile, I torture my eardrums with the latest from Behemoth.

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*Reference to the Anthrax song ‘Metal Thrashing Mad.’

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Into the pit

cannibal corpse

I’ve been to mosh pits before, including its arguably more insane variant, the circle pit. But it was last Saturday night, at Pulp Summer Slam XIII, when I stayed in one the longest. By my estimate, I was probably at the pit during 90% of Cannibal Corpse’s 14-song set. I got lumps and bruises to show.

It wasn’t planned. I didn’t go to Amoranto Stadium seeking sadistic gratification. I went there to listen to live music, from bands I only see in magazines and on the Internet, to bang my head and perhaps do a little pushing and shoving… but only  at a safe spot and with my bros nearby. That, however, changed after a conversation with my tukayo, the writer Karl de Mesa, at the venue.

“Dude,” he said. “Slam ka?”

I gave him a safe answer: “Not sure.” And then I threw him the same question.

“Nope,” he blurted. “I’m too old for that shit.”

Understandable, I thought. Like me, he’s well into his 30s and isn’t exactly one may call “athletic.” Still, his retort got me thinking. Am I too old for that shit too? The question — and its thinly veiled challenge — burned and festered in my head. It nagged at me. It made me uncomfortable. The English power metal band Dragonforce cried thunder in front of us, but half my concentration was on that question.

I figured there was only one way to find out, and the realization made my amygdala, the “fear center” of the brain, kick into high gear. Those who say there’s no harm in trying aren’t talking about mosh pits. Continue reading

Megasonic madness

Megadeth dwarfs the storm outside with 17 songs of pure face-melting thrash metal. (Photo by Sidney Macalinao)

It was madness alright. Commuting to the World Trade Center — virtually the other side of the planet if you live in Antipolo — one stormy Sunday night when everybody’s advised to stay home and be safe.

The couple that rocks together

But it was beautiful madness, even when on the wee hours of Monday we found ourselves in a Wendy’s branch in Makati City with the place plunged in darkness, and wind and rain battling for supremacy outside. It was a perfect, if not surreal, way to end a night of merry mayhem. Almost a complete week had gone by and I have yet to come down from that natural high.

It was all worth it. The freaky weather, the distance between home and venue, the long line that we had to endure before entrance — they seemed mere trivialities when Megadeth ripped through their 17-song set that consisted of old and new materials. (Noticeably missing were “Mechanix”  and “99 Ways to Die,”  but they did “A Tout Le Monde” and “Trust” so I’m not complaining.) In fact, the moment the band kicked off with “Never Dead,” everything outside became insignificant.

Minor issues with the setlist aside, the crowd, hungry for a foreign metal act of this caliber, lapped up every note and venom Megadeth unleashed with megasonic fury. All around people were singing, pumping their fist, jumping, moshing, flashing the devil’s horn. Camaraderie was expressed; I felt like part of a big sweaty heavy metal group hug. It was the most energetic and wildly passionate crowd I’ve seen in all my concert-going years. Vocalist/band leader Dave Mustaine couldn’t help but admit being “impressed” by the warm reception, and apologized for not coming to Manila sooner.

With photos from Dennis Mendoza, Nicole Quintana

Definitely the best concert I’ve been to so far, the memory of which something to chew on for good vibes in the coming days. I’ll be singing paeans to this for weeks to come… or until Metallica or Slayer comes over and dishes out an equal, if not better, hellraiser. Here’s hoping for that.

It’s the morning before reckoning day

… and I’m happily headbanging to “Hangar 18” from Rust in Peace. Call it exercise, because tomorrow I might hear this shit live.

It was actually that classic 1990 album that introduced me to the band in 1992. I was starting high school, wallowing in self-imposed juvenile funk, and busy discovering rock music. One afternoon my friend Gerald dropped by our place waving this cassette tape that he said he stole from a neighborhood record store.

“Check this out,” he said. “The singer got kicked out of Metallica for misbehavior.” I thought, How in hell can you get kicked out of a metal band for misbehavior?

Curious, I slid the tape into our old Akai deck, pushed play, and heard something new and exciting. It was loud, abrasive, fast. Really fast. A grand orgy of ripping guitar solos that brought to mind chainsaws gone out of control. It’s a turbo-charged album poised for the kill. My eardrums were impressed.

Tomorrow, July 29, I’m going to watch Manila get thrashed at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. To say that I’m stoked is an understatement.