Saturday, October 15, 2011

Immolation • Jungle Rot • Gigan - October 14, 2011 - Alrosa Villa, Columbus, Ohio

Friday the 14th saw a marathon of metal invade the infamous Alrosa Villa as six bands lined up to deliver a bill headlined by Immolation, Jungle Rot and Gigan. I'd never been to the Alrosa before and was excited to make the 80-mile trek to see my own metal saviors, Jungle Rot, as close to home as possible. Of all the bands on the bill I was lucky enough to be excited to see three as The Metal Advisor had recently turned me onto Immolation and local (Laurelville, Ohio) band Dismemberment have a phenomenal EP up on Reverbnation that I couldn't wait to hear live.

The Alrosa Villa is your typical unassuming metal venue on the overgrown outskirts of town. Given its tragic spot in metal history you almost expect the place to be somehow sinister but, on the contrary, it was absolutely fine. Nice, even. Staff from security to the bar was friendly, there was ample parking, plenty of space and, above all, more than enough sound to go around.

the haul.
and with plenty left over for post-show white castle.
With doors open about an hour before the music started, first stop after beer was the merch tables. Like everyone else in attendance, I am a black t-shirt devotee plus I know the merch is the biggest return for the band - win-win. Jungle Rot/Gigan/Immolation had an impressive variety at great prices and the only difficulty was choosing the designs. Dismemberment had some downright killer graphics on their tees as well as a nice hard copy CD of their EP for folks like me who refuse to let go of the physical format. For under $60 I came away with three new additions to the wardrobe and two CDs (Immolation's Providence EP was a generous giveaway to all in attendance).

One thing I love about metal shows in venues like this are the humility, humanity and accessibility of the bands. These guys work the whole evening. It was a pleasure and a thrill to turn from a table manned by Immolation's own shredder, Robert Vigna, and meet James Genenz, Jungle Rot bassist, social networker extraordinaire and genuinely good person, in the flesh. I know these dudes do not live a glamourous life on the road and spend a lot more time interacting with sweaty, socially-awkward fanboys than banging groupies (I hope so, anyway, based on the female population in attendance - those not already attached to the bands were few and far between and outweighed me by a good 50 pounds). Nonetheless, James was generous with his time, stopped to make conversation several times and, a little later in the evening, introduced me to Jungle Rot's commander-in-chief, Dave Matrise, and Geoff Bub, their resident axe-wielding mage. When you put musical heroes on a pedestal in childhood only to eventually be disappointed it is refreshing well into jaded adulthood to be reminded that the real good guys are still down-to-earth, hardworking as hell, kind people who are obviously toiling at this truly for the love of music.

The music. That's what we're here for anyway. So down to it. I had never heard of first-up Columbus-based openers Kingsblood and they set the bar high with the full-length Conan the Barbarian theme as their intro. And then they fucking knocked down the bar and delivered. Brevity was the soul of wit as they tore through three numbers that would challenge Amon Amarth. Their stage presence was too good for their slot on the bill and I was devastated to see them leave the stage so quickly, albeit out on a high (or better, awesomely loud) note. They had no merch table but I have found music this morning on myspace. Kingsblood, I would pay for this shit.

Dismemberment followed and surpassed expectations set by the online samples of their The Condemned EP. These guys immediately brought Kreator to mind and their youthful appearance belies their immense talent. The brothers Shively dominated the space with guitars and stage presence to spare though, for me, I was most impressed by the rhythm section of J.D. Henderly and Taylor Emerine. The complex and thunderous wave they created from which Luke and Jacob could repeatedly launch epic riffs and leads was simply awe-inspiring.

Metal soliders take note. There are young upstarts rising through the ranks and I predict a bloody coup as Dismemberment establish themselves as supreme commanders of the genre if they can repeatedly put on the blitzkrieg that was on display at the Alrosa Villa Friday night. I cannot wait for their follow-up record and, even more, to catch them live again. And again.

Dismemberment October 14, 2011 Setlist:
  1. Dementia Decay
  2. Possessed
  3. System to Rise (new song)
  4. Cryptic Isolation 
  5. Triumph of Death
  6. The Condemned
Next up, Bless the Child. Meah. Lots of folks onstage making a noise I could not care less about.

First headliner: Gigan. Gauging from the crowd reaction there were approximately three people in attendance enthusiastic about Gigan. And two of them were in Gigan. Their live show did nothing to change my opinion of their record and, sadly, they do nothing for me at all. No consistent rhythm, no groove, just guitar noodling and some guttural vocals. They had nice banners, anyway.

gigan. figures the best photo I got all night is the one I in which
was least interested. it helped that they didn't move and that
there were no spectators in the way.
Jungle Rot may have been second on the bill but they were my headliners. These sons of bitches have made my year and to have them within double-digit mileage of home was more than incredible. The only thing wrong with the show is that there weren't at least 300 additional motherfuckers in attendance. There is no good reason for anyone in the area even remotely aware of metal to have missed this show. Your wife's having a baby? Jungle Rot's the dad. Your grandma died? Jungle Rot killed her. Your dog got hit by a car? Jungle Rot had him cold over lo mein for lunch at a roadside rest en route to Detroit. Jungle Rot matters to you, you may just not know it yet.

Jungle Rot onstage is as tight and no-nonsense as they are on record. They drew heavily from their most excellent 2011 record, Kill on Command. Dave spoke between songs and came across as a real affable guy, appreciative of the crowd's support. And I can say objectively that there were more people on the floor - and more moving people - for Jungle Rot than for any other act in the evening. The dense, organic sound Jungle Rot achieve on record was replicated at the Alrosa and everyone was spot-on, militantly precise. I tried without success to photograph individual band members. James' head bobbed without pause and Geoff Bubb's hands move faster than any f-stop is capable of handling. It was a great setlist and would have only been improved with another half-hour of playing time. James confided afterward that they had planned on two more numbers but that the powers that be had cut it a little short (and I will say that the trade-off is that it was nice to be at a show where no one overstayed their welcome and bands switched out quickly). I'll just imagine that those two numbers would have been "State of War" and "Darkness Foretold" and, voilà, it's the goddamn perfect concert.

Jungle Rot October 14, 2011 Setlist:
  1. Intro/Their Finest Hour (Kill on Command)
  2. Bloodties (Kill on Command)
  3. Worst Case Scenario (What Horrors Await)
  4. Strangulation Mutilation (Dead and Buried)
  5. Fight for Life (War Zone)
  6. Strong Shall Survive (War Zone)
  7. Rise Up and Revolt (Kill on Command)
  8. Demoralized (Kill on Command)
  9. Push Comes to Shove (Kill on Command)
  10. No Mercy (From the Merciless) (Kill on Command)
  11. Face Down (Fueled By Hate)
Finally, Immolation. Immolation were badass and Immolation were loud. To be honest, despite purchase of - and repeated listens to - five Immolation records, I am still not fully bought in. I like the attitude, I like the approach and sure as hell love the musicianship. I think it's the sound. And that is hard to define. The Metal Advisor hit on it in his post on Majesty and Decay. It's a "dry" sound. It's almost heavy plastic to me. James Genenz simply pronounced it evil. I can report from the frontline that it's not production, it's just their sound. And it grows on you. Like Dave Matrise, Ross Dolan was less imposing than I had feared and was downright friendly with the crowd. I do not know Immolation's music well as I have just not immersed myself in their recordings but they were impressive. They performed three selections from the brand-new Providence EP, several from Majesty and Decay (including a massive "Power and Shame") and brought out tracks from across their entire discography, reaching back as far as "Dawn of Possession." Hands-down favorite had to be "No Jesus, No Beast" and I've made it a priority today to get their Failures for Gods record into my hands. These guys were fantastic and I plan to devote more time with their albums and some headphones, hoping to develop a place for their sound among my favorites.

Six bands, six hours, give or take. Twelve bucks. Live music - especially live music of this caliber - is easily the best return on your entertainment dollar. Take a chance, see some bands you barely know, bands your friends recommend, bands you've never heard of. Many thanks to every band at the Alrosa Villa on Friday - it was one hell of a good time.


  1. You can first and fore most thank COLUMBUS EVENTS GROUP LLC for bringing this show to the Alrosa . The owner MARY COFFMON and her METAL TEAM , always have a bevy of Amazing Metal shows at The Alrosa . Also , the show was hosted by THE METAL SHOP radio show on 99.7 THE BLITZ . The Alrosa and it's staff are Great it's true , but the credit for this and Many Columbus Metal shows goes to Mary & the folks at COLUMBUS EVENTS GROUP LLC . They've been bringing Metal to the Caoital city for over 23 years , show they are hosting sonn & in the near future ..... EXHUMED/GOATWHORE ...DEATH ANGEL/DISMEMBERMENT!.....DECAPITATED/DISMEMBERMENT .....THE ACACIA STRAIN....DRI......KORIKLAANI .... SYLOSIS ....So come back to Columbus anytime and we'll always have a Great Metal show for all tates to sink their teeth into !!

  2. Thank you Anonymous!
    We are reviving the metal scene in Columbus, and are very glad to have such awesome local talent to pull from!
    Thanks to every band that played last night, looking forward to many more shows together!

    Also thanks to Theo and co host Jeff from the Metal Shop on 99.7 the Blitz who are supportive and are supporting what we are doing!
    and to my awesome team,Jace Lyn, Jolene,Justin,Robert,James,Brian and Carolyn.
    The Alrosa and Staff for always doing such a great job!

    Mary Coffmon
    Columbus Events Group LLC

  3. Thanks for the writeup. I haven't had much time to blog lately, let alone take a gander at your newest blog posts, so this one was a great one to start the reading up with again. I totally agree that takes Immolation about a million years to click - I have Majesty and Decay, Close to a World Below, and Providence... and I still don't know what the hell I'm listening to. Sometimes I gotta be in the mood for it, sometimes it just clicks, and I want the pure aggression Immolation offers. Oh, and as always, the mention is much appreciated.

  4. Man, this was a great review! Wish I could have been there.

  5. Thanks! While it was a thrill to see Jungle Rot - and Immolation - the highlight of the evening was enjoying the lesser-known (to me, anyway) bands and thinking that you may be in a spot where you could say "I saw these guys way back when..." Plus - I now have two fairly local groups I would actually care to follow in Kingsblood and Dismemberment. HUGE return on a twelve-buck investment.