DAY TWO -- JULY 27, 2002


After listening to some tired band do a lame ass cover of the Motorhead classic Ace Of Spades and another preach of "metal unity" in one breath and then say "This ain't no Manowar shit" in another, I was ready to see some real talent. The main stage was going through some major suckage with their early bands, so I went to see what the side stages had to offer. The extremely brutal Incinerate from Minnesota were tearing up the place. Fuck, these guys are the epitome of what extreme death metal should be. The vocals were gutteral and the music sounded like the end of the world was nigh. The band tossed out CD promos to all in attendance - a hellish souveneer from a band destined to obliterate the competition. Their full length CD is called Dissecting The Angels and it's available on the new Brutal bands label.


It was becoming hotter than hell in the room that housed the two side stages, but it seemed that the more interesting bands were playing there. Daylight Dies is from North Carolina and perform music in the grand tradition of early Opeth and Katatonia. The songs are lengthy, but one can easily find themselves lost in the heavy atmospherics found within the musical interludes. Highlights included I Wait and Everything That Belongs. The set was impressive, as quite a few people headed to the merch booth after the show to purchase their EP. A new album called No Reply is being released through Relapse Records. For a relatively young band, these guys are extremely tight, and should win over all types of extreme music fans. A well received set that many will remember when these guys hit the big time. Along with Novembers Doom, Daylight Dies should put the US on the map with their stylish approach to metal.


Back to the main stage, where San Diego's Brick Bath slaughtered the faithful with their edgy metallic hardcore thrashings. Playing songs from their Crash Records debut I Won't Live The Lie, fists were high in the air as Brick Bath clobbered the crowd with tunes such as Inner Peace, Ride With Pride, and Worship Me. The messages Brick Bath convey are ultimately positive and the music surely made them a whole bunch of new converts.


The New York death metal contingent was well represented by Withered Earth. Technical and aggressive to the extreme, Withered Earth filled the area with their sonic terror, causing the weak and the false to head for the exits in agony. The true metalheads stayed and created a ferocious (not to mention sweaty) mosh pit. Songs performed included Remnants Of Unfruitful Existence and Calculated To Great Terror. The music these Rochester guys spew forth was way too big and terrifying for a smaller stage. But this is the type of band that makes US death metal so known and revered all over this dismal globe. The carnage continues…


A little later on, Disinter took over a side stage, and filled the air with their blackened death metal. Performing anthems of chaos and hatred from their Demonic Portraiture release on Morbid Records, Disinter had the sweltering room moshing away - it was beginning to feel like the pits of hell, the room being so hot and crowded, the floor slippery with water and sweat. Having toured all over Europe with big name metal acts, it is easy to see why Disinter is becoming so well known. One of the best bands to hail out of the Chicago underground, be sure to see Disinter if they ever bring their version of infernal thrash and violence to your town.


Rune is a grindcore metal band from Dayton, Ohio who were the biggest surprise of the Metalfest. They may look like kids - hell, even one guy in the audience yelled "This isn't the Warped Tour" when they arrived onstage. All preconceptions were blown out the window when the band starting blasting away their psychotic tunes. Featuring two growling vocalists and sick, aggressive musical assaults, Rune gradually drew a crowd who really got into their brand of brutal madness. A label like Relapse should sign these guys and get them on the road so all of America may witness the killing grindcore machine known as Rune. For fans of Origin, Cephalic Carnage and any other band that can kick your face in with their vicious musical attacks.


Divine Empire shed new light on the word brutality, crushing the audience with a mega-loud blast of technical death metal. Silent Carnage and War Torn were a few of the older songs performed. It was the newer material that really grabbed the audience by the throat, especially They Rise and Basher. The forhcoming album is called Nostradamus and, judging by the tracks they performed live, should be another death metal classic for shredder JP Soars and his Divine Empire co-conspirators.


Featuring ex-members of Dimmu Borgir, Old Man's Child and Satryicon, there was little doubt that Susperia would rock the house in an all-out manner. Based out of Norway, Susperia were playing their first show here in the States. Combining black and thrash metal to an astonishing effect, the band should really break out and make a name for themselves without having to drop the monikers of their previous endeavors. Playing several tracks from their latest CD Vindication, those who traveled to see these great Norwegian rockers were not dissappointed with their rare live appearance here in the States.


One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Milwaukee this year was to check out the vastly underrated Dew-Scented, a German thrash metal band making their first appearance in the States. Their Inwards album is one of the year's very best, and their live Metalfest set was one that will also be remembered for quite some time. Like Darkane last year and Bodom at the previous fest, Dew-Scented managed to steal the night with their earth shattering performance. Thrash metal is back with a vengeance, and Dew-Scented is carrying on the torch once lit by the likes of Kreator and Destruction. Bitter Conflict and Life Ending Path were highlights, and the audience was also treated to an earlier song entitled This Grace. And if that wasn't enough, Dew-Scented's cover of the Slayer classic War Ensemble started a fierce mosh pit - those not in the throes of being pulverized in the pit were singing along at the end of what would be one of the most memorable sets of the Milwaukee Metalfest XVI! Look for a full-on Dew-Scented tour of the States later this year. Don't be put off by the wimp ass band moniker - Dew-Scented's music is guaranteed to make you bang your head until whiplash occurs…


Trapped in a rotten time slot (the legendary Vio-Lence were playing in the next room), Hate Theory made the best of things and played a total unforgettable set of grinding death metal. Based out of Ohio, the band is just as compelling as another underground sensation who went by the name of Acid Bath. Although there were maybe a couple dozen people in the room, Hate Theory performed with a passion and ferocity - these guys delivered like the area was packed to the rafters with rabid metal fans. Jeff Fahl has a killer stage presence, delivering the guttural vo-kills like a man possessed by personal demons. The dynamic musical line-up included Jason Stone on lead guitar, Mike Carlton on rhythm guitar, Jason Lamtman on drums, and Dave Tinlin on bass. One of the best metal bands I've seen in ages, it's really too bad that not more people were to bear witness to the venom that Hate Theory spews out. They have an album available on World War 3 Records that is required for all fans of grinding, intensive death metal. Do not miss Hate Theory when they show up in your town to play. The music is truly an astounding work of subversive art - just be ready to mosh like there's no fukking tomorrow.


Something kept me at the side stage when the main area had Exodus and Dragonlord closing out the show - this something was a new band who goes by the name of Into Eternity. These musicians were definitely worth checking out, combining various styles of extreme music to a devastating effect. The sheer inventiveness the band manages to maintain throughout is thrilling and wildly unpredicitable. On the more progressive side of the metal spectrum, this Canadian band performed tracks from their soon to be released Century Media album entitled Dead Or Dreaming. Very promising indeed!


The invasion of the Chicago metal bands continued well into the night, with Souls Demise providing a terrific alternative to what was going on in the main room. Although a fairly new band, Souls Demise perform with a good deal of precision and depth. The Chamber and Thy Kingdom Demise were a few of the songs performed during their brief but intensive set. Although metal legends such as Megadeth and Pantera count as major influences, Souls Demise strive to be original and their creativity shows up throughout their live performance - whether it be in guitar solos, vocal inflections, or overall musical delivery.


It was getting late when Autoposy Commission took to the side stage. I missed these guys last year, and wanted to be sure to see what the all the band was all about. "Good morning Milwaukee," bellowed the lead vocalist right before their set. Then the bloody chaos ensued! Based out of Denver, Colorado, the music of Autopsy Commission smashes you in the face at full force. In the other room , Chuck Billy was performing with Dragonlord and only the drunks and other hapless characters remained to see the terrifying Autopsy Commission. Gory lyrics and relentless death grind were served up, making for a disturbing, ear splitting conclusion to Year 16 of the Milwaukee Metalfest.


THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!

Counter By RightStats.Com!