heavy metal


SKULL LIVE PIC First walking into the venue, there was an immediate underlying smell of sweat along with a heavy aroma of smoke coming from, what the bartenders called, “the room outside.” After a wait of 45 min, the first band stepped on stage as we eagerly waited for the headliners, Skull Fist.

Hexenkönig which I heard as “Hexagon” is a local Kansas City band that opened for Skull Fist this Monday night at The Riot Room. Categorizing their sound as “doom metal” would be most appropriate as they presented themselves with low vocal growls and slow breakdowns with fast choruses and drumming. Wearing t-shirts with jeans and having only one long-haired member (amateurs… that was sarcasm for the people in the back), they gave a less than average performance. Showing no real stage presence and little movement with only the rhythm guitarist displaying the slightest bit of enthusiasm. Placing the vocalist on the far right side, and the drummer on the opposite end, I was secretly cursing out whoever set up the stage positioning. Announcing their name only towards the end with a “Starkill” banner in the back, I had no idea of who I came to see. Following a quick intermission of unloading their equipment, some members stayed behind to watch the next act, supporting their fellow musicians.

Entering the stage was Starkill, whose vocalist Sarah Lynn Collier had an uncanny resemblance to Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless. In order to gather more of a crowd than the previous band, they used a tactic of yelling out profanities to those sitting down. Guitarist and vocalist Parker Jameson then jumped down from the stage and starting moshing into the few people that were there. Combining gothic and symphonic metal, we heard many harmonized vocals from both Jameson and Collier, intertwining throaty vocal screams to harmonized slow verses. Collier was not afraid to get hyped up for a small crowd as she repeatedly bent down and let her blonde hair flow freely through bright illuminating strobe lights. Getting crowd participation, often the band would spot me with my camera and smile as I snapped a picture; even being able to leave with one of their custom picks myself.

Meatshank Live To my relief, the final performers of the night, Skull Fist took the stage. Having been given no solid setlist and gathering only a handful of photos, I had very little understanding of their style and was expecting a version of mixed grunge and thrash metal. Proven wrong they presented a mix of both hard-edge rock with glam metal, they filtered it through a modern and unique sound they created; which they also brought with them to the stage. They were providing a dynamic and compelling stage presence of an ‘80s-esk band, which of course was accompanied by the hair. Lead singer and guitarist Zach Slaughter as well as lead guitarist Jonny Nesta both carried very feminine energy with them while on stage, sporting tight galaxy pants along with their mullets and bangs.
toSkull Fist
Not very familiar with their music, my initial comparison was the styles of early Ratt albums while wearing Twisted Sister and Warrant influences on their sleeves. Zach, and Casey both provided intertwining harmonies that sounded just right to my ears, while JJ bought that hard rock edge the group so entirely consumed. Skull Fist indeed did an excellent job at delivering an energetic and enthusiastic experience for a crowd of no more than 25 people. They were able to accomplish this by repeatedly making silly faces and chasing each other around the small stage while kicking each other and swinging their headstocks around. Closing their set with Zach sitting on top of Johnny’s shoulders as they both played their final guitar shred of the evening.

With plans to interview the band afterward, I proceeded to ask those around me where the green room was. Only to be told we couldn’t stay because of a “date night” event that had every Monday after a show, they gave us promptly five minutes to scram. Still feeling there was hope for an interview, I continued to get brief encounters with some of them only confirming my plans as blown. The quick talk with them went as such “Yeah sure, but we’re staying here for a while so if you stick around we can do that interview.” which to me, just meant “No.” while this encounter was near the merch table, I was still able to make conversation with those still left on stage to unload and pack. A quick “Hi.” and “Hey.” was enough to satisfy my social needs for the night. Finishing the day for myself as I walked out and saw the two band vans parked outside ready to be taken to the next stop.

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    April 23, 2019

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