heavy metal

Seax Performs Their Fallout Ritual in St. Louis For the First Time

Spring fever has caught me with some refreshing weather and a solid run of intriguing metal shows on my roster between Easter and Cinco de Mayo, the first of which was Seax’s stop at the Sinkhole in support of their latest speedfest, Fallout Rituals.

I’ll start by talking a little bit about The Sinkhole, since this is the first time I’ve ever visited this particular venue. As you may have guessed from the name, it’s located in a dicey part of town, so if you’re the type of person who treats your car as a hoarding space (we all know at least one of you), I would highly recommend carpooling or Uber-ing your way to a gig. You may even consider getting in the habit of keeping your car clean. They warn you of what you’re getting into with a sign to the left of the entrance that, “This ain’t no disco. It ain’t no country club either!” There’s no stage at this place, the bands perform right on the floor in front of your face, making getting the best photos easier than usual. They also have the good sense to keep some menus from nearby restaurants up on a bulletin board, showing their support for other businesses in the neighborhood while making sure that its patrons can get nourished right before or right after the show.

Opening the show were a couple of St. Louis-based bands making a name for themselves in the local underground. I came in late enough to just miss the first two or three songs for, Defcon, which was the only disappointment I faced during their set. These guys specialize in entertaining, crunchy, red-blooded American thrash metal as anybody could have guessed from the Anthrax, Vio-Lence, and Exodus shirts they sported. They thrashed their way through a lively set of tunes such as “First Strike” and “Nuclear Dead”.

Stepping in next was a band of teenage black metal heathens by the name of Blackwell. Corpse paint, aggressive blast beats, bestial vocals, all the trademarks you’d expect were part of the show. Guitarist/vocalist Jackson Mabrey broke a guitar string at some point early in the set, but he used the opportunity to move around more onstage and showcase his charisma as a frontman, even kneeling while singing at one point. The unthinkable occurred towards the end of the set (I believe during the middle of the second to last song) when guitarist Will Murry broke his guitar string, too! Nevertheless, the band persisted and finished up the set as best as they could. Though Will himself later described the performance as a “s**t-show” to me, you can tell from the viciousness and brutality of their set that the band has potential. This just wasn’t their best gig. Even as a guy who greatly prefers thrash metal to black metal, I feel that Missouri metal maniacs should definitely keep both bands on their radar. The time will come when they’ll open for a band you’ll want to see performing in the area sooner or later.

Quebec trio Warsenal brought as back on the thrash metal path, getting some moshing going in the process. Guitarist/vocalist Mathieu Rondeau’s solos were the highlight of the set. They were pretty good, but there really is not much to say about them from a musical standpoint or in terms of stage presence. Defcon was my favorite of the opening bands.

Seax delivered what was arguably one of the most energetic live shows I’ve seen in the last few years. You could immediately tell from Seax’s performance that they were genuinely excited about performing songs from the new album and performing in a city
that was new to them. As I’ve mentioned in my review of Fallout Rituals, the rhythm section holds everything together with plenty of UMPH!, but the guitar solos and vocals (I’m referring to Carmine Blade’s falsetto screams as well as the gang shouts) are the band’s strongest qualities. The band was making a big push for their fourth album, and despite the first two albums being similar in style, seemed to treat that material as almost irrelevant. Carmine would introduce a song or two and if I yelled the title with him, he’d point at me and say, “This guy knows!” It came as a sudden shock when Carmine announced that they were announcing the last song of the night. I thought, “What the hell?! They’ve only played like seven songs.” I hoped that it was just a little tease leading into an encore, but no such luck this time. For a headlining band to play for less than an hour is a letdown, but nevertheless, the ferocity they put forth during their short time on the floor (remember, there was no stage at this venue) was certainly enough to make me leave feeling very happy about how I spent my evening. The setlist:

Killed By Speed
Forged By Metal
Bring Down the Beast
Fall to the Hammer
Riders of the Oldworld

I might be missing one or two songs, but I believe that was everything.

Carmine assured me that after being so fascinated with the very metal enthusiasm from the crowd of twenty people or so in attendance, they would definitely be returning to the Gateway to the West. You might wonder how feasible that is for most bands with that small of an audience, but it just shows that their fervor will be remembered and rewarded.

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Tags:  SeaxDefconBlackwellWarsenalThe Sinkhole

    June 07, 2019

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