Hell In July

Yep. It’s hot.

But what better way to forget that your brain feels like a bowl of ice cream soup than to get your face melted off by some brutal-ass metal?

Hell In July at Lost On Main filled this role perfectly.

Six bands came to destroy downtown Thursday night, with Six Feet Under, fronted by Chris Barnes of Cannibal Corpse, tearing down the evening’s headliner spot. Each band brought their own style of brutal, disemboweling, ear-splitting metal, along with varying degrees of crazy hair. It isn’t often six metal bands can take the stage and every one has a different sound than their predecessor. Don’t get me wrong, each band was heavy as all hell, but the subtleties within the music made all the difference.

Kicking off the night was Astronaut, Chico’s own group of crazy space doom metal guys. Their walls of sound were indeed reminiscent of an astronaut walking on the moon. Only instead of slowly bumbling around, he was moving at a lightning pace. Interesting vocals took the foreground against the band’s dynamic performance, which left the crowd ready for the rest of the night.

Up next, Redding’s God Van Damme took the stage by force. Wielding axes with eight strings, and dishing out chugging breakdown after chugging breakdown, they rewrite the definition of Deathcore. Straightforward Hardcore Metal. Rapid-fire guitar riffs and double-bass hits set the pace of each song before leading into massive, crushing breakdowns. The high-energy stage presence of the band riled up the crowd, leaving everyone hungry for more.

Lords Of Perdition delivered a hot meal of sweeping guitar melodies, vocal harmonies, driving bass riffs and blasting drums ready to crush your face in. The technical time-signature changes and seamless transitions added to the dynamic presence of the band. Multiple guitars shredding in sync created an eerie soaring effect which complimented the bassist’s incredible talent. He tore it up on a fretless five-string bass. Their groovy old-school metal throwback kept everyone rocking on the packed dance floor.

Then, with a thunderous roar, Fallon began. With about 25 years under their belts, Fallon can tear a place up, down, sideways, and inside out. Metal the way it should be. Driving. Heavy. Loud. Plain and simple. But their was nothing simplistic about these boys’ technical chops. Shredding solos sounded more like machine gun fire than guitars, and I thought I heard a rattlesnake when the drummer was sound-checking his kicks. The singer screamed in a classic ‘80s metal tone. At the end of their ferocious set, the band thanked the crowd and stoked their excitement for Six Feet Under.

But before Six Feet Under came Embryonic Devourment, an intense speed-metal band whose singer sounded more demon than man. I seriously spent most of their set wondering “How do people make those sounds?” And for the record, Embryonic Devourment is the most metal band name ever. They win. Their sound is so fast, it’s nuts! Complete walls of chaos, chugs, sweeps, the whole spectrum in instants. A killer set to set the stage for the final act.

After so much waiting, the audience got what they came for. As Chris Barnes took the stage alongside Six Feet Under, the crowd went berserk. Bodies started flying across the floor, skittering and crashing about as the band blew people away. I thought Embryonic Devourment had crazy vocals, but Chris Barnes is insane! His squeals and screams are unlike any other, and Six Feet Under can back him up. Their sound blends elements from all over the metal spectrum. Speed thrash, some heavy grooves, dark eerie riffs, all of it brutal as fuck. But Chris Barnes’ hair stole the show. His 10-plus-foot-long, grimy dreadlocks flinging around the entire length of the stage fueled the band’s stage presence. With Barnes leading the group, it was only fitting they played Cannibal Corpse’s “Hammer Smashed Face” as an encore.

With bleeding ears and melted faces, the crowd slowly dispersed into the night, leaving only a bloody pool of guts on the Lost On Main floor.

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Tommy Diestel can't remember life without music and writing. He began writing for the Synthesis at the ripe age of 19, and aspires to be a life-long writer.