FESTIVAL REVIEW: Slipknot, Tool, Korn, Rob Zombie, Staind, and More Rule Aftershock 2019

It comes as no surprise that this year’s Aftershock Festival was once again sold out. I mean, how could it not with big-name talents such as Slipknot, Tool, Korn, Rob Zombie, Blink-182, Lamb of God, Dropkick Murphys, Marilyn Manson, Bad Religion, Chevelle, and many others. And with the über-early announcement of next year’s headliner—Metallica, for those of you living under a rock—there’s no question that 2020’s Aftershock will sell out as well. In fact, as of this writing, VIP weekend passes were all gone. A year in advance! So, how was this year’s outing? Damn good, in our humble opinion.Continue reading

Warped Tour 2018 – The Final Run

It’s the final cross-country voyage of the Vans Warped Tour. Since 1995, the unofficial punk rock summer camp has introduced us all to iconic acts from Bad Religion to Katy Perry.Continue reading

Slayer – Testament – Carcass: Live at Robobank Arena

slayer testament carcass admat 2 ghostcultmag

A little off the beaten path compared to L.A. and San Francisco, Bakersfield resides in in the California suburbs. The town is actually more well known for its legacy of punk rock more than a hotbed of metal, so it was a little surprising to see the major tour of metal legends Slayer, the well—loved thrashers Testament and death metal leaders Carcass planned a tour stop here. No doubt many resident has driven the traffic heavy, palm-tree lined highways of the 101 and I5 for glimpse of these bands in other towns. But tonight all you had to do if you were a fan of classic metal bands of the last 30-plus years, would be to roll downtown and get a ticket to the big show.

Carcass 2016 www.loyalphoto.com meg burcina (22 of 34)

Carcass, by Meg Loyal Photography

Slayer and Testament are regulars on the annual touring circuit, rarely taking time off to record these days. UK bred Carcass is still on the road supporting 2014’s Surgical Steel album (Editor’s Note: The Ghost Cult Album of the Year for 2014), and have been regular visitors to the USA since their return. You never know these days the way this year has gone if the next time you see a band will be your last, so it was good to see a lot heads in the house early. Carcass ripped through a short set of “hits” the fans seemed to lap it up’ Jeff Walker was seated for the show due to a broken foot, but it made little difference to him. The band is talking about having a new album out in 2017, so hopefully we will see Carcass again sooner than later back on our shores.

Testament, by Meg Loyal Photography

Testament, by Meg Loyal Photography


Testament, by Meg Loyal Photography

Testament, by Meg Loyal Photography

Testament themselves are well-known road warriors. Bay-Area bred thrash metal titans, the band serves as a great opener to Slayer. You would be hard-pressed to find a fan in the building that didn’t like both the headliner and this band, and maybe some preferred the former. Testament has been busy working on their new album, but we heard no new songs tonight. They played their set with an energy and a hostility of the much younger, hungrier band. They slammed through their songs, ran around the stage, and basically had a great time. Led by hulking front man Chuck Billy, his voice is the only thing bigger on stage than his form. Testament knows how to put on a show worthy of the top spot on any bill, not just this one.

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography


Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography


Considering that Slayer has toured so much, the crowd here tonight was decidedly pumped up, again owing to the choice of market too. The band as masters at setting the pre-show mood with their mysterious 30-foot tall curtain. When the lights go down the crowd gets pumped as the only soft part of a Slayer show; the intro music and the lights against the curtain, right before the first notes take hold. Once the curtain drops it’s pure madness as the band opened with the title track from their most recent album, Repentless (Nuclear Blast). The band played a good number of tracks from that recent album, but ultimately leaned on older songs. That is what the crowd wants from Slayer: the classics, every time. It’s not really a Slayer show without hearing ‘Mandatory Suicide’, ‘Seasons In The Abyss’, ‘Dead Skin Mask’, ‘South of Heaven’, and ‘Chemical Warfare’, is it?

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

The band still get high marks for showmanship, especially Kerry King and Tom Araya. With the three year anniversary of the passing of founding member Jeff Hanneman near, the band pays tribute to him nightly, not just with his music, but with a huge banner draped in hiss honor. Closing of course with ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Angel of Death’, Slayer continues to be a thrash metal institution. I can’t wait for them to come back!

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Slayer Set list:



Die by the Sword


God Send Death

War Ensemble

When the Stillness Comes

You Against You

Mandatory Suicide

Hate Worldwide

Chemical Warfare

Pride in Prejudice

Take Control

Seasons in the Abyss

Hell Awaits

Dead Skin Mask

Hallowed Point

South of Heaven

Raining Blood

Black Magic

Angel of Death



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On The Road… with Senses Fail

Senses Fail Silverstein Hundreth Capsize tour dates

Senses Fail just put the cap on a terrific 2015! they reunited as a band, put out a cool new album Pull The Thorns From Your Heart (Pure Noise Records) and headlined The Warped Tour. When you do all that, what do you do for an encore? Go out and slay venues all over the world of course! The band spent the last half of the fall co-headlining with another seminal post-hardcore/screamo band, Silverstein. Each band has had a similar career trajectory and much in common (huge followings, Warped Tour alums) so touring together made sense. Bringing along hardcore heads like Hundredth and Capsize (not pictured) this was a slick bill that played to many full houses with tons of passionate fans moshing, screaming a long, and having a ball. Meg Loyal of Meg Loyal Photography caught the tour at one of Ghost Cult’s favorite venues, The Worcester Palladium. Keep going out there and supporting these bands in 2016 and you might just be rewarded when your favorite band reunites and comes to your town for a show!

Senses Fail , by Meg Loyal Photography

Senses Fail, by Meg Loyal Photography



Senses Fail , by Meg Loyal Photography

Senses Fail, by Meg Loyal Photography

Senses Fail , by Meg Loyal Photography

Senses Fail, by Meg Loyal Photography

Senses Fail , by Meg Loyal Photography

Senses Fail, by Meg Loyal Photography


Senses Fail , by Meg Loyal Photography

Senses Fail, by Meg Loyal Photography


Silverstein, by Meg Loyal Photography

Silverstein, by Meg Loyal Photography


Hundredth , by Meg Loyal Photography

Hundredth, by Meg Loyal Photography


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On the Road… with The Black Dahlia Murder

2015 indiemerchtrour Black Dahlia Murder second leg usa

For over a decade IndieMerchStore has been an indispensable partner to bands and record labels as a great place to sell band merchandise and music. You may not know this, but many bands only make money off of stuff they sell on tour and with the prowess and power of IndieMerchStore, they have a partner with a vested interest in making online sales easy and seamless. In the time since the company formed, they have also been a great help to the touring industry, sponsoring huge tours all the way down to small, get-in-the-van type artists. This holds especially true for underground bands in rock, metal, and death metal. So to celebrate their 10th year the brand booked a tour featuring death metal acolytes The Black Dahlia Murder and a cadre of killer bands. These tours also represented TBDM’s first tours in support of their recent album Abysmal (Metal Blade) Booked in two legs across the USA, the recently completed second leg featured Goatwhore, Iron Reagan, Entheos and Artificial Brain. Each band brought their own special something to the tour. It was loud, it’s was sweaty and in general, everyone raged. Ghost Cult’s Meg Loyal of Meg Loyal Photography caught up with the tour for us at The Sinclair in Boston, and you can see for yourself a sample the energy delivered each night.

The Black Dahlia Murder, by Meg Loyal Photography

The Black Dahlia Murder, by Meg Loyal Photography

The Black Dahlia Murder, by Meg Loyal Photography

The Black Dahlia Murder, by Meg Loyal Photography


The Black Dahlia Murder, by Meg Loyal Photography

The Black Dahlia Murder, by Meg Loyal Photography


The Black Dahlia Murder, by Meg Loyal Photography

The Black Dahlia Murder, by Meg Loyal Photography


Goatwhore, by Meg Loyal Photography

Goatwhore, by Meg Loyal Photography


Iron Reagan, by Meg Loyal Photography

Iron Reagan, by Meg Loyal Photography


Entheos, by Meg Loyal Photography

Artificial Brain 2015 meg burcina www.loyalphoto.com (6 of 8)

Artificial Brain , by Meg Loyal Photography

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Acceptance -Modern Chemistry: Live at The Gramercy Theater, New York City

Acceptance by Meg Loyal Photography

Acceptance by Meg Loyal Photography

I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to their sound check due to a parade in the city slowing traffic down. I finally get to the Gramercy Theatre and bassist Ryan Zweifelhofer comes outside to get me. My heart is pumping and head is racing. It’s been 9 years since I’ve talked to or seen some of the guys in Acceptance. I used to go to all of their shows in or near Los Angeles. I spent hours upon hours with these guys, but I was nervous to see them. I was excited for this to be happening and happy to be in the presence of some very good, long-time friends who are amazing musicians.

I walk in and I wave to everyone and start to tear up. It’s that moment your heart explodes from happiness because you’ve realized that pieces of your heart are all in one room again. I take a seat for a little bit to watch them. They start sound checking and I close my eyes, I’m instantly taken back while listening to them rehearsing ‘Glory/us’. It was as if the band never broke up and they have been doing this non stop. It was perfect.

It’s show time!

Modern Chemistry, by Meg Loyal Photography

Modern Chemistry, by Meg Loyal Photography

The show opens up with Modern Chemistry from New Brunswick, NJ. Their music was catchy and you can hear a distinct Brand New feeling to their writing and sound. Definitely worth checking out if you see that they are playing in your town!\

Acceptance, by Meg Loyal Photography

Acceptance, by Meg Loyal Photography

Back in the dressing room Acceptance gathered in a huddle before hitting the stage. The most nervous I have ever seen them, but the music starts playing and they start walking out on the stage. The crowd goes insane! This was the first time Acceptance has ever headlined a tour, let alone a tour that has sold out for the most part faster than you can flip a record. They started the show with Take Cover‘ playing everything from In Too Far and Different. The crowd sang along perfectly with Jason Vena to every song. During ‘Different’, Sean Mackin from Yellowcard joined them on stage to play violin for the song. Sean is an amazing musician who adds that extra special touch to such an already amazing night. The guys ended the show with their new song ‘Take You Away’ and the promise to come out with a new record in the near future. Now we can rejoice Acceptance is back, they’re selling out show after show and letting all of us know that ‘nothing is permanent‘.

Acceptance by Meg Loyal Photography

Acceptance by Meg Loyal Photography

Acceptance by Meg Loyal Photography

Acceptance by Meg Loyal Photography

Sean Mackin of Yellowcard, performing with Acceptance. Photo by Meg Loyal.

Sean Mackin of Yellowcard, performing with Acceptance. Photo by Meg Loyal.

Acceptance by Meg Loyal Photography

Acceptance by Meg Loyal Photography

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On The Road (Behind) …. with GWAR


GWAR is on the road again for the GWAR Eternal tour, searching for their missing leader, Oderus Urungus, and steamrolling every venue, and every fan with madcap mayhem in the process. The band is out on their first tour since the passing of Dave Brockie earlier in the year and they last show of the current leg ends tonight in Seattle with Decapitated and American Shark. With Decapitated leaving and, the band is being joined by their fellow metal/punk brethren in Corrosion of Conformity for the next leg beginning on 11/15. The current stage show, which addresses the disappearance of Oderus, and features of who’s who’s of scumdogs, including new additions Blothar and Vulvatron, in a hilarious, wholly reprehensible and heartfelt way that Brockie would have loved. Meg Loyal caught GWAR in front her lens during their stop at this years’ Rock And Shock Festival in Worcester MA. Check out her photo set:

Gwar (15)

Gwar (26)

Gwar (49)

Gwar (7)


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GWAR on Facebook




Skeletonwitch – Ghoul – Black Anvil: Live At the Sinclair, Cambridge MA



Skeletonwitch continues up their climb up the modern metal ladder. They seem to be a band generally liked by many, with no real haters as far as I can tell. Their infectious combination of blackened thrash metal frames them as a crossover act for fans of many genres of metal. It doesn’t hurt that they are a tight live act and a lot of fun to see on stage. Waiting patiently for a legit headline tour, not just off dates here and there, the band promised to reward faithful fans with a deep set list. I rolled with Ghost Cult photog Meg Loyal, and we got there early, mingling with a lot of Boston Metaldom’s usual suspects.

Black Anvil (11)


Starting things off right was Black Anvil. They immediately ripped Cambridge a new hole from the jump with the lively, caustic stage show and brutal sounds. I was an immediate fan of their album Hail Death (Relapse) which is a modern masterpiece, and it took me by surprise as the venerable NYDM and NYBM scene, although historically great, hasn’t turned out a band that really captured my heart a long time. I think even the early crowd in the venue was shocked at how killer their set was. They played with the energy and power of a headliner and really inspired the early crowd to move around a bit and hurt each other. This is a band definitely on the rise, so don’t sleep on them.

Ghoul (22)



Ghoul is always a lot of fun live and they were the perfect band for the middle slot on this tour. Our heroes from Creepsylvania always come to party with GWAR-inspired fake blood, and all kinds of crazy characters as a part of their performance. More than anything, Ghoul is a killer band with sick chops playing a fun take on a deathly take on old-school Bay Area thrash metal. There were circle pits galore, crazy breakdown and mass hilarity ensued. They definitely had their own core of fans in the house based on all the Ghoul merch being sported (fail!), and also bought and toted (good job!). It’s rare that you laugh as much as you headbang at a show. GWAR (RIP Dave Brockie) is one band that has always done that for me and Ghoul carries on that tradition to the hilt. Do yourself a solid and go pick up their latest EP Hang Ten (Tankcrimes) or any of their albums really.


Skeletonwitch (25)


Time to die for the Witch! The thing I like about The Sinclair is they do run a tight ship. The change over was fast and the band hit the stage with a quickness. There isn’t a bad place to watch the show from in the entire room and I had a good spot. I was interested to see if the crowd had any energy left at all since the Ghoul set was a non-stop mosh-pit frenzy. When Skeletonwitch opened up with ‘I Am of Death (Hell Has Arrived)’, their past go-to closer, it was a glorious moment. It can be hard for bands to break their own mold and change things up, so kudos to them for that. This was a portend of things to come with an excellent set list of “hits” and deep cuts they promised.




And what a set is was! The band brandished their musical might this time with a relentless performance that definitely had the mark of greatness. The fans drank, danced, headbanged and screamed along with every word. Chance Garnette and crew whipped the crowd into a frenzy with cut after cut from their repertoire. Chance paced the stage, inciting more and more fury from the pit and the rest of the crowd. Even up in the rafters, you could see people were feeling it too. This was an awesome night rushing towards an awesome finish; as the band closed out the night with mostly old-school tracks. On this evening if you were in the house, you knew you were witnessing one of the ascendant bands in the American metal scene. Hailz!



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Skeletonwitch Set List:

I Am of Death (Hell Has Arrived)

More Cruel Than Weak

From a Cloudless Sky

Burned From Bone

Upon Wings of Black

Choke Upon Betrayal

Infernal Resurrection

Fire from the Sky

Stand Fight and Die

Beneath Dead Leaves

Serpents Unleashed

This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)

Crushed Beyond Dust

Unending, Everliving

Cleaver of Souls

Beyond the Permafrost

Baptized in Flames

Limb from Limb

Repulsive Salvation

Of Ash and Torment

Within My Blood

Skeletonwitch on Facebook

Ghoul on Facebook

Black Anvil on Facebook




Deathwish Fest Day 2: Live At The Middle East, Cambridge MA

deathwish fest


The first annual Deathwish Fest was met with a ton of enthusiasm from hardcore and metal fans far and wide. Set in Cambridge MA, at the legendary Middle East Night Club over two days, near the home base of Deathwish Inc. (Records), it was a near immediate total sell out, before changing venues. Headlined both days by Converge and Trap Them, Day One also featured Cult Leader, Doomriders, Blacklisted, Modern Life is War, Self Defense Family, and Harm Wulf. Picking up on Day Two with the review is our own Sean Pierre-Antoine.

I was almost certain I wouldn’t make it to Deathwish Fest since tickets kept selling out mere minutes before I could get online to buy them when I had the money to. And by the time tickets had run dry, I was too financially disadvantaged to even fathom attending, and thus I thought my life was spared from the madness sure to unfold during this showcase of the best that Deathwish Inc. -run by Jacob Bannon of Converge- has to offer to our perpetually rotting world of pain. Luckily, a friend/musical collaborator scored a couple of extra tickets from someone at non-extortion prices, and long story short, I didn’t have to see Devourment instead that night. I hear they were kind of disappointing anyway, but we’re not here to discuss the merits of something I didn’t attend. These are the facts.

Unfortunately I ended up missing the first handful of bands because I was not in possession of my own ticket. Poor planning on my part, and my benefactor being a little later than planned factored into my not catching Boston’s most negative wrecking crew in New Lows, Harm Wulf, a project run by George Hirsch of Blacklisted (celebrating the birthday of Robby Redcheeks), and what I have heard described as “Deafheaven if they were hardcore”, the angular Oathbreaker. No matter, as I have seen and caused my share of mayhem during NL, am unfamiliar with Harm Wulf and Blacklisted, and I’m sad to admit, but Oathbreaker just doesn’t pique my interest.

I was, however, quite interested in catching North Carolina’s YAITW (mercifully short for Young And In The Way), a mixture of Cursed style hardcore/crust/sludge and the most cruel black metal their side of the Mason-Dixon Line, drawing from the legendary Mayhem, among others. For three years they have done this, and for three years it has been good, for there was equal amounts headbanging to the sections that were reminiscent of Norwegian masters, and hardcore pit thuggery that reminded you of their Deathwish heritage. With Black Metal and Hardcore imagery becoming ever more intertwined in a morass of inverted crosses, endless images of our beloved moon in varying states of decay and occult significance, and desolate wastescapes dispensing of all colour schemes in favour of nihilistic monochrome, is it any small wonder that a band like YAITW is here to fill the void our souls once inhabited before we picked up out first Misfits record?



Next up were the Louisville delegation, Coliseum, fronted by artist extraordinaire Ryan Patterson, who has penned album and merchandise designs familiar to anyone into hardcore with a sludgy bent, which is, coincidentally, the kind his crew plays. I really do want to like this band more; they simply fall into the same camp as their peers in Doomriders, who have killer imagery and a respectable mix of sludge, hardcore, and good old fashioned home-cooked rock’n’roll -I call it ‘rock’n’core’, spread that term if you want-, but unfortunately the music just doesn’t get me excited in that visceral way, and I see that as a huge impediment to their appeal. It’s no fault of theirs, as they do wield riffs massive as the hands of a bearded giant, and their tempos are certainly foot-tapping enough to keep them out of the ‘smoke break band’ category for me, but even during their most rousing songs, the crowd moved nary an inch except to either nurse their drinks or socialise while the band dutifully chugged away on stage for the whole of their set.


Trapthem (6 of 21)

Blood stayed at a low boil until hometown heroes of Boston Hahdcoah, Shipwreck Ad took the stage for what was one of the shortest but also more fulfilling opener sets of my show-going career. Packing in only three or four songs of intense East Coast hardcore the way only witnessing Lansdowne Street on Game Day can provoke, this rare but special appearance was quite a treat for those both familiar and not. Being gentlemen and not overstaying their welcome, they allowed Salem, NH/Seattle, WA hardcore polymaths in Trap Them to perform their evil works unimpeded. For an unlucky 13 years, Trap Them has been a caustic fusion of face-fucking grind, low-fi crust, and dizzying metalcore, topped off with that infamous murky Swedish deathsludge guitar tone. Consistently potent and amusical in its hateful delivery. Opening with a new track entitled ‘Salted Crypts’, which is just as negative as the material before, this band shows no signs of ever brightening their musical worldview, and perhaps it’s best/worst if they keep it that way. Whether their assault is a dirgey 3-4 minute long breakdown interspersed with ear-piercing feedback, or tumbling down a mountain of human skulls at breakneck gallop speed, I felt my lips peeled back in a perpetual, hateful snarl that just wouldn’t disappear until each song, or rather, nihilistic sermon, was over. Is it really true what your parents say about rock’n’roll making you evil?


Converge (10 of 14)


By the time the night’s honorees in Converge made it onstage, you can guess I was already a little tired from the earlier acts, because one has to get their money’s worth. It is with great pleasure that I may now announce that I survived Deathwish Fest without injury. The boys opened up with ‘Dark Horse’, and comboed immediately with ‘The Broken Vow’ and ‘Aimless Arrow’, which ensured that few lungs were left unshredded even in their first few minutes. The nightmare in summary; ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ roared past in what seemed like merely a minute when in reality it is four; ‘Axe To Fall’ crushed like a fallen monument upon the helm of a once grand civilisation; ‘Drop Out’ crept in and out of the shadows before disappearing in a flurry of semi-melody; ‘Trespasses’ and ‘Last Light’ reached out to crush the exposed and wounded hearts of all who can identify with the countless disappointments that Converge’s lyrics detail in resplendent tortured aesthetics. Joined onstage by Stephen Brodsky of like-minded metalcore pioneers Cave In, the band ended their set with a special encore of ‘Plagues’ leading into their celebrated 9-minute epic from No Heroes, the coveted ‘Grim Heart/Black Rose’, for a rare performance. God, if you exist, cross out my curséd soul; it would bring me to tears were I hydrated enough.


Converge (1 of 14)


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Deathwish Inc on Facebook