Early Graves – Photo by Jeff Meininger

The front room at Public Assembly transformed into a real headbanger’s ball last night, hosting one of the heaviest showcases of the Marathon provided by 1000 Knives, MetalSucks and Metal Injection. There were only four bands on the bill, but with this particular showcase, it’s about quality, not quantity when it comes to noise.
First up, Chicago’s Encrust got the crowd going with its menacing roars and bass drum that equate to a kick in your gut. Encrust’s sound check alone was so loud that you needed earplugs, and the set followed through. Toward the end, vocalist Chris Angelucci took a sip of whatever was in his cup for relief after emitting a high shriek then dug deeper, growling into the mic and giving off a horrifying echo through the speakers.
Early Graves were intimidating with their threatening, war-like drum patterns. After a few mic checks and a request for “a lot of guitar,” vocalist Chris Brock gave the thumbs up and the band dove right into ear-shattering basslines and thrashing drums, with bassist Matt O’Brien sharing vocal duty. Brock introduced “Pure Hell” from the upcoming Red Horse album and dedicated it to the band’s late singer, Makh Daniels, and fans responded by throwing metal horns in the air.
Canada’s KEN (Kill Everyone Now) mode had a slightly more serious stage presence—and more tormenting as movie quotes were played in between songs. No banter, just straightforward, loud, in-your-face audio assaults. The industrial setting at Public Assembly gave the perfect backdrop to the intense, technical noise-rock that KEN mode provides. One of the few times singer Jesse Matthewson addressed the crowd, it was to make sure the crowd knew that Pig Destroyer was up next. The venue was packed to the door, seething with people pushing toward the front, to the bar for a drink and toward the door for a quick cigarette before Pig Destroyer took the stage. Purveyors of pure noisy, gut-wrenching grindcore, these veterans of the genre were greeted by the inevitable smell of pot and sight of metal horns. Camera flashes went off like lightning, but it was barely enough to distract the crowd from the wall of sound coming from the stage. Pig Destroyer hit hard and was relentless, giving everyone a steady, solid set to headbang to.
Photos by Jeff Meininger
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