:Retrowerks: Hellions of Hollywood Tour 2013 – Psyclon Nine & Guests – October 4, 2013 – San Diego, CA
Review by Jaymie Burzette
This was a show I was definitely looking forward to since I hadn’t seen most of the bands playing this night. It was refreshing that the show was held in my own hometown, saving me from the trip to L.A. Unfortunately, Dawn of Ashes couldn’t make this date, which was a major bummer, as I really wanted to see them. Nevertheless, there were many other bands to fill that void and I still managed to have a great time at the show despite feeling the first signs of plague coursing through my body.
There were three local bands opening this show, the first up being Darks of Heaven. This was the first time I had heard of them, and they were a pretty decent electro-industrial/EBM band; however, I feel they could be much better if they refined and polished their sound. They have a lot of potential; they just need more work. Shaolin Signal was the second band up which I also hadn’t heard of before. These guys had a good classic metal sound, but honestly I didn’t even really pay attention to the rest of the band, it was the drummer I was absolutely mesmerized by. The sheer energy and precision with which he played was utterly incredible. He could have been up on stage by himself and I wouldn’t have even noticed there was no band.
The third local band this evening deserves their own paragraph in this review—Squirrelly Arts. These guys are absolutely fantastic; from great industrial metal to a captivating stage presence, if you ever have a chance to see these guys live, you have to check them out. SA features two vocalists, one male and one female. Zombie13, the male, uses more black metal style vocals, while the female has a deep death metal growl that I never would have known came from the throat of a woman had I not seen them play live. They are a local favorite amongst the industrial/metal crowd, and they never disappoint—from spitting blood onstage, to Zombie shuffling about with his pants down, making fun of how small his dick is, and humping band mates—they always entertain. A couple of the songs they played were “Give Yourself to Me” and “Fuck Puppet.”
By this point in the evening, the crowd was largely consumed by smashing and pinioning bodies flying around. I constantly had to move out of the way to avoid the ever-growing, all-consuming pit. As gnarly as the pit was, it was nothing compared to when Psyclon Nine took the stage. I was really concerned for bystanders as a giant ginger with an arm cast thrashed about, swinging his arm of death very close to people’s heads. Sensing imminent danger, I scurried to the back of the main stage room (where I felt the false hope of safety) to avoid any crippling blows.
As Psyclon Nine filtered out from backstage, “We the Fallen” played as the band members took their places onstage. As the first song ended, they moved into “The Derelict (God Forsaken)” and then seamlessly into “Remains of Eden: II.” When they took the stage, the volatile crowd went from frenzied pinioning to a voracious maelstrom of bodies, eagerly consuming all around it in its ever-expanding periphery. At this point myself and the other COMA staff I was with had to take cover behind a barricade to keep from being struck by any of the flying fists, bodies, beer bottles, glasses, and anything else that the musically enraptured crowd could produce. In fact, our poor photographer probably absorbed the worst of the blows, bravely attempting to get close-up shots of the band onstage. It was as if the band themselves were directing this mad dance, the crowd possessed by the music as if by spell while this satanic symphony’s conductor, Nero Bellum, pushed the music and crowd further (at several times throughout the night he actually made conductor’s motions over the crowd, which was indeed quite appropriate). As the night progressed, the music-drunk crowd became more and more injured; many were knocked down, while others gained their injuries by fists, head-butts, and kicks to the legs or torso. This was a bloody macabre dance indeed.
“Shadows Unveiled” came next, a new track off the upcoming Order of the Shadow: Act One album; followed by “Afferte Mihi Mortem” (a new track), “Crwn Thy Frnicatr,” “Anaesthetic (For the Pathetic),” and “Suffer Well.” The band themselves seemed to move between mad orchestrations and almost trance-like playing—except for Nero and Jon Siren, who were persistently animated. Nero spurred the crowd on, conducting the furious crowd, in addition to making clawing motions with his hands and sneering at them. Jon was pounding away at the drums, laying down the double-bass like a veteran. We were then bombarded by sound waves as “Behind a Serrated Grin,” “Better Than Suicide,” “Glamour Through Debris” (another new track), and “Genocide” were played next. They closed out the night with the new track “Use Once and Destroy,” followed by “Parasitic,” “Visceral Holocaust,” “Bloodwork” and finally “Thy Serpent Tongue.”
Interestingly, when Psyclon Nine played their older material, especially their really early work, the crowd seemed to break from their frenzied spell and actually danced to the music instead of trying to tear each other apart. It’s interesting to hear the disparities between their older style compared side-by-side with the newer material. Both styles are quite good, and well-fleshed out, although I do prefer their older stuff but that’s just my personal opinion.
I’m so glad they added this San Diego date, as I was unable to make the show in L.A. at the beginning of the tour (Ten Years of Infektion). I was disappointed to not be able to see Dawn of Ashes, but the show was still great. I was excited to see Psyclon Nine in my hometown, and the selection of opening local acts was quite good (especially Squirrelly Arts). I am quite sad that Order of the Shadow: Act One will be Psyclon Nine’s last album, but I’m sure Bellum has other musical plans that will be just as awesome. From what I’ve seen and heard however, they will be exiting on a good note. Still, one can’t help but be sad to see this era come to an end. I’m holding out hope that there might possibly be another show so that I can see them one more time.
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