Devastation on the Nation has been touring the US throughout the summer, bribing some of the heaviest music out there to the forefront. The tour is known for showcasing some of the top acts of metal genres, whether that's slam, black, death, or extreme. The tour feels much more akin to a festival, boasting seven bands on the bill, with an opener in each city. We headed down to Sound Stage in Baltimore to check out just exactly what the stacked lineup brought to the table.
Baltimore locals, Wormhole, opened the show up in the early evening. The band has been around since 2015, and released their first full-length record Genesis in 2016. Vocalist Duncan Bentley forefronts the band, but you may know him also as the singer of South African band Vulvodynia. Guitarist Sanil Kumar and Sanjay Kumar shredded alongside him while Matt Tillet kept the beat steady on his kit.
Signs of the Swarm are a five-piece death metal outfit hailing from Pittsburgh. The band released their first album Senseless Order in 2016 and followed their sophomore album just a year later releasing The Disfigurement of Existence in late 2017. Despite the small time frame between the two records, the follow up introduces a whole new level of carnage while focusing on the structure and technicality of the music.
Venom Prison took the stage next, a female-fronted five-piece hailing from the UK. Devastation on the Nation marks Venom Prison's first ever US tour, which they excitedly told the crowd. The band packed in some serious energy to their 35 minute set, with a mosh pit over taking much of the floor. Vocalist Larissa Stupar is the voice behind the band that shouts out against rape culture and misogyny. "Perpetrator Emasculation," a minute and a half onslaught of rage off of their debut album Animus, Stupar roars: "You rape, beat and degrade/ The time to pay has come/No escape, no escape!" She is definitely not here to mess around, and sends her message proudly from the stage. As a female, it is awesome to see this kind of representation in metal and we can't wait to see more from Venom Prison.
Arkaik was up, bringing their progressive death metal notes from the start with the “Metamorphignition,” the title track from their 2012 Unique Leader Records sophomore release. The band is based out of Riverside, California and is made up of Jadred Christianson (vocals), Cris Portugal (guitar), Adam Roethlisberger (bass), and Nathan Bigelow (drums). From the moments the band took the stage the crowd was swept into a frenzy opening a circle pit and cheering on Arkaik.
Australian heavyweights in the brutal death metal scene, Disemtomb, took the stage and with the crowd's energy already high from the previous sets they started thrashing around the moment Disentomb kicked into “The Promethean Altar” off of 2014's Misery. Misery is the most recent release from the band, and the set was almost entirely chosen from that album, save only “Cystic Secretion” from their debut album Sunken Chambers of Nephilim. Since the songs have been released for a few years, they have been well ingrained in the fan's brains, meaning the entire half-hour set kept the audience screaming and shouting along as they tore into each other.
Ingested have been putting out albums roughly every two years since 2009 (including a remaster of 2009's Surpassing the Boundaries of Human Suffering), and have a large discography to work with live. The Manchester band took the stage kicking off with “Purveyors of Truth” off of their latest album, The Level Above Human. The band is known for having guest artists perform on their records, but Jay Evans (voxcals), Sean Hynes (guitar), Sam Yates (guitar), Brad Fuller (bass), and Lyn Jeffs (drums) bring raw slam death metal to the stage just fine on their own. The set was a great mix of newer and older songs, but each song had the crowd getting crazier as it went, culminating in a classic Wall of Death at the beginning of “Skinned and Fucked.”
“Isolation can odten result in unique outcomes,” states Psycroptic. The technical death metal band formed in 1999 on the island state of Australia, Tasmania. The band has released five studio acclaimed records since then, most recently their self titled album in 2015. With almost twenty years dedicated to their band, the members have certainly fine-tuned their craft and continue to churn out heart-pumping tracks that had the crowd headbanging furiously. Their 45 minute set was filled with favorites like “Carriers Of The Plague,” “Forward To Submission,” and “Cold.” Psycroptic is mind blowing live and have no problem keeping the fans in the palm of their metal fists. The technicality the place into their music is amazing, from the pummeling double bass drumming by Dave Haley, the blistering speed and precision of guitarist Joe Haley and bassist Todd Stern, all the way to the raw and visceral vocals of Jason Peppiatt.
Psycroptic has announced they are finishing up their next release, currently finishing the recording process. “It’s turning out really cool. I think it’s our best album by far. It sounds like a mix of all our albums, plus some newer and darker sounding elements thrown in. Artwork is complete, and looks insane! We’ll unveil that in good time,” the band stated in a recent press released, and we are standing by to find out more about this upcoming album!
Death metal legends Aborted came out to an extremely anxious crowd that was ready to tear down Sound Stage with the band. The hour long set started off with “Divine Impediment” off of their album Retrogore, followed by “Cadaverous Banquet” off the same record. Multiple circle pits erupted on the floor, sending people slamming into each other frantically as the tracks flowed from one rage inducing melody to the next. Aborted hails from Belgium consisting of Sven De Caluwe (vocals), Mendel Bij De Leij (guitar), Ian Jekelis (guitar), Stefano Franceschini (bass), and Ken Bedene (drums). De Caluwe took the time between songs to chat with the audience about the tour, and the bands they have shared the lineup with.
Prior to the band opening the pit back up with “Meticulous Invagination,” De Caluwe invited fans up on the stage to stage dive, but to be caught at their own risk. The offer brought an even heavier response from the crowd, with pits, and crowd surfers flying overhead. The thirteen song set included hits spanning from their different albums, including songs from 2003's Goremageddon: The Saw and the Carnage Done, 2005's The Archaic Abattoir, and 2014's The Necrotic Manifesto. The set came to a close with the song “The Origin Of Disease” off of the album Global Flatline, and the band thanked the audience for their support and killer participation throughout the entire night.