It was a special night at the Rail Club. Not only were the guys from Rigor Mortis (playing as Wizards of Gore) releasing the demo version of their 1989 Freaks EP, vocalist Bruce Corbitt and his wife Jeanna were renewing their wedding vows, and it was also bassist Casey Orr’s birthday. The Freaks demo release is significant because it features Corbitt on vocals, whereas the official release has the bands second singer, Doyle Bright, singing. If you haven’t heard, Bruce Corbitt is in a battle against the most wicked foe, that motherfucker called Cancer. Cancer has a formidable opponent as Corbitt has no intention of going down without a fight, in fact he’s battling longer than anyone predicted. Needless to say, it was a historic occasion that brought out hundreds of Corbitt’s friends, family, and supporters – and of course, the die-hard Rigor Mortis fanbase.
Thrash metal bad-asses Chemicaust kicked the evening off with a typically ferocious set. Vocalist Ernie Jaramillo, who the night before was tearing up Reno’s with his Slayer cover band War Ensemble, was in top form – as were his bandmates. Chemicaust always puts on a balls-to-the-wall show and last night was no different. One of our new favorite bands, Iron Jaw, followed with a solid set of classic metal power. Featuring former Gammacide and Warbeast guitarist Rick Perry, the band had a special treat in store for those who gathered. Corbitt and former Gammacide and Warbeast guitarist Scott Shelby joined the band to play the classic Warbeast song “Stalker.” Not expecting Corbitt to sing, it was a special treat to hear him sing with Iron Jaw. What’s more, he sounded fucking great. Fuck you, Cancer! Having lost some weight as he’s gone through Cancer treatments, Corbitt otherwise looks terrific and his voice was strong and typically powerful. The crowd was down right gleeful for this special performance.
After Iron Jaw’s set, Corbitt’s daughter Chyna took the stage with her father to read a poem she had written to let Cancer know exactly how she feels. Angry and emotional, she graced the stage with poise and delivered her words with confidence. While her poem jerked tears from most everyone’s eyes, at the end of it everyone was collectively charged up to give Cancer the middle finger. What started as a daughter’s tribute to her father ended up galvanizing the audience behind Corbitt’s fight. It was beautiful.
Creeper was up next and delivered a great performance. Not unlike Iron Jaw, Creeper channels the dark roots of classic metal, sprinkling in influences from thrash, hardcore, and doom. Their guitarist Jimi Fritz is among the best in the scene and was a ton of fun to watch. That said, the whole band is damn talented in their own right. They’ll have a new album coming out this summer that we recommend you check out.
– click to enlarge photos of Chemicaust, Creeper, and Iron Jaw –
After Creeper’s set, Corbitt and his wife Jeanna had a small ceremony to renew their wedding vows. Rigor Mortis drummer Harden Harrison handled the proceedings and the couple was joined on stage by members of their family. To say this was a touching moment would be an understatement. As Jeanna and Corbitt’s family have been right by his side during his battle with Cancer, the ceremony served as an affirmation of the couples devotion to each other and a testament to the strength we can gather with the support of our loved ones.
The Wizards of Gore followed with a truly memorable set. Featuring Doyle Bright, Thrashin’ Alan of KNON, Ricky Wilson of Rabid Flesh Eaters, and Bruce Corbitt sharing vocals, the band plowed their way through an amazing set. Bright kicked things off, singing “Re-Animator” and “Contagious Contamination.” The crowd was loving every minute of it as guitarist Mike Taylor admirably handled the legend Mike Scaccia’s guitar parts and Orr and Harrison relentlessly punished their instruments. Thrashin’ Alan would take over vocal duties for “Wizard of Gore” and “Shroud of Gloom.” Corbitt took the stage for “Poltergeist” and the crowd roared. Sounding as tenacious as ever and clearly relishing the moment, Corbitt thrilled those who were there to see what may be his last performance with his brothers. Ricky Wilson took over and sang “Demons” and “Rain of Ruin.” This was the first time I had seen Wilson front the Wizards and he did a kick-ass job. As special moments followed special moments, Harden Harrison handled the vocals on “Ancient Horror.” How he managed to hold down the drums and nail the vocals is beyond me, but he did it and it was awesome. Casey Orr would sing “Dead Fish” and “Die in Pain,” before Bright returned to sing “Cattle Mutilation.” But, we weren’t done with Corbitt! The man returned to sing “Bodily Dismemberment” and close out the show.
– click to enlarge photos of Bruce & Jeanna’s ceremony & Wizards of Gore set –
Life of Scars closed out the evening well past midnight. Having recently completed the recording of their debut album due out later this year, the band played an invigorated set for those who stuck around. It’s difficult to imagine anyone following the Wizards of Gore set, but Life of Scars was determined to play hard regardless. Those who were there were treated to a savage set of thrash metal and the band perfectly closed out an emotional and inspiring evening.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); Brently Kirksey (photos)