Combine near-100 degree temperatures with a Wednesday night and a venue with no air, and you wouldn’t expect a turnout like the one at Tomcats West. More than 200 dedicated metal fans came out for the Devastation on the Nation tour, featuring newcomers like Venom Prison, our beloved DFW locals Cesspool of Corruption, and our favorite veterans like Aborted and Psycroptic. Even early on at 5:00 pm, there were 50 plus people hanging out at the west Fort Worth bar.
Local’s Cesspool of Corruption set the atmosphere with Texas-sized solos and a stellar bass sound. Up next, deathcore five-piece Signs of the Swarm (from Pennsylvania) slammed us around. Guitarist Corey Smarsh rocked a beautiful seven-string Legator. Up-and-comers Venom Prison (UK) were the third band to grace the stage. This captivating band has a crisp, hardcore delivery – which is surprising until you realize that vocalist Larissa Stupar also fronted hardcore band Wolf Down. While there wasn’t much movement for their early set, this group has proven to have some pretty haywire pits. There is a single word that comes to mind when I watch Stupar rock out and that word is “power.” Look out for them in the future, because you definitely haven’t seen the last of them.
Arkaik’s (California) technical craftsmanship is riveting. I saw these guys back in 2015 at the same venue, but I slept on them. Boy, that was a ginormous mistake. Arkaik takes an open-minded approach with their art to bring you progressive riffs you just get lost in. They woke everyone right up and gave us what’s apparently typical for them: a spectacular mindfuck of a performance. And don’t ever expect Disentomb (Australia) to give you anything short of that nasty but sweet death metal. Even the bartenders were anticipating these guys. They’re timeless, unbeatable, and untouchable.
The hybrids that are Ingested have their own unmistakable sound. Jason Evans is a remarkable frontman, and you can feel danger in the air before they even take the stage. With slammy, in-your-face tracks and shocking lyricism, Ingested gets everyone pumped up, therefore their sets are unpredictable. Their old-school style takes you back and of course they hold their own. DFW’s own Stephen Mashburn (I Am Destruction) recently returned from touring with them.
Psycroptic finally took the stage – an act I’d been looking forward to for weeks. I swear, the dudes in Psycroptic are some of the best musicians around. Every song has ‘that fun part’ and every riff is an experience in itself. Onstage, guitarist Joe Haley and drummer Dave Haley seem to feed off of each other and the results are delicious. Fans tend to dig the Matthew Chalk era more, but Jason Peppiatt has a live energy you just can’t overlook. Chalky’s obviously a tough act to follow, but I think Peppiatt suits the band well. And how the crowd enjoyed him! It’s been a good while since I’ve seen that many crowd-surfers at Tomcats. My heart was happy. If there’s something missing in your life, I bet Psycroptic could help you fill that spot.
Finally, Aborted would take the stage at about 10:30. By the end of the night, over 200 people would come through the doors, but around this time, the room was thinning out a bit. Why? Got me. As I heard one person say: “I want to box someone and throw a party at the same time!” Some people seem to think the band has weakened over the years. I don’t think those people have seen them live in a while, ‘cause frankly, they’re wrong.
After being a fan for a few years, one thing that keeps me coming back are those subtly blues-infused riffs they get away with. Goremageddon – The Saw and the Damage done is a good example of the bluesy-ness, but that tone doesn’t seem to shine through so well during live performances. Their aggression makes up for that. “Fallacious Crescendo” makes one want to go max out at the gym. Not a single person in the room was still. There was a booby flash or two and fights even broke out, even the police came after the show. Pure chaos and carnage, not that you should expect anything less with a package like this. Devastation on the Nation is the actual “most extreme tour of the year.” The passion of the DFW metal community is heartwarming and this was one of the most memorable shows of year.
– DeLisa McMurray
– click to enlarge photos –