Halloween Havoc
Macabre, Anonymus, Bunchoffuckinggoofs and Blood of Christ play the Kathedral on October 31st 2000
by: Adam Wasylyk
"Candy apples and razor blades
Little dead are soon in graves
I remember Halloween
This day anything goes
Burning bodies hanging from poles
I remember Halloween"
The Misfits, "Halloween"

Ah yes, one of my favourite times of the year -- Halloween! Trick or treaters scurry like rats in a never-ending quest for candy, candle-lit pumpkins sit atop chairs and porches, and home-built altars with fire and smoke are monuments to the obsessive celebrant of this most Paganistic holiday. For the metal fan in Toronto it was a chance to experience "murder metal" by the likes of Chicago's Macabre. During my long trek to Toronto, two buses I rode were assaulted by eggs, while police cars and firetrucks sped by to answer the cries of those affected by October's most infamous day. Indeed, the full fury of Hell can only be felt on Halloween.

Having arrived an hour late, I was to discover the doors had been closed an extra hour meaning I hadn't missed any of the nights festivities. Cool! A couple of Heinekens got me warmed up for the show openers: London, Ontario's Blood of Christ. The last couple of times I'd seen them they failed to live up to their full potential, but on this night they delivered a very strong set of innovative death/black metal with some cool melodic touches for added flair. Two of the members felt the need to dress for the occasion, as the first song was performed with Jason and Freddie Krueger masks. Their new vocalist, whose voice has easily filled the vacancy left by ex-singer Conan Bulani, unfortunately contributes little if anything to the band's stage presence. This is due to the fact that the band, once a foursome, is now down to trio, with BoC's new vocalist now handling bass guitar duties as well. Despite this, the guitaring talents of Jeff Longo and the excellent drumming of his brother Jason were top notch, especially Jason's lethal blast beats and great cymbal work. Personal highlights include "Autumn's Twilight" off their amazing _The Lonely Flowers of Autumn_ demo, and the leadoff track they played (an instrumental, I believe), which was executed in a delicate yet totally harsh fashion. Working on an independent CD right now, there's no question that Blood of Christ are one of Canada's best metal bands. Great set!

I was made aware of Bunchoffuckinggoofs largely through the ads their label took out in M.E.A.T. magazine, a once proud metal publication which went bust years ago, but never heard a single note of their music until now. As I expected it was punk music, but I had no idea it would sound this bad. Generic, lifeless and boring... if it's true that Halloween is the only day demons and spirits can freely walk the Earth, surely one of them would have spared us from this musical blasphemy! A sore lesson was learned: some things are best left untouched (or in this case, unheard).

Montreal's Anonymus followed, sporting an obvious metal sound with elements of thrash and death liberally sprinkled throughout. The occasional faster parts made my ears prick up, but when regressing back to their normal aggression levels I quickly returned to the conversation I was having. Not many in attendance were impressed, but it could have been worse, I suppose. More Heineken would be consumed, along with a little herb, as murder metal was soon to commence!

Macabre, simply put, are like no other band in the metal scene. To this day I find it surprising that death metal "legends" (a term I use loosely) like Dismember or Bolt Thrower have had so much attention lavished upon them, while Macabre, for the most part, are less recognized for their musical genius. Macabre are a cult band, plain and simple, and despite the lack of attention they receive compared to other bands, their fans are amongst the most loyal and diehard in metal. And don't be mistaken, Macabre aren't simply a live band... they are an experience to behold.

Nearly repeating a classic set of material they executed in fine fashion this past March, fine tracks from their back catalogue such as "Fritz Haarman the Butcher", "Nightstalker", "Montreal Massacre", "Mary Bell", "Vampire of Dusseldorf" and "McMassacre" were delivered and consumed by their hungry fans, each song played true to the original and full of energy. In addition, they performed a healthy number of tracks off their latest record, a concept album revolving around serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer called _Dahmer_. Included were "Dog Guts", "Hitchhiker", "Cup of Coffee", "Bath House", "Trial" and "Konerak". Maniacal fans all throughout the night shouted out the songs they wanted to hear, as did I, with fierce mosh pits breaking out during "Is it Soup Yet?" and "Albert Fish Was Worse Than Any Fish in the Sea" off Macabre's underground classic _Sinister Slaughter_. Beautiful.

What makes Macabre so special isn't just that they're great musicians, but they deliver a performance onlookers will never forget. Before beginning each song, guitarist/vocalist Corporate Death would highlight the grisly details on the serial killer they were about to sing about, recounting the stories in an almost sinister fashion. At one point, during a brief pause in between songs due to a broken bass string, Corporate delighted fans with some fancy guitar soloing. Why this man isn't fully recognized for his guitar skills I will never know. When one fan hollered for Corporate to show his anger before their next song, he obliged and gave the most pissed-off look he could muster before striking the first riff on his guitar. Now -that's- a showman, that which is sorely missing in today's underground scene.

My favourite moment on the night would have to be the preceding minute to, along with the actual performance of, "Zodiac". The crowd (present company included) shouted and screamed out our best and most twisted "ZOOOODIAAAC!" after which Corporate Death and bassist Nefarious traded off their own versions for a couple of minutes. Needless to say my voice was shot at the end of the night, which is always a good sign that a show went well.

A long trip home from the venue left me with a lot of time to pontificate about this most joyous day. To nostalgic childhood memories of egging houses and trick or treating, I can now add witnessing one of the best death metal bands at their pinnacle to my chest of memories. Happy Halloween indeed!

(article submitted 20/11/2000)

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