Of all the records on our top ten list last year, only one was a debut full length, as opposed follow up record from an established artist. Black Fast‘s “Terms of Surrender” wormed its way into my heart like none other, and left me incredibly eager to see the hungry young St. Louis thrashers exhibit their both classically reverent and refreshingly forward thinking approach to speed and crunch in a live setting. Nearly a year later I finally got my chance as Black Fast anchored a crushing six band death metal bill at Voltage Lounge on Saturday night.
Philly blackened deathcore act Kill The Stigmatic led the eardrum shattering charge, followed by fellow locals, sludgy deathgrinders Outer Heaven and California tech death outfit Inanimate Existence. As the venue began to fill and conversations over which of the headliners the audience preferred began to rise over the din, Black Fast took the stage to an extremely inviting reception. Asking some friends of mine at the show who consider themselves death metal purists, they had no idea what to expect from BF, but were won over by the sets’ end, compelled by the band’s rollicking old school attack and vocalist Aaron Akin’s unwavering, punishing howl.
No disrespect to Hate Eternal, but if the crowd buzz was any indication, most were there to see Vital Remains, and the Rhode Island death vets did not disappoint, assaulting the crowd and whipping them into a frenzy both before and during their highly requested set closer, the 9 minute epic “Dechristianized”. After throwing themselves into each other and everything else, the revelers were pretty much spent, but still stuck around and paid awed and well deserved respect to Florida three piece death metal institution Hate Eternal.
People always like to talk about a “stacked bill”, but this truly was one, and for all the bands on it none seemed like dead weight or filler, truly a massive accomplishment. Black Fast may have been the speedy, squealing, screeching odd men out at this show, not previously well known to the attendees, but they definitely turned some heads and gained some fans, just as I assume they did at all dates on this tour.
Kill The Stigmatic
Photos and Words by Kevin Hawkey