Review: Summer Slam 2013

Posted at 05/12/2013 3:54 PM | Updated as of 05/13/2013 11:10 AM
Despite showing up at mid-afternoon, Chicosci perked up early patrons at the Summer Slam 2013 last April.

MANILA, Philippines -- Summer Slam 2013 last April has got to be the craziest, hottest concert of the season. Its 12-hour extravaganza featuring some of the heaviest names in heavy metal and Pinoy indie rock may have generated enough energy to trigger the next cycle of climate change.

Kidding aside, this year’s Summer Slam at the Amoranto Stadium open grounds would have scorched the pants off the geriatric rockers who showed up in more upscale venues two weeks later. Here’s why.

First, there must be over 20,000 people already jostling for space even before the top five bands were due onstage.

Second, the ticket price got the lucky patrons a bundle of added booties like pizza, beer and a free SIM on top of seeing the likes of Cannibal Corpse, As I Lay Dying, Coheed and Cambria deliver earth-shaking molten rock.

In the awesome fun department, Brit power metal quintet Dragonforce played a few thousand joules more energetic than the cerebral prog-rock US crew Coheed and Cambria. It was a revelation to watch the young crowd raise their fists in unison as the UK band moved from the opening strains of “Scars of Yesterday” then on to the joyful metal squall of “Heroes of Our Time” and the thrashing double kick drum and raging backbeat of “Fury of the Storm.”

Old timers must have name-checked the roster of ‘80s Metal Blade label for influences to a sound that became a keystone in the rise of Metallica. Young heads sang the chorus to anthemic songs like “Valley of the Damned” while picking intricate chords on an imaginary guitar or slamming sticks on fantasy drums. It was actually more of the same reaction to Coheed and Cambria except that Dragonforce ignited excitement and release better than the American quartet.

In the deathly awesome department, the highly anticipated local appearance of Cannibal Corpse was greeted by a mad rush to get near the stage. Midway to the band’s opener, “Demented Aggression,” an impromptu moshpit at the center grew in size as punks joined the widening circle of body slammers.

Cannibal Corpse’s soundtrack to the "friendly" mayhem before them was insistent death metal, unbending in its martial beat and mindless three-chord riffing and merciless in its guttural, broken glass gurgling vocals.

“Braaayyyy, sheeaayyy, braaayyyy” capped lines of songs with unmentionable titles like “I C** in Blood”, Addicted to Va***al Skin” “Edible Autopsy” and their show-ender “Stripped, Raped and Strangled.”

This was rock originally forged from ‘70s heavy metal and punk by a band named Death and tainted by church-burning incidents across Scandinavia. Hurting oneself through body slam or tattoos appears to be a form of complimentary appreciation of fans of Cannibal Corpse’s dawn of the living dead dark metal.

In the good clean fun department, Chicosci have fashioned their emo-rock sandwich into a lively emo-metal hybrid that easily crosses over to both rockers and pop fans alike. Despite showing up at mid-afternoon, the band sent adrenaline-fueled songs from its catalog to perk up early patrons. Erstwhile emo icons Miggy and company served well the unenviable task of welcoming rabid guests to the feast of metal behemoths.

Gaijin

"Sunday Kodama"

In Gaijin, Sandwich’s Raimund Marasigan teams up with former Dawn member and record producer Shinji Tanaka and peripatetic musician Jesse Grinter. The trio is multi-national in make-up with songwriter Grinter on guitars and vocals, Tanaka on drums and Rayms chiefly on bass.

The CD front cover features a giant crane lifting up (or lowering down) a bicycle and the back cover shows the band members monitoring the progress of the “project” out front. It’s a metaphor for the record’s projection of simple songs into the big rock sound that shuttles between grunge lite and garage rock.

The songs’ simplicity can be deceptive. Listen closer and you’ll hear weird couplets about “the fork and the knife dancing with all their might” (dinner table blues?),or “I don’t want to be your disease” (suicidal tendencies?).

Then there’s “One and one and one makes three!” This Gaijin surely sends signals from some strange frequency.