“Night of the Pointy Guitars” with Death Angel and Exmortus at Club Red

Death Angel at Club Red, Mesa, Arizona on December 18th, 2019

Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: 13th Floor Entertainment (https://www.13thfloorentertainment.com/ )
Venue: Club Red, Mesa, Arizona (http://www.clubredrocks.com/ )
Date: Wednesday December 18th, 2019
Tour:  Humanicide North American Tour
Record Label: NUCLEAR BLAST (https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/shop/index.html )

Unfortunately, the Death Angel & Exmortus tour in the USA is over for this year.  But you should be able to see these great bands next year.  My personal opinion is that Death Angel and Exmortus were the most extreme Thrash metal bands performing tonight.  Hellfire, Varkan and Malo de Dentro were more of traditional Rock & Roll with tendencies to Thrash Metal.  The crowd also seem to react this same way.  For all of the bands there was a lot of headbanging and head spinning.  But only Death Angel and Exmortus had the mosh pit activity.

With all of the controversy about the Grammys at the moment and the way they have constantly screwed over the Metal community, it is a small wonder that this year they have finally nominated some great bands for the “Best Metal Performance” award.  In this category we have Killswitch Engage, Tool, I Prevail, Candlemass with Toni Iommi (Black Sabbath) and finally Death Angel.  Of course, this is the only category that we ever get since the Grammy committee is stupid and does not believe a metal band can produce a great album or song.  Personally, I gave up on the Grammys since I personally hate pop music and most of those artists have little to no talent.

Death Angel

Death Angel at Club Red, Mesa, Arizona on December 18th, 2019

We should not overlook that one of our great Thrash Metal bands, Death Angel was Grammy nominated for best Metal Performance.  They made a stop at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona to show us just why they should be in that category.  They brought with them a high energy and powerful performance well worthy of the award.  With front man and lead singer Mark Osegueda and lead guitarist Rob Cavestany, rhythm guitarist Ted Aguilar, bass player Damien Sisson and drummer Will Carroll this band is truly an outstanding metal performance winner in my eyes.

Death Angel just release a new album this year, Humanicide.  This tour is in support of this new album with a mixture of old favorites added in (see setlist below).  They started with the title track from the album that is a strong driving true metalhead favorite.  As one fan commented, “My neighbors loved this song so much they told the police about it”.  From there they never let up and keep pounding out the hard driving sounds.  The fans replied in kind with a very active mosh pit.  Those not involved in the pit, we were all headbanging and pumping our fists.  Mark did slow us down twice during the show to tell us about the Grammy nomination and explained that if they won, great and if not, they can go f..k themselves.  They other time was to introduce the band.

I can always tell how good a thrash band is by the crowd at the end of the show.  If the people involved in the mash pit are exhausted by the end of the show, then it was a powerful and outstanding performance.  Tonight, was just one of those nights where the crowd looked burnt by the end.  The rest of the audience also seemed to have a great time.

To see more information about Death Angel and their upcoming shows, please check out their website: https://www.deathangel.us/ or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/deathangel/ .  Currently they are on a European tour with Testament & Exodus for most of February and March.  I know that the European metal community is very large and strong, so if you get a chance go see this amazing Thrash Metal group.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

Death Angel Setlist:                                        (Album)
Humanicide                                                        (Humanicide)
Claws in So Deep                                              (Relentless Retribution)
Voracious Souls                                                 (The Ultra-Violence)
Aggressor                                                            (Humanicide)
The Dream Calls for Blood                            (The Dream Calls for Blood)
The Pack                                                              (Humanicide)
I Came for Blood                                               (Humanicide)
Stop                                                                       (Act III)
Father of Lies                                                     (The Evil Divide)
The Moth                                                            (The Evil Divide)
Immortal Behated                                           (Humanicide)
Caster of Shame                                               (The Dream Calls for Blood)
Mistress of Pain                                                (The Ultra-Violence)
The Ultra-Violence / Thrown to the Wolves          (The Ultra-Violence / Medleys)


Exmortus at Club Red, Mesa, Arizona with Death Angel on December 18th, 2019

A not so funny thing happened on the way to Edmonton.  Exmortus just left Vancouver, BC after performing with Death Angel and Hellfire.  While driving, they hit “Black Ice” and wrecked their van and trailer carrying their equipment.  As with a lot of bands, they could not afford to replace the van and trailer in time to continue on the tour.  So, they reached out to the metal community and asked for help.  The metal community is a small but very tight group and to their credit they came up with enough money in 48 hours to allow Exmortus to get a van and trailer and continue with the tour.  I personally would like to applaud the metal community for this grand jester.  If you would also like to help the metal bands and keep this outstanding music alive, please purchase CDs or tee-shirts.  This helps support the different bands and allows them to continue to tour and write new amazing music and bring it to us.

Exmortus is a “invigorating twin-guitar mix of neoclassical shred, Bay Area thrash, progressive death and traditional heavy metal” (Facebook description) band from Whitter, California.  They were formed in 2002 by lead singer and guitarist Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez.  Their first album was Dawn of Apocalypse, a demo in 2003.  Their big break came with the release of In Hatred’s Flame in 2008.  Over the years a number of different band members have played in the band, but the current line up consists of Jardan with bass player Phillip Nunez, drummer Adrian Aguilar and guitarist Chase Becker.

You can find out more information about Exmortus, their tour dates and music on either their website: https://exmortusmusic.com/ or their Facebook page: . https://www.facebook.com/exmortusofficial/ .

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

Exmortus Setlist:                                             (Album / Cover)
Slave to the Sword                                          (Slave to the Sword)
For the Horde                                                    (Ride Forth)
Legions of the Undead                                   (Legions of the Undead EP)
Swallow your Soul                                            (Legions of the Undead EP)
Into the Maw of Hell                                       (The Sound of Steel)
Foe Hammer                                                      (Slave to the Sword)
Moonlight Sonata (Act 3)                              (Ludwig van Beethoven cover)
Foreplay / Metal Is King                                 (Boston cover / Slave to the Sword)


Hellfire at Club Red, Mesa, Arizona with Death Angel on December 18th, 2019

Hellfire is a Heavy Metal/ Thrash band from San Francisco that consists of guitarist Tony Campos, bass player Herman Bandala, drummer Mike Smith, lead singer and guitarist Jake Nunn.  Like I indicated in the start of the article, I saw Hellfire as a more traditional Rock & Roll band with some movement thought Thrash Metal.  They had a sound similar to a lot of the metal bands from the early eighties like Metallica and Iron Maiden.  It is a shame they have to play as an underbill because they have the talent to breakout at anytime.  But with the large number of metal bands out there, they offen get overlooked.  If you get a chance to see Hellfire, they are an outstanding band with some really amazing music.  Please check them out.  Their website is: https://www.hellfiremetal.com/ and their Facebook link is: https://www.facebook.com/hellfiremetalSF/ .  They are currently on a European tour and will be playing in Manchester, UK on February 1st, 2020.  I hope my metal friends in Europe can checkout this very good band.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved


Varkan at Club Red, Mesa, Arizona with Death Angel on December 18th, 2019

This is my second time to see Varkan perform and their show just seems to get better each time.  For tonight’s show they added a new character to the show, a butcher with pig face and with feet and hands hanging from his neck.  It was kinda comical but still fun.  Since they have only 1 album out at present, their set was almost exclusively from that self-titled album Varkan.  However, they did introduce a new song into the set, sorry but I missed its name.

Varkan is a local Phoenix area band that consists of lead singer and guitarist Alec Damiano with follow guitarist Dominic Scarano, bass player Salvador Barragan and drummer Michael Rodriguez.  Together they are a strong metal band that pounds out the songs with driving guitar riffs, solid bassline and thundering drums.  Alec also has a strong and powerful voice that belts out the lyrics.

You can find out more about Varkan and any upcoming shows on their website: http://www.varkanofficial.com/ or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/varkanofficial/ .  Currently they are scheduled to perform with Ross The Boss on February 18th and with Powerglove on Sunday April 26th both at Club Red in Mesa, Arizona.  Come check them out and become a fan.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

Varkan Setlist:                                                (Album)
The Revenge of The Black Queen                 (Varkan)
Shadow Shelf                                                     (Varkan)
Divided States                                                   (Varkan)
New Song ??
Filthy Human Race                                           (Varkan)

Malo de Dentro

Malo de Dentro at Club Red, Mesa, Arizona with Death Angel on December 18th, 2019

Since its founding in 2005 by drummer Malo Sixkiller, this talented group of musicians has been thrashing through song after song with the same heightened intensity, palpable excitement, and expert showmanship that has made them a staple in the local Phoenix music scene over the past 13 years. In that time, the band has seen a variety of members and styles, but has always stayed true to their heavy metal roots. At no time has that been truer than now, with the release of their most recent full-length album, From Darkened Skies. The current material combines groove metal and thrash, with clean, melodic vocals and soaring harmonies, while rattling the bones of their fans and keeping their heads banging. With the thundering rhythms of Malo Sixkiller, the rumbling low end of Cris Ridenour, the powerful vocals of Stone Martin and the screaming solos of Steve Miller, Malo De Dentro continues to tear up the southwest United States and beyond!  (From their website)

Personally, I thought that they played more of a traditional Rock & Roll sound at tonight’s show then pure thrash metal.  It reminded me a lot of the Detroit sound from the 70s with a heavier bassline.  Overall, they sounded very good.  It was strange to see Steve Miller with this veteran group of musicians.  Steve is much younger and could almost be the kid of one of the members.  But Steve seems to have the soul of an old rock & roller and fits in perfectly with the rest of the band.

You find more information about the band and any upcoming shows on either their website: http://www.malodedentro.com/ or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MaloDeDentro/ .  At present they do not show any upcoming shows, but check out their sites for future announcements.  Also you should checkout their latest album Euthanasia.  For only $5 you can download the album and help support a good local Phoenix area band: https://malodedentro.bandcamp.com/album/euthanasia .

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved


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