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Dayton's Rockstar Pro Wrestling Arena hosts night of thrash metal heavyweights

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An evening of thrash inspired metal featuring; In Defence, Ramming Speed, and Toxic Holocaust.

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As the Columbus Music Examiner, I find myself on the road in pursuit of good live music when the occasion calls. Often tours do not stop in the capitol city and it becomes necessary to hit the highway. That is why I found myself and a surprisingly size-able amount of central Ohio natives in Dayton at an amateur wrestling arena on Sunday November 24, 2013. Rockstar Pro Arena has been hosting national and international punk and metal acts as second fiddle to the venue's main mission, showcasing the local pro wrestling scene. Sunday's live action event featured a triple threat of thrash – In Defence, Ramming Speed, and Toxic Holocaust.

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Rockstar Pro Arena prides itself on catering to an audience of all ages. Their focus is on the event itself, rather than food and beverage sales. They have done well to promote an environment that is open to creative expression while maintaining a safe atmosphere for all attending. Rockstar Pro Arena does allow moshing, stage diving, even back flipping off the stage – within reason. It is a place where kids can be kids, without having to stare into the dead eyes of the security guard waiting to pull them out of the audience. Fans of drinking age are kept at a moderately manageable level of intoxication thanks to the complete absence of liquor. The venue only recently obtained a license to sell alcohol and stocks only a handful of beers at their sophomoric snack bar; alongside the nacho cheese chips, candy, and soda. The limited amount of alcohol does wonders in keeping the event safe. Security guards would not have been necessary at this event. Besides, if anything got out of hand, surely the pro wrestlers floating around the building would have been quick to handle the situation.

In Defence was the first band to take the stage after locals, SubX. The evolution of early 90's hardcore turned thrash, they sound like the soundtrack to every show you have ever seen at a bingo hall, basement, or taco joint. But with more personality and better jokes. These guys are power packed with thrashtastic energy and over the top jack-assery. Picture singer, Ben Crew, donning wrestling attire complete with red and black tights and cute little Ramming Speed booty shorts. Apparently the singer had a chance to get into the ring earlier that day at Rockstar Pro Arena, with the bad boys of Dayton and just a few short songs into their set trouble brewed again. Crew was minding his own business, pacing the crowd, ranting about legos, and the sanctity of The Star Wars Trilogy, which he bodly claimed is"real shit, not like wrestling". Local wrestler Dave Crist had something to prove in rebuttal to this statement and challenged the singer amongst the onlooking crowd. Needless to say the throw-down ended with the singer knocked out cold on the floor (see pictures). Low and behold Crew was revived by the force and ultimately through the power of his own mind triumphed over Crist. The fully revived Crew then went on to perform "No War But Star Wars" and finish the set.

Next up Ramming Speed really packed a punch that cut through all the aforementioned jack-assery. It was refreshing to see them co-headlining this tour, a line up position they are very much deserving of. The level of energy that these guys have night after night is insane. Their new album, 'Doomed To Destroy, Destined To Die', is pretty damn good, but nothing compares to seeing Ramming Speed live. Get out and see this band any, and every time you have the opportunity. Make sure to hold onto something and prepare to be delightfully devastated by a band that truly represents their name. They will come at you with ramming speed.

Toxic Holocaust finally took the stage before an anxious crowd of fans ranging in age from 14 to 45. Their traditional thrash sound is ubiquitously loved by fans of all ages. The last few albums have proven that TH has the ability to expand on the basics and continue to create a unique sound that derives influence from not only thrash, and punk, but perhaps industrial as well? Their newest album builds on that familiar retro nostalgia but with a more aggressive, modern day approach, which is very refreshing. TH recently released their fifth studio album 'Chemistry of Consciousness', which is currently on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart at #14. In the opinion of the Columbus Music Examiner 'Chemistry of Consciousness' is their best release to date. I would have preferred to hear more of the new material, but was satisfied with the set list that combined a decent amount of the new songs with all the old favorites. TH just wrapped up their US tour and the perpetual thrash machines will continue touring the world over in 2014 with dates in Canada and Mexico, a European tour with Exhumed and an Australian tour with Skeletonwitch.

Jan 23 Biltmore Cabaret Vancouver, Canada
Jan 28 Club Red Tempe, AZ
Feb 14 ACHERON D-FEST w/ Black Tusk Mexico City, Mexico
Feb 15 ACHERON D-FEST w/ Black Tusk Mexico City, Mexico
Feb 22 East Club w/ Exhumed Bischofswerda, Germany
Feb 23 Underground w/ Exhumed Koln, Germany
Feb 24 Merleyn w/ Exhumed Nijmegen, Netherlands
Feb 25 Underworld w/ Exhumed London, United Kingdom
Feb 26 Queens Hall w/ Exhumed Nuneaton, United Kingdom
Feb 27 Ivory Blacks w/ Exhumed Glasgow, United Kingdom
Feb 28 Hobos w/ Exhumed Bridgend (Isle Of Islay), United Kingdom
Mar 01 Ieper Winter Fest 2014 w/ Exhumed Ieper, Belgium
Mar 02 Glazart w/ Exhumed Paris, France
Mar 03 Le Saint des seins w/ Exhumed Toulouse, France
Mar 04 Sala Sonora w/ Exhumed Erandio, Spain
Mar 05 Hard Club w/ Exhumed Porto, Portugal
Mar 06 Sala LEMON w/ Exhumed Madrid, Spain
Mar 07 SALA ESTRAPERLO w/ Exhumed Badalona, Spain
Mar 08 Secret Place w/ Exhumed Montpellier, France
Mar 09 Schlachthaus w/ Exhumed Dornbirn, Austria
Mar 10 Freakout w/ Exhumed Bologna, Italy
Mar 11 KiFF w/ Exhumed Aarau, Switzerland
Mar 12 Feierwerk w/ Exhumed Munich, Germany
Mar 13 Arena w/ Exhumed Vienna, Austria
Mar 14 Conne Island w/ Exhumed Leipzig, Germany
Mar 15 Firlej w/ Exhumed Wroclaw, Poland
Mar 16 Magnet w/ Exhumed Berlin, Germany Tickets
Mar 17 Pumpehuset w/ Exhumed Copenhagen, Denmark Tickets
Mar 19 Nosturi w/ Exhumed Helsinki, Finland
Mar 21 Püssy a Go Go w/ Exhumed Stockholm, Sweden
Mar 22 Revolver w/ Exhumed Oslo, Norway
Mar 23 Truckstop w/ Exhumed Gothenburg, Sweden
Mar 24 Hafenklang w/ Exhumed Hamburg, Germany
Mar 25 Schlachthof w/ Exhumed Wiesbaden, Germany
Apr 16 The Kings Arms w/ Skeletonwitch Auckland, New Zealand
Apr 17 Bodega Bar w/ Skeletonwitch Wellington, New Zealand
Apr 18 The Rosemont Hotel w/ Skeletonwitch Perth, Australia
Apr 19 Fowlers Live w/ Skeletonwitch Adelaide, Australia
Apr 20 Espy Gershwin Room w/ Skeletonwitch Melbourne, Australia
Apr 21 TBC w/ Skeletonwitch Byron Bay, Australia
Apr 22 The Basement w/ Skeletonwitch Canberra, Australia
Apr 23 Hotel Great Northern w/ Skeletonwitch Byron Bay, Australia
Apr 24 The Hi Fi w/ Skeletonwitch Brisbane, Australia
Apr 25 The Cambridge w/ Skeletonwitch Newcastle, Australia
Apr 26 The Hi Fi w/ Skeletonwitch Sydney, Australia
Apr 27 Hi Fi w/ Skeletonwitch Melbourne, Australia

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