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Review: A Taste of Mayhem at the Fillmore Auditorium

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A Taste Of Mayhem at the Fillmore Auditorium

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“You guys aren’t just getting a taste of Mayhem,” roared Eddie Hermida, new frontman for Suicide Silence. “You’re getting the whole f*cking meal!” And with a crushing blast of deathcore metal, the fans packing the floor of the Fillmore Auditorium exploded back into action at the peak of Sunday night’s pre-Mayhem concert.

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Over a dozen bands crammed into the Fillmore over the course of Sunday, playing their second stage sets a day before the Mayhem ‘14 headliners play Red Rocks. There was no room indoors for most of the merch and lifestyle booths that travel with Mayhem and the “festival” feel was basically abandoned for the theater show, but that just put an extra focus on the musical brutality on stage.

Newer bands like Erimha, King 810, and Wretched kicked off the afternoon early, while more established favorites like Ill Nino, Veil Of Maya and Darkest Hour anchored the late afternoon, post-World Cup set times. With only 20 or 25 minute sets, each band did their best to bash out their best songs and get the crowd as loud and crazy as possible, screaming, thrashing and wilding out on almost every subset of heavy metal.

But it was the evening bands who got the strongest response. Emmure absolutely crushed the audience with their NYC hardcore style, while Mushroomhead’s set flew by with only five songs but an overpowering and dramatic stage presence, especially on their cover of Pink Floyd’s Empty Spaces and multiple band members crowdsurfing. Miss May I continued their strong climb in popularity with a longer set and impressive crowd participation, despite being one of the more melodic bands of the day.

Suicide Silence was billed as the 3rd headliner of the night, but they turned out to be the biggest fan favorite on Sunday. Hermida did a fantastic job distorting his vocals to match late frontman Mitch Lucker’s distinctive screams, and the floor was a nonstop pit of violent action as the band ripped through seven new and old songs with a vengeance that few others can match.

The Fillmore noticeably emptied out after Suicide Silence’s set, leaving the floor much more open for the stoner rockers in Texas Hippie Coalition and their enormous, “everything bigger in Texas” frontman Big Dad Rich (and his shotgun-shaped microphone stand). With a little more breathing room, fans enjoyed THC’s more mellow set, including the super catchy Turn It Up. The lighter music also gave a much needed breather before the night’s final act, the one and only Cannibal Corpse.

It was a little disheartening seeing how empty the Fillmore was for Cannibal Corpse, but frankly everyone who left early missed a brilliant lesson in death metal brutality from the genre’s true masters. Frontman George Fisher seemed to embody pure evil as he whipped his hair around like a revving chainsaw and his band plowed through some of the heaviest and rawest riffs of the night.

Cannibal Corpse only had 35 minutes to play, but they made the most of their set with classics like I Cum Blood, Hammer Smashed Face, and of course, set ender Stripped, Raped & Strangled, all delivered with the utmost sonic violence.

Frankly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Taste of Mayhem idea. For those of us who have been enjoying Mayhem since its 2008 inception and Ozzfest before that, stripping away the festival grounds simply made this show a regular metal tour, but with achingly short set times for bands who deserve much more. Still, something is better than nothing, and getting a taste of bands like Emmure, Mushroomhead, and especially the newly thriving Suicide Silence was well worth a day at the Fillmore.

Stay tuned for mainstage coverage at Red Rocks from your Denver Hard Rock Examiner...

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