Welcome to Creepsylvania: Ghoul Live at the Riot Room in Kansas City 08/08/16
Moments before Ghoul’s set at the Riot Room Monday night, stagehands placed trash bags over the monitors on the stage. It was an omen of what was to come – a blistering hour of death-tinged thrash metal with full Gwar-esque stage props, characters and more fake blood thrown out into the audience than watermelon chunks at a Gallagher show. To any first timer, it is the craziest, most over-the-top musical event in quite some time. But to diehard Ghoul fans – it’s just another one of their excellent live performances.
With a flamboyant newspaper hawker disemboweled onstage by a voodoo priest – shooting fake blood out into the crowd in the meantime – Ghoul’s show started off with a bang. Throughout their hour-long set, a whole cast of characters took the stage including a hybrid Nazi/cop/Darth Vader-looking guy with a giant metal fist that sprayed the crowd with “insecticide” and a deformed Creepsylvanian-version of Bernie Sanders who eventually got disemboweled and flung all sorts of unsavory liquid everywhere – not to mention the guy at the end in nothing more than a speedo that just poured the rest of the “blood” from a bucket onto everyone anywhere near the Riot Room’s stage. No one – probably not even the bartenders – left the venue without being covered in some sort of strange matter that night.
Luckily, Ghoul doesn’t need to rely on their outlandish stage show to put on a competent performance – their mixture of death metal, thrash metal and just a hint of surf rock provided all the entertainment needed. The set contained mostly tracks from their brand new album Dungeon Bastards. “Ghoulunatics,” probably the band’s new theme song, opened the show with the speed set to high and it didn’t come down at all. “Off With Their Heads” and “Brain Jerk” from 2011′s Transmission Zero were well-received, and it was a treat to hear some older Ghoul tunes, such as 2003′s “Boneless” and “Graveyard Mosh” from their 2002 debut, despite being a shorter instrumental piece. The Creepsylvanian’s also threw in a cover of “Blow Up The Embassy” by underground hardcore group Fearless Iranians From Hell – a cover that seemed to go over the heads of many in the crowd. The set came to a raucous end with “Gutbucket Blues” and finally the bloodsoaked moshing dissipated. Next time you’re at the Riot Room, be sure to inspect the floors or the stage – you might just find it a shade of darker red than ever before.
A trio of eclectic touring groups and one of KC’s finest local metal acts paved the way for Ghoul’s mayhem Monday night. Direct support fell to California’s Night Demon, who was touring with Ghoul after their recent stint opening for legendary goregrind group Carcass. Night Demon plays a refreshingly modern take on old-school heavy metal – it’s useless to try and compare them to any contemporary bands when they sound right at home alongside metal giants like Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and Angel Witch. They are the closest to a classic NWOBHM band we have right now, and they’re not even from overseas. Tunes like “Ritual,” “Screams in the Night” and the eponymous “Night Demon” solidified the group as not just being able to jam out some killer tunes, but as one of the funnest live bands around.
This show was originally supposed to be only Fórn and Yellow Eyes, but the rest of the lineup was added to turn a metal show into a full-blown event. Yellow Eyes performed first and have a distinct brand of almost hypnotizing black metal – no frills, no solos, just crushing riffing and blastbeats. One of the loudest bands of the night by far, they blasted out a half hour’s worth of suffocating and punishing music that barely stopped for anything – set closer “Sick With Bloom” was especially vicious. A sight to see, for sure. With a 45 minute set, Fórn was the sole “slow” band of the night, but what they lacked in speed they more than made up for with some of the heaviest sludge/doom riffs in existence. With more in common with heavyweight stoner/doom/sludge juggernauts such as Thou, Conan or Cough, Fórn admirably decimated the eardrums of everyone witnessing their set. Easily one of the heaviest bands of the year.
Opening the show were local good ol’ boys Troglodyte. The thing about Troglodyte is that they may seem like a gimmick (masks, almost every song is about Bigfoot, etc.) but they musical chops back up the stage show 100%. Vocalist Jeff Sisson walked around the entire venue while performing – even up to the bar and the cautious onlookers in the back of the venue – and interacted with nearly everyone there to witness Trog’s blend of death metal and grindcore that is easily one of Kansas City’s metal music treasures. Anyone who knows anything about the Kansas City heavy metal scene undoubtedly knows Troglodyte, but they are easily one of the best the area has to offer and only keep getting better and better. Keep Sasquatchin’!
4. Blow Up The Embassy (Fearless Iranians From Hell cover)
5. Word As Law
6. Off With Their Heads
7. Spill Your Guts
8. Graveyard Mosh/Guitarmageddon
9. Wall of Death
10. As Your Casket Closes
11. Shred The Dead
12. Gutbucket Blues