Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Summer Slaughter Tour: A Morbid Misanthrope's Humble Review

At last a concert came to town metal enough to lure me from the sweet seclusion of my cave. As the name so eloquently implies, the Summer Slaughter Tour is the “most extreme tour of the year.” And although the year is far from over, the veracity of that statement probably won’t be compromised unless a bunch of pro skaters pack up their halfpipe and tour the country themselves (those skaters are so fucking extreme, they’re actually X-treme). Regardless of the tour’s superfluous extremity, the show promised nine bands for the low, low price of only $17.00. With a price like that, I couldn’t afford not to go.

The Venue
Unlike many of the metal shows I’ve attended in the past, this concert took place at an all-ages venue. I’m used to seeing metal bands in filthy little dive bars where you spend most of your time trying to avoid stepping on potentially hazardous piles or puddles of sticky god-knows-what. At this all-ages show, however, I spent most of my time trying not to step on any kids. The fuckin’ place was crawling with the little bastards. Watching these annoying, sideways-hat-wearing, trying-to-look-tough thumbsuckers pour through the doors of the venue reminded me of maggots crawling out of a freshly kicked hole in the side of a rotting animal. I think I prefer the maggots. They have more personality.

Being an all-ages venue, there was no alcohol on the premises; unless you count all the cool kids trading sips from tallboys of warm Budweiser in the parking lot bushes. From the looks of these little wimps, they were more accustomed to Zima and wine coolers, but, you know, it’s a metal show and they have to look tough until their minivan-driving mommies pick them up.

I had never been to this venue before because it’s pretty much just a hangout for screamo kids, punks, and various types of hoodie-wearing hardcore dumbshits. The venue itself is fairly large and has decent sound; although, some of the bands sounded rather muffled—like someone blast-farting into a couch cushion. If there was a designated outdoor smoking area, I didn’t see it. This drove a few unfortunate guys with shaved heads and prison tattoos to start punching people until security threw them out. Come to think of it, they were probably just skinheads. Those guys love punching people … and nailing their cousins … often both at the same time.

Overall the venue was good: plenty of parking, decent sound, large merchandise area, large stage area, etc. What the venue lacks, at least when I was there, is some airflow. Being in that place was like cramming your head up a bee hive and jumping into a kiln. Would it kill their budget to invest in a fucking ceiling fan or two? Crack a goddamn window, guys, you’re starting to attract wayfaring Italian cooks looking for an oven big enough to cook pizzas shaped like Italy. (I was going to make a Nazi oven joke, but my conscience threatened to sue.)

Here is a quick rundown of the bands that played.

Beneath the Massacre:
A tech-death(ish) metal band from Canada. They sounded like a group of speed freaks jackhammer fighting behind a liquor store while a robot kicks over trashcans. Sweet!

Ion Dissonance:
I had never heard this band before. I guess you could call them a hardcore band with grindcore tendencies. Their bass player was bald and thrashed around a lot.

Melodic, blackened death metal. I would have paid $17.00 just to see these guys play. I bought their “United in Regret” t-shirt because it’s way necro. When they played “A Diamond for Disease,” it was so fucking badass that three people exploded.

The Faceless:
I had never heard of these guys, either. Their keyboard player looked like someone who would have gotten beaten up by Moby back in Junior High School.

As Blood Runs Black:
“We want you [their fans in the crowd] to fuckin’ go crazy and tear this shit up!” They probably would have, but they were all too busy writing notes about their feelings to put on LiveJournal when they got home.

Cattle Decapitation:
A local gore/grind band that has become somewhat well known. I saw them back in the day with Nile and Impaled. Their singer looks like a cracked-out Jim Breuer. He flailed around a lot, poured bottled water on himself, and spat in the air and caught it in his mouth. I wanted to drop kick him. The band itself is cool, though.

Cephalic Carnage:
These crazy bastards are an awesome mix of death metal, grindcore, and other random types of assorted musical madness. Since I know that drug-free is the way to be, I can’t say I approve of their calls to smoke weed. During “Endless Cycle of Violence,” I punched a kid so hard it knocked the Billabong logo off of his shirt.

A tech-death metal band from Poland. I’ve been listening to these guys for years. Back in college “Spheres of Madness” was practically my theme song, and I finally got to see them play it live. They were an unstoppable wall of brutal death metal battery.

The final and headlining band of the Summer Slaughter Tour took the stage and beat the shit out of the audience with complex tech-death riffing, time signatures nearly impossible to headbang to, and an eight-minute-long drum solo.

Highlights of the Show
Beneath the Massacre, Arsis, Cephalic Carnage, Decapitated, and Necrophagist.
“GORE not CORE” shirts. Goddamn right!

Things that Pissed Me off at the Show
For the sake of brevity, I’ll try to keep the unhinged ranting to a minimum.

Because there were so many bands on the bill, every band leading up to Necrophagist only had a four-song set. I’ve seen soundchecks last longer than that. If I had sneezed, I would have completely missed Decapitated’s performance. The simple solution is to put fewer bands on the lineup. Even with dirty metalheads, quality trumps quantity—unless you’re talking about alcohol, in which case more is always better. I myself would choose a dusty metal bucket of Jim Beam runoff over a clean shot glass of Maker’s Mark any day.

In any case, the Summer Slaughter Tour would have been no less extreme had Ion Dissonance, The Faceless, and As Blood Runs Black not been involved. In fact, the exclusion of As Blood Runs Black probably would have added to the tour’s extreme cred, as their absence probably would have cut down on the number of fifteen-year-old emo kids sniveling up the joint, reeking of expensive hair conditioner.

Speaking of emo kids, just what the fuck happened to the metal scene since I’ve been gone? I’ve been to all-ages shows in the past, and there always were a bunch of annoying punker and hardcore kids around, but never have I been to a metal show so full of tragically hip, senselessly pouty, emo douchebags with stupid haircuts. It was as if Junior Prom at the school for the extraordinarily angsty let out after an especially moving performance by My Chemical Romance. I went to take a piss but couldn’t get in the bathroom because the raging torrent of mascara-laced tears was impossible to ford without three pack mules and one-hundred feet of rope. At one point, the mosh pit turned into a moping circle, and all the emo kids just sort of shuffled around, flipping their feathered hair out of their eyes in melancholy unison. I didn’t know people on suicide watch were allowed to go to concerts.

This unholy mixture of clashing subcultures—emo/screamo, hardcore, punker, and metal—led to an unusual pit experience. Hardcore kids performing the ever-popular and totally not lame pit dance “picking up change” were inevitably kicked in the head by safety-pin-covered idiots jumping around karate kicking the air like spastic, uncoordinated Ralph Macchios. Fragile screamo boys and girls bordered the pit and looked sad when anyone ran into them, and metalheads just ran around, plowing through anyone in their way. Some jackass was literally doing cartwheels in the pit—the kind of cartwheels effeminate guys wearing lederhosen do while picking flowers and singing show tunes in a field somewhere. The last time I saw him he was getting his shit totally ruined by a big guy in a Morbid Angel t-shirt. He got hit so hard mid-cartwheel that his shoe flew off.

It also occurred to me that many of the younger, emo people at the show didn’t “get” the death metal stylings of Decapitated and Necrophagist. If I had a nickel for every emo kid completely baffled by the death metal legends, I could have bought the Hot Topic store at the mall, invited a bunch of screamo fanboys (and girls) in for a studded belt sale, and burned the motherfucker down. The great majority of emo kids in the crowd looked like wild turkeys drowning in the rain, slack-jawed and glazed over, when Necrophagist was playing. The confusion finally became too great, and they fled the venue in droves, looking for a band full of mascara-wearing pretty boys in tight pants to play some tired-ass harmonies in 4/4 that they could wrap their heads around.

I even overheard a guy saying, “What the hell’s with this band? They have no stage presence. This is, like, boring.” Really? You try jumping around on stage like a flaming monkey during a seizure while playing this. I know image is really important to you hip kids, but some people value musical prowess more than eyebrow piercings and choreographed jumping. If I just wanted to see a bunch of adults jump around, I’d go to the loony bin down the street and light off some firecrackers during story hour.

All in all, it was a great show, well worth leaving my cave to attend. It doesn’t beat the Anal Blast concert I went to last year, though. At that show, the bar’s toilets overflowed and flooded the club with two inches of putrid, hepatitis-rich sewer water. Because of that, all the drinks that night were half price. Score!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Night Metal Show

From the Desk of Morbid Misanthrope:

I'm actually leaving my house to go to this show tonight. It's the first metal show I've been to since I saw Anal Blast over a year ago. I'll probably write something about it when it's all over, so at least anyone reading this crap knows a legitimate post is forthcoming. Probably.

Staying totally necro as always,

Morbid Misanthrope

Friday, June 08, 2007

Funny Metal Video: "Porn Store Stiffi" by Blood Duster

Drummer playing kick drums wearing roller skates: best joke ever.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Helpful Hints for Diabetics

Several months ago I got a case of the diabetes. It was a simple mistake, really. I was tired of filling up on beer so quickly (and I certainly wasn’t going to start drinking chardonnay like some kind of fruitcup), so I decided I needed some more room in my guts for beer storage. After looking through some old Carcass CD booklets for anatomical diagrams of the human viscera, I felt confident enough to do some remodeling; sort of like This Old House with blood and a few kidneys.

So, with a scalpel I bought off of this guy that sells drugs out of a boat parked in his driveway, I did a nice job removing this large organ that looks like a retarded corn cob. I thought, “Fuck, anything that looks this stupid can’t be worth a damn, and it’s taking up space that could be used to hold Old English. Precious Old English.” Had I been in a better state of mind, a state of mind of someone who wasn’t drunk and in the middle of removing his own ugly organs with a scalpel probably crawling with hepatitis, I would have realized I was taking out my pancreas. And if I had been in that better state of mind and actually knew what the hell a pancreas was for, well, I probably would have left it alone. Nobody’s perfect, right?

The next thing I know, I’m waking up in the hospital to a team of doctors slapping me around like a newborn that owed them money. I was pretty groggy, but I remember the conversation going something like this:

Me: What the hell, dude?
Doc 1: You stupid, stupid ass!
Me: Stupid? Me? Fuck you! I’ve turned myself into the perfect beer-drinking machine God never had the stones to create Himself!
Doc 2: Cripes! More of this shit. Hit him again, doctor.
Doc 1: You dumbshit! I’ll slap that triumphant-mad-scientist complex right out of you!
Me: Quit slapping me, you quack!
Doc 1: I’ll slap you all I like, asshole!
Me: Can you at least punch me? I hate getting slapped!
Doc 2: Sorry. Doctors are only trained to slap. Punching, kicking, and Muay Thai elbows are out of the question. Besides, in your condition, any trauma could kill you.
Me: Then why is this fuckhead slapping me?
Doc 1: Because you’re a goddamned idiot! That’s why!
Me: What … what the fuck? Sweet mother of Buddha butt-fucked upside down! There’s a tube in my dick! There’s a tube in my….

Er … that’s enough of that. (Editor’s Note: Tube = catheter.) Anyway, after I was sedated and the doctors finished uploading the video of them kicking my ass to YouTube, they explained that the pancreas, no matter how silly it looks, is necessary to live. Further, they explained it took them several hours of intense surgery to put it back and save my life.

Doc 2: Congratulations, moron. You’re alive. And you’ve won the hospital’s “Stupidest Patient of the Month” contest.
Me: Really? Who came in second?
Doc 2: That would be Timbo. He cut off his own penis with a Sonic Blade.
Me: And I’m still the stupidest patient here?
Doc 2: Yes. Timbo’s crazy and thought the devil lived in his pants. That’s why he cut off his penis. You, on the other hand, are just a moron. Also, Timbo got bonus smart points for using the Sonic Blade. It doesn’t slice, it sonically separates, you know.
Me: Well how the fuck do you like that?

After nearly a month of painful recovery and physical therapy (I had to learn to walk in hospital socks), I was almost ready to get out of the hospital. Because of the damage done to my pancreas, I was now a diabetic and had to attend a class on taking care of myself before I could be released. The class consisted of a short, cross-eyed lady sticking syringes into a Nerf ball and talking about glucose.

I wasn’t paying a lot of attention, but as I understand it, the pancreas sends out magic waves that regulate the levels of sugar, or glucose, in your blood. If the pancreas stops functioning properly, blood-glucose levels get out of balance like a clubfooted tightrope walker with an ear infection. If glucose levels get too low, you get all shaky and pass out until you eat some raisins; if glucose levels get too high, you have to shoot some insulin before they cut off your foot. Something like that, anyway. It was hard to pay attention—I really, really wanted to play with that Nerf ball.

Now, I’m not a very nice guy. In fact, I’m a real prick. But, since I’m lucky to be alive, I figured I’d do something nice for a change. I’ve decided to post a few things I’ve learned while living with diabetes. Perhaps someone new to the disease will read it and benefit from it. It might help someone—or even save someone’s life. Besides, this creepy night nurse that looked like the girl from Audition said if I didn’t write this, she’d find me when I felt completely safe, stick needles in my eyes, and garrote-saw my arms and legs off.

Check Your Blood Often
You’ll need to check your blood several times a day to be sure your glucose levels are balanced. The life of a diabetic is a life of constant chemistry. Thankfully, for those of us who never got the hang of diagramming Bohr Models in science class, modern devices make the blood-testing process very simple if not completely idiot proof.

Pictured below is the blood-testing device I was given when I left the hospital.
This technologically advanced device is used to draw a blood sample, the blood sample is read into the device via the testing strip, and then the device gives you a number that indicates your blood-glucose level. Your doctor will give you a chart, or sliding scale, that tells you what numbers are indicative of normal, low, and high blood-glucose levels. For example, my chart reads:

90 and below: Eat something with sugar in it, stupid.
100-150: Right on target. You’re doing pretty well for an imbecile.
151-200: You need four units of insulin. Try to avoid poking yourself in the eye.
230-300: What? Did you eat candy for lunch or something? Six units of insulin, Willy Wonka.
301 and up: You are so losing a foot if you don’t take eight units of insulin.

Obviously, the importance of maintaining proper blood-glucose levels cannot be overstated. If the levels remain high for a number of successive tests, you might need to go to the hospital. I suggest you take some sort of weapon with you to discourage the doctors from sawing off your feet. I don’t know why the feet are in constant jeopardy when you have diabetes, but I suspect the doctors have some kind of bet going where the M.D. that saws off the most feet gets a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon or something.

Maintain a Healthy Diet
I’m on a low-carb, low-sugar, low-fat diet. This makes eating foods I used to enjoy nearly impossible; however, your new diet is based on the severity of your case of diabetes and how sadistic your doctor feels that day. My daily diet consists of the following:

Breakfast: Three cornflakes, a teaspoon of soy milk, and a white watermelon seed.
Lunch: A quarter-sized ham cube, one boiled broccoli stem sprinkled with no more than five sesame seeds, and as much water as I can drink in seven seconds.
Dinner: One natural hotdog casing wrapped in a lettuce leaf, two un-popped popcorn kernels, and a cup of any Asian tea that looks like urine and smells like a dirty bong.
Pre-Bedtime Snack: As much low-fat cottage cheese as I can balance on a low-fat goldfish cracker.

As I mentioned before, diets vary from person to person. One example of a diabetes-friendly diet I was given in the diabetes class consisted of a bucket of yogurt for breakfast; a piece of beef, chicken, or pork the size of a deck of playing cards for lunch; a toddler-sized pile of fish bellies and apple cores for dinner; and a tofu brick shaped like a Toyota Scion for a pre-bedtime snack. Whatever diet the doctor assigns you, be sure to stick with it. I once ate a chicken strip for lunch and a dietician showed up and kicked me in the stomach until I threw up.

Exercise Every Day
Regular exercise helps distribute glucose evenly throughout your system. Tae Bo is for Nancy-Marys who wanted to be butch Broadway dancers, and jogging is for perverted old men that like to get away with wearing short-shorts in public. I suggest taking brisk walks and karate-kicking any neighborhood pets that look at you funny.

Be Smart with Your Syringes
The typical syringe used for insulin injections is very small and meant to be used only once. Even if health insurance helps cover the cost of all the needles you’ll need, using them once and throwing them away is a waste. I generally use my syringes until the needles are so warped they look like the peyos on a Chasidic Jew. One man’s money-saving tip is another man’s dangerous misuse of medical waste, I always say. If you’re too fancy to reuse your needles, you might as well sell them on the cheap to the local junkies. You may not get much for them, but every little bit helps these days. And, hey, at least you know the next time Pinchy the one-toothed smackhead shoots up, thanks to your moderately clean syringe, he won’t be getting AIDS.

Wear a Medical Necklace/Bracelet
These fashion accessories are not only perfect for any occasion, they also serve a very important purpose. They come with a wallet card you fill out with the specifics of your condition. If you’re ever in a really severe car accident or just pass out somewhere, the paramedics will know your health is fucked up and coddle your sorry ass accordingly.

Here is a typical medical alert necklace:
They’re usually perfect for engraving as well. Here is my engraved medical alert necklace: I learned my lesson, you lab coat-wearing bastards.

See Your Doctor Regularly
It’s important to see your doctor often when you’re a diabetic. Regular checkups and fancy blood tests are necessary to ensure you haven’t been fucking yourself up too severely. These checkups are usually quick and non-invasive (except for the blood test).

Some people, however, have what are called “floating veins” or, in my case, “ninja veins” (see picture of one of my veins below).
These veins move around a lot and are very difficult for the nurses to draw blood from. The first time I had blood drawn, the nurse had to work the needle back and forth like a coked-up caveman performing liposuction during an earthquake to finally spear the vein. My arm was so bruised from that shit, it looked like I had been trading shots of heroin with Courtney Love in a Seattle dumpster.

If you have this condition, many hospitals are very accommodating and will give you plenty of alternatives to the standard blood-drawing method. The hospital I go to even let me invent a new way to give blood for testing. We affectionately refer to it as the Oath Method: I slice the palm of my hand with a sweet knife (like Kevin Costner did in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), and then, with clenched fist, I bleed into a bucket I pretend is the grave of my ruthlessly murdered father. I’m currently kicking around an idea that involves a room full of broken glass, a slip ‘n’ slide, and a running start.

There you have it, folks. Doctors often say that diabetes treatment isn’t a science, and the best results come from careful trial and error. Hopefully, my experiences will help other new diabetics out there achieve stability without nearly so many errors. If not, at least I did my part and don’t have to worry about that scary nurse anymore.