Housecore Horror Film Festival was quite the success last year. This Phil Anselmo curated event immediately garnered special attention from the metal world. This was to be the festivals second edition, and it was poised to be bigger than ever. Four days of metal thrashing fun, Housecore proved to be quite the success. However I hope we never forget the man behind this incredible and almost mythical event, Corey Mitchell, sadly deceased mere hours after the festival wrapped up. The only redemption being that he drew his last breaths in the throes of a truly great triumph.
I realized on the morning of this fourth and final day that I would have been perfectly content ending my festival with GWAR and their triumphant Pet Shop Boys cover. The weekend was coming to an end, but we still had a few highlights to hit up, including the almighty Superjoint Ritual and Warbeast. The day promised to be a good one, and despite a bit of a bangover I was excited to see what the final few hours of the festival would hold. While Saturday may have been my favorite day, there were still a lot of exciting things to look forward too!
The first band I saw was Krigblast who are a fairly standard issue death metal band. However they played with a lot of energy, and I remember their set being passionate and strangely beautiful in the way that only death metal is. This was clearly a dream come true for many of the bands members and the fact that Randy Blythe was standing up front taking pictures of the band only made the event all the more special. Though their set was fairly short I think they won a few new fans, and I’m certainly going to be going out and checking some of their stuff on Facebook as soon as I get the time to do it!
Gasmiasma were up next, and I have much clearer memories of their performance. Asides from being fronted by the slightly infamous “Eagle-head dude” from a recent Metalsucks Podcast they delivered a very unique band of grinding punk. The accents done on the bass lines played by Down’s very own Pat Bruders helped to keep things interesting and proved to me that these guys have what it takes to truly reach the next level. With a potential deal with Housecore coming up and a few plans for tours here and there I get the sense that this was just another step for Gasmiasma. They have a unique sound and very different sensibilities, now it’s just a matter of them getting the recognition that they so readily deserve.
I took a bit of a break now for some final interviews, including a cool one with King Parrot as well as another with Dave Hill. The Hill interview was particularly exciting since I’ll be seeing him in Philadelphia in just a few days, and he’s been one of my favorite comedians for a long time. I think it was around this point that I talked to Corey Mitchell for the last time, his parting words being “See you around”. Little did I know that I would not actually be seeing him around, and that mere hours after the magic ended tragedy would strike, but more on that later, now we have a last batch of bands to write about!
Corrections House were the penultimate band to grace the outdoor Midway Stage at Housecore and they delivered an incredibly memorable and oftentimes jarring set. Their music was powerful and profound, crushing riffs that tore me apart were complimented by drum loops and saxophone solos. What these guys are doing is incredibly unique, yet it all works under the Sabbath influenced guitar of Scott Kelly and the unholy shrieks of the legendary Mike IX. The only complaint I had was that Mike’s stage presence wasn’t quite up to snuff, but Corrections House don’t play live all that often so that’s fairly excusable. They still played some memorable music and I look forward to seeing them again.
Suddenly it was time for the almighty Superjoint Ritual, living proof that Anselmo can simply churn out legendary bands like it ain’t no thang. This set was fiery and exciting, and I could tell Anselmo was glad to be back. Though the band has yet to announce any follow up shows don’t be surprised if they end up doing more. It seemed like everyone was having a grand old time, the only issue now being trying to find time in all the band members busy schedules. As is though, this set will always live on in my memory, with the closing track of Superjoint Phil managed to close off a legendary part of his career and prove that he is still a force to be reckoned with. I love that after all his years in the business he still plays with the same demonic energy and still has the humility to play in the middle of the day at his own festival. This is a stand up guy who will never die, so you better prepare yourself for whatever he decides to crank out next!
The crowd then headed over to Emo’s for the start of the final stage of festivities. Dead Earth Politics were about to go on and people seemed to be more pumped than ever for Danzig. I grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby deli and bumped into an old friend, once again affirming how good this festival was at bringing all sorts of metal people together. Here I was talking to a guy I hadn’t written for since I was 16, but who had probably shaped my writing career more than I care to admit. Housecore is one of the premier US metal events for a reason, everyone whose anyone cares and feels the need to be there, take note metal wannabes, go to Housecore next year and meet all the contacts you could ever need!
I came in halfway through Dead Earth Politics first song. I’ve listened to their record and had been chatting with their singer, Devon Brown, who is quite the showman. These guys are fun to watch play live, they have a lot of energy and some unique ideas. Their distinct mix of Lamb of God with Iron Maiden is really cool to see carried out live and shows that these guys have what it takes to really succeed in a crowded scene. The band was clearly excited and it came through in their playing. Dead Earth Politics are a true pleasure to watch live and I get the impression that we are going to be hearing a lot more from them in the next few years!
One of my most anticipated bands of the weekend, KEN Mode were set to storm the stage next. Now, I’m fairly familiar with their work, but I’d never gotten the chance to see them live. Simply put, they blew me away, Jesse Matthewson has great stage presence and his growls are truly sick. Meanwhile Scott plays some wild bass, his own vocals nicely complimenting Jesse’s. When Jesse climbed down into the pit for the bands last song, Never Was (which had the crowd singing along) the band reached their righteous climax. These guys are still climbing the ladder but they definitely have something special. Their music is truly unique and I’m excited to see how they continue to grow. The band still haven’t been forced to get real jobs, and I get the impression they never will. So continue to feel the love and bend your knee before the might of KEN Mode.
I almost ended up skipping Warbeast to take some time to recover, but a good friend of mine managed to convince me to stick around and see what happened. I’m glad he made me stay, these guys utterly kicked ass, playing their own brand of death metal at a million miles an hour. Bodies flew as the band choked out one death metal masterpiece after another. By the time they hit their classics at the end of the set the crowd was absolutely wild. These guys have only gotten better with age and proved to me that there is no stopping a true death metal band who have the motivation to do whatever it takes to succeed. Warbeast understand what death metal is all about, and when they unleash their unholy grooves it jars the listener right back into the strange and twisted reality which we are all forced to inhabit.
The last band who I truly wanted to see at the festival was the almighty Eyehategod. I’ve been listening to them since I was a mere 14 year old and I was simply blown away by how heavy they were. With a nice mix of classics and new stuff, Eyehategod crushed me to a pulp. Mike IX redeemed himself and proved to me that he deserves his place in the pantheon of the great metal frontmen. His vocals were utterly sick and his headbanging brought the entire crowd into a sort of unholy motion. Here is a band who sound like people are dying and by god is it good. Eyehategod proved their years of stage experience have paid off with some of the most satisfying sludge metal I have ever had the pleasure to see live. This is definitely one for the photo album.
I decided to stay for Danzig because even though he’s a colossal ass and I don’t really like his Samhain or Danzig material, fuck it, I want a Misfits tattoo, I might as well see the guy. I had an early flight and knew I couldn’t stay for the entire set, but I definitely wanted to see some Danzig classics. While his stage presence is still strong, I feel like his voice has gotten a lot worse and can’t handle a lot of the more intricate Danzig stuff. In fact, if Danzig came off his high horse and did Misfits songs not only would the audience get off more, but he would be more capable of performing them given his vocal range. As is, it was still a fairly memorable show and Danzig managed to put together something pretty special. It’s always cool to see legends play live, it humanizes them and gives me a better understanding of the entire world we call rock and roll, and so, on that level, it was very much worth it.
We drove home that night with the dread of a short night ahead of us. My plan flew out at 8 and I didn’t want to have a bangover in the plane. Little did we know of the tragedy to come, instead we sat in the car and reminisced, about Housecore, Hellfest, and more. This was a beautiful weekend that will always stay bright and powerful in my memory. Festivals like this one are truly magical, heavy metal at its finest, and for people who know how to do it right, pure bliss. I wish with all of my heart that those could have been the last words that I wrote about this festival, but alas it was not to be.