Chapel Hill, North Carolina – The first day of the massacre brings music from Orlando, Florida’s Massacre, Virginia Beach, Virginia’s thrashers At War, Richmond, Virginia’s speed metal freaks BAT, Orlando, Florida’s doom metal purveyors Druid Lord, New York City’s all female death metal band Castrator, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s death metal masters Morta Skuld. For the horror movie fans Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly and Richard Demanicor of “The Evil Dead” made an appearance along with Lauren-Marie Taylor of “Friday The 13th, Part 2”.
When I first heard of this festival I was stoked!!!! A super sick lineup of bands within driving distance Virginia Beach at a cost that wasn’t extravagant with the bonus of meeting actresses from two horror movie franchises, I was sold!!! The last time I covered anything like this was in 2015 when I covered the first Shadow Woods Metal Fest for National Rock Review. Put on by John McEntee, guitarist and vocalist for the death metal band Incantation and founder of Ibex Moon Records, and his wife Yoyo are horror movie fans. They got married in June of 2021 in Bastrop, Texas at the Gas Station, the location that was used for the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, and had an outdoor screening of Texas Chainsaw Massacre after a killer metal concert. John and Yoyo discussed the idea of doing it again but with more people and bands and round two of the massacre was born.
Before the music, I spoke briefly to Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly and Lauren-Marie Taylor about their initial impressions of being at a metal festival as opposed to a con. Lauren seemed to be the most excited while Betsy and Theresa had a more “let’s see” take on it. This isn’t a bad thing, I don’t expect everyone to just fall in love with metal, it is an acquired taste and this was the first day.
The Chainsaw Girls unfortunately without chainsaws made their presence known by hanging out with the fans, posing for photos and later in the day throwing down in the circle pit. I found them to be a lot more than just eye candy.
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher of Cannibal Corpse came down to hang out and just be his awesome self.
The last time I saw Morta Skuld live they were the headliner, so for them to start off the day gives you an idea of how epic this lineup was. Playing a short set of mostly older material, they set the pace and sounded incredible.
Morta Skuld SETLIST
The Killing Machines
I saw Castrator for the first time last November when they were tour support for Exhumed and these ladies kick ass!!! Before they started their set I told Theresa Tilly that the all female band was about to play and she may want to check them out. The surprise was when Matt Harvey of Exhumed/Gruesome joined them to play a cover of Venom’s “Countess Bathory”. If you haven’t checked out Castrator, you should!!
Tormented By Atrocities
Befoul My Existence
DAWA Of Yousafzai
Purge The Rotten
Countess Bathory (Venom cover)
I am not a big fan of doom metal, there are a lot of bands that play stoner/doom that simply are not that good. Druid Lord is not one of those bands!!! The change in pace from death to doom was welcomed by the crowd, as these guys melted faces with a set of recent material. If your taste in metal includes Temple of Void and Paradise Lost, you are going to love Druid Lord.
Druid Lord SETLIST
Relics Of The Dead
House Of Dripping Gore
Thirteen Days Of Death
Black Candle Séance
Throwing another curve ball in the pace of the day the heavy/speed metal band BAT came out to throw down. The last time I saw them play live was the 6th Annual GWAR-B-Q on August 15, 2015. The side project of Ryan Waste and Nick Polous of Municipal Waste and Volture, they brought a classic heavy metal sound to the show. It was great to see them live.
You Die/Long Live The Lewd
Wings Of Chains/Rule Of The Beast
I didn’t realize it until I looked up the last time I had seen At War perform live was January 15th, 2016. Like BAT, At War doesn’t play live very often. Some of my friends made the trip from the Hampton Roads area just to see At War play live again. As the moon rose over venue the guys played a set of songs that covered all three of their albums “Ordered To Kill”, “Retaliatory Strike” and “Infidel” and got the pit moving.
At War SETLIST
Ordered To Kill
Creed Of The Sniper
Dawn Of Death
This was my first time seeing Massacre live and they simply blew the crowd away with a set that included songs from their 1991 album “From Beyond” to 2021’s “Resurgence”. Kam Lee orchestrated the chaos and closed day one of the massacre.
Dawn of Eternity
The Innsmouth Strain
The Mythos That Lovecraft Built
Book of the Dead
Chamber of Ages
Fate of the Elder Gods
The Dunwich Horror
Return of the Corpsegrinder
Festival Date: 5/5/2023 Day 1