Exodus parted the seas and the pit!
(L to R: Guitarist Kragen Lum, vocalist Steve Souza, guitarist Lee Altus, and bassist Jack Gibson )

To quote the marketing team of Ugh Metal, on “Sinday” Oct. 8, the creator of the Ugh Metal creators decided to drop off the Klown and the rest of the “crew” at the North Park Observatory, even though the Klown and his krew live in North Park. Two things happened prior, the first thing was that we were running late and didn’t wanna literally run to the Observatory. Two, we didn’t want to miss the opener that was kicking off this show of biblical proportions, and because the Klown is out of shape, like hell he was going to have some smeared clown-scara on his leading man face.  Once inside, the Klown knew he was in for a treat.

The night opened with Dust Bolt. If you haven’t heard of Dust Bolt the Klown would highly recommend that you check them out. The quartet is amongst a current generation that represents a new wave of Teutonic thrash metal. The sounds that these gents produced were powerful and energetic. Imagine Kreator’s Miland “Mille” Patrozza’s vocals with Jurgen “Ventor” Reil’s thunderous and fast drumming combined with Sodom and Destruction with Tankard’s fun attitude.

Dust Bolt blows us away in their American tour debut!
(L to R: Guitarist Flo Dehn, drummer Nico Rayman, vocalist/guitarist Lenny Breuss, and bassist
Benedikt Münze)

Not only were we excited about seeing Dust Bolt but they too were excited. Early in the night, frontman/guitarist Lenny Breuss did what any frontman would and hyped the crowd which he would then excitedly confess to us all that not only were they happy to be in San Diego, and touring with two legends, but it was also their first time touring the United States. Breuss thanked Obituary for bringing them abroad.

It was never a dull moment with Lenny Breuss!

This act of gratitude and giddiness showed sufficiently when bassist/vox Benedikt Münze would chime in and rocked his bass like no one’s business along with guitarist Flo Dehn when he would take over for a couple of solos. Some examples of those actions happened when they performed songs from their 2014 Awake The Riot album such as “Soul Erazor,” and “Agent Thrash,” and from their last album Mass Confusion, “Mind The Gap.”

The coolest part of that performance was the band’s energy and the music was as infectious as Breuss’s charisma. The vocalist dropped from the stage and approach clamoring fans that were front and center on the rail to perform his guitar’s twang while the shirtless drummer, Nico Remann, backed him up on stage with his booming double kicks. Did the Klown mention that Dust Bolt were the openers?

Flo Dehn and Lenny Breuss of Dust Bolt are shaking the Observatory to its core!

As much as the Klown wanted to keep seeing what other jolts of energy they could dish ou they unfortunately had to vacate. The electricity  they  left behind would be picked up and cause the following act to take that power. This is exactly what Power Trip did! The Klown has heard this band serendipitously before but never thought he would see these Dallas Cowboys in his neck of the woods. Power Trip brought forth some thrash with some lone star grit similar to that of Pantera. The night kicked off with “Soul Sacrifice” from their recent album Nightmare Logic.

Power Trip jump startd the crowd.
(L to R: Drummer Chris Ulsh , vocalist Riley Gale, bassist Chris Whetzel and guitarist Nick Stewart)

The moment frontman Riley Gale’s vocals met with Chris Ulsh’s  drumming and the guitar twang of Blake Ibanez, fans threw their metal horns in the air and raised them high for these Longhorns. The band really got a strong response when they picked up the pace with the “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe).” The pit grew with intensity along with our craving for beer and brisket because that’s what Texans eat, right?

These Mavericks brought forth some more noise and had the rowdy San Diegan crowd make a pit the size of their home state. Power Trip left the rampant crowd in a frenzy as they nailed their Sunday special in the form of “Crucifixion.” They went for the kill with “Firing Squad” and closed out the massacre with “Manifest Decimation.”

You don’t mess with Texas and Power Trip!
(L to r: Guitarist Blake Ibanez, drummer Chris Ulsh, vocalist Riley Gale,  bassist Chris Whetzel and guitarist Nick Stewart)

Our fictional and rhetorical death was followed up appropriately by one of the daddies of death metal, Obituary. This would mark the second time this Floridian quintet graces our page as live performers this year. In fact, the Klown and his sibling talked about them when Ugh Metal took a trip up to Santa Ana’s Observatory for the Decibel Magazine Tour which featured the mighty Kreator. Check that out when you can.

Anyway, this time it’s the Klown’s turn. That night, unlike the last time they performed, was a little different. The night featured a more… relaxed and interactive Obituary. Then again, this time, their set wasn’t as limited as it was last time. The quintet started their set with their infamous opener “Redneck Stomp.” Once Kenny Andrews began the opening riffs to the stomp, the North Park crowd began to cheer and lost their shit because they knew the show was already in full swing.

Obituary is life!
(L to R: Guitarist Trevor Peres, drummer Donald Tardy, vocalist John Tardy, bassist Terry Butler and guitarist Kenny Andrews)

The instrumental classic would then be followed by “Sentence Day” from their latest self-titled album. By that point,  John Tardy would chime in with his incomparable harsh vocals that some people don’t believe it to be death metal. The stoic frontman had his usual never fails to remind us that he is a veteran of the mosh pit and headbanging and his actions follow suit.

When Tardy wasn’t headbanging, he sang with his harsh vocals adding more character to the already classic death metal sound. Not one to be far behind is his brother Donald Tardy, who blasts his drums the way thrash drummers do. But the real treat by far was Trevor Peres, who decided to challenge the chugging throne of the Klown! During the brief breaks, Peres would start to drink, the crowd would chant “chug” and he proceeded to do so. Donald would not only find amusement with the reaction but would cheer him on as well with bassist Terry Butler joining in and applauding with approval.

Twas our ‘Sentence Day’ with Obituary.

This awesomeness would translate so well that by the time “Visions In My Head” ended, the band began to experience technical difficulties. Not even the darkness with orange backlights was enough to slow these gents down or kill the mood. Peres would liven up the mood and played some playful “Merrily We Roll Along” guitar riffs. For those that don’t know, that’s the Looney Tunes’ theme song. Of course, Andrews would join in briefly with some of his own.

When the power was back up, the quintet continued with “A Lesson In Violence” as if nothing had happened. If a clergy were present at the show, he would have agreed with the destination the Floridian band was going to send us to  which was “Straight To Hell.” Of course,

Trevor Peres and John Tardy of Obituary watch us slowly rot!

we were “Dying” to hear more Obituary and if possible we wanted to hear them  “‘Til Death.” Most importantly, as much as we didn’t want the moment to end, the band closed out their entire set with their prolific single from their debut album Slowly We Rot with the song of the same name.

As soon as Obituary migrated off of the stage, one of California’s Bay Area thrash titans would take the stage. If the world were a perfect place, the Big 4 of Thrash would actually be 5. The fifth member in that fold would be Exodus. The moment would also mark the first time Ugh Metal has seen the full, current, Exodus line-up separately. Although some were bummed out that Gary Holt wasn’t present, Ugh Metal had the pleasure of seeing Holt at last year’s SD Comic Con. Check that kick ass collab when you can.

Steve Souza still parting the sweaty sea!

The night began with “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles,”  with the drummer Tom Hunting gracing the crowd with an open-armed strongman pose right before taking his place behind the kit during the beginning. He would soon be joined by guitarists Kragen Lum and Lee Altus, and  bassist Jack Gibson. Ever the showman, frontman Steve Souza would make his appearance last, hyped the crowd and blasted the mic with his prolific and powerful vocals.

Exodus riled up the crowd further when they followed up with their newest classics “Blood In, Blood Out” and “Body Harvest” from their 2010 Exhibit B: The Human Condition

Lee Altus, Steve Souza and Jack Gibson of Exodus totally look like they’re not having fun :p

album. Souza would then announce that from there on they were going to play blasts from the past and superseded with “A Lesson In Violence.” The Klown saw the lesson have its effect when the pit grew and became more aggressive than a swarm of yellow jackets defending their hive. Of course, Souza showed all in attendance why Exodus deserves to be on a legendary throne and why they should be taken seriously at all times.

One example was when Souza, drenched in sweat, refused to stay in one spot. Souza did not stay in one place and hyped and interacted with fans along with Lum, Altus, and Gibson. Souza and Hunting’s presence were felt even when they were far from the spotlight . Not only did Hunting provoke the crowd through his drumming prowess but also with his strong, embracive poses such as throwing his arms up signaling for more energy.

Before they did they asked us to dance in the “Toxic Waltz”

Souza would then express his gratitude to the crowd that showed up and emphasized the fact that it was a Sunday night. The frontman voiced his love for San Diego and said that Exodus always had a great time and received a superb reception from the diverse San Diego crowd. The rest of the band would join in, expressively through applauses and cheer gestures to go along with Souza’s word and continued with more classics before calling it a night.

The night got more insane once Souza announced, through an anecdote, that we were “Bonded by Blood.” The night saw a

Kragen Lum and Steve Souza enticing us to fuck shit up!

bigger circle pit when “The Toxic Waltz” started as well as a loud roaring chorus line that sang along with Souza. The night closed with one of their first hits, “Strike of the Beast.” Souza thanked fans once more and bowed out with the band which lingered on a bit further to bow out repeatedly.

Before the Klown signs off, he would like to acknowledge and thank Lee Altus for being an awesome guitarist and a true gentleman to the Klown’s despondent sibling. Altus made sure that the setlist that was snatched from her hand by some geezer would be returned to her hands.

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