Nihilist headlines Metal Assault’s Vol.2
(L to R: Guitarist Matt Smith,, bassist/vocalist Loren Tipton)

July 20 was kind of a significant date for San Diego especially of the nerdy and geeky variety. That’s right kids, the San Diego Comic Con International was already in full swing and it was sold out. Luckily for us, Ugh Metal and all the metalheads had a buffer and headed over to Metal Assault’s second concert volume at the Brick by Brick. Unlike the first installment, which the Klown regrettably didn’t get the chance to partake in, the second installment bolstered the night and cured the Comic Con blues.

The night kicked off with the OC quartet known as Siva. The Klown didn’t know what to expect from these gents but he was glad that they were a pleasant surprise. The quartet’s performance was rather refreshing and reintroduced the brand of metalcore that has sprouted known acts such as a Atreyu, Stick To Your Guns and Avenged Sevenfold just to name a few. The Klown witnessed the invigorated frontman, Kory Anderson, move voraciously throughout the performance. His performance reminded the Klown of Whitechapel frontman Phil Bozeman’s performance minus the platforms. Just like Bozeman, Anderson was a man of few words and allowed his actions and vocals to do the orating for him.

Kory Anderson of Siva let his motion do the talkin’.

Anderson and company treated us to songs from their 2015 album The Evolution of Decay such as the album’s forerunner “Leading the Blind.” Anderson also showed off some skills on the keyboard but the real treat wasn’t his skills on the keys. Anderson delighted the present congregation with a brand new, yet-to-be released song titled “Stone to Sand” which sounded pretty awesome and gave everyone in attendance more reasons to look forward to their next installment in the near future. The Klown will admit that these gents left quite an impact on him and the rest along with him. Siva did justice kicking off Metal Assault’s shindig.

Speaking of justice, the quartet from Torrence known as Heavy Justice took the stage front and center to dish out their brand of metal. The Klown can describe their style to be an unholy but awesome marriage between Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Something worth noting was that amongst this pool of testosterone, some kick ass amount of estrogen was in the mix in the form of drummer Michelle Pickerine.

Heavy Justice was so ready to prevail!
(L to R: Vocalist/ bassist Neil Moutrey, drummer Michelle Pickerine, and lead guitarist/back up vocalist Greg Mullen)

The group treated us to “Gold Digger” and then “Apocalyze.” The best way to describe bassist/vox Neil “Neilio” Moutrey is that he looks like a younger version of the Undertaker during his American Badass phase from the early 2000’s. Moutrey’s vocals resemble W.A.S.P’s Black Lawless and are accompanied by lead guitarist/ backup vox Greg Mullen’s harsh vocals for an extra oomph.

Mullen was a treat because he was a spectacle in and of himself. When he wasn’t running back and forth on the stage to meet up with Irvin Garay for a strumming duet  replicating moments much like K.K Downing and Glenn Tipton. Not a fan of Priest? Fine. How about the combo from Dave Murray and Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden?

Greg Mullen’s enthusiasm level was off the charts!

Heavy Justice also treated us to “Fall of Giants” from their And So We Fall LP. Before the band vacated the stage, they gave the present masses a rewarding send-off with a brand new song, “TV Fails.” The song not only gave everyone something to look forward to but also left the crowd hungry for more.

As soon as Justice served, Monolith picked up and continued Thursday’s debauchery. This local quintet definitely began to turn the steam left behind into smoke. As we all know, when there’s smoke there’s fire. The collective from Oceanside sparked their flames by opening with “The Emperor (The Suffering of Fools)” from their 2015 debut LP Against the Wall of Forever which was released through Funeral Noise Records. The Klown can describe the song as thrash in its infancy but with Keith McIntosh’s vocals reminiscent to that of a young Bruce Dickinson.

McIntosh really showed off his windpipes and sang with feeling with “Against the Wall of Forever” totally had the Klown and the crowd eating it up. McIntosh would once again take the same singing approach with the toned down “Kindly Dr. Jest (The Interrogator)”which had lead guitarist Doug Walker show off a nice and slow guitar solo towards the end as a perfect ending for their first half. The second half of their performance consisted of Monolith introducing a new song titled “Wings of Steel” and played from their 2014 The Notebook EP with “I’m Going Home” and “Pyromania.” After the performance, the Klown understood why these gents were suddenly featured heavily.

Monolith bust out the coolest conga line!
(L to R: Guitarist Jared Bliss , guitarist Doug Walker, bassist Kevin Vickers and front man Keith McIntosh)

Thrash Thursday was capped off and met with one of the underground thrash locals, Nihilist. Although Nihilist is not widely known, they are an absolute treat especially if you are truly big on thrash. The trio kicked off with “Destroyer” from their 2006 Call Down the Thunder and also played “Blood Portraits” from their namesake 2009 release.

The band didn’t just stick too much in their past, they treated us to “Dethmacheen” which happens to have the same name as the EP. It didn’t seem to matter what these gents played because it still caused a commotion. Although the attendance didn’t exactly cause the Brick by Brick to implode, the pit that it garnered on that night is best described like the Grinch’s heart. If you don’t get that analogy, the summary is that the small pit grew threefold. The Klown may be exaggerating a bit but mark his words, that that pit was ever present and showcased how a dedicated and true fan base looks like.

Matt Smith and Loren Tipton of Nihilist keep the pit going on Thrash Thursday.

The frontman/ bassist Loren Tipton was a man of very few words who let his actions and performance do the talking. Not leaving guitarist Elliot Sloan out of the mix, he did a great job showing off his heavy and energetic riffs which complimented the brand of speed thrash that this band has been producing.

Nihilist originally finished with “Nihilist Kills” but fulfilled the request from the crowd, one more song. The band’s encore and final hurrah came in the form of Judas Priest’s “Freewheel Burning.” If you weren’t fortunate to catch this show, then the Klown pities you. Even though this show wasn’t a showcase of metal immortals it was still great to partake and be a part of. Sure, the Klown wasn’t present in the first volume of Metal Assault’s show in San Diego but hopefully this will give you an idea of what to look forward to in the upcoming editions the publication will bestow here.

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