Photo Gallery: Chaos and Carnage @ House of Blues Anaheim – May 25th 2024

Chaos & Carnage & Brutality, Oh My!

The bookers of Chaos and Carnage seem to have their finger on the pulse of new and upcoming bands. This mixed with making sure to give the older fans the veterans of extreme metal that they need to validate checking out the newer flock, has created an annual tradition. A tradition allowing all of the bands to play to larger audiences than they would on their own and one that has helped expand the overall scene.

Breath While You Float Down the River

Humanity’s Last Breath is a Swedish band with an oppressive and hypnotic sound. Their stage presence is cross between hypnotic and punishing. Humanity’s Last Breath sounds like what I thought Sleep Token would sound like based on their aesthetic. A crushing sound, mixed with an elusive, yet always present lead singer, they are as foreboding on stage as their recorded music suggests.

Up next that night are Pennsylvania sons Rivers of Nihil, part death metal, part music for owls, and a dash of saxophone. RoH is a band that always delivers a fun show, with their brand of metal flowing seamlessly through esoteric to face melting. They are always reliable and crushed their set in Anaheim.

Through the Gates of Hell

The subgenre of deathcore sounds like something straight from hell, but the one band who has really leaned into the subject matter is Carnifex. The horror is strong with Scott Ian Lewis and company. Hailing from San Diego, Carnifex sounds less like the sun and surf culture vibe of Southern California and more like the snowy forests of Norway. Fusing everything from death metal, industrial, black metal, and metalcore, the band has spent the past two decades growing and maintaining a cult following of the converted. They are equal parts heavy and horrifying and they left the crowd wanting more in Anaheim.

An Infestation of Brutality

There are few bands in the world that would take the following adjectives as a compliment: disgusting, vile, ugly, misanthropic, gut wrenching, despicable. Cattle Decapitation happen to be one of the bands that seek to make music that can be described by any of those words. This is a band who is intentionally confrontational, in a world where most think art should be a mirror for self reflection, Cattle Decapitation strive to smash that mirror into blood soak fragments, imbedded in the metaphorical jugular of real life people who can be described by that list of adjectives.

The band’s singer Travis Ryan has one of the most distinct voices in metal, bouncing between low gutturals, higher octave squeals, his voice sounds like all of the biblical plagues happening at the same time. The impact of the music and his vocals only escalates in the live setting, and it creates one hell of a show.

While most artists might be tempted to dull their art as they age, Cattle decapitation shows no signs, their lyrics, music, and stage show are sharper than ever. Given that the band will be celebrating 30 years of being a band, the future is both bleak and bright for this singular and provocative act.

Closing thoughts

The Chaos and Carnage tour is a safe haven for extreme metal fans, and I can’t wait to see what kind of lineup they bring together in 2025.

The Author’s selfish and slightly weird wish

While Cattle Decapitation isn’t vegan the band’s themes of shining a light on how we treat animals as a society and world would fit so perfectly with the like minded Propagandhi and that is a touring package I would be ecstatic to see hit the road together.

Photos

Cattle Decapitation

Carnifex

Rivers of Nihil

Humanity’s Last Breath

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