It’s supposed to be hot as fuck over the weekend, which makes for the perfect setting for a heavy metal festival that contains bands from all corners of the subgenre map. After a two-year delay and multiple false starts, Metal Immortal Festival 2 finally will melt faces at Mr. Smalls, a quick drive from downtown Pittsburgh, and the lineup is diverse and bloody.
While there are plenty of bands on which to focus, we’re looking at Vicious Blade who hail from Pittsburgh and have their second EP “Siege of Cruelty” ready to burn you down. Over five raucous tracks that combine thrash, classic heavy metal, punk, and other volatile elements, the band gives you a huge blast back to when the harsher forms of metal started to solidify but with a 2022 mindset that powers these tracks and make them melt over. The band—vocalist Clarissa Badini, guitarists Jeff Ellsworth and Erik Wynn, bassist Dan Ford, drummer Kevin Parent—contains members with hefty and impressive resumes with crushers such as Castrator, Complete Failure, Commit Suicide, Tartarus, Don Caballero, etc., and they’re the perfect choice to get the fest off to a devastating, fire-powered start that’ll keep energy levels high all day. It’s also a step up from their killer 2020 self-titled EP debut, proving they’ve grown more violent and menacing as the world waited out a lockdown.
“Cult of Scourge” teases you a bit as it starts before it hits high gear with Badini’s barked howls feeling like haymakers. The chorus is thrashy and tasty, the guitars crush, and the commanding vocals refuse to let you offer anything but your undivided attention. “Scavengers” wails and churns before exploding with speed and rampaging with reckless abandon. The beastly chorus makes your insides shake, fiery howls leave bruising, and the final moments are consumed by its own flames. The title track mashes from the gates with Badini’s wails blowing you back off your feet, the guttural speed feeling like a head-on collision. A monstrous cackle warps as soloing erupts, and the sinewy chorus makes one more round and knocks you on your ass. “Speed, Leather & Hell” is fun as fuck, a classic metal throwback that dines on punk’s veins and delivers fast, infectious chaos. Another tremendous chorus has its way with you as the playing hammers, and the end comes swiftly at the heart of a riot. Closer “Wretchedness of Existence” has rock-solid riffs that make your blood rush as Badini howls, “No, you can’t walk away!” Black metal-style playing runs as things surge with dangerous intent, riffs blasting, and one final chorus delivering the goods again and driving an exclamation point with a dagger.
Vicious Blade are coming on fast and stridently, which they prove hands down on “Siege of Cruelty,” their punishing second EP. The band is a force live, which Metal Immortal Fest attendees are about the find out, and these songs give them an even more formidable arsenal that’s bound to leave blood generously shed. These five songs are proof this band is playing with fire, and anyone who stands in their way is going to be burnt to a crisp.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/viciousbladepgh
To buy the album, go here: https://www.ourancientfuture.com/collections/all
For more on the label, go here: https://www.ourancientfuture.com/
Metal Immortal Preshow
Friday, Spirit, Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Eviction (30th anniversary reunion show of legendary Pittsburgh thrashers)
To buy tickets, go here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/metal-immortal-2-pre-fest-show-eviction-reunion-tickets-228269840237?aff=ebdssbeac
Metal Immortal Festival 2
Saturday, Mr. Smalls, Millvale, Pa., 3 p.m.
Vicious Blade: 4:30
Soul Grinder: 5:20
Lady Beast: 4:40
For more on the fest go here: https://www.facebook.com/MetalImmortalFestival
To buy tickets, go here: https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/16005C311FFD32F6