The Granada Theater….May 18th 2012….Lawrence, KS…..The final night of this ultra heavy tour makes it’s way to the middle of the U.S. I enter right as Battlecross is setting up the stage for their set. Apparently I missed the two opening acts (One of them being Troglodyte, god damn it) and I found out Decrepit Birth wasn’t going to make it. Which I was fine with because that meant I was going to enjoy Aborted and Cattle Decapitation sooner than I thought! Battlecross set up their instruments and suddenly just began playing with no light dimming or weird intro. They broke straight into “Push, Pull, Destroy” and I wanted to headbang so bad (I was working photo) and the crowd loved it. Battlecross again sounded amazing and they ripped through their set. Playing favorites such as “Man of Stone“, “Breaking You” and “Kaleb“. They had a great time playing and they were down to party as well as play some kick ass music. Battlecross‘ modern thrash style blended with a little bit of death metal is so good and they were definitely a pleasure to see again. With energy this massive and looking like they are having a blast, it was a good start to my night.
Next up was Rings of Saturn, a deathcore meets technical death metal kind of band whom I’ve never really listened to before this show. Their roster included 2 lead guitarists rocking 7 strings each with no bass guitar….however even without the monster thunder of a bass guitarist they still impressed the shit out of me. When I say technical death metal I mean TECHNICAL DEATH METAL. It was awesome because after all of the crazy fretwork they bust out a balls to the wall breakdown and it’s more respectable due to the fact these cats can shred like motherfuckers. Rings of Saturn are great and I’m now a fan of their music. I’m glad they were on the bill because they brought something different to the table, of course it was a technical death grind tour but their sound and style is different from the rest of the bands.
After Rings of Saturn raped our faces clean off, Aborted took the stage and played a set I wasn’t ready for. I’ve seen some live performances from them online before but NOTHING compares to seeing them live in person. They flat killed it and their setlist was fucking gnarly. Calling their set “heavy” or “brutal” just isn’t good enough. Their energy while playing this magnificent death/grind is god like. Sound was killer, so clear and so loud. I feel so privileged to have seen Aborted, they put on such a great show. Sven’s vocals were fucking dead on with how they sound on the albums. So god damn good.
Next up was Cattle Decapitation and honestly I’m even more glad Decrepit Birth couldn’t make it because I think Cattle would have had a short set. It took them awhile to get set up with PA systems not working and Derek’s cord to his amp not working correctly. However, once all was set up the band took off with new material from their latest album. Their set was mostly new material and it sounded so damn good live. Travis’ vocals have never sounded better and Josh, David & Derek performed with fierce intensity. David’s drum work is out of this world. His blasts, double bass and stamina is unmatched. Josh’s riffs and crazy leads are always fun to witness live. Derek dominated that beautiful 5 string bass guitar and his sound was clear and ominous. This was the best performance I’ve seen from them, ever. The guys put on one hell of a show and the fact their set was mostly new songs (Only 2 songs were older) made it even more special because I fucking love the new album. I think the only songs they DIDN’T perform from the new album was “Gristle Licker” and “Do Not Resuscitate”. Cattle Decapitation stole the show in my opinion.
However, the bulk of the building was ready for the headliner. The technical death metal gods from right down the road…..ORIGIN. I’m not heavy into this band and I’ve never seen them live so I didn’t know what to expect. Well, to say the least….pure fucking chaos. Their set was the loudest (of course) and both Paul and Mike’s hands were all over the place…while performing vocals. They put the “tech” in technical death metal for sure. I’ve never seen such furious fretwork before. Not only that, John’s drumming was fierce as fuck. Merciless blasting, killing it behind that drum kit. Oh and to top it off, Jason was a maniac on vocals. Doing his duties perfectly…but not only that. He was the director of chaos. He formed 2 walls of death (In a tiny area nonetheless), a few circle pits, requested headbanging, told everyone to move and made people crowd surf. He wanted movement, no doubt about it. He wanted a good time! Jason would even grab peoples hands and pull them onstage. It was fun watching all of the people stage dive. One guy did the most wussy ass dive, just curled and fell lightly and Jason called him out on it: “Really?!” Origin blew the fucking doors off of the building and they did a phenomenal job. I’ve never seen such intensity in a live performance before. Sure I’ve seen headbanging and movement….but Jason and the guys were over the top and impressive. I loved it and so did the entire crowd. Non stop moshing ensued and hardly anyone stood still. So much brutality during the last song “Portal” that a chick was knocked out cold, while the band didn’t stop playing (as if nothing happened), Jason made DAMN sure that the crowd formed a circle around her until help arrived. It wasn’t until AFTER the song was over though that a medic showed up to check on her.
This was the show that I was waiting for. Each band performed very well and the energy was amazing. This show will be hard to top. Occupation Domination 2012 was a complete success. Thank you to all of the bands that played and thank you to all of the guys I spoke to. Every single member in Battlecross is genuinely nice and awesome people. Thank you Josh Elmore for not shooing me away when I stopped you, thank you Derek Engemann for bullshitting with me while setting up your equipment (Monolithic Merchandise ftw!), thank you Sven (Aborted) for the merch and talking with me and hope to see you all again soon. Great show!!! \w/
Photography and Review by Thomas Mergel