Review – Hour of Penance, Misery Index, Cannibal Corpse in Allentown, PA: Nov. 29th, 2012

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Review – Hour of Penance, Misery Index, Cannibal Corpse in Allentown, PA: Nov. 29th, 2012
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Cannibal Corpse

I can’t remember how long ago it was when I was treated to seeing Cannibal Corpse for the first time at a local venue. I remember being in highschool, probably early 2000’s, but I could very well be wrong. So, when I heard they were hitting Allentown, Pennsylvania with Misery Index and Hour of Penance, I was excited to make my way there. I best summed up my anticipation for this show on my personal Facebook as being a child and waiting for Santa to come on Christmas Eve, and instead of toys, being delivered a hammer to smash my face in with. I was hoping for a fantastic show from start to finish at the Crocodile Rock in Allentown, PA, regardless of my tired state. But, was this show everything I remembered about the headliner, or were they, and the others, just too bland to make an impact this time around?

On the original line-up for the day, there was a fourth band set to open the festivities. However, no one knows what happened to the local act meant to go on first. I was actually really pleased, I was getting tired of the opening bands going way over their set limit, and no one caring to stop them from doing it. Instead, we were treated right off the bat with Hour of Penance. Unfortunately, they suffered from some audio issues. While the music was loud, the quality wasn’t that great, an unfortunate issue of playing The Crocodile Rock, and one I’m all too familiar with after all these years of attending shows there. But, the biggest gripe was the level of the vocals. For the first three songs, you couldn’t hear them when the music was playing. But, the band managed to pull through and brought a stern presence to every song, which was consistant from start to finish, playing material from the past few albums, but seemed to largely cover their latest effort, Sedition. The crowd reacted quite well, some people starting up a circle pit, and the band received plenty of cheers from the crowd when the song would end, but barely any cries of happiness and delight when a song title was announced prior to it.

Next was Misery Index, a band I’ve never been too big a fan of outside their most recent effort, Heirs to Thievery. The band played a few cuts from that album, including the title track from it towards the end. The crowd grew a bit for this set, and it was obvious many came to see them as well. A number of people went nuts when some song titles were thrown out there, and the response at the end of each one was surprisingly loud for such a small weekday collection of fans. There wasn’t really an active circle pit, but some people did try to mosh, thanks largely to the energy and excitement the band brought with them. But, overall, the set was actually kind of boring. Again, the somewhat muffled audio quality wound up hurting the material, and it, as well as the band’s own music, was clearly causing some people to leave. It was a good set from them either way, just nothing I really could get into, even the songs I liked that were performed.

Finally there was the great and legendary Cannibal Corpse. The mosh pit was packed, as was the under twenty one section to the right. The band went on before ten pm, and their set ended at eleven pm (a curfew for venues in the area I guess). The second they went on the crowd went nuts, and the band tore into them with three song sets throughout the course of over an hour. There were plenty of tracks played from throughout their career, such as “Make Them Suffer” and “Fucked with a Knife,” the latter an obvious crowd pleasing favorite that was introduced, as always, as a dedication to all the ladies. “I Cum Blood” whipped the pit into a frenzy, as did the closing classic of “Hammer Smashed Face,” which was their final song until Corpsegrinder revealed he was lying and pulled out “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” to a still hungry audience.

Unfortunately, the obviously commanding performance had some flaws with the audio quality once more. The music was loud, which helped to accentuate the bass and literally crush everyone in the audience. However, the vocals were insanely monotone. What range Corpsegrinder has was largely lost due to a tinny output. On top of that, the guitar solos were met at levels that were enough to make your ears bleed, and far from in a positive manner. But, one of the things that stood out of the set was when Corpsegrinder threatened to shove his boot up the ass of one of the people in the pit, which I later found out was someone who got sick during their performance, and instead of going to the bathroom, vomited all over the left wall.

While the performances themselves were great, this was a rather rough night to get through, and greatly hurt my perception of today’s Metal fan. Most of the audience were kids, and some of them greatly worried me. Not only did someone try to pick my pocket (bastard), which they couldn’t reach due to my inhalers for my asthma being in the way, and then later another person tried to steal my camera and tripod, as well as my Hour of Penance shirt I just bought, and their Sedition CD. Someone also tried to get my fiancee’s phone, and was met with her Freddy Kreuger-like talons and probably scarred him or her (I got scars to prove what they can do).

Basically, the three bands obviously did a fantastic job, especially Cannibal Corpse who left me feeling like I hurt my neck from banging along to every single track and the energy they carry. However, my overall want to be there was lost after Hour of Penance due to the audio quality of the venue itself. Unfortunately, I no longer really feel the botherhood or companionship for one another can be found at that location, which really just hurts me deep inside. I walked away wanting to see Hour of Penance and Cannibal Corpse live again, and that’s perhaps the best feeling one can have once the show ends. Will I catch them here once more? More than likely. But, with Misery Index appealing to me as little as they do on CD, I won’t be seeking them out again anytime soon, though I’m sure many more will go through the effort to do so.

Attendance to this concert provided by Metal Blade Records for myself, and Prosthetic Records for my camera girl.